Pinto beans made from scratch are easy to make

Can I confess something? Before testing this recipe, I had never cooked beans from scratch. It’s not because I usually prepare dinners hours in advance or cook large quantities for later use.

But I do recognize that cooking beans from scratch is a good idea. Many canned goods are high in sodium and contain additives like BPA that can be harmful in large amounts. Cooking your beans can be cheaper than buying canned.

These pinto beans can be made in a jiffy (only ten ingredients and one pot are needed). Prep time is only 15-20 minutes since you can do other things while the beans are soaking or cooking. If I can do it, you can do it. I’ll show you how.

How long to soak pinto beans

It has been found that 6-8 hours is the ideal amount of time to soak dry pinto beans. The longer they are washed, the more tender and less likely they are to split or separate when cooked.

If you don’t have time to get them out right away, drain, cover, and store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them.

Some readers have reported success with the quick soak method when they did not plan.

Pour quick soak pintos, place them in a pot with enough water to cover them, bring them to a boil, remove from heat, and allow them to sit for an hour (covered). Drain. Follow the instructions. Be aware that using this method could result in faster cooking of beans.

How long does it take to cook pinto beans?

The amount of time it takes to cook your pinto beans depends on how fresh they are and how long you’ve soaked them. Beans older than a year may be hard to soften and take longer to cook. The longer you soak your beans, the faster they cook.

After soaking for 6-8 hrs, pinto beans need to be simmered at a low heat for 40-50 mins.

Pinto Beans: How to season them

We find that seasonings, while optional, are what elevate beans into a dish worth enjoying by themselves. We chose our favorite: Mexican flavors.

To keep it plant-based, our recipe relied on vegetable stock, diced tomatoes, green chilies, and cumin with chili powder and cumin in adobo.

Batch cooking beans

This recipe makes about 5 cups of cooked pinto bean, which can be used for quick, easy meals throughout the week. You can also store leftovers in freezer bags or jars for future meals.


  • Pinto beans, 1 pound (soaked in cool water for 6 hours or overnight)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Half a medium white onion, diced
  • Three large cloves of garlic, minced (three cloves yield about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • Add more salt and black pepper to taste.
  • One cube of quality vegetable bullion
  • The original recipe calls for 1 tbsp of adobo plus one more tsp to taste.
  • Half a cup of diced tomatoes (I used Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Green Chilies).
  • Ground cumin, 1 tbsp
  • 1 tbsp Chili powder*
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon ( optional).


  • Cover the pinto beans with cool water in a large pot (at least several inches above them as they will grow). Soak pinto beans at room temperature for 6 hours or overnight*.
  • Drain and set beans aside once they have been soaked.
  • Heat your large pot over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the diced onions and garlic and season with sea salt and pepper. Stir to coat, and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the onion is soft.
  • Add the bouillon cube, followed by the drained beans. Cover with water 2 inches above the beans. They will expand during cooking. Add the vegetable broth instead of bouillon, but add it first and then add water to avoid adding too much liquid.
  • Stir in the diced tomatoes and chipotle, and bring it to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium or low and simmer for about 40-50 minutes.
  • Add remaining seasonings once the beans are cooked and tender: adobo, cumin powder, chili powder, and cinnamon (optional). Stir to coat, and continue to cook on low heat for another 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  • Add more seasonings to your taste. You can add cumin or chili for flavor depth, cinnamon for warmth, or even adobo (and minced peppers from adobo) for heat. Don’t be afraid to season them well!
  • Now your beans are ready for you to eat! They are a great addition to burritos and other dishes like taco salads or veggie burgers. They are also great in chili.
  • Beans can be stored in the fridge for up to five days. Beans will be kept in the freezer for up to 1 month (and often even longer).

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