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Pinto Beans

You won't believe how simple these from-scratch Pinto Beans are -- no soaking required! These beans are deeply savory with a smoky flavor and have the best creamy texture!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Healthy
Keyword crockpot pinto beans, crockpot refried beans, pinto beans
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cooking Time varies depending on machine used 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 5 -6 cups (about the equivalent of 3, 15 oz. cans of pinto beans)
Calories 409kcal
Cost $3.21


  • 4 slices (~4 oz.) thick-cut bacon, thinly sliced
  • 1 and 1/3 cup (180g) diced yellow onion
  • 1 large (~1 cup; 147g) diced red pepper, optional
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (~4 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons minced jalapeños (~1 jalapeño)
  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pound (~ 2 and 1/2 cups) dried pinto beans (NO need to soak!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: dried oregano and black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons EACH: ground cumin, ground paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground chili powder Note 1
  • Fine sea salt and pepper
  • 3 cups (682g) chicken stock (we love Swanson)
  • 3 cups (640g) water
  • Optional: 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro, extra- sharp Cheddar cheese (See Note 2)


  • PREP: For a quicker prep, give the onion and pepper a quick coarse chop and add along with the jalapeños (be sure to remove the ribs and seeds before adding if concerned about heat) and garlic to a food processor and pulse to chop.
  • BACON: Thinly slice the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces. Add to a large cast iron skillet and cook, over medium-high heat, stirring regularly, until the bacon begins to brown and the fat is rendered. Use a slotted spoon to remove all the bacon from the skillet to a paper-towel-lined plate. Leave the bacon grease in the pan and keeping the heat at medium-high, add in the diced onion and pepper. (If you added all the veggies to the food processor, just add them all in here!) Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7-9 minutes.
  • VEGGIES: Add in the minced garlic and jalapeños. Stir until fragrant, 1 minute. Add in all the seasonings and cook for 1 minute. Finally, add in the crushed tomatoes (undrained), and cook for one more minute, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits. Use a spatula to scrape every bit of this mixture into a slow cooker or instant pot.
  • ADD BEANS AND COOK: Rinse the beans in a strainer and pick through them, discarding any debris or pebbles. Add the rinsed beans, chicken stock, and water to the slow cooker or instant pot. Add in the cooked and reserved bacon. Finally, season (to taste) with salt and pepper. ( I add 2 teaspoons fine sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, but add to preference.) Stir everything together. Cover and cook on high for 7-9 hours in the slow cooker or until beans are very tender (this is 8 hours in my crockpot). INSTANT POT: Seal the pot turn and cook on manual mode for 45 minutes (it takes about 15-20 minutes to get to pressure). Once finished, allow for a natural release for 25 minutes before releasing the rest of the pressure manually.
  • BLEND PORTION OF BEANS: See Note 3. Once the beans are tender, remove 3 cups of the beans and liquid and add to a powerful blender. Blend until smooth, stirring as needed in between blending (if needed, add more liquid from the slow cooker or instant pot to more easily blend). Pour blended beans back into the slow cooker and stir.
  • FINISHING: Taste and adjust seasonings. (I typically add another 1/4 teaspoon up to a full teaspoon fine sea salt here-- it really just depends on how salty the chicken stock used is; add slowly until flavors sing.) Add optional cilantro and stir through. Serve as a side dish (See Note 2) or use in another recipe. Beans will continue to thicken as they sit and become more flavorful as they're stored in the fridge overnight.



Note 1: Chili powders can vary greatly in heat; we use McCormick® which is mild.
Note 2: If serving these as a side dish, we love adding a little sharp Cheddar cheese on top. Typically we'll enjoy these as a side dish the first night they are made and then use the leftovers (that thicken quite a bit!) in other dishes throughout the next few nights. The sky is the limit with refried beans -- read the post for lots of suggestions for using these beans. (Basically, cook once and enjoy delicious meals all week long!)
Note 3: There are several ways to finish these beans. How we like them best is to blend the 3 cups of beans and stir that back into the beans. They thicken a lot as they stand at room temperature and even more as they're chilled, making them perfect to use the next day in meals. However, if you'd prefer just regular pinto beans (like what you'd get from a can): Don't blend any of the beans/liquid. Drain all or most of the liquid (leave some liquid if you'd like them a bit soupy over rice), or use a slotted spoon for serving and drain the beans at the end before storing. For refried beans: drain all the liquid except for 1 cup (if there isn't a lot of liquid anyway, you can use water). Scoop the beans in a blender and blend until smooth in batches. Alternatively use a potato masher and mash to desired consistency. Gradually add in the reserved liquid or water until you've reached your desired consistency. Don't forget to season at the end with additional salt and pepper!
Note 4: Calories are for a 1/2 cup of pinto beans.
Note 5: To make vegetarian: omit the bacon and sauté veggies in olive oil instead. Replace chicken stock with vegetable stock.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 409kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 252mg | Potassium: 1566mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 551IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 135mg | Iron: 5mg