How To Cook Pinto Beans Perfectly, 5 Ways

Dry Organic Raw Pinto Beans in a Bowl

How To Cook Pinto Beans Perfectly, 5 Ways

Are you wondering how to cook pinto beans perfectly? These versatile and cost-friendly beans are a staple in many pantries. While the canned pinto beans are convenient, opting for bagged beans may be a better option. First, the cost alone allows you to buy more, adapt the amount you use, and freeze what you don't eat. Although bag beans seem intimidating to cook, they are simple and easy to get the hang of. 

Why Cook Pinto Beans?

Not only are pinto beans cost-friendly and adaptable, but they are also filled with excellent health benefits. They have numerous nutrients that we need daily, including fiber, protein, iron, and potassium. Along with the amazing nutrients, they are also low in sodium and fat. 

Another benefit of pinto beans is the amount of antioxidants they have. Our bodies need antioxidants because they help protect our cells from free radicals

Some studies point towards pinto beans promoting heart health and improving blood sugar. With pinto beans' health benefits, versatility, and cost-efficiency, finding many ways to cook them is a great idea! 

To Soak or Not to Soak

Soaking pinto beans overnight is a good idea for a couple of reasons. First, in doing so, the time it takes to cook them will be reduced, and who doesn't love putting dinner on the table in a quicker fashion? Secondly, pinto beans that soak overnight will cook more evenly and have a creamier texture. Another reason many people opt for soaking beans overnight is that it can reduce the chances of having gas after eating them. 

Therefore, if you have the time and remember, soaking beans overnight in the refrigerator is worthwhile. However, if you are in a pinch or forget to soak them, don't worry; those beans can still turn out just as delicious! 

Quick Soak Method:

  1. Add beans to a pot and then add water until it covers them, then bring the water to a boil and cook for three to five minutes.
  2. Turn the water off and cover the pot. Leave them to soak for an hour.
  3. Once the hour ends, rinse the beans, add fresh water, and cook them!

Overnight Soak Method: 

This method doesn't have to be done overnight, but it can be helpful to prep your beans and then forget them. 

  1. Place them in a pot with water that covers the beans. There should be enough water in the pot at least two inches above the beans. 
  2. Soak the pinto beans for six to twelve hours. 
  3. When you are ready to cook them, drain the water and rinse. 

No Soak Method: 

If you prefer not to soak your beans, you technically do not have to. They will still turn out pretty tasty. 

  1. All you have to do is place them in the pot with the correct water or broth ratio and cook until done. 
  2. If you choose this cooking method, the beans will take a bit longer to cook until done, and they may also have a coarser texture than beans that have been soaked. 
Homemade Organic Refried Pinto Beans Ready to Eat
Many recipes use pinto beans as a base. These include cowboy chili and seven-layered cornbread. However, one of the most popular recipes where pinto beans can really shine is in refried beans.

©Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.com

Five Ways to Cook Pinto Beans Perfectly

There are several different ways to cook pinto beans perfectly. Try using the quick soak method or an instant pot if you are in a time crunch. If you prefer the pleasing aroma of beans cooking in the house all day, the stovetop method or crock pot is your friend! Let's look at the various ways to cook pinto beans below! 

Soak First, then Cook on the Stovetop

Time: One and a half hours


  • One package of pinto beans
  • Water or vegetable broth
  • Seasoning of your choice
  • Minced garlic (optional)
  • One onion, sliced (optional)


Cooking pinto beans on the stovetop is one of the go-to methods. It is easy and fills your home with a pleasing, comforting aroma that is hard to beat. 

With this method, soak your beans overnight for up to twelve hours. Before soaking, remove any debris or pebbles from the bag of pinto beans. 

When ready to cook, rinse the pinto beans and add them to a large pot. A Dutch oven is excellent for this method. Add four cups, or enough to cover your beans two to three inches, of vegetable broth or water to the beans, cover with a lid, and cook. Add the minced garlic and onion if you desire at this time. 

The beans will reach a slow simmer; during this time, constantly check the pinto beans every thirty minutes. Stir and check to ensure they are not sticking to the bottom of the pot. The beans will start to develop a creamy texture. You will know they are done when the beans are tender. This takes about one and a half hours. 

Remove from the heat and season with desired seasoning, such as salt and pepper. Serve while hot, or add to your favorite dish! 

No Soaking and Cooking on the Stovetop

Time: 90 to 120 minutes


  • Pinto beans
  • Water or vegetable broth
  • Seasoning of your choice
  • Minced garlic (optional)
  • One onion, sliced (optional)


If you decide not to soak overnight or use the quick soaking method, you can still cook pinto beans. Just keep in mind that the texture may be less creamy, and it may take longer.

