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Pinto Beans

Pinto Beans are a southern favorite, both comforting and delicious. This tried and true recipe is simple and budget friendly with so many meal possibilities.

Pinto beans are often served as main dish or side dish that pairs well with just about any meal. Add skillet cornbread and roasted potatoes or fried okra for a classic comfort food meal.

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Pinto beans in a bowl with ham - text overlay

Simple Pinto Beans ~Tried and True Southern Recipe

Beans take a bit of time to prepare but very little effort. Full of healthy fiber and protein for a filling and delicious meal. We love to use any leftovers to make this bean tostada recipe for a quick dinner.

Ingredients Needed:

  • Dried Pinto Beans
  • Water
  • Ham, ham bone or bacon – optional
  • Kosher Salt

How to Cook Pinto Beans on the Stove:

dry pinto beans in a large bowl

  • Rinse and sort beans, tossing any broken pieces, rocks or debris.

Pinto beans covered with water in a dutch oven on the stove top

  • Pour beans into a large soup pan or dutch oven and cover with 2- 3 inches of water.
  • Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Continue to boil 30 minutes.

Pinto beans in a pan with water

  • Drain beans and cover with 3 inches of water.

Ham Chunks in a bowl

  • Add ham bone or chunks of ham.
  • Return to the stove over medium heat.

Pinto Beans with ham in a dutch oven with wooden spoon

  • Cook for 1 1/2 hour, stirring about every 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the liquid, adding more if needed.
  • During the last 30 minutes of cooking, season with salt.

How to Cook Pinto Beans in a Slow Cooker:

  • Rinse and sort beans.
  • Add to crock pot with ham bone or ham chunks if desired, fill with about 3 inches of water.
  • Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours.
  • Season with salt and serve.

bowl of pinto beans and ham

Beans cooked in the crock pot are going to have a bit more of a softer texture than the stove top method but handy if you don’t have time to watch them.

Either of these methods will also work for black beans, kidney beans or white beans. Larger beans like lima beans will take a bit longer to cook.

If you have a pressure cooker, here is how to cook pinto beans in Instant Pot.

Do You Have to Soak Beans?

You can soak beans over night to speed up the cooking process. If beans are soaked overnight, cooking time will be about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours.

Through my cooking method, you can skip soaking the beans.

How to Season Pinto Beans:

Add chicken base or bullion after beans have been drained after the first 30 minutes. You may want to reduce the salt.

Hot sauce, jalapeños, caramelized onions and bacon also make great additions to pinto beans. Add them in during the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Beans are great to add to Chili, Taco Soup, or Beef and Bean Burritos.

Pinto Beans with ham in a bowl with a spoon next to the bowl

Store and Reheat:

  • Store leftover beans in an airtight container up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
  • Beans can also be frozen up to 3 months in a vacuum seal bag or freezer bag.
  • Reheat in a saucepan over low heat with about 1/4 cup of water, stirring often until heated through.

Pinto Beans in a bowl with ham

Add this pinto beans recipe to the menu this week for a hearty and filling addition to any meal. They are surprisingly simple to make and will satisfy and comfort food cravings.




Bowl of pinto beans with chunks of ham
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4.75 from 4 votes

Pinto Beans

Pinto Beans are a southern favorite, both comforting and delicious. A simple and delicious addition to any dinner.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 10 minutes
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to cook pinto beans, slow cooker beans, stove top pinto beans
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 248kcal
Author: Milisa



  • Rinse and sort beans, discarding any broken beans, small rocks or debris.
  • Place beans in a dutch oven and cover with about 2-3 inches of water.
  • Cook over medium-high heat, bringing to a boil for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from stove and drain beans.
  • Cover with 3 inches of water and add ham or ham bone.
  • Return to the stove over medium heat, cooking about 1 1/2 hours. Stir every 30 minutes.
  • During the last 30 minutes, stir in salt. Continue to cook until tender.

For the Crock Pot:

  • Rinse and sort beans. Place in slow cooker and cover with 3 inches of water. Cook on low for 7- 8 hours.


Store leftover beans in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 4 days.
Freeze up to 3 months.
Reheat in a saucepan with about 1/4 cup of water over low heat, stirring often until heated through.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 631mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 2g


  1. I soak my pintos over night with a small amount of salt. I use a slow cooker. I dice ham, a large onion and add a slice of bacon for that smokey flavor. Then I make rivulets, Mom always called them rivets, a couple eggs, pinch of salt, and enough flour to mix in and make them kinda stiff and pasty…drop them in a spoonful at a time until they cover most of the crock pot’s surface, usually in the last hour of cooking. Season as you like, a little salt, pepper, hot sauce, oyster crackers. Better than Mom made!

  2. This recipe will be made many more times in my kitchen. It’s simply AWESOME. I made it last nite, plan to eat a cup for breakfast. Served over rice with chopped raw onions and warm corn tortillas. Made our mouth and tummy happy!

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