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The Secret to Perfect Old Fashioned Pinto Beans

Who doesn’t love a big ol bowl of steaming hot, creamy, smoky Pinto Beans? Seriously, is there a better comfort food out there? I don’t think so. Besides that, I learned The Secret to Perfect Old Fashioned Pinto Beans the other day and I’m sharing it with you today! Thanks Mona!

So what’s The Secret to Perfect Old Fashioned Pinto Beans ? What could make a plain ol bowl of beans tastier? You mean, you don’t know? I’ll tell you what my friend Mona told me…

Side view of a bowl of hot beans in The Secret to Perfect Old Fashioned Pinto Beans

Side shot – hello beans!

One of the Secret to Perfect Old Fashioned Pinto Beans

Mona asked me if I have ever made Pintos with the addition of the jarred broth concentrate. My answer? No, as a matter of fact, I haven’t. “You won’t be sorry”, she said.

She is right. I’m not sorry. Not even a little bit.

I JUST bought a jar that I found at the grocery store when I ran out of my little chicken bouillon cubes. Goodbye bouillon cubes – forever. I’m including a photo from Amazon of the bouillon that I used and  I can vouch for it. You might have a different type of bouillon base (the creamy kind) that you like. Let me know if you do.

 If you want to click the photo, you’ll go right through to Amazon and you can check the price (affiliate link). You can find it at your local grocery too – of course, it won’t be delivered to your door that way.

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR The Secret to Perfect Old Fashioned Pinto Beans

  • The bag will tell you that you can soak your beans OR you can parboil them. I usually soak. My friend, Mona, says she always just parboils for about 10 minutes. I think either works.
  • An important thing to understand is that good beans take some time- it doesn’t matter what method you use – they take time.
  • Just as a general rule of thumb, 1 cup of dried beans makes 3 cups cooked. A usual serving is ½ cup.
  • Most recipes indicate that it is ok to add salt during cooking, I usually do. There is an old saying among plenty of old cooks say that salt while cooking makes the beans tough. I have never noticed that  but just wanted you to be aware. My recipes says to add salt for cooking because, honey, beans with no salt – eww.
A photo of a heavy cast iron orange colored pot for cooking beans for how to cook canned pinto beans

Magic Bean pot

REGARDING SALT:

  • You may have cooked beans yourself and had them to never completely cook up – and then blamed the salt. The truth is – you probably had old beans. Beans have a long shelf life – but it isn’t FOREVER. Use beans within about 2 years. They are better if you use them within a year.
  • The second most important thing to understand is that good beans require you to build flavor. Just throwing in some bacon or chicken broth won’t work. You MUST season with salt before serving (and hopefully while cooking – but that is up to you). Beans with flavor are delicious BUT Beans without salt are YUCK!
  • How firm you like beans is a matter of personal preference BECAUSE some people like them really mushy and some people like them more firm. You decide how you like them.
  • Beans are usually even better the next day – so refrigerate if possible and eat the next day.
  • If you are vegetarian, simply leave off the bacon. You might want to try a few drops of liquid smoke.
A view from above of a bowl of beans for HOW TO COOK PINTO BEANS ON THE STOVE TOP. There is a spoon and a white and black checked towel near the base of the bean bowl.

A view from over head

TO COOK OLD FASHIONED PINTO BEANS IN THE CROCK POT.

  1. Soak the beans overnight in the crock of the crock pot.
  2. In the morning, pour off the water from the beans and discard it. Sort through the beans and remove any that don’t look right.
  3. Place beans back in the crock pot and cover with 2 inches of clean water and add garlic and onion (you don’t need to cook them first) and proceed with step 4 as listed above starting at “add the…”.
  4. Set crock pot on low and cook for 8-10 hours or until beans are tender.
Close up of the pinto beans in a dutch oven showing the bean gravy and cooked shiny beans

Hello Pinto Beans!

TO COOK OLD FASHIONED PINTO BEANS IN THE PRESSURE COOKER

  1. Follow the instructions in the recipe above for soaking and then saute the onions and garlic in the bottom of your pressure cooker.
  2. Continue with step 4 above.
  3. Bring pressure cooker to high pressure and heat at high pressure for 25 minutes.
  4. Allow to slowly depressurize.
  5. When pressure is released, remove lid and check the beans for tenderness. If they aren’t quite as tender as you like, replace the lid and cook for another 5 minutes at full pressure. Repeat checking beans until they are as tender as you like.

WHAT IS A SUBSTITUTE FOR PINTO BEANS?

Do you have a recipe that calls for pinto beans but you don’t LIKE pinto beans? Try one of these other beans that have a lighter flavor and thinner skin, you might like that better!

CAN PINTO BEANS BE FROZEN?

Yes, after you cook your pinto beans, feel free to freeze them. When you thaw them, they might be a little bit more mushy but they will still taste delicious!

