Best Pinto Beans

Best Pinto Beans

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword best-pinto-beans, pinto-bean-recipes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Stand time 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Melissa Sperka


  • 1 lb dry pinto beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 slices thick cut bacon cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock plus additional as needed
  • 1/4 cup grated or minced sweet onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp dark chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes optional


  • Rinse and pick over the dry beans removing any debris. Place into a large bowl and cover with enough water to allow 2-inches over the beans. Soak overnight or for 4-6 hours.
  • To cook: Drain the beans and place into a 6 quart dutch oven or similar size pot with bacon.
  • Cover with 6 cups water or enough water to have at least 1-inch over the beans.
  • Bring to a boil then cover. Lower the heat to just above medium. Adjust so there's enough heat to cook rather vigorously for 45 minutes. Check periodically and do not let cook dry.
  • Uncover and add the chicken stock, onion, bay leaf and thyme. Cover and lower the heat to medium-low. continuing to cook for 1 1/2 hours. (Check periodically and add additional stock, if needed)
  • After 1 1/2 hours add the chili powder, garlic salt, pepper, cumin and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix well. Cover and cook for another 30-45 minutes over medium-medium low or until the beans are soft and creamy and the liquid has thickened. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your taste.
  • Once cooked, allow to stand for 30 minutes. The sauce will continue to thicken while it sits.
  • Serve with cornbread, diced onion and chow chow, if desired.


To thicken the beans further, remove 1/2 cup and mash, then mix back into the pot.