Rinse the pinto beans and add to a pot or Dutch oven. Add four cups of water or vegetable broth. At this time, add in the onions and minced garlic if you desire. 

Bring the beans to a slow simmer and cook on low. Stir the beans every 20 to 30 minutes to be sure they are not sticking on the bottom. Simmer on low for 120 minutes or until the beans have reached your desired consistency. 

Remove from heat, season, and enjoy while hot. 

Closeup of clay cooking pot with pinto beans
Cooking on the stove top is one of the most loved ways to cook pinto beans. It feels the home with a comforting aroma and help the beans cook to perfection!

©Gwen Juarez Photography/Shutterstock.com

Cook in the Crockpot

Time: Eight hours on high and four hours on low


  • One package of pinto beans
  • Olive oil
  • Seasoning of your choice
  • Chopped onion
  • Minced garlic or garlic cloves
  • Four cups of vegetable broth


After soaking the pinto beans, rinse and set aside. Heat olive oil on the stovetop, and then add the onions. Cook until translucent, and then add the minced garlic. Cook for two to three minutes and then set aside. 

Add the pinto beans, garlic, onions, and vegetable broth to the crockpot. Season with your choice of seasoning. Salt and pepper work great; oregano and cumin also work well for flavor. 

Cook the pinto beans in the crockpot for eight or four hours on low. The result should be creamy, thick soup beans that go well with any main dish.

Cook Pinto Beans in the Instant Pot

Time: 35 to 50 minutes


  • One cup of pinto beans
  • Seasoning of your choice
  • Chopped onion
  • Minced garlic or garlic cloves
  • Two and a half cups of vegetable broth

Note: Use the ratio of two and a half cups of water or broth to one cup of pinto beans. 


Before soaking the beans, remove any rocks or small pebbles from the bag of pinto beans. Use the method of soaking you prefer. 

After soaking your beans, rinse and put the beans in the instant pot. Then add the vegetable broth or water, onion, and garlic cloves. Make sure the lid is secure, and then cook for 35 minutes. 

After 35 minutes, you can use the natural release method by letting the pressure release naturally, which takes around 15 minutes. On the other hand, you can use the quick-release method per the manufacturer's instructions.

After your beans are done, add the seasoning of your choice and enjoy while hot! 

Electric Pressure Cooker Isolated on White. Front View of Modern Stainless Steel 8-in-1 Multi-Use Express Crock Programmable Slow Multi Cooker. Saute and Steamer. Domestic and Kitchen Appliances
The instant pot is becoming a very popular method of cooking. It cuts down cooking times and produces delicious and praiseworthy meals.


Bake Pinto Beans in the Oven

Time: 90 minutes

While cooking pinto beans on the stove is the go-to method, the oven is also excellent! 


  • One package of pinto beans
  • Seasoning of your choice
  • Vegetable broth or water
  • Minced garlic (optional)
  • One onion, sliced (optional)


To bake pinto beans in the oven, you only need pinto beans, water or vegetable broth, and a baking dish. You can also add flavor with onions, minced garlic, and various seasonings.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit when you are ready to cook. 

After soaking the beans with your preferred method, rinse them off and place them in the baking dish. Then cover with water or vegetable broth until the beans are completely covered, with around half an inch of excess broth of water above the beans. 

If desired, add cooked onions and minced garlic to the mix.

Place the beans in the oven and bake for 90 minutes. Continue to check your beans until they reach your preferred level of doneness. After removing from the oven, drain the extra water or broth off the beans and season. Enjoy while warm with your favorite meal! 

Delicious Ways to Eat Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are popular for many reasons. For starters, the grocery store's pinto beans cost is very reasonable. Canned pinto beans can cost less than a dollar, while bags of pinto beans range between $1.49 and $5.00, depending on the size and brand of the beans. 

Another reason pinto beans are a staple in most pantries is that they are very versatile. There are so many ways to use these creamy and delicious beans. 

Below are some of the versatile recipes where pinto beans can shine! 

  • Cowboy chili
  • Taco soup
  • Bean burgers
  • Soup beans
  • Taco salad
  • Baked beans
  • Bean burritos
  • Enchiladas
  • Cornbread salad
  • Refried beans 

There are many more ways to utilize pinto beans in recipes. Their adaptability and cost make them a great addition to any weeknight dinner. 

One Last Note

Pinto beans are a delicious and versatile staple enjoyed worldwide for centuries. They are adaptable with the ability to be added to numerous recipes. The flavor is mild and earthy, and the texture of pinto beans is creamy and comforting. With the health benefits and low cost of pinto beans, having a variety of ways to cook them will come in handy in your kitchen! 

Pinto Bean Recipes

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