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17 Best Recipes with Pinto Beans

What to do with Pinto Beans? We’ve all had that google search for the odd can of pinto beans that you’re not 100% sure where it came from but ended up in your cupboard.

Recipes with Pinto Beans

Pinto bean recipes are incredibly varied and could become an actual staple in your cooking repertoire rather than an accidental grocery purchase.

Beans have been a staple in human diets for hundreds of years, they can be dried, canned, frozen or eaten immediately depending on what variety you have.

Today’s topic revolves around recipes with pinto beans, hopefully, it leaves you with your own ideas and excitement for new dishes.

1. Pinto Bean Chili

Chili has origins that can be traced to 1568 and is one of the most popular dishes on the American Frontier.

Our recipe includes pinto beans- which in some circles disqualifies it from being dubbed “Chili”- however that is a debate for another day.

This recipe also includes a delicious quesadilla that oozes cheese and gives you respite from the potential heat being packed into your bowl.

Lucky for you, there are plenty of adjustments to make to this meal’s spice level, and you can substitute meat for complementary beans like red or kidney beans.

2. Pinto Beans and Rice

Simple meals can sometimes taste the best, and that is exactly what this dish brings to the table. There’s hardly a more cliche meal than rice and beans because it works wonders.

It’s healthy calories that pack a nutrient-dense meal for a small cost.

The Pico de Gallo and cilantro really lighten the dish up both visually and taste-wise. Enticing you to devour it as soon as possible.

For our vegetarian readers, this meal is easily altered by substituting vegetable stock for the chicken stock

3. Classic Bean Burgers

I’m throwing you for a loop on this one!

When you think of bean burgers, you probably don’t think of recipes using pinto beans.

I know I didn’t because I tend to make bean burgers with black beans. Yet here I am, writing to you about the incredible taste this one recipe blew my mind with.

An additional issue that can follow bean burgers is their crumbly nature.

This recipe calls for bread crumbs to help bind it together, however, I also added a whisked egg to encourage binding as well.

If you cannot do this due to dietary restrictions or choices, please let me know what YOU use to keep your burgers together so I can help spread the word!

4. Slow Cooker Pinto Beans and Ham

Busy day tomorrow with no time to cook dinner? Look no further than this slow cooker recipe that truly is a one-pot stop. Throw everything in! That’s it!

All you need to think about is if your beans are dried or have been soaked/canned.

This will determine if you set it on high or low for 7-8 hours.

This dinner will be a perfect winter or fall favorite as it leaves you satiated after a long day at school or work.

5. Pinto Beans and Ground Beef Stew

Any canned pinto beans recipe could tell you that their dinnertime solutions are the way to go.

That doesn’t always prove true though and it could be incredibly dangerous at dinner time if you serve something that leads to more questions than helpings.

With this gem, your dinner attendees will be scraping the bowl for every last morsel with this stew.

This recipe is well laid out and is spot on with directions.

My personal suggestion for the cooking portion is to saute the onions in the juices left over from browning the meat. In my experience, it adds a greater depth of flavor to every bite.

Let me know if you experience this difference as well!

6. Pintos and Sausage

Let’s take our taste buds on a trip to the land of spice and flavor.

This New Orleans-inspired gumbo utilizes cayenne and paprika in a combination with andouille sausage that left me unable to leave the table in a food coma.

With a lot of the previous recipes dried or canned beans are interchangeable and it’s not something to worry about.

In this case, it’s one of the specific recipes using canned pinto beans that I will send your way!

While I’m not sure why canned is crucial here, I am sure that this particular dish pairs well with a chilled rose for summer dinner parties.

7. Beans and Cornbread

Summer in the south usually means hot days, iced tea, and barbeque aplenty. However, while hot days can be accompanied by iced tea- barbeque needs its sidekicks too!!

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a BBQ joint that doesn’t offer beans and cornbread as sides. Yet not all sides are created equally. Sure, you can round up a can of baked beans, they’ll go over fine.

Or you could be lauded for introducing a revolutionary pinto bean pairing in this summer’s dinners.

The fate of dinner is in your hands

8. Pinto Bean Burrito

Healthy recipes with pinto beans could sound like an oxymoron, especially to those who haven’t looked into the nutritional properties of beans.

Yet here we are, a burrito that you can make as meal prep and stay good all week.

The original recipe is vegetarian, leaving omnivores with a wide variety of choices for their lunch or quick dinner.

If vegetarians are looking to add a little more heft to their meals, this could easily be turned into an egg burrito.

It is recommended that you make the eggs on the day of consumption. Additionally…. A little avocado never hurts a burrito.

Vegetarians, please let me know if you make this, and any additional ingredients you would add for more protein or healthy fats!

9. Bacon Pinto Beans

What’s not to love? It’s got bacon, it’s got beans, and it’s delicious!! Whether it’s a fun addition to brunch or a future family classic. Bacon pinto beans will be a big hit to the majority of crowds.

Experimenting with this recipe was really fun due to the versatility of the ingredients. For those who prefer a thicker sauce, I would recommend taking out a ½ cup to a full cup of water.

For those adding bacon, I would render it down first, and then add onions. The meat crisps up adding a crunch to an otherwise smooth dish and the onions absorb the bacon flavor.

