Simple pinto beans recipe

A good pot of pinto beans is one of my go-to comfort foods that, with the help of an Instant Pot or slow cooker, is super simple to make.

With just a few simple ingredients, you can make a meal that lasts a couple of days and gets even better with every bowl you heat up. Whether you need something quick and easy, or prefer to cook things slow and low, this recipe’s got you covered.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dried pinto beans
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 white or yellow onion
  • 2 serrano peppers (leave this out if you don’t like spice)
  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Instant Pot Method

Using an Instant Pot is the quickest and easiest way to cook beans—no presoaking necessary!

Directions

  • Pick through the beans remove anything that doesn’t look right and then rinse them thoroughly in a strainer with water.
  • Set the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and allow to heat up while chopping the onion and peppers into small pieces.
  • Add the chopped onions and peppers to the heated pot and stir occasionally to lightly brown.
  • While the above is sautéing, cut the tomatoes into bite-sized chunks and chop the cilantro.
  • Once the onions and peppers are finished browning, turn the Instant Pot off and stir in the beans, broth, water, tomatoes, cilantro, and seasonings until mixed.
  • Lock the lid into place, make sure the steam valve is sealed, and set to Manual mode for 45 minutes.
  • Once cooking is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for about 15 minutes or, if you can’t wait, just use the quick release valve, serve, and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Method

Before switching to an Instant Pot, I used a Crock-Pot slow cooker. FYI, an Instant Pot can also be used as a slow cooker, making it an extremely versatile kitchen appliance.

Additional Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp salt (for brine to presoak beans in)

Preparation

8 to 12 hours before cooking, you’ll want to prep the beans.

  • Pick through the beans remove anything that doesn’t look right, or anything that you would not want to eat, and then rinse them thoroughly in a strainer with water.
  • Fill the slow cooker with 4 quarts of water and stir in 3 tbsps of salt until fully dissolved.
  • Add the beans to the brine and make sure they’re completely covered with a couple of inches of water above them.
  • Cover the beans with the slow cooker lid and let them soak anywhere from 8 to 12 hours, or overnight.

Directions

Once the beans are done soaking, you can prep everything else and start the cooking process.

  • Drain the brine that the beans have been soaking in and thoroughly rinse the beans in a strainer with water.
  • Heat up a small skillet on medium heat while chopping the onion and peppers into small pieces.
  • Add the chopped onions and peppers to the heated skillet and stir occasionally to lightly brown.
  • While the above is sautéing, cut the tomatoes into bite-sized chunks and chop the cilantro.
  • Once the onions and peppers are finished browning, add them, along with the beans, broth, water, tomatoes, cilantro, and seasonings to the slow cooker until mixed.
  • Cover with the lid and set to cook on high for 6–7 hours, or on low for 10–11 hours.
  • Once cooking is complete, serve and enjoy!

Wrapping up

One of the great things about making a pot of pinto beans is that you can keep things simple, or toss in any other ingredients you might like. I usually add any additional spices or hot sauce directly to my bowl and serve the beans over cornbread or with a couple of pieces of toast on the side. If you end up making this recipe, feel free to add your own twist and share any ideas or thoughts in the comments below. I hope you enjoy this simple pinto beans recipe as much as I do!

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