15 Tasty Recipes Featuring Pinto Beans

veggie quinoa chili in bowl
veggie quinoa chili in bowl - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

There are plenty of ways to add a nutritious boost to your meals, and one of our favorites is by mixing in some beans. Incorporating these legumes into your diet doesn't have to be boring or repetitive, with the same chili recipe or mixed bean salad gracing the dinner table every week. There are far too many types of beans and ways to prepare them to be consuming the same dish on repeat. Among the numerous varieties, pinto beans come out on top when it comes to the volume grown in the U.S. Consequently, they're used in dozens of popular meals, boasting a creamy and tender consistency that makes them the obvious candidate for refried beans.

There's far more to this savory ingredient, so don't stop there. Whether you choose canned beans or their dried counterparts, pinto beans show up in many filling dishes that are great served for lunch or dinner. We've collected our tastiest pinto bean recipes courtesy of Tasting Table recipe developers to highlight this delicious food. From dips and chilis to meat stews and soups, there's a meal waiting for you once you pop open a can or put your beans to soak.

Read more: 21 Delicious Ways To Use Up Leftover Rice

One-Pot Instant Pot Refried Beans

refried beans in bowl
refried beans in bowl - Melissa Olivieri/Tasting Table

Anything that can be prepared in an Instant Pot gets bonus points, and these refried beans are a prime example. Instead of cooking for two hours, they're ready in less than half of that time. Sauté alliums in the pot, then add dried pinto beans and water. Once the beans are tender, puree the contents with an immersion blender until you get a creamy consistency. Garnish with cilantro and jalapeños and serve the savory refried beans with tortilla chips or nachos, or add them to a burrito or tacos.

Recipe: One-Pot Instant Pot Refried Beans

Pinto Bean Tostada

pinto bean tostada with accompaniments
pinto bean tostada with accompaniments - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Considering their ubiquity in Mexico, it's no surprise that pinto beans show up in local recipes like tostadas. This crunchy dish is brimming with flavors and textures you can personalize to your liking. Get some corn tostada shells and prep all the fixings to layer on top. Mash canned pinto beans with green chiles, lime juice, and seasonings, then make a fresh salsa by combining chopped tomatoes, jalapeños, onion, cilantro, and lime juice. Slice some avocado too, then assemble your stacked tostadas for a playful meal or nourishing snack.

Recipe: Pinto Bean Tostada

Fiery Instant Pot Pinto Beans

pinto beans in white bowl
pinto beans in white bowl - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

A hearty bowl of beans is always welcomed, especially when it's packed with veggies and spices. These fiery pinto beans are easy to whip up in an Instant Pot and require very little hands-on work. Just sauté alliums, bell peppers, and jalapeños in the pot, then add pre-soaked pinto beans, broth, spices, and canned tomatoes. Set the contents to cook while you get the rest of your meal ready. Eat these fiery beans by the spoonful, ladle them over rice, or use them as an extra saucy burrito filling.

Recipe: Fiery Instant Pot Pinto Beans

Taco Al Pastor-Style Pork Chili

pork chili in a bowl
pork chili in a bowl - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

This recipe brings all the goodness of tacos al pastor to a bowl of chili. Although it calls for several hours of cooking, your slow cooker is doing most of the hard work. Sear the pork to give it a golden crust, then add it to the cooker along with a guajillo chile and herb sauce. Add onion, pineapple, and pinto beans to the pot before cooking on low overnight. You'll end up with a tender hunk of pork that's easy to shred into the rich broth.

Recipe: Taco Al Pastor-Style Pork Chili

Spicy Pinto Beans

dish of spicy pinto beans
dish of spicy pinto beans - Hayley MacLean/Tasting Table

If you can handle the heat, prepare these jalapeño-heavy pinto beans for a flavorful meal. Add soaked beans to a Dutch oven with alliums, jalapeños, tomatoes, and spices (the chili powder, cumin, and paprika pack a punch). Pour broth into the pot, then simmer the contents for up to four hours, until the beans are nice and soft. Crisp up some crumbled chorizo in a frying pan and sprinkle it over your bowl of beans, along with fresh cilantro for an herbaceous kick to tame the heat.

Recipe: Spicy Pinto Beans

Slow-Cooked Carne Picada

stew with rice and beans
stew with rice and beans - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

This Tex-Mex picada features stewed beef in a richly spiced tomato sauce. Sear a chuck roast to brown it nicely on all sides, then load it into your Dutch oven along with sautéed peppers and onions, canned tomatoes, and spices. Cook for at least a couple hours to tenderize the meat and infuse it with smoky flavors from the smoked paprika and ancho chiles. Serve it with canned pinto beans or refried beans and rice for a satisfying meal that will keep you satiated.

Recipe: Slow-Cooked Carne Picada

Spooky Spicy Graveyard Bean Dip

bean dip with tortilla tombstones
bean dip with tortilla tombstones - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

The spooky graveyard decor is optional, though it sure beats the look of an ordinary bean dip. Pick up canned pinto beans to speed up the process and dump them into a blender with cumin, garlic, roasted red peppers, and salt, pulsing until smooth. Transfer the pinto mix to a casserole dish, then fill the blender with black beans, adobo sauce, chipotle, garlic, and onion. Layer that mixture over the pinto dip, and garnish the surface with sour cream epitaphs (or dollops), tortilla chip gravestones, cherry tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, and Cotija cheese.

