This delicious, savory southern Pinto Beans recipe is a time-tested, traditional favorite! The recipe includes stovetop, slow cooker, pressure cooker, and freezing instructions.

Pinto Beans in a white handled mug with a spoon, sitting on a granite countertop.

Around my house, growing up, pinto beans and cornbread were well-loved additions to any meal or sometimes was the entire meal themselves. It was one of our family favorites, which is why it made such a regular appearance at our table.

My grandmother and mother shared this delicious pinto beans recipe with me, and it has remained a satisfying favorite in my own family. Rich and comforting, these pinto beans are nutritious and full of flavor.

My Granddaddy loved so many traditional southern foods, including these pinto beans. He was a man of few words most of the time, but other times, he was full of insight, a silly joke, and lots of “Southernisms”.

White mug holds spoon and pintos on a granite counter.

Granddaddy would make you laugh when he told a story. He’d get right to the funniest part of the story and then start laughing so hard that it would take forever (it seemed) until he could compose himself enough to finish. Of course, we all would laugh along with him because he was laughing so hard that it would make you laugh just as hard. Goodness, I sure do miss him.

Several years back, when I first shared this recipe, Sam looked at me one morning and said, “Mama, it looks like it’s gonna come up a cloud.” All I could think of was, “Praise the Lord, I’m raising a Southerner!” Grandaddy (and my daddy) would be so proud to know he knew what that term meant and used it correctly in a sentence. So it made me start thinking of other “Southernisms”. And nothing goes with them better than these Pinto Beans and cornbread for supper!

When my Grandmother made this pinto bean recipe, she always cooked them on her stovetop. She’d wash the beans two or three times and then let them soak all night long. The next morning, she’d rinse them one last time and start them cooking over low heat on her stove. She’d pull a ham bone from the freezer and nestle it into the pinto beans to make those beans even more delicious.

Her pinto beans would cook all day on the stove with her checking on them ever so often to make sure they didn’t run out of water as they cooked down in her big pot.

Even though I love to cook them all day on the stove, I also love tossing them into my slow cooker and forgetting about them until supper time. But, I have included Grandmother’s stovetop method as well as an electric pressure cooker method! 

Here’s how to cook them.

How to Cook Pinto Beans

Ingredients

Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full listing of ingredients, instructions, notes, and estimated nutritional information.

  • pinto beans – Use dried beans and pick through them for anything that doesn’t belong, like pebbles or beans that look bad. You’ll rinse them well, too.
  • dried spices – oregano, chili powder, garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • onion – finely chopped
  • ham bone – You can also use cooked bacon. I use both, and either is delicious.

Tip for Leftovers

Refried Beans make a delicious way to use cooked pinto beans! Plan a Tex-Mex dinner night to use some of your frozen or leftover pintos!

Step-by-Step Instructions

You can cook your beans using whichever cooking method you prefer: stovetop, slow cooker, or Instant Pot (pressure cooker).

1. Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

Add the dried beans to a stockpot, cover with water, and allow to soak overnight. Generally, you’ll need about 10 cups of water for 2 cups of dried beans.

The next morning, drain away the liquid and pour the dried beans into the slow cooker. Stir in the seasonings and remaining ingredients and combine well. Cover with water and cook on high setting for 5 hours.

2. Stovetop Pinto Beans

Add the dried beans to a stockpot, cover with water, and allow to soak overnight. Generally, you’ll need about 10 cups of water for 2 cups of dried beans.

The next morning, drain away the liquid. Stir in the seasonings and remaining ingredients and combine well.

Add water to cover the beans well. Bring the beans to a boil over high heat and boil for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to low and allow the pinto beans to simmer until they tender when pressed against the side of the stockpot with a wooden spoon, 2 to 3 hours. Add water to the beans as needed.

3. Instant Pot Pinto Beans

Add the dried beans as well as the remaining ingredients to a 6-quart Instant Pot. Add fresh water until the dried beans are fully covered, taking care not to fill the pressure cooker more than half full.

Seal the pressure cooker and cook the beans under high pressure for 30 minutes. Use either the “quick release” method or the natural release method with your pressure cooker. The quick-release method will quickly release the pressure from your pressure cooker so that you may remove the lid. The natural release method releases the pressure more slowly but allows the beans to continue cooking a bit longer and are somewhat more tender.

Storage Tips

Once cooked, allow them to cool completely.

To refrigerate – After the pinto beans are completely cool, put them in airtight containers, place them in the refrigerator, and use them within 3 to 5 days.

