Slow Cooker Texas Pinto Beans

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Slow Cooker Texas Pinto Beans will change the way you think about pinto beans! This recipe is thanks in large part to an old friend in South Texas, Don, prepared a pot of beans that would bring people from miles away. 

Smoky Chipotle, bacon, spices and some good old-fashioned slow cooking renders the most perfect spoonful of pintos ever imagined. Outshining main dishes, they disappear in the blink of an eye. Double up because when you go back for seconds they’ll be gone!

Two bowls of Slow Cooker Texas Pinto Beans garnished with scallions and cilantro, accompanied by a smaller bowl of additional fresh chopped toppings, all presented on a white wooden surface.

I always find it amazing how such humble elements can create the most amazing meals! These Slow Cooker Texas Pinto Beans easily make an outstanding main dish but can also be used for topping rice, salads, and making killer tacos, tostadas, and burritos. Plus, they’re friendly on your wallet too.

The only change that I made to this recipe is preparing it in a slow cooker. While an open fire on the stovetop cooks them beautifully, I wanted to see the results created by not soaking the beans and cooking them to tender perfection. And let me tell you this is a winning dish!

A bowl of Slow Cooker Texas Pinto Beans garnished with sliced jalapeños, cherry tomatoes, and fresh cilantro, accompanied by a wooden spoon, set on a rustic wooden table.

The ultimate Game Day Food, cook them overnight or toss the ingredients in the slow cooker first thing in the morning. I find an overnight cook is easiest when you have a lot of party prep to tend too, but it’s totally up to you.

No! Typically we do opt to soak beans overnight to speed up the cooking process and decrease the content of raffinose sugars (gas). HOWEVER, prolonged slow cooking helps break down some of the complex carbohydrates that cause bloating and discomfort.

Plus not having to soak the beans means 1 less step in the prep process. And the texture of the beans is spot on too!

How to Cook Slow Cooker Texas Pinto Beans

  • Add the pinto beans to a large colander, thoroughly rinse and pick the beans over. Remove any damaged or disfigured beans and toss them in the garbage. 
  • Chop the onion, green bell pepper, jalapeno and toss into a large glass bowl. Along with the smoked chipotle, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, and bay leaves. Roughly chop the garlic and set aside too.
  • Heat a large heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium-high heat. Once hot add the 1/2 pound of smoked pork jowl (or bacon) and cook until the fat renders down and the bacon becomes slightly crispy.
  • Immediately add the reserved chopped veg, spices and bay leaves. (Chopped, onion, green bell pepper, jalapeno, smoked chipotle powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, and bay leaves.) Saute with the pork stirring frequently for 5 minutes, then toss in the chopped garlic and saute for an additional 30 seconds until fragrant. Be sure not to skip this step, it develops major flavor!
  • Scrape everything from the saute pan into the slow cooker, return the saute pan back to the flame and pour in 1 cup of the stock scraping all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan and then pour into the slow cooker. 
  • Add the remaining 6 cups of stock, and washed pinto beans into the slow cooker, stir until thoroughly combined. If you see any floating pinto beans be sure to discard them into the garbage, then secure the lid and latch shut. 
  • Cook on HIGH for 8 to 10 hours, until the beans are tender, keeping a careful eye, adjust the temp down if needed. If you have to adjust the heat down then you’ll likely need to adjust the cooking time up. Towards the end, you can remove the lid and cook off some of the liquid if desired.
A close-up image of a rich Slow Cooker Texas Pinto Beans topped with fresh slices of red cherry tomatoes, green scallions, and a sprig of cilantro in a rustic clay bowl.

What Spices Do You Use to Flavor Tex-Mex Pinto Beans?

  • smoked chipotle 
  • smoked paprika 
  • bay leaves
  • oregano
  • cumin

What Vegetables Do You Use to Flavor Tex-Mex Pinto Beans?

  • green pepper
  • white onion
  • jalapeno
  • garlic

Why Sauté Vegetables Before Adding Them to the Slow Cooker?

Don’t skip this step, sauteing is the KEY to developing major flavor in this pinto bean recipe! Sauteing requires high heat and high heat creates the Maillard Reaction which caramelizes the sugars and creates kickass flavor!

Pork jowl sautéing in a hot sauté pan for making Slow Cooker Texas Pinto Beans.
Sauté the Pork Prior To the Veg

How Long Do You Cook Pinto Beans in the Slow Cooker?

  • Cook on HIGH for 8 to 10 hours, until the beans are tender, keeping a careful eye, adjust the temp down if needed. If you have to adjust the heat down then you’ll likely need to adjust the cooking time up. Towards the end, you can remove the lid and cook off some of the liquid if desired.
  • Cooking them overnight is a great option for passing the time quickly. But if you don’t want to leave your slow cooker plugged in overnight then start the Pinto Beans in the morning and they’ll be ready by game time (or dinner).
A close-up image of a rich Slow Cooker Texas Pinto Beans topped with fresh slices of red cherry tomatoes, green scallions, and a sprig of cilantro in a rustic clay bowl.