CAN PINTO BEANS BE COOKED AHEAD OF TIME?

Yes, pintos keep in the refrigerator just fine and even taste better on the second day!

WHAT GOES WITH PINTO BEANS?

You will definitely want some Southern Cornbread or Mexican Cornbread with your pinto beans.

Then, of course, there is Collard Greens and  chicken and dumplings 

How about Banana Pudding? All of these are delicious and perfect southern meal favorites?

HOW CAN I EASILY MAKE PINTO BEANS?

Follow this recipe for how to make canned pinto beans?

HOW DO I MAKE PINTO BEANS WITHOUT MEAT?

So simple! Use the Better than Bouillon that is vegetarian and leave off the bacon. Instead, add a few drops of liquid smoke and your beans will taste like GOLD!

MORE PINTO BEANS RECIPES FROM LOAVES AND DISHES!

How to Season Pinto Beans

How to Cook Canned Pinto Beans

How to Cook Pinto Beans on the Stovetop

Pinto Bean Soup

Would You Love to Cook the PERFECT Southern Dinner?

IMAGINE YOU, COOKING THESE! YOU CAN DO IT TOO!

Southern Sweet Tea

Served with (choose one)

Chicken Fried Steak or

Chicken Pie or

Marinated Pork Chops

And…

Southern Cooked Cabbage

Collard Greens

Add A little Yum Yum Sauce

Deviled Eggs made with this Easy Peel Hard Boiled Egg

And finish it all off with…

Banana Pudding!

YA’LL HELP ME OUT NOW, YA HEAR?

Please leave me a 5 star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟  comment below in the comment section, all right? I would LOVE to know if you made this recipe or even if you are planning to! Of course, head on over to Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram and tag me with some photos of your creation!

I can’t wait!

Ya’ll know I love your comments!! ❤

THE RECIPE FOR The Secret to Perfect Old Fashioned Pinto Beans

Side view of a bowl of hot beans in The Secret to Perfect Old Fashioned Pinto Beans

The Secret to Perfect Old Fashioned Pinto Beans

Perfect Old Fashioned Pinto Beans with a LOAD of flavor!  Just know, if you are sensitive to salt, you can decrease the salt for cooking and add at the end.  
4.95 from 35 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pinto beans, how to cook pinto beans
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 120kcal
Author: Loaves and Dishes

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz bag of pinto bean
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion - diced
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 4 slices of thick cut applewood smoked bacon
  • 1 tsp salt (less if you are sensitive)
  • 4 tsp chicken broth concentrate
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp granulated white sugar

Instructions

  • Rinse the bag of beans well and remove any that look like they are past their prime. If unsure - chuck it.
  • Pour the beans into a large bowl and cover with at least 2 inches of water and allow to soak overnight. Alternately, you can boil the beans at a steady boil for about 10 minutes before you begin to cook them. Whether you soak or parboil, pour the water off from this step.
  • In a six quart stock pot on medium heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onion and garlic until they smell really good and the pieces become translucent.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and add the beans, bacon, salt, chicken broth concentrate, one bay leaf and sugar and enough cool clean water to cover the beans by 2 inches. (If you are sensitive to salt, then you can always decrease the amount)
  • Heat the beans on medium until they come to a light boil then reduce the heat to low.
  • Stir the beans occasionally and don’t let them get to a strong boil. Cook until done. I tell doneness by tasting - you could also spoon some out and smash it in your fingers. If it is smashy- through and through - they are done.

Notes

  • The bag will tell you that you can soak your beans OR you can parboil them.  I usually soak.  Some people Parboil for 10 minutes.  I think either works.
  • An important thing to understand is that good beans take some time- it doesn’t matter what method you use - they take time.
  • Just as a general rule of thumb, 1 cup of dried beans makes 3 cups cooked.  A usual serving is ½ cup.
  • Most recipes indicate that it is ok to add salt during cooking, I usually do.  There is an old saying among plenty of old cooks say that salt while cooking makes the beans tough.  I have never noticed that  but just wanted you to be aware.  My recipes says to add salt for cooking because, honey, beans with no salt - eww.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
The Secret to Perfect Old Fashioned Pinto Beans
Amount Per Serving
Calories 120 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Cholesterol 5mg2%
Sodium 299mg12%
Potassium 243mg7%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 4g16%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin C 1.6mg2%
Calcium 26mg3%
Iron 1.1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @loavesanddishes or tag #loavesanddishes!

 

A VERSE TO SHARE

As I am writing this, I am contemplating a BIG HIKE that I will do this coming weekend. By the time you read this, THE HIKE will be over but for me, right now as I write this,  the hike is in the future.

This weekend, my old college girlfriends and I are hiking Mt. LeConte which is 5 miles straight up into the heavens. We will be staying overnight at a cabin at the top that has No electric and No water. There are No cell phone towers. It will be Just us and the great outdoors. I am praying, “Please God, no bears. I will only have one change of underwear”.

