Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

classic pinto beans

Recipe by
Janus Joy Miller
Friendswood, TX

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.

yield 4 -8
prep time 10 Min
cook time 1 Hr 30 Min
method Stove Top

Ingredients For classic pinto beans

  • 1 -2 c
    dry pinto beans
  • 1 lg
    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

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