Today I’m making something that I use in several meals, Homemade Pinto Beans. Today’s Homemade Pinto Beans become tomorrow‘s refried beans and after that cheesy beef and bean burritos and finally Cheesy Refried Beans, a favorite side dish in my family. Knowing how to make the perfect Pinto Beans is a gift that just keeps on giving. They are so versatile and truly are a great addition to your whole food repertoire.
Making Homemade Pinto Beans is easy and economical. I usually double this recipe and then use the beans in several different recipes and freeze the remaining portions. These beans freeze well or can be canned for later. Pinto beans are something my husband uses a lot of around the firehouse for dinner. Since he likes making what he calls a “quick chili” and, of course, Mexican food. Dry Pinto Beans are a must in our pantry. We make all of the mentioned recipes and fill our freezer for quick lunches and weeknight side dishes. It a system that works perfectly for our family.
Dried beans come in a variety of bag sizes. We buy a large 10-pound bag and just measure what we need. This works out well for us since we use so many. I prepare this did most often on rainy days when we will be in the house most of the day or on days off when I haven’t any errands to run. It does require an overnight brine soak or it can be prepared with the quick soak method. The quick soak does not yield a bean as creamy as the overnight soak but still they are creamier than soaking in plain water.
I love making these beans because they make my whole house smell so good. I personally taste-test the beans throughout the entire cooking process to monitor both taste and texture. Close to the end of the simmering time – about 30 minutes left- I start checking the beans about every 5-minutes. Five minutes is all it takes to go from a nice creamy bean to mushy beans. The later are fine for a pot of refried bean but are less desirable for chili and seasoned pinto beans.
Homemade Pinto Beans
Yield 6 cups
This recipes uses a brine to soak the beans overnight. This technique allows the seed coat to soften and results in a creamy textured bean.
- 1 pound (2 cups) dried pinto beans, rinsed
- 2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin, more or less to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon mexican Oregano
- 1-2 jalapenos, seeded and diced. optional
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro (about 12 springs), chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- Into a large pot or bowl, add 4 quarts (1 gallon) of water. Into the water add 3 tbsp salt. Stir until dissolved. Add the pinto beans and soak for at least 8 hours (overnight) or up to 24 hours. Drain the water and rinse well before heading to step 3. This will wash away any excess salt for the beans. You will notice the beans are already slightly plump and slightly softened after the soak.
- If using the quick soak (par boil) method, fill a large dutch oven or pot with 4-quarts (1 gallon) of water. Into the water add 3 tbsp salt. Stir until dissolved. Add the pinto beans and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the pot boils, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for 1-hour. After 1 hour, drain the water and rinse the beans well before heading to step 3. The quick soak method does not produce beans as creamy as the overnight soak method but are still superior as compared to a plain water soak.
- Once drained and rinsed, add the beans into a large pot and cover with fresh water; add fresh or canned diced tomatoes, diced onion, chili powder, cumin, Mexican oregano, bay leaves garlic powder and jalapenos. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
- Once the beans have reached your desired creaminess, remove the bay leaves, stir in the chopped cilantro and add salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the other spices as needed for your palette.