TEXT MESSAGES

The number of text messages that have chimed back and forth between NC, TN and KY is really unbelievable. We have been planning this trip for MONTHS and we have discussed EVERYTHING that can be discussed – shoes, socks, underwear, bras, back packs, food, water, broken toes.

This is a hike to commemorate our 50th birthdays. I mean, seriously, if you can brave a 5 mile high mountain, you can brave 50, right? Right!.

What does all of that have to do with a verse to share? A lot.

WHAT DOES ALL OF THAT HAVE TO DO WITH A VERSE TO SHARE?

I’ve been praying about this trip too. Praying that I’ll have the stamina to make it. Praying that my junk knee will hold out. Praying that my clumsy self doesn’t tumble off the mountain. Praying that I make it to the top.

The main thing I need to remember is WHO has my back. Not only do I have a gang of 10 of my bestest friends in the whole world. I’ve got Jesus by my side. He walked on water, he saved the masses, he turned 2 loaves into 7, he healed the sick and most importantly, he rose from the dead – he saved us all. Therefore, there is no way I can be lost – right? My tiny little struggles are nothing that he can’t handle.

HOPEFULLY

Hopefully, by the time you read this, I will be safely back home – hugging Mr. Loaves and Dishes, chatting with my kids on the phone, cooking up something in my kitchen and playing with my new puppy Bad Leroy Brown.

In times like this, remember Psalm 32 Verse 8.

One translation:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

and I will counsel you with my loving eye on you

Another Translation:

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life and I will advise you and watch over you”.

Either one, I’ll take it Lord. Amen.

 

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Recipe Rating




RK

Monday 13th of July 2020

Our new favorite recipe for Pinto beans! This produced a rich, creamy "sauce" instead of a thin broth, which is just what I was hoping for. Because I used a meaty ham bone (which was pretty salty on its own) instead of the bacon, I decreased the salt in the recipe to 1/2 teaspoon, and it was just right for our tastes.

Wendi Spraker

Tuesday 14th of July 2020

Hi RK, Thanks so much for the kind comment and for the stars. I appreciate it. I'm so glad you enjoyed your pintos and I hope you will visit again soon.

Jon

Sunday 21st of June 2020

I really enjoy your recipes. This one was loved by so many of my family. Thank you!

Wendi Spraker

Sunday 21st of June 2020

Hi Jon! Thank you for coming back and leaving a comment! I'm tickled that your family loved these beans!

Polly Hancock

Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

Using the Better Than Bullion is a great idea! Coming from the southwest, I have cooked pinto beans for 50 years but never never thought to use bullion. I like my beans on the soft side & sometimes have overcooked them. I once took those overcooked pintos and put them in a blender until it was a smooth creamy soup(adding water to create the desired consistency). Now, that was heavenly comfort with cornbread or plain bread and butter. Another thing that has to be taken into consideration is the altitude in which you live. It takes more time to cook at higher elevations than at lower. Living in Denver it took alot longer than it did in AZ. But now that I'm in CumberlandCounty, TN, (2,000 ft) the time to cook has been reduced somewhat. I've enjoyed your blog and videos. Keep up the good work!

Wendi Spraker

Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

Hi Polly! You are in God's country in Cumberland County TN! I went to school in Maryville and love those foothills. You are also in BEAN country! lol. Glad to have you as a reader. Thanks for leaving a comment!

Carol

Thursday 14th of May 2020

This recipe has become my go-to for pretty much ALL beans in my pantry. Why? Because this combination of flavors just works! The result is a well-seasoned batch of beans that DOES NOT mask the true flavor of each type. Thus far, I've used this on pintos, peruano (aka Peruvian, Canary, or Mexican Yellow bean), and black beans, and every one has resulted in EXCELLENT batches that taste good on their own as well as in burritos, nachos, etc. I should mention that I've used a crockpot each and every time, so slaving over a hot stove is not required. :-).

Fun Tip: Because this recipe mentions bacon, I took a gamble, omitted the olive oil, and used 1 1/2 Tbsp bacon grease that I keep saved in a glass jar (because, you know, doesn't everybody?) I also sliced a fresh jalapeno in half, deseeded it, and put it in just to add that mild pepper taste. The taste is AMAZING.

Wendi Spraker

Friday 15th of May 2020

Hi Carol! Thanks so much for leaving a rating and comment. I love your ideas on using some other ingredients and now, you have made them all yours! I love it!

Suzan

Thursday 7th of May 2020

wonderful! have never cooked pintos before. Followed the recipe except used leftover honey baked ham instead of bacon This one is going into the permanent file!

Wendi Spraker

Thursday 7th of May 2020

That's wonderful! I'm so glad you enjoyed them!

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