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Pinto Beans

rate this recipe:
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Soaking Time: 8 hrs
Serves 8 to 12
Try this pinto beans recipe once, and you'll never get the canned kind again! Note that the cooking time here will depend on the freshness of your beans. Fresher beans cook more quickly and soften more evenly, so buy your beans from a source with high turnover if you can.


  • 2 cups dry pinto beans
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • teaspoons cumin
  • 8 cups water, more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt, more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice, more to taste

Optional additions

  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed and diced
  • Chili powder, to taste
  • Cilantro, for garnish


  • Place the beans in a large colander and sort through them to remove and discard any stones or debris. Rinse them well and transfer them to a large bowl. Cover with 2 to 3 inches of water and discard any beans that float. Soak at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.
  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. If you like spicy beans, add the jalapeño with the onion.
  • Stir in the cumin and then add the beans, water, oregano, salt, and several grinds of pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the beans are tender. The timing will depend on the freshness of your beans. I like to check mine starting at 1 hour and every 15 minutes after that. Add more liquid to the pot, as needed, to keep the beans submerged. I like to cook my pinto beans until they’re starting to fall apart and the bean liquid around them has thickened.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the lime juice. Season the beans to taste with more salt (I typically add ½ to 1 additional teaspoon), more pepper, and chili powder, if desired. Garnish with cilantro, if using. Store the beans in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze them for up to 3 months.