The best pot of Mexican style pinto beans ever. Find out how to cook pinto beans in the crockpot slow cooker, Instant Pot pressure cooker, or stovetop. 

The best Mexican style pinto beans recipe. Find out how to cook pinto beans in the crockpot slow cooker, Instant Pot pressure cooker, or stovetop. 

You can make this flavorful Mexican inspired pinto beans recipe three different ways. I’ve tested this pinto beans recipe in the crock pot slow cooker, in the Instant pot pressure cooker, and the traditional stovetop method.  All three methods of cooking dried pinto beans result in a seriously delicious pot of beans. 

Like other whole food plant based staples we’ve talked about in depth, such as how to cook lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, tempeh, and black beans, cooking dried pinto beans from scratch is tasty, nutritious, and inexpensive. Where we live in California, Mexican food is extremely popular. My kids request burritos probably weekly and their favorite version includes pinto beans and Mexican rice.

While I used to exclusively use canned beans,  now that I know how to cook dried beans from scratch, I’ll never go back to canned. Getting a pressure cooker was a game-changer for cooking dried beans, and my preference, but I’ll show you how to cook perfect pinto beans on the stovetop and in the slow cooker too. 

How to Cook Pinto Beans from Scratch

A glass jar filled with pinto beans.

Dried beans usually come in 1-pound bags, or in bulk bins. Pinto beans are medium sized beans that are light tan with darker brown speckles. 

Step 1: Sort and Rinse Beans

Packages of dried beans sometimes have other debris, so it’s best to pick over them, and discard and shriveled beans or other non-bean material. Rinse them as well. 

A glass bowl of water and pinto beans soaking.

Step 2: How to Soak Beans

Unless you’re pressure cooking dried beans, they will need to be soaked first. This will help rehydrate the beans before cooking. 

  • Quick Soak: Add 2 cups of rinsed and sorted beans to a large pot with 6-8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let soak, covered for 1 hour. Drain and rinse. 
  • Overnight Soak: Add 2 cups of rinsed and sorted beans to a large pot with 6-8 cups cold water. Let soak 6-8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse. 
  • No-Soak: You can skip soaking if you’re pressure cooking dried beans. 

Pinto Beans Recipe

A cutting board with the ingredients for Mexican pinto beans. Chopped onion, cumin, garlic, and jalapeno.

Although you can cook dried pinto beans in water to use in other recipes, they won’t be flavorful on their own. This recipe, however, has great flavor, and works well as a Mexican style side dish or in burritos. 

Mexican Style Pinto Beans Ingredients

Onions, jalapeno, cumin, and garlic saute in a pot.

Saute Onion, Garlic, Jalapeno, and Cumin

Saute the onion until softened and browned, then add in the garlic, jalapeno, and cumin. This will create a flavorful base for our beans. If using a slow cooker, saute the veggies in a skillet on the stovetop, then add to the crock pot. 

Soaked pinto beans, vegetable broth, onions, and jalapeno in an Instant Pot pressure cooker ready to cook a pot of Mexican pinto beans.

Add Pinto Beans and Broth

Cooking the beans in vegetable broth, rather than water, will result in much more flavorful beans. Cook until tender, on the stovetop, or in a crock pot slow cooker or Instant Pot pressure cooker. 

A slotted spoon lifts steaming homemade pinto beans out of an Instant Pot pressure cooker.

Crock Pot Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

The crock pot, or slow cooker, is a great method for cooking dried beans because it’s so hands-off. You can set it in the morning and forget about it until dinner. To make pinto beans in the crock pot slow cooker, add the sautéed veggies to the crock pot, then add soaked beans and 4 cups of broth. Slow cook on high for about 5-6 hours or low for 7-9 hours. 

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Pinto Beans

Cooking dried beans in a pressure cooker such as the Instant Pot is the easiest method, and they way I cook my beans. Finally, you don’t need to plan ahead, as a pot of beans can be made without soaking. The other benefit of using an electric pressure cooker is that you can saute an onion and other flavorful ingredients right in the pot, unlike most slow cookers. Some people prefer to soak their beans anyway, as it reduces the cooking time even further and help make the beans easier to digest. 

  • Pressure cook soaked pinto beans for: 6-9 minutes 
  • Pressure cook dry pinto beans for: 25-30 minutes 
  • Naturally release the pressure. This will take about 25 minutes. 

Stovetop Pinto Beans

Simmer soaked beans with 6 cups of vegetable broth, with lid partially covering, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. You will need more liquid when cooking on the stovetop to account for evaporation that doesn’t happen in the Instant Pot or slow cooker. Add more broth or water as needed, and simmer with the lid off to evaporate more liquid at the end if needed. 

How to Use Pinto Beans

A vegan burrito made with pinto beans, rice, and guacamole.

Tips for Cooking Pinto Beans

  • You can find dried pinto beans in most grocery stores in the bean section, another great place to look is in bulk bins. 
  • Cooked beans last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for for 3-5 days, or up to 8 months in the freezer. Store in their juices but leave some room for expansion in freezing. 
  • Cooking time can depend on the age of beans. Old beans may take longer to cook or never fully soften. 
Yield: Serves 6

Pinto Beans

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 37 minutes
Additional Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 27 minutes

The best Mexican style pinto beans recipe. Find out how to cook pinto beans in the crockpot slow cooker, Instant Pot pressure cooker, or stovetop. This pinto bean recipe is a tasty vegetarian and vegan filling for burritos and side dish.

Pinto Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 cups dried pinto beans, rinsed and picked over
  • 4-6 cups vegetable broth (see note)
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat or an Instant Pot/electric pressure cooker on saute (medium). Add the onion and saute until softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and cumin and saute another minute longer. If using a slow cooker, transfer the onion mixture to the cooker. Onions, garlic, jalapeno, and cumin saute.
  2. Add the broth (4 cups for the pressure cooker or slow cooker, 6 cups for stovetop) and dry beans to the Instant Pot, or soaked beans to the slow cooker, or stovetop pot. Stir to combine.
  3. Cook for the specified amount of time below depending on your method. Keep in mind that these times are approximate, as some appliances are slower than others, and some beans take longer than others. Continue to cook until beans are tender, but not falling apart.
  4. Season the beans with salt to taste. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve as a side dish or in burritos.

Instant Pot

  1. Set to high pressure for 37 minutes with valve in sealing position. Naturally release the pressure (this will take about 20 minutes). Use dried, rinsed, not soaked beans.

Crock Pot Slow Cooker

  1. Set to high for about 5 hours, until beans are tender. Use soaked beans.

Stovetop

  1. Simmer, partially covered, for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until the beans are tender. Use soaked beans.

Notes

  • Vegetable broth makes more flavorful beans than cooking in water. Due to evaporation, you'll need about 6 cups of broth for stovetop cooking, but only 4 for pressure or slow cooking.
  • You can find dried pinto beans in most grocery stores in the bean section, another great place to look is in bulk bins. 
  • Cooked beans last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for for 3-5 days, or up to 8 months in the freezer. Store in their juices but leave some room for expansion in freezing. 
  • Cooking time can depend on the age of beans. Old beans may take longer to cook or never fully soften. 
  • This pinto beans recipe thickens as it sits and the beans absorb more liquid. To make refried beans, simmer until most of the juices have evaporated, then smash with a potato masher.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 111 Total Fat: 2g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 835mg Carbohydrates: 19g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 2g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 6g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.