How Do You Know When Pinto Beans Are Cooked?

The best way to tell if beans are cooked through is to simply taste them. Check for doneness, beans should be tender and cooked through and your flavors should be spot on towards the end of cooking. You can also season with Kosher sea salt after the beans have finished cooking.

If the beans are not finished cooking, continue simmering and taste testing for doneness until satisfied. Total cooking time will also vary based on your slow cooker, high 10 hours was perfect for our model.

A wooden spoon lifting Slow Cooker Texas Pinto Beans from a rustic wooden bowl, showcasing vibrant colors and textures, steam rising warmly.
Look at Those Pintos, Perfectly Cooked!

Double the Ingredients to Make 2 Pounds of Tex-Mex Pinto Beans

If you have a large upcoming Super Bowl or Cinco De Mayo Party and want to double this recipe you can easily do so. BUT you’ll want to add the extra liquid (2nd 7 cups of chicken stock) in slowly, as the beans cook down continue adding the additional stock as needed.

What Can I Use Tex-Mex Slow Cooker Pinto Beans For?

  • In a big warmed bowl with a hunk of golden cornbread
  • Ladled over a piping hot baked potato
  • Mash and turn into “refried”
  • Top burritos
  • Quesadillas
  • Over rice
  • Nachos
  • Fajitas

How Long Can Cooked Pinto Beans Be Left at Room Temperature?

Cooked pinto beans should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Bacteria can grow rapidly between 40°F and 140°F (4°C and 60°C), increasing the risk of foodborne illness. To ensure safety, store cooked beans promptly in the refrigerator at temperatures below 40°F (4°C). If left at room temperature for longer than 2 hours, it’s safest to discard them to avoid the risk of food poisoning.

How Long Can I Store Cooked Beans in the Refrigerator?

Beans make for great leftovers, store in an airtight container in the fridge 3-5 days. Reheat over a medium-low fire until warmed through.

A vibrant bowl of Slow Cooker Texas pinto Beans topped with fresh tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro, served in a rustic ceramic bowl with "mean green chef" written in the lower right hand corner.

Can I Freeze Leftover Pinto Beans?

Yes! Cooked beans are freezer friendly, seal them in an airtight container and store up to 6 months. Pull from the freezer and place in the fridge overnight them warm through over a medium-low flame.

How Long Do Cooked Pinto Beans Last After Being Frozen and Thawed?

Cooked pinto beans that have been thawed in the refrigerator can be kept for an additional 3 to 4 days in the fridge before reheating. If you opt to thaw your pinto beans in cold water or the microwave then be sure to eat them immediately.

Slow Cooker Texas Beans in a brown bowl

How to Tell If Cooked Pinto Beans Are Bad?

If the Pinto Beans produce an odd aroma or appearance such as mold or any other anomaly, bin them. And please DON’T taste them first, this goes for any food. 

Tips for Storing Cooked Pinto Beans

  • If Pinto Beans are not being kept warm in the slow cooker then refrigerate within two hours of cooking. Be sure that the beans have cooled completely. 
  • To optimize the shelf life of cooked pinto beans for safety and quality, refrigerate in shallow airtight containers or resealable plastic bags.
  • To further extend the shelf life of cooked pinto beans, freeze them; freeze in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
  • Cooked pinto beans that have been kept constantly frozen at 0°F/-17°C will keep safely for an indefinite period of time.

How to Store Dried Pinto Beans

Dry beans keep well for several months, store in a cool dry place, away from direct sunshine, moisture, and excessive dampness.

Fresh, immature beans can also be stored in the fridge and prepared similar to green beans.

Chef’s TipsPinto beans should be eaten only after thorough cooking. Like other dry kidney beans, consumption of un-boiled or undercooked pinto beans can cause phytohemagglutinin (lectin) toxin poisoning, a condition that may cause clumping of red blood cells in humans. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Cooking for a long period of time neutralizes these compounds, and make them safe for consumption.

Health Benefits of Eating Pinto Beans

  1. Pinto Beans are primarily comprised of carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. They also pack a wallop of vitamins and minerals! When cooked without salt or other ingredients, pinto beans are free of cholesterol and low in fat and sodium.
  2. They also contain many healthy antioxidants, including polyphenols and flavonoids. Antioxidants defend your cells against harm from free radicals, which are volatile molecules that can contribute to disease over time
  3. Pinto Beans may support blood sugar control too. Despite their high carb content, they don’t excessively raise blood sugar. Their low glycemic index (GI) means that they’re digested slowly, managing their blood sugar impacts. Additionally, pinto beans are high in fiber and protein, both of which slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream.
  4. Excellent source of fiber, which is an indigestible carbohydrate found in plant foods. It’s very important for your digestive health, as it helps feed the good bacteria in your gut. Yet, most people don’t reach their daily recommended fiber intake. Women should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day, while men should consume 38 grams. 
  5. Pinto beans may help lower blood pressure, as well as total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, thereby decreasing your risk of heart disease.
  6. Due to their high protein and fiber contents, pinto beans can promote fullness, which means pinto beans can also aid in losing weight too. 
  7. Pinto beans are an easy and inexpensive dish to prepare too! Best cooked from their raw state since tinned beans can contain an excess of sugar, salt, and preservatives.

