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Wondering how to cook pinto beans? In this article, I share how to cook pinto beans the easy way, plus several of my family-favorite main dish and side dish pinto bean recipes.

How to Cook Pinto Beans

This article was originally published in May 2011.

Pinto Beans are prominently featured in my 13-Week Rotating Menu Plan on three different weeks (as Stretchy Beans) in those three-plus months.

Pintos have been a very familiar food for me since I was a child. My mama would make a big pot of pintos every Friday night and that was our food for many meals over the weekend. I do have a sister who doesn’t eat pinto beans as a result of that, but I still like them. In fact, I like them very much. A good thing with as many beans as we eat around here!


How to Cook Pinto Beans

This is how to cook pinto beans in the crockpot, but you can also cook them on the stovetop, in the Instant Pot, or with alternative cooking methods. Here are instructions for six different ways to cook beans.

For ease of cooking and digestion, we soak and/or sprout our beans. My goal is to make one pot of pinto beans and then reinvent that pot into three meals to enjoy during the week.

Start with 5 cups of picked-over beans (to remove any stones or debris) and rinse thoroughly.

In the crockpot, soak the beans in plain water the night before you want to cook them (or up to 24 hours, changing the water at least one time).

The next morning, drain the soaking water off and put the beans back in the crockpot, then cover with homemade broth, water, or a mixture of both.

Cook on low for 5 to 8 hours. Larger beans take longer than smaller beans. When they’re thoroughly cooked, lightly season the entire pot with salt, pepper, and garlic.

Take out enough beans for supper, then divide the remaining beans into two or three other portions, depending on your menu plan for the week.

I haven’t added any seasonings at this point, preferring to season each dish when I make them.


Navajo Tacos with Sourdough Frybread


Pinto Bean Recipes

Our first Pinto Stretchy Bean meal is usually a simple plate of beans over rice with sauteed onions and greens on the side. Each person adds whatever additional seasonings they like to their plate. Some put ketchup on their beans or maybe salsa. I like to put a little organic sugar (not sucanat but the more processed stuff) and cider vinegar on mine. I know that sounds odd, but it’s such a delicious and simple meal!


Not-Really Maine Baked Beans


Pinto Bean Side Dishes



Useful Tools for Home Cooking


Useful Tools for Cooking Beans


Want More Stretchy Bean Ideas?

Stretchy Beans

Stretchy Beans: Nutritious & Economical Meals the Easy Way

Do you struggle with feeding your family delicious, healthy meals? Are you tired of trying to figure out what’s for dinner each night? Do you cringe when you see how much money your family spends on groceries each month?

If so, Stretchy Beans is the solution you’ve been looking for! Learn how to easily prepare dinners that the whole family will love—while staying on budget, spending less time in the kitchen, and not losing your sanity.

Inside Stretchy Beans: Nutritious, Economical Meals the Easy Way, you’ll discover:

  • How to cook healthy, affordable beans with amazing flavors
  • How to make one pot of beans each week and turn it into 3+ delicious meals the whole family loves—without feeling like you’re eating the same thing every night
  • Weekly Stretchy Beans meal plans that you can adapt to fit your family
  • How to spend less time in the kitchen, while still getting dinner on the table every night
  • And much, much more!

Stretchy Beans: Nutritious, Economical Meals the Easy Way is packed full of affordable, easy-to-follow, healthy recipes for the whole family. If you’re looking for a way to feed your family a delicious, real food diet, then this book is for you.

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Now that I’ve shared how to cook pinto beans and some of our favorite recipes, let me know what yours are! Leave a comment below!

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