To freeze – Portion the beans into airtight, freezer-safe containers, including vacuum-sealed bags. If using freezer bags, remove as much air as possible, label, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

To reheat – Place beans in a saucepan and reheat on low heat until heated throughout, adding a bit of water if necessary.

Pinto Beans with spoon in a white bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to soak pinto beans?

Yes it’s best to soak them. It helps thoroughly clean the beans and makes them softer so they don’t take as long to cook to a desired softness.

More Favorite Southern Recipes

A majority of my recipes are southern, but I’m including a few here that seem to be favorites for many of us:

Squash Casserole

Cornbread Dressing

Collards

Southern Banana Pudding

Pimento Cheese

Sweet Potato Casserole

Here’s my Pinto Bean Recipe. I hope you love them as much as we always do!

Pinto Bean Recipe

4.95 from 17 votes
This delicious, savory southern Pinto Beans recipe is a time-tested, traditional favorite! The recipe includes stovetop, slow cooker, pressure cooker, and freezing instructions.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound dried pinto beans, picked over and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 ham bone, or 1/2 pound cooked bacon

Instructions 

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans Recipe:

  • Add the dried beans to all large stockpot and allow to soak overnight. Drain the dried beans and pour into crock of slow cooker. Add in all other ingredients and combine well. Add water until the beans are fully covered.
  • Cook the pinto beans on high until beans are tender, about 5 hours.

Stovetop Pinto Beans Recipe:

  • Add the dried beans to all large stockpot and allow to soak overnight. Drain the dried beans and add in all other ingredients and combine well. Add water until the beans are fully covered.
  • Bring the beans to a boil over high heat and boil for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to low and allow the pinto beans to simmer until they tender when pressed against the side of the stockpot with a wooden spoon, 2 to 3 hours. Add water to the beans as needed.

Instant Pot Pinto Beans Recipe:

  • Add the dried beans, as well as all of the remaining ingredients, to a 6-quart pressure cooker. Add water until the beans are fully covered, taking care not to fill the pressure cooker more than half full of water.
  • Seal the pressure cooker and cook the beans under high pressure for 30 minutes. Use either the “quick release” method or the natural release method with your pressure cooker. The quick release method will quickly release the pressure from your pressure cooker so that you may remove the lid. The natural release method releases the pressure more slowly, but allows the beans to continue cooking a bit longer and are somewhat more tender.

Notes

Storage Tips

Once cooked, allow them to cool completely.
To refrigerate – After the pinto beans are completely cool, put them in airtight containers and place in refrigerator and use within 3 to 5 days.
To freeze – Portion the beans into airtight, freezer-safe containers, including vacuum-sealed bags. If using freezer bags, remove as much air as possible, label and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
To reheat – Place beans in a saucepan and reheat on low heat until heated throughout, adding a bit of water if necessary.

Nutrition

Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 207mg | Potassium: 1090mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 54IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Add a dash of pepper sauce to these and you’ve got yourself a delicious meal!

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published 2011. Updated to include pressure cooker and stovetop instructions.

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About Robyn

Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

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Recipe Review




107 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is one of my favorite recipe till now…and it looks an amazing more delicious as well….Thanks for sharing….!

    1. Thanks, Olivia. This recipe has been a favorite in my family for years. So glad you enjoyed it.

  2. 5 stars
    I was looking for a crockpot brown bean recipe and come across this on Pinterest. I am so glad I did because I got the recipe and a laugh because my grandma who is 89 says nearly all the same stuff.

    1. Welcome to Add a Pinch, Patricia, and I hope you find many more recipes you like here. It’s funny to think of some of the old phrases people say.

    2. It’s hard to beat a good ol pot of beans! Everyone laughs when I use the phrase, “Well good gravy!”.

    3. Now, I have heard that comment before. I always wonder how some of these phrases originated.

  3. 5 stars
    Turned out very good! I added 1/8 tsp. of liquid smoke instead of the ham, so cut the fat and the salt which ham would have added. Might try with vegetable or beef broth instead of water next time, but this was very good as given.

  4. I keep reading that beans may clog the Instant Pot pressure release.  Have you had any reported problems with this recipe?  Where may I read the reviews?  Thank you!!

    1. Hi Anne,
      I’ve never had that problem but you may want to check the manual that came with your cooker or their website for more information.
      Any reviews on my pinto beans recipe are here in the comments section. Thanks!