Unless you like floppy bacon- then proceed as the recipe directs.

10. Frijoles de Olla

As I said before, pinto beans first recorded appearance was in the 1500s, from a conquistador’s description of the Aztec cuisine that they were served.

There are, however, many varieties of pinto beans, all used for nutritious and traditional meals.

Frijoles de olla or “Mexican pinto beans” is a dish that uses judias pintas aka “speckled beans”- the variety native to current day southwest the United States and Mexico.

In this Instapot recipe, you can opt to use a ham bone or not, and it takes us back to a simple dish that delivers.

11. Smashed Pinto Beans Tacos

A fast and fun solution for dinner, this pinto bean recipe can be vegan, vegetarian, and oil-free!!!

This eco and socially conscious solution for dinner has a bunch of tasty spices that will rock your world.

The smashed beans are a perfect vehicle for any variety of spice that you may want to add and helps highlight the fresh produce you so carefully curated.

While this number has cumin and chilli powder, I personally love adding cayenne and/or paprika for a deep smoky flavor that sits on the tongue.

If you don’t have soft tacos as the recipe calls for, this could easily be converted into a delicious and shareable plate of nachos!

12. Pinto Bean Chicken Chili

Chilli is the classic answer to the question- “What to make with pinto beans?”

I already explained to you how crucial this dish and its ingredients were integral to keeping American cowboys in the saddle.

Cooking this up for dinner will be a winner that keeps the chilli on the menu, but reduces your red meat consumption a little bit.

Keep in mind that when you’re shopping for ingredients you can just buy a rotisserie chicken and use that meat instead of thawing, baking and then shredding chicken breasts.

I don’t know about you, but shredding chicken is an arm workout that I avoid at all costs.

If you forgot the rotisserie another alternative to shredding by hand is by using a handheld mixer to do the heavy work for you!!!

13. Hearty Chicken and Pinto Bean Soup

Let’s take a small break from the glorious world of chilli, and head into a slightly lighter fare. This pinto bean soup is an exciting mix-up to any food rut.

It’s incredibly light and goes down easily, while still satiating the consumer.

The substitution possibilities are also apparent as you can swap chicken for tofu or Swiss chard or kale for spinach.

The latter two hold up longer than spinach typically does, and don’t lose as many of their nutrients when they are cooked. If you are in the mood for bread, I adore a baguette with salted butter dipped into this broth.

14. Pinto Bean Nacho Recipe

This is a nacho everyday recipe! Ok ok, the cheesy jokes are done I promise.

However, I will challenge you to find a better pinto bean recipe that will be a hit come football season.

Blending the spices with queso fresco and salsa Fresca will be a touchdown- slam-dunk of a crowd-pleaser.

Don’t be intimidated by canned pinto beans!! They will take to the spices and you will be shocked by how good they do. If you want something a little spicier, paprika is my favorite secret ingredient to add.

Usually, it rounds out with a warm spice that sits on your tongue without burning it.

15. Pinto Bean Salsa Salad

It’s fresh, it screams summer and it is begging to be on your table for any outdoor dinner you have this year.

Paring things down to the essentials, while still tasting incredible is no small feat.

The color, taste and excitement in this dish elevate a simple bean salad to a phenomenal entree.

Besides shopping, you’ll have very little to do, picking a perfect avocado may take you longer than it will make this salad!

16. Pinto Bean Casserole

When I was researching and testing dinner ideas with pinto beans, I didn’t have a clue that I would be writing about a pinto bean casserole. Truthfully, I didn’t even know it was a thing!

Yet here we are, discussing a delicious vegetarian casserole with a secret ingredient that’ll throw you for a loop. Tortilla chips.

Yes, you crush and sprinkle freshly crushed tortilla chips onto the pan for a base and as a topper.

I tried this recipe as written and was pleasantly surprised by the results.

I am curious if pureeing the beans and mixing them with the tomatoes could enhance the overall dishes experience.

If you do try this, let me know as I am very curious!

17. Perfect Pinto Beans

What better way to round out our pinto bean adventure than with the perfect pinto bean recipe? You start by soaking the beans, so best to prep before you go to bed the day prior to the event.

Otherwise, this dish will only take 2 hours to make.

As it calls for bacon, you can remember to crisp the bacon up in a separate pan prior to adding, it or just throw it in with everything else.

Adding adobe chilli powder and paprika could help add levity to the dish and a little kick for those eating it.

I personally like having those on hand and enjoy the unique blend of spices that ultimately highlight the bacon and beans.

Recipes with Pinto Beans

17 Best Recipes with Pinto Beans

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 1/2 lbs pinto beans
  • 2 tsps chili powder
  • 1 tspn ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 3 thick-cut slices of bacon, cut into thirds
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Obtain dry 1-1 ½ pound of pinto beans
  2. Soak overnight in water
  3. Drain beans put in a large pot or dutch oven
  4. Add beans, then just enough water to cover the beans fully
  5. Optional Step: Fry bacon pieces for 2-3 minutes prior to adding them to the pot
  6. Take your spices, bacon, and bell pepper and add them to the pot
  7. Bring to a boil
  8. Once the boil is reached, reduce to simmer until the beans are fully cooked. This should take 2 ½ to 3 hours and they should be fork-tender.

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