Recipe: Spooky Spicy Graveyard Bean Dip

Mexican Rice Soup

Mexican rice soup in bowls
Mexican rice soup in bowls - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Mexican rice gets a broth-soaked makeover with this soup recipe that's filling enough to be your main course. Featuring three types of beans (kidney, pinto, and black), along with canned fire-roasted tomatoes, hominy, rice, and spices — including chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and onion powder to make it extra aromatic — this soup contains everything you need in a bowl. Simmer the ingredients in a pot with broth and water, then serve it with lime juice, fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, and red onion for a multi-textured delight in each spoonful.

Recipe: Mexican Rice Soup

Easy Venison Chili

venison chili in bowls
venison chili in bowls - Kristen Carli/Tasting Table

This venison chili recipe features ground elk meat, a lean and healthy alternative to beef. The prep work is super straightforward, starting with a quick onion and meat sauté. Then, add the contents of several cans to the pot: pinto beans, black beans, corn, fire-roasted tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Stir the ingredients and simmer for half an hour so that the flavors get absorbed and the chili thickens and reduces. Guacamole, shredded cheese, and sour cream are obvious toppings, but feel free to customize the chili garnishes to your taste.

Recipe: Easy Venison Chili

Beef Chili With Pancetta, Ancho, And Chocolate

beef chili in bowls
beef chili in bowls - Dave Katz/Tasting Table

This recipe takes the classic dish up a notch by combining ground beef and pancetta with a smoky sauce. Seasoned with ancho chiles, garlic, and spices, the base gets an extra injection of flavor from dark beer and bitter chocolate. Add canned crushed tomatoes and a couple of cans of pinto beans for a creamy bite. Simmer to let the aromas soak into the meat and beans, then serve the chili with tasty toppings like pickled jalapeños, onion, cheese, lime, sour cream, avocado, and cilantro.

Recipe: Beef Chili With Pancetta, Ancho, And Chocolate

Easy Bison Chili

bison chili in bowl
bison chili in bowl - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Bison meat is a sweet and earthy alternative to beef, with a lean and juicy quality that makes it the star of this chili. Nevertheless, the recipe's other components all play an important role, including the triple dose of legumes from the canned kidney, pinto, and black beans. Tomato puree and crushed tomatoes keep this chili extra saucy, while chiles de árbol, guajillo chiles, cinnamon, thyme, and rosemary bring a sweet, smoky, and spicy touch. Garnish this hearty bison chili with cilantro and pair it with bread to mop up every last drop.

Recipe: Easy Bison Chili

Chicken Mole-Ish Chili

bowl of chicken chili
bowl of chicken chili - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

Inspired by mole sauce, this chicken chili is a fun twist that boasts a decidedly aromatic flavor profile. Start by searing chopped chicken breasts to brown the meat, then sauté the base of the chili with alliums, peppers, crushed tomatoes, beer, chipotle peppers, and spices. Add dark chocolate to balance the flavors with earthy notes, then toss in canned chickpeas and pinto beans for an extra dose of protein. Simmer the chili and serve it with your favorite toppings, including a dollop of sour cream, lime juice, cilantro, radishes, and sliced avocado.

Recipe: Chicken Mole-Ish Chili

Veggie-Friendly Quinoa Chili

vegetarian chili in bowl
vegetarian chili in bowl - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

This vegetarian chili is a dazzling blend of beans, vegetables, and quinoa that comes together to sate your hunger. Bell peppers, corn, jalapeños, and canned tomatoes bring a rainbow of colors, while the trio of beans (pinto, kidney, and black) and quinoa load the dish with protein and a chunky consistency. Canned green chiles and spices like chili powder, cumin, oregano, and paprika infuse the ingredients with flavor as they simmer, resulting in a delicious veggie chili that rivals any meat-packed version.

Recipe: Veggie-Friendly Quinoa Chili

Vegetarian Bean And Cheese Sopes

sopes with beans and toppings
sopes with beans and toppings - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

These homemade sopes are loaded with colorful ingredients that taste equally vibrant with every bite. Make the dough with masa harina and water, shaping it into flat tortillas to bake. Pop open a can of refried beans or make a quick batch in the blender with pinto beans. Spread a creamy layer of beans over the surface of each sope, then add shredded cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and avocado. Feel free to spice it up with hot sauce or squeeze lime juice over the top for a tangy finish.

Recipe: Vegetarian Bean And Cheese Sopes

Turkey And Butternut Squash Chili

turkey butternut chili in bowls
turkey butternut chili in bowls - Alexander Roberts/Tasting Table

Ground turkey gives this chili recipe a subtler taste that complements the sweetness of cubed butternut squash. The rest of the ingredients stick closer to the classic, with canned crushed tomatoes, pinto beans, kidney beans, and red pepper adding some bulk. Simmered with cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes, this turkey chili soaks up fragrant aromas with a spicy hint. Serve it with the usual fixings like sour cream, shredded cheddar, and fresh herbs for a hearty meal in a bowl.

Recipe: Turkey And Butternut Squash Chili

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