How Much Water to Cook Pinto Beans? [A Slow Cook Guide]

Welcome to our article on cooking pinto beans. Pinto beans are a popular bean in Central and South American countries. They are smaller than other varieties, such as black beans, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans. Still, they have a similar flavor profile of earthy tones with a bit of spice.

Making pinto beans is quite easy yet tricky too. The most important of cooking is to reduce pinto beans and simmer with the right amount of water and the right way. If you mess it up, the whole dish will be messed up.

Before cooking beans, rinse them well. Then, using 4 cups of water and 1 tsp of salt, cook 1 cup of beans with 4 cups of water. Cook until tender, 1–1½ hours at a low simmer. Cover and reduce the heat when the liquid reaches a boil, then reduce the heat again. Read on to find out the full cooking process.

 cook pinto beans

Soaking beans before cooking is necessary to achieve tender and creamy beans. The process reduces the cooking time, makes them easier to digest, and increases their nutritional value.

Beans are rich in antioxidants, protein, and fiber—and if you can soak them overnight, their iron content will also increase.

Soak beans for at least 4 hours, but up to 12 hours, cover them with about 2 inches of water, add two teaspoons coarse kosher salt or one teaspoon fine salt per pound, and soak for at least 4 hours. I would recommend draining and rinsing them before you use them.

Things you need:

1 pound bag of pintos (or another dried bean)

6 to 8 cups of water

Ham and/or bacon, fatback, butter, and margarine (optional)

One teaspoon of salt (if desired)

Here is how to cook pinto beans:

Step 1: sort out the bad beans

When making dried bean soup, it is important to separate the good beans from the bad ones. This is especially true if you are buying bulk bags of beans. Sometimes there will be little rocks and bad beans included in the bags.

If you find any, throw them away and don't use them. You want to ensure everything you buy is clean and free of debris.

The best way to do this is to place the whole bag into a large bowl. Then open up the bag and shake it around. Any dirt will fall to the bottom. Now pick up the bag and pour the contents onto a flat surface such as a cutting board or countertop.

Next, open up the bag again and look inside. Anything that looks like a rock or bean should go into one pile, while anything else goes into another.

Now take a spoon and start scraping the beans off the top of the container. As you scrape them down, they will separate themselves into different piles.

There will be some hard beans and others that are soft. Also, some beans will look dirty, and others will look clean. Put those beans into the appropriate piles.

You now have three piles of beans. Take the ones that are soft and put them into a pot. Add water and cook them until tender. Set them aside to cool. Once they are cooled, drain the liquid out of them. Save the drained beans for later use.

Next, take the hard ones and put them into a second pot. Add enough water to cover the beans and bring them to a boil. Boil them for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When done, drain the beans and let them sit overnight. The next day, rinse them under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Drain again.

Finally, take the ones that look dirty and put them into a third pot. Bring them to a boil and simmer them for about 20 minutes. Drain them and repeat the rinsing step.

Step 2. rinse dirt away.

The second step in making garbanzo beans is rinsing away the dirt. This helps ensure no small pieces of dirt are left behind once cooked.

To do this, simply place the beans in a strainer and fill them with cold water.

Then, gently shake the strainer over the sink to wash away the dirt. Next, rinse the beans again after draining them in a colander. Now, the beans are ready to go.

Step 3: Soak the Beans

Soaking beans overnight or quickly is one way to soak them. You could use the quick version even if you forgot to soak them overnight. The beans swell more if they're soaked overnight, so it's better to soak them overnight.

In addition, you can soak them overnight so that they are ready to be cooked the next day in the crockpot. Before you can begin cooking your beans, you must boil them for a while and soak them for an hour before boiling them again if you choose the quick soak method.

The pinto beans should be rinsed and sorted throughout the overnight soak. Make a large pot by placing all the ingredients in it. Cover beans with 2 inches of COLD water. About eight cups should be enough.

At least six hours or overnight, let the mixture stand. Rinse the beans after draining, soaking, and rinsing. Continue to step three.

One pound of pinto beans should be rinsed and sorted before soaking. In a large pot, place the ingredients. Water should be added in an amount of about eight cups. During the second minute of boiling, bring the mixture to a rapid boil.

Take the pan off the heat. One hour should be enough time for it to stand. Rinse with fresh water after draining the soaked water. Next, proceed to step three.

Try soaking your beans overnight, draining them, and rinsing them if you are experiencing gas-related beans.

The beans should then be frozen. In a medium pot, cover the frozen beans with water and boil them for 10 minutes, with double the amount of water than the beans. 

Once the water is drained, add fresh water and cook for another few minutes. Soften the beans if necessary.

Step 4: take out the broken beans.

It the best to soak your beans for 24 hours in the water. So that it can get bigger and moist, but soaking it for 24 hours, some beans may come out broken.

You just have to go through the pot, find the broken beans, and throw them out. This step is optional, though.

Step 5: last but not least, cook it

Drain and rinse beans and place them in a slow cooker.

The beans should be covered with about 6–8 cups of hot water.

Season the meat with seasonings (including salt) and ham hocks or diced ham. You can use 2 or 3 tablespoons of butter or margarine if you do not have ham.

Let the cooker run for 6 to 8 hours on high or all day if you prefer.

Before cooking, sprinkle one teaspoon of salt (or to taste) over the mixture.

When doing this for the first time, ensure the water does not run low if you plan to stay home all day. Depending on the temperature, you may add more water or lower the temperature. According to your crockpot, it will take a different amount of time.

Salt should be added at the end of the cooking time. In the beginning, you won't be able to make the beans plump if you add salt.

How to store soaked pinto beans?

With the beans soaked and cooked, you're ready to store them. It's important to keep them refrigerated as soon as possible after cooking. They'll last up to 5 days if kept in an airtight container in the fridge, or they can be frozen for up to 6 months.

You can also store them in your pantry with their packaging still on—just make sure it's sealed tightly so that they don't spoil any faster than they would otherwise.

If you plan on eating your pinto beans right away after soaking and cooking, consider transferring them into a freezer bag before storing them in the fridge (or freezer). This will help prevent them from drying out too much while defrosting later.

However, suppose you have more time before eating once thawed. In that case, I recommend keeping them loose inside their original packaging instead of transferring them into another container.

How Much Water To Cook Pinto Beans? FAQs:

1. What are the benefits of using pinto beans?

Additionally, these nutritious, filling and versatile snacks are cheap, easy to make, and can be prepared quickly.

2. Pinto beans: when do I season them?

When cooking pinto beans, season them if you plan on eating them as they are and not using them in other recipes.

3. What are your favorite pinto bean recipes?

The pinto bean is one of my favorite things to eat plain. Still, I also enjoy using it in many of my favorite recipes, such as these: I love eating them in burritos, scrambled eggs, breakfast tacos, or as a simple side dish.

4. Is it better to soak pinto beans in hot water or cold water?

Many gas-causing substances in beans are dissolved when soaked in hot water, which cuts down on cooking time and produces tender beans more consistently.

5. What is the purpose of adding vinegar to beans?

A splash of apple cider vinegar and a couple of teaspoons of salt should be added to the pot after the beans are tender but not quite done.

Apple cider vinegar helps digestion and brightens beans' flavor without adding extra salt by breaking down indigestible sugars.


By now, you're probably eager to start your next batch of pinto beans, but we don't want you to feel overwhelmed by all these instructions. Instead, we've tried to puts the steps in a simple way. So don't wait any longer; run to the kitchen and start making the pinto beans.


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