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World's Best Pinto Beans

Born and raised in Texas, pinto beans are my numero uno choice, and, having lived in Mexico, I also adore black beans. These pintos are righteous. Worthy and can be enjoyed like a meal, they are that hearty. Serve with cornbread or a side salad and call it a day. Same some for leftovers as they are better they next day--or make them a day in advance.

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword beans
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 6 - 10
Author The Cowgirl Gourmet


  • 1 lb. pinto beans organic if possible
  • 3 slices applewood smoked bacon chopped (which you can find at the Central Market meat dept. or in the meat dept. of your favorite gourmet grocer)
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 bell pepper yellow or red, chopped
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 jalapeno or 2 serrano peppers seeded and ribs removed and diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons - 1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt


  1. Please carefully sort through the beans before soaking or quick boiling them to remove any rocks or debris.
  2. You can either soak the beans overnight, which means you will cover them with water so the water covers the beans by about 2 inches and cover with a lid, or you can use the quick boil method, which is what I do. Cover the beans with water by 2 inches and bring them to a boil. Allow to boil for 2 minutes, cover the pot and remove from the heat. Let sit covered for 2 hours. Drain the beans, rinse them and set aside.

  3. Using the same soup pot, turn the heat on medium to medium-high and get the pan nice and hot. Toss in the chopped bacon, lower the heat a touch and stir. Once the bacon is fried, remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the bacon grease in the pot.
  4. Over medium heat, add the chopped onion to the soup pot and stir so the bacon grease coats each piece of onion. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt over the onions and allow to cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Add the chopped red or yellow pepper and coat so these too are coated with bacon grease. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and allow to cook 3 minutes. Add the chopped tomato, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Let cook for another 2 minutes. Add the chopped jalapeno or serranos and garlic and sprinkle the final 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine and let saute another 3 minutes. Add the cooked bacon back in to the mix and stir.
  6. Add the beans, cover with water by 1-1/2 inches and bring to a boil over medium high heat. The amount of water you add determines the thickness of the broth, and I like it neither thick nor watery, but just right, so be careful not to add too much, as you can add more but it's hard to remove water once it's in the pot. If you do need to add more water later on, be sure you add hot water.

  7. Once the beans are boiling, turn the heat to medium and allow to simmer for approximately 1 1/2 - 2 hours (depending on how soft you like your beans), stirring occasionally. Once the beans are done to your liking, add salt. Start with 2 teaspoons, stir and taste. (I use 2 teaspoons of salt, but you may need to add more.) If it needs more, add 1/2 teaspoon salt at a time.

  8. Serve with a dollop of brown rice and a salad, a bowl of chili, some BBQ or a side of fresh corn bread would be great, too. Remember that the beans are going to meld overnight in the fridge and will be even better the next day.