Maybe you’re surprised to see me publishing an article about how to make beans.
It’s true, this is not actually a major recipe with complicated instructions and lots of steps to work through.
But, lately I’ve been getting lots of requests asking me to get back to the basics. Plenty of you out there are just looking for some guidance on how to prepare simple stuff like quinoa, farro, carrots, and so forth.
Fair enough! I understand that in many cases, you’ve got your own meal ideas and you’d just like some help figuring out side dishes and ingredients within a dish.
I can definitely lend you a hand with this. In fact, I’m flattered that you would ask.
The Best Way to Prepare Pinto Beans
So, let’s talk about pinto beans. This is another super simple guide that you can print out and add to your recipe book. Mastery over individual staple ingredients like beans helps build the foundation of a great cook.
These pinto bean instructions will get you beans that are creamy, soft, and juicy. And you can use pinto beans in so many different ways. They’re a great addition to soups, salads, and to any chicken recipe as a side dish.
What are Pinto Beans?
The pinto bean is a common and tasty bean variety that’s rich in protein, dietary fiber, folate, phosphorus, and manganese.
Pinto in Spanish means spotted. In this case, that refers to the dark speckling on the beans’ lighter background color. The name will be familiar to equestrians — pinto horses share the same name and the similar spotted coloring pattern.
Pinto beans are the most commonly cultivated bean crop in Northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States. You’ll find them embedded in the culinary traditions of those regions, including in their famous refried form. Refried pinto beans make up a common filling in burritos so you can feel free to use those for this Instant Pot Chicken Burrito Bowl recipe.
However, pinto beans are a delicious and easy to prepare legume, and they don’t need re-frying to serve as a great dish or ingredient.
Can I Buy Canned Pinto Beans?
Another benefit of preparing dried beans yourself? It means that you get to skip all the preservatives that come in the canned versions.
Can I Freeze Pinto Beans?
Yup, you can prepare pinto beans then freeze them for later use. They’re okay in a freezer for up to two months.
If you do choose to freeze them, they’ll be ready when you need them. Pull them out of the freezer when you’d like to quickly combine them with some rice and veggies for a full and healthy meal.
Do I Need to Pre-Soak Pinto Beans?
No, you do not have to pre-soak pinto beans to make this Instant Pot pinto beans recipe. You only need 45 minutes in total to produce perfectly cooked beans.
Will the Beans Fall Apart?
Your pinto beans should not be falling apart into pieces. And I promise that this will not happen if you stick with the steps below.
Can I double the recipe? Can I halve this recipe?
Sure. Here’s a quick little summary table to show you how easy this is going to be.
|Pinto beans||Water||Cooking time|
|2 lb of pinto beans||10 cups of water||45 minutes on High Pressure|
|1 lb of pinto beans||5 cups of water||45 minutes on High Pressure|
|½ lb of pinto beans||2.5 cups of water||45 minutes on High Pressure|
Just make sure you don't over fill your pressure cooker. So cook 2lb only if you have 8-quart Instant Pot.
So, stick with my recipe steps, including the exact cook time. I’ve tried this recipe repeatedly, re-testing the cooking duration several times to be sure. I can now confidently say that 45 minutes is the ideal length of time for pinto beans.
Pinto Bean Recipe Ideas: How to Use Cooked Pinto Beans
Pinto beans are a high-protein, high-fiber powerhouse. They’re easy to cook and they taste delicious as a side or as a main ingredient in various dishes.
Consider including pinto beans in your:
The best texture and flavors from pinto beans are found when they’re cooked from their dried form. Once you’ve tried cooking them yourself you’ll notice the clear difference between home-cooked versus canned.
How to Make Pinto Beans
Gather up all of your ingredients:
In your Instant Pot, combine the pinto beans and the bouillon vegetable base.
Pour in the water.
Lock the lid into place. Select the High Pressure setting and set the timer to 45 minutes.
Once the cooking cycle is done, allow for a natural pressure release to occur over ten minutes.
Serve the beans warm.
...And that’s it for this easy recipe. As I mentioned in the introduction, this is really just about getting you comfortable with a great new ingredient. Once you see how easy it is to prepare pinto beans and other beans in the Instant Pot, it’s up to you whether or not it becomes a regular part of your cooking routine.
But I think that if you weren’t previously used to cooking with pinto beans, you’ll be glad that you gave them a chance.
The Instant Pot is terrific for all sorts of beans and bean dishes. Ready to tackle your next legume? Check out my Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas recipe. Cliff commented:
“I love black-eyed peas over rice any day of the week or every day of the week, with just a little bit of butter to boot, plus seasoning…”
It’s true: Instant Pot beans are a quick and easy go-to meal. Plus, you’ll be loading up on a great source of protein.
Please note that for this recipe any substitute for pinto beans will work as well, but the cooking time may change a little bit.
Instant Pot Bean Recipes
Instant Pot Pinto Beans
- 1 lb dry pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 ½ tablespoon Better than Bullion vegetable base
- 5 cups water
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add the pinto beans, water and Better than Bouillon vegetable base to the Instant Pot.
- Close the lid and cook at high pressure for 45 minutes.
- When cooking time ends, allow a natural release for 10 minutes.
- Once done, do a quick pressure release.
- open the lid, serve and enjoy!