Bowl Me Over With These Pinto Beans


In Southern California, where I spent the majority of my life (about an hour and a half from the Mexican border) Mexican foods and restaurants were plentiful. I grew to appreciate many of the traditional Mexican dishes. 

One thing I never attempted to make from scratch (until recently) is pinto beans. I became brave at thinking I could tackle making pintos after trying several other bean varieties and finding out that making beans from scratch (dried) really wasn’t that hard, just a little time-consuming. See Scarlet Runner Beans recipe for a different style of the bean. 

Some information from Wikipedia about pinto beans:

“In Spanish they are called frijol pinto, meaning literally “speckled bean.” Pinto beans are a nutrient dense legume containing many essential nutrients and are very low in saturated fat. They are a good source of protein, phosphorus and manganese while being very high in dietary fiber and folate. Rice and pinto beans form a complete protein source. Studies have indicated that pinto beans can lower the levels of both HDL and LDL.” 

Buying dried beans is very inexpensive compared to canned so making your beans from scratch is good for your budget too!

I always rinse the beans and cull through them for any beans that aren’t mature or debris.

Very few ingredients (onion, garlic and bay leaf) make up this bean recipe, yet it is flavorful.

Put all ingredients in a pan (or crockpot) and cover with water. 

Finished beans are saucy and delicious. Top with cilantro and queso cheese.

Beans are a great accompaniment to any dinner, especially this chicken enchilada.

Simple Pinto Beans

Makes about 6-7 cups.

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  • 1 pound pinto beans
  • 1/2 smallish onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano*
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika*
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne*
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder*
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional1 piece of bacon whole
  • 1 jalapeno finely chopped with seeds and veins removed or 1/2 to 1 can of chopped chilies


  1. Cull through the beans for debris or unmatured beans.
  2. Rinse well, then cover with cold water and soak for 6 hours or overnight.
  3. Put beans into a soup pot with onion, garlic, and bay leaves. Add water to cover beans by about 1 1/2 inch. (If using bacon add at this time. If adding jalapeño add at this time.)
  4. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, partly cover pot with lid, and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in salt, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne, (and if using chopped canned chilies add at this time) then continue simmering about 1 hour more until beans are soft and creamy and the broth is well seasoned and lightly thickened.
  6. Optional: If using bacon, after beans are cooked, remove and chop roughly, then return to beans.


*Adjust seasonings to your taste or leave spices out if you would rather have a milder flavored bean dish. The original recipe from Better Homes and Gardens did not list any spices so experiment with your favorites to attain the desired flavor you want to achieve. I made these vegetarian style without bacon (the original BH&G recipe did not list bacon among the ingredients), and alternative meat additions could include using a piece of pork chop or meats that can be boiled and simmered for an hour or two. Recipe is easily adaptable to a crock pot. !NutritionPer 1/2 cup serving (without meat added): 128 cal, 2 g fat, 217 mg sodium, 21 g carb, 5 g fiber, 7 g protein.


Calories: 755 cal
Carbohydrates: 134 g
Fat: 7 g
Sodium: 3813 g
Cholesterol: 9 g
Protein: 46 g
Fiber: 45 g
You’ll want leftovers of these beans!! One way I used our leftovers was in a bean and cheese quesadilla. So flavorful, and it made a hardy meal.

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