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.

☆☆☆☆☆ 0 votes
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


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.

About this Recipe

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