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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




Connie

Friday 9th of October 2020

Wendi, this recipe? YES! Enough said! I've spread the link to this recipe around like warm peanut butter on my Facebook page. Thank you!

Wendi Spraker

Saturday 10th of October 2020

Hi Connie! So glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks for the comment!

Nicole

Thursday 17th of September 2020

Trying this recipe today, it smells good already. I used thyme instead of a bay leaf, it is all I had on hand. My husband is from Alabama and he loves southern food, so here’s to hoping it hits the sweet spot for him. I’m also making cornbread which is his mother’s recipe. I grew up around sweet cornbread but that wasn’t how his Mawmaw made it, so she taught me how to make homemade cornbread without sugar or honey. It’s my new favorite cornbread. I thought about adding cream cheese? You think it would take from it?

Wendi Spraker

Thursday 17th of September 2020

Hi Nicole! You are speaking right to my heart now! I grew up eating that same kind of cornbread as your husband. I didn't even know about sweet cornbread until I was an adult! I mean, I love them both now, but classic southern cornbread has my heart. I haven't ever added cream cheese to my corn bread, so I can't really give you any advice there. If you try it, I would love to know how it turns out though!

Maria Griggs

Friday 31st of July 2020

I’m making in crockpot and confused about the “see step 4 above “add the...” and there is no step 4 above? When to add bacon n and cook or no?

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!

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