Pinto Beans (Basic Recipe)

beans - featured

It’s not an exaggeration when people say Mexicans love them some beans. It could be the taste, how inexpensive they are or how versatile. Whatever the reason, the love is strong! It’s so strong that I finally decided to create a recipe for it. (If you follow me or at the very least have read some of my recipes, you know I am horrible at creating sub recipes).

Anyhow, the most common bean to use in Mexican cuisine – well that would be the pinto. Let’s get to it! 


Pinto beans is a super basic recipe – I think we should dive right in. There isn’t much witty dialogue I can write for you guys. Not that my content is all that interesting in the witty department, but hey, a girl can try. 

4 Ingredients:

  • Pinto Beans, dry
  • Water, tap
  • White Onion
  • Salt, Kosher


  1. Combine the beans, water, onion and salt in a large pot over medium heat.

2. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and continue to cook until the beans are soft, the color is now a solid medium brown, and they are slightly bursted but haven’t lost their “bean” shape (about 2-3 hours). 

3. Be sure to check the taste of the liquid every 40 mins or so and add salt as needed. Add ½ tbsp or 1 tsp at a time to prevent over salting. Done! Finito! 


The beans are nice and soft now – what’s next? This fully depends on what your bean needs will be. If you like to eat your beans whole, in a stew or any another dish; use as you wish! If you are going to create a dish that calls for refried beans instead then keep on reading. It’s just two steps, winning!

1. Heat a small amount of canola oil in a deep saute pan (large enough to comfortably mash) over medium heat. Ladle in a few spoonfuls of pinto beans with a small amount of liquid and let it warm up for a minute.

2. After a minute, begin mashing with your potato masher, until the beans are no longer intact. You want to get them nice and smooth, even a little watery. If they are looking too thick, add in some cooking liquid. That’s it! Thats all!

enfrijoladas - refried


  • For the ladles, try and grab 3/4 of spoonful of beans and only 1/4 of liquid. You want it watery but not too thin that you lose sight of the beans texture and taste. Once you begin mashing them, you will see what I mean 🙂
  • You can also add extra flavor by sautéing some onions and jalapeños prior to mashing the beans. Spicy and yum!  

Now that we have our basic pinto bean recipe we are ready for any future recipe that calls for these babies. Its not a Mexican dish without a side of refried beans. ♥

Dishes you can pair with Refried Pinto Beans: 

Enchiladas Rojas

Enchiladas Verdes


Carne en Chile Verde

Drumsticks with Nopales in Chile Verde

beans - refried beans meme
via -

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Pinto Beans (basic recipe)

Basic pinto beans are a must in every hispanic house! You can pair them with just about anything or enjoy them as is! The rice and beans hype is real!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Course: Appetizer, Side, Sub Recipe
Cuisine: Hispanic, Latin, Mexican
Keyword: basic, legume, pinto beans, refried beans
Author: Sharon Guerrero-Perez


  • 1 lb Pinto Beans (dry)
  • 1/2 White Onion (halved)
  • Salt Kosher
  • Water, tap (enough to cover by 3 inches)


  • Combine the pinto beans, onion, water, and salt in a large pot (large enough to hold enough water to fully submerge the beans and 3 inches above them) over medium heat.
  • Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Continue to cook at a low simmer until the beans are soft and the color changes to a solid light brown color. You want the beans to easily flatten when you squeezed but not too mushy where they lose their shape, about 2.5-3 hours.


  • Be sure to taste the liquid every 30-45 minutes to ensure the salt level is at your desired level 
    • Add 1 tsp at a time or in small increments in general to prevent over salting 
  • If you see the water evaporating too quick, add more and readjust the salt - you always want to make sure the beans are fully submerged in water or they will burn
  • See post for further directions to fry and create "refried beans"

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