Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Cook Pinto Beans


Pinto beans are medium sized, oval beans with a beige and brown color that turn completely brown when cooked [source: Young Women's Health]. They're classified as legumes, which are among the most nutritious and versatile foods available. Legumes are high in magnesium, iron and potassium and are lower in fat and cholesterol than meat. Since they are also high in protein, they can be a good substitute for meat [source: Mayo Clinic]. We will now show you how to cook pinto beans.

  1. Sort and rinse Rinse the beans well to get off any dirt. Once rinsed, sort them out, removing any small pebbles that may have gotten mixed in during packing as well as any discolored beans.
  2. Soak and rinse again Soak your beans in water. Be sure to place plenty of water in the bowl, as the beans will absorb the water. Let the beans soak for at least six hours. The beans will increase in size as they absorb the water, and might even triple in size. After they're done soaking, spill out any water that's left over and rinse the beans again.
  3. Cook the beans Place the beans in a pot of water and bring them to a boil. Be sure to use 2 to 3 cups of water for every cup of soaked beans. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Check the pot frequently, adding water as needed. Cook your pinto beans in unseasoned water (i.e. don't add any salt, pepper, etc.).
  4. Test to see if the beans are cooked The cooking time for beans varies, depending on their age, size and humidity. Your beans will be done when you're able to mash them easily. You reduce the cooking time significantly by cooking your beans in a pressure cooker [source: University of Queensland].

More to Explore