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How Long Does It Take Pinto Beans to Cook?

Whether you’re vegetarian or enjoy a plant-based main course, pinto beans are a welcome addition to any menu. These Mexican beans have grown quite popular in American homes, and are enjoyed with a variety of sides. But sometimes, you end up with hard beans after cooking because you got the timing wrong, and if this happens frequently, you may feel discouraged from the recipe. But don’t worry as you can perfectly time pinto beans, regardless of how you cook them.

How long does it Take Pinto Beans to Cook

Pinto Beans Nutrition Facts

How long does it Take Pinto Beans to Cook

Prepping Pinto Beans

You’ll need to prep the beans before cooking, and this involves cleaning them and deciding if you want to soak them. Of course, if you choose canned pinto beans, you won’t have to soak them. But the dried versions can be prepped in this manner, depending on your preference.


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Pinto beans usually come in a sealed bag, but they may contain stones, rocks, husks, or dead seeds. You’ll have to pick these out before washing the beans numerous times in a colander under running tap water. Once this is done, you must decide whether to soak the beans.

Do You Soak Pinto Beans?

Canned pinto beans can be cooked straight away, but if you bought dried ones, you may want to consider soaking. Cooking pinto beans takes time, and soaking cuts down the doneness time. If you choose to soak the beans, you can use either of two methods;

Normal Soak- After picking and rinsing the beans, pour them into a bowl and cover them with water. Then, leave the beans in the water overnight or at least for eight hours. Soaking rehydrates the beans and doubles their size. By the end of soaking, you’d notice them rise above the water level.

Quick Soak- Pour the beans into a pot or Dutch oven, and add water to cover the beans. Then, bring the pot to a boil and let it cook for two minutes, after which you turn off the heat. Leave the beans in the hot water for one hour or more, as they’ll swell and soften the longer they sit.

Once the soaking period is done, drain the beans, rinse them again, and pour them into the cooking container.

Seasoning Options

Pinto beans welcome all sorts of seasoning options, including herbs, seasoning salt, and spices. But your choice depends on the final flavor you seek.

You can cook the pinto beans with broth or broth concentrate for a burst of flavor. Or you can invest in spices and aromatics for an umami feel.

Fatty meats like bacon and smoked ham are also welcome. And sugar boosts the flavor more to the sweet side while hot sauce, cayenne, black pepper, or habanero raises the recipe’s heat level.

But whatever you choose, remember to adjust the salt in the recipe, especially if you include ingredients with salty bases like garlic salt, broth, or bacon.

Cooking Pinto Beans

Once you’ve decided on your seasoning options, the next step is to cook the pinto beans. And the doneness time depends on the cooking method you’re using. Below are the general cooking time for pinto beans for different cooking techniques;

  1. On the Stove- Dried pinto beans will take two to three hours to fully cook after they’ve been soaked. This duration is why soaking the beans before cooking is necessary when using the stovetop method. But if you’re using canned pinto beans to save time, you’ll need at least 30 minutes to fully infuse the flavor.
  2. In a Crockpot- It takes five to six hours to cook pinto beans in a slow cooker, even after they’ve been soaked. But if you cook directly without soaking, the pinto beans will take around eight to nine hours. The rule for crockpot pinto beans is four cups of liquid for every pound, and this measurement is doubled when dealing when cooking unsoaked beans.
  3. In an Instant Pot- Pinto beans need about 30 minutes on HIGH pressure to cook in a pressure cooker. Here, you’ll be using the PRESSURE COOK setting and won’t have to soak the beans beforehand. But you’ll need a 15-minute natural release period for the pressure before opening the instant pot.

Note: If you’re using the pressure cooker or crockpot, you can wait until they’re done before seasoning.

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Stovetop Pinto Beans (12 Servings)

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  • One bag of dried pinto beans, 16 oz.
  • One small yellow onion, diced
  • One bay leaf
  • Two cloves of garlic, minced
  • Two teaspoons of olive oil
  • Four teaspoons of chicken broth concentrate
  • Four slices of smoked bacon; thick-cut, sliced into one-inch pieces
  • Half teaspoon of salt (adjustable to taste)


  1. Pick any shaft, pebbles, or dead seeds from the beans and rinse in a colander under running water. Then, pour the beans into a bowl, cover them with water, and soak overnight. If you can’t soak them for that long, do a quick soak by boiling them in a Dutch oven for two minutes. Then, turn off the heat and leave them to soak in the hot water for one hour. After soaking, drain the beans, rinse them under cold water in a colander, and let them drain.
  2. Place a saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil, then sauté the onions and garlic till they become translucent. Take the pot down and add the beans, chicken broth, bacon, bay leaf, and salt. Add enough water to cover the beans, place the pot over medium heat, and let it come to a light boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, and stir the beans so the boiling doesn’t grow strong. Cook until the beans are soft and the taste is to your liking- the average doneness is when the beans smash easily in your fingers.

This video can help you with more suggestions.

  • Author: Bobby