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How To Cook Pinto Beans

Learn the various methods for easily cooking pinto beans from scratch!
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Western
Keyword pinto beans
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 196kcal


  • 1 lb (450g) pinto beans
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or no-calorie cooking spray
  • 1 cup diced frozen onion (or 1 fresh medium onion) optional, but adds great flavor
  • 6 sliced smoked bacon (if frozen then defrost first) optional, but addres great flavor
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups (709mL) chicken broth or vegetable broth or water
  • 1 cup (236mL) water


How To Cook Instant Pot Pinto Beans

  • Add dried beans, chicken broth stock. Then layer in the rest of the ingredients, ending with diced tomatoes on top and DO NOT mix.
  • Close pot, set valve to sealing, select the pressure cook / manual (dependent upon IP model), select high pressure and set the timer to 40 minutes.
  • Allow a natural pressure release (NPR) for 20 minutes and then a quick pressure release for the rest.
  • Open the Instant Pot and stir in tamari soy sauce and serve.

How To Cook Pinto Beans On The Stovetop

  • Add Pinto Beans to a pan, along with water or broth.
  • Add seasonings to suit your taste: e.g. onions, thyme, chili, garlic or for some smoked paprika. Meat lovers can also add in some bacon, ham hock or chorizo.
  • Cover your saucepan and bring it to the boil. Then reduce to a simmer, leave the lid very slightly open and cook until tender. Now, this can take anything from 45-90 mins as this depends on the age of your beans. Older beans will take a little bit longer.
  • Cooking time depends on what you are using the beans - firmer for beans salads, but much softer for soupy meals. So taste the beans after the first 45 mins of cooking and check them every 20 mins after.
  • Also if the water level reduces before the beans are cooked you will need to add about half a cup (125ml) of water or broth at a time.

How To Cook Pinto Beans In The Oven

  • Place the pre-soaked beans into an oven-ready dish with enough water or broth so that there is 4cm (1.5 inches) of liquid above the beans.
  • Add in your flavorings and bake about 90 mins at 350F /fan-assisted 160C / 180C / gas 4.
  • Check the beans if they are cooked through.
  • If not then bake them for a little bit longer checking them every 10 mins.


Cooking Tips

  • Pick through the beans. Remove shriveled beans and any debris before cooking.
  • Add veggies. Mix and match the veggies with what you have on hand. You can even use fresh veggies instead of frozen.
  • Vary the spices. Look through your spice cupboard and use whatever you have available. (See below for seasoning tips and ideas.)
  • Add meat. You can certainly add bacon, ham hock, chorizo or a smoked turkey during if you wish.
  • Bulk it out. Add bulk to the meal by serving the beans over another starch such as rice or quinoa.
  • Thicken it. Feel free to remove some of the beans, mash them and dd back in to thicken it.
  • Thin it out. If you plan to reheat you may want to add more broth to thin as desired.
  • Change up the beans. Use other beans like navy beans, but be aware that cook time will vary.

Serving Suggestions

Weight Watchers Points

If you do not add bacon (or other meats) and replace the olive oil with a no-calorie cooking spray, there will be 0 Blue Plan SmartPoints in a serving of pinto beans.


Calories: 196kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 294mg | Potassium: 615mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 2mg