Classic Pinto Beans

Janice Joy Miller


I learned how to cook beans as a kid from our Latin housekeeper. She was an amazing cook who taught me many things, including how to make fresh tortillas. I was the only kid in the house who wanted to learn from her - and she patiently taught me. I also learned conversational Spanish from her. This is her recipe exactly as I learned it. Very simple, and absolutely delicious.

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10 Min
1 Hr 30 Min
Stove Top


1 -2 c
dry pinto beans
1 large
clove fresh garlic, peeled, cut in half
6 -8 c
water, divided
1/2 tsp
baking soda
1-2 tsp
ground cumin (i grind whole seeds with a little mortar and pestle)
1 - 2 tsp
1/4 tsp
freshly ground pepper
1 pinch
cayenne pepper

How to Make Classic Pinto Beans


  • 1Rinse beans, and cover with water to about 2 inches above beans.
  • 2Add garlic.
  • 3Bring beans and garlic to a boil.
  • 4Boil covered for 30 minutes. Watch them closely, adding water as needed to keep water level above beans.
  • 5Reduce heat to low, and stir in baking soda. It will foam up, releasing the gas causing elements.
  • 6Add all spices EXCEPT SALT.
  • 7Simmer on low until tender.
  • 8Stir in salt, then simmer on low until liquid is creamy.

Printable Recipe Card

About Classic Pinto Beans

Main Ingredient: Beans/Legumes
Regional Style: Mexican
Other Tags: Healthy, Heirloom
Hashtags: #beans, #CLASSIC