These pinto beans are cooked from scratch with tender, flavorful onions, fresh garlic and herbs, and smokey bacon. Easy to make and so much tastier than canned pinto beans, serve this hearty side dish with all of your favorite Tex-Mex and BBQ dinners.
I was always so intimidated by dry beans. Like tiny little rocks, I never really understood why I shouldn’t just buy them precooked and in a can. And then, one day, I actually made beans from scratch. Suddenly, I understood. Of course, canned beans come in handy when we’re in a hurry, but truthfully, they taste better when made from scratch.
Pinto beans are one of my favorite types of beans.
Practically raised on Mexican food, refried pinto beans were my gateway into the delicious world of beans. But I wanted more. So, after learning how to cook plain pinto beans, I knew I needed to create an equally simple and equally easy pinto bean recipe – but one with more flavor.
Because plain beans are boring.
So, today I have a very non-boring pinto bean recipe for you guys that I think you’re really going to love. It has onion, garlic, bacon, a little Worcestershire sauce, and some fresh herbs. Serve it with tri-tip, ribs, pulled pork, chicken, creamy coleslaw, and definitely, cornbread.
Pinto Beans are one of the most commonly grown and used bean varieties throughout the Americas and Mexico. A variety of common bean, it goes by many names including “speckled bean” and “strawberry bean” and is frequently used in Mexican cuisine.
Pinto beans contain the most fiber of any bean and are packed with vitamins and minerals – most notably thiamine, iron, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.
How Long to Soak Pinto Beans?
The ideal soaking time for pinto beans is between 8-10 hours. Soaking for longer will continue to soften them, making them more likely to slit or crack during cooking.
How to Cook Pinto Beans
Cooking pinto beans from scratch on the stovetop may seem like a lengthy, grueling process, but it’s so easy with very little hands-on time. Check out how it’s done:
- Rinse, sort, and soak the beans: The day or night before cooking, plan to rinse the beans in a large colander and pick them, looking for any small pebbles or debris that should be discarded. Transfer the beans to a large pot and cover with cold water. Soak for at least 6-8 hours.
- The next day, cook the bacon and aromatics: In this recipe, we’ve added bacon, onion, garlic, and a couple of fresh herbs. I like to cook the bacon first, then soften the onion in the bacon grease before adding the beans.
- Cook the beans: The total cooking time depends on how long your pinto beans were soaked, how fresh they were to begin with, and how soft you’d like them to be. Typically, they will need about an hour. Be sure to cook them at a low, gentle simmer.
- Season to taste: Give your beans a try and season with additional salt or black pepper, as needed.
How to Quick-Soak Dried Beans
Forgot to soak your beans overnight? The quick-soak method is here to save the day and it takes just one hour.
- Rinse your beans in cold water and sort through them discarding any debris or small stones.
- Transfer the beans to a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook for 5 minutes then remove from heat and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
- Allow the beans to soak for 1 hour. Then drain, rinse, and cook accordingly.
How to Store Leftovers
Hang on to your leftovers because these pinto beans will last for up to 4 days when stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. You may also freeze them for up to 4 months.
For More Delicious Bean Recipes Check Out,
- Cannellini Beans Recipe
- Mexican Black Beans Recipe (Frijoles Negros)
- Perfect Instant Pot Black Beans – No Soaking Required
- Refried Beans (How to Make Refried Black Beans)
- 15 Types of Beans – And How to Use Them
- Easy Red Beans and Rice Recipe
Have you tried cooking this pinto beans recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Pinto Beans Recipe
- 1 pound dried pinto beans
- ½ pound thick-cut bacon
- 1 large yellow onion (diced)
- 5 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (minced)
- ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary (minced)
- 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper (plus more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cups chicken broth (low-sodium)
- 1 bay leaf
- water (as needed)
- Sort through the beans and discard any small rocks or debris. Transfer to a large bowl and fill with water. Soak the beans for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- When ready to cook the beans, drain and rinse the beans in a large colander. Meanwhile, heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the slices of thick-cut bacon to the pot. Reduce heat to medium. Cook the bacon until all fat is rendered. Carefully remove the bacon to a clean plate and set it aside.
- In the same pot over medium heat, add the diced onion. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes (or until the onion is softened). Stir in the minced garlic, fresh thyme, rosemary, salt, and black pepper. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Add the soaked beans to the pot with the Worcestershire sauce, chicken broth, bay leaf, and cooked bacon. Mix well to combine. Add water until it reaches approximately 1-inch above the beans. Bring to a low boil, cover partially with a lid, and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
- Simmer gently for about 1-2 hours, or until the beans are tender and the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Remove from heat and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
- The bacon is optional, or, you may swap it out for a ham hock if preferred.
- As the beans simmer, you may need to add additional water to keep the water level at about 1-inch above the beans.
- For a little heat, add a pinch of cayenne pepper towards the end of cooking.
- For a more Tex-Mex style pinto beans recipe, try adding a little ground cumin (1-2 teaspoons), chili powder (1 teaspoon), and swap the thyme and rosemary for cilantro and/or oregano. Serve in burritos or with warm flour tortillas.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)