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How to Make Texas Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

A vibrant bowl of Slow Cooker Texas pinto Beans topped with fresh tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro, served in a rustic ceramic bowl with "mean green chef" written in the lower right hand corner.

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

Slow Cooker Texas Pinto Beans will seriously change the way you think about pinto beans. This recipe is thanks in large part to an old friend in South Texas, Don prepared a pot of beans that you could not stop eating. Smoky Chipolte, bacon, spices and some good old fashioned slow cooking renders the perfect spoonful of pintos ever imagined.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 20 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker
  • Saute Pan

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound smoked pork jowl, sub good quality smoked bacon
  • 1 large white onion, topped + skinned + 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 large green pepper, scrubbed + seeded + 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 large jalapeno, scrubbed + cored + seeded (less heat) + roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon smoked chipotle, powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin, powder
  • 2 teaspoons oregano, dried
  • 3 bay leaves, dried
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed + skinned + roughly chopped
  • 1 pound (478 grams) pinto beans, washed + picked over
  • 7 cups (1680 ml) chicken stock, homemade or favorite brand

Instructions

  • Add the pinto beans to a large colander, thoroughly rinse and pick the beans over. Remove any damaged, disfigured, or bruised beans and toss in the garbage.
    Dry Pinto beans in an antique silver spoon, situated on and rustic wood background.
  • Chop the onion, green bell pepper, jalapeno and toss into a large glass bowl. Now toss in the smoked chipotle, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, and bay leaves. Then rough chop the garlic and set aside in a small bowl.
    A glass measuring cup of chopped green peppers and spices on a marble countertop, next to a bowl of pinto beans and a small dish of chopped garlic.
  • Heat a large heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium-high heat. Once hot add the 1/2 pound of smoked pork jowl (or bacon) and cook until the fat renders down and the bacon becomes slightly crispy.
    Pork jowl sautéing in a hot sauté pan for making Slow Cooker Texas Pinto Beans.
  • Immediately add the reserved chopped veg, spices and bay leaves. (Chopped, onion, green bell pepper, jalapeno, smoked chipotle powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, and bay leaves.) Saute with the pork stirring frequently for 5 minutes, then toss in the chopped garlic and saute for an additional 30 seconds until fragrant.
    A close-up image of a skillet with chopped onions and pork jowl cooking, with chunks of garlic added on top, showcasing a sizzling, savory meal in preparation.
  • Scrape everything from the saute pan into the slow cooker, return the saute pan back to the flame and pour in 1 cup of the stock scraping all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan and then pour into the slow cooker. Then add the remaining 6 cups of stock, and washed pinto beans, stir until thoroughly combined, place the cover on the slow cooker and latch shut (if your cooker has this feature). If you see any floating pinto beans be sure to discard them into the garbage.
    Sautéed ingredients for making Slow Cooker Texas Pinto Beans situated inside a black slow cooker crock.
  • Cook on HIGH for 8 to 10 hours, until the beans are tender, keeping a careful eye, adjust the temp down if needed. If you have to adjust the heat down then you'll likely need to adjust the cooking time up. Towards the end, you can remove the lid and cook off some of the liquid if desired.
    Two bowls of Slow Cooker Texas Pinto Beans garnished with scallions and cilantro, accompanied by a smaller bowl of additional fresh chopped toppings, all presented on a white wooden surface.

Notes

  • Prep time is approximate.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge 3-5 days.
  • Freeze in an airtight container up to 6 months. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Creative Recipe Inspiration

Ham Hock Stock, is a rich and flavorful base perfect for enhancing soups, stews, and sauces. Made with tender ham hocks, aromatic veggies, and fragrant herbs, this stock adds depth and complexity. 

Indulge in the rich and satisfying flavors of our homemade Black Bean Soup. Bursting with robust spices and wholesome ingredients, this soup is a comforting bowl of goodness that will warm you from the inside out.

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    1. SO SO GOOD!!!! I followed the recipe exactly, (using bacon), I have a Hamilton Beach slow cooker, cooked on high 8 hours, then took the lid off, tried the beans and they were done. I left the lid off and left it on high and let it cook a little longer to get rid of some of the liquid, maybe about 45 min. Made Mexican corn bread with it….OMG!! Awesome recipe.
      Only thing I added was a little hot sauce in my bowl when I ate it.

      1. So happy to hear that you enjoyed my recipe, Jen! Thanks so much!

    2. norman hurt says:

      i wil try this recipe immediatly–ireally like pinto beans

      1. Thank you, Norman! They’re a staple here, I hope you enjoy them as much as we all do!

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