Every prepper knows the value of beans for the stockpile, and will have cans or dried beans stored. Pinto beans get their name from the Spanish for speckled bean, frijol pinto.
In northern Mexico and the southwest of the U.S., they are the bean most likely to be produced, and across the U.S. are served in a multitude of ways – fried, mashed, re-fried, served in soups, dips, salads, and slow cooker meals. In fact, the list is pretty endless for these nutty flavored beans.
If you have perfected a dish using pinto beans, then do leave a comment in the comment section at the end of this article. We’ve rounded up a versatile collection of recipes to give some inspiration for using your pinto beans stockpile, but would welcome your own original recipes.
A half a cup (50 g) serving of pinto beans will provide you with 667 kiljoules of energy, with 10.7g of the serving being protein. Low in fat, high in carbohydrates, and low in sugar, they are great for people on gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, or non-dairy diets. They are not known to contain any known allergens.
Pintos are a very popular bean. The Texas A&M University System, has an Agriculture Program which issued a report that annually, pinto beans in excess of 100 million pounds are imported into Texas alone.
Stew-Type Pinto Beans Recipes
Easy Pinto Beans from Scratch (Vegetarian)
This is a good recipe to start with that gives tips on cooking pinto beans from scratch to produce a full Mexican flavored bowl of beans or five – the recipe produces five good cups.
This is a vegetarian recipe as no ham hocks or bacon were used in the preparation as is usual with traditional recipes. What the recipe does have is garlic, cumin, onion, green chilies, diced tomatoes and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Get the recipe here.
Easy Pinto Beans
And this is the non-vegetarian recipe that uses ham hocks, or bacon for a rich meaty taste to the beans. Get it here.
Pinto Beans with Mexican-Style Seasonings
These slow simmered beans are redolent with flavor – and, as the cook suggests, you can make them borracho beans with the addition of ½ can of beer. The other half is the cook’s payment, for keeping an eye on the beans, testing the flavor and adjusting seasonings so that, like Goldilocks porridge, they are ‘just right’. This beans recipe uses bacon for extra flavor.
Pinto Beans with Ground Beef
This is a good survival recipe as you can make so many changes according to what you have in your stockpile or freezer. The basics are the pinto beans and ground beef.
It can be served with rice, corn bread, tortillas, or crusty Dutch oven baked bread – whatever you have available, or fancy. The beef can even be changed for chicken. Get the recipe.
Southern Ham and Brown Beans
A lovely rich pinto beans dish to be made on the stove top or over an open fire, this recipe requires pinto beans and ham hocks, a slow simmer and garlic and chili – very simple, very tasty. Get the recipe.
Beef and Pinto Bean Chili with Toasted Cornbread Crumbles
Sirloin tips or lean chuck meat is used for this recipe that requires the meat to be browned first before adding the onion and garlic, followed by the dried mushrooms, various seasonings, plenty of pinto beans and tomatoes. and let’s not forget the beer.
The best finisher ever is the toasted cornbread crumbles over the top. Get the recipe.
Best Venison Chili
This one is for the hunters who have brought home venison. Once the roasts and stews have been made use up some of the ground venison in this warming pot of deliciousness.
Made with a can of pinto beans, canned tomatoes, tomato salsa, celery and green pepper, with garlic and other seasonings. Get the recipe.
Another recipe for the family of a hunter who brings home a deer. Pieces of venison are fried in a coating of corn starch and seasoned with salt and pepper, before the rest of the ingredients are added for this stove top delight that is slow simmered. Get the recipe.
Slow Cooker Pinto Beans Recipes
Mexican Pintos with Cactus
What makes this recipe different is the addition of cactus leaves to the mix. The beans are done in a slow cooker which makes for an easy fuss-free recipe. This is a perfect survivalists recipe using foraged cactus with the beans from your stockpile. Get the recipe.
Southern Crock Pot Pinto Beans with Ham Hocks
The ham hocks give a delicious richness to the dish which can be served alongside fried chicken, or if you add extra ham to the pot it can be served on its own with cornbread muffins to soak up that rich gravy.
Balance off the meal with some foraged greens or salad greens from your vegetable patch. Get the recipe.
Slow Cooker Chicken Bean Stew
Although this purports to be an African stew it is pretty similar to most pinto bean recipes – except for the addition of chicken instead of bacon or ham. The recipe also doesn’t specify exactly what type of beans, but pinto beans would give a lovely creamy taste to the dish.
A tip is that the spices seem to dissipate in strength during the long cooking process, so a top up of spices towards the end of the cooking period is suggested. Get the recipe.
Pinto Beans and Beef
The trick to creamy beans in the slow cooker is to take some out, mash them then add back to the mix and allow to slow cook some more. This recipe’s seasonings are mild, to highlight the flavor of the beans and beef, but there is nothing to stop you adding some poblanos or jalapenos to spice it up.
This hearty dish can be served with tortilla chips, or whatever carbohydrate you have on hand. Get the recipe.
Easy Crock Pot Chili
The hamburger meat is fried first before being added to the crock pot, then it’s a question of adding in the various cans of tomato, tomato sauce, beans, and seasonings.
One can of pinto and one can of kidney beans are called for in this recipe, but one could just use two cans of pinto beans. The recipe does call for one onion and one green pepper. Get the recipe.
Pinto Beans and Sausage
A Romanian dish traditionally served on the National Day on December 1st, is beans and sausage, but pinto beans are not the bean of choice for that particular dish.
However this particular recipe does use the pinto beans for a hearty meaty stew that can be served over rice, quinoa, mashed potato, or with cornbread. This recipe can also be done on the stove-top.
Bush’s Slow Cooker Pork and Pinto Bean Enchiladas
There is nothing like slow cooked pork for tenderness and flavor, combined with the creaminess of the pinto beans – heavenly. Get the recipe.
Pressure Cooker/ Insta-Pot Pinto Beans Recipes
Insta-Pot Pinto Beans Stew (Vegetarian, or not)
This has got to be a keeper. The recipe includes among the usual stock ingredients, poblanos – a large green pepper similar to a bell pepper in shape but a with more of a bite, yams, and a little molasses for depth of flavor. Yum! It is vegetarian but you can include chicken.
And then the little additions just before serving are what I love about Mexican food – the cilantro, sour cream, grated cheese, scallions, avocado, or fresh chilies, in whichever combination you prefer. Get the recipe.
Pinto Beans and Ground Beef Stew
No pre-soaking of the beans is needed here – the pressure cooker gets the beans ready in 15 minutes – then it’s a case of adding the ground beef, chicken stock, the seasonings and you have a great stew. You can use 2 cans of pinto beans instead of the dried beans.
This is an ideal recipe for using from the stockpile as there are no fresh vegetables called for. The majority of the ingredients are canned or dried.
Easy Chicken Enchiladas
Cooked chicken, beans, sour cream, corn and salsa verde plus some spices and of course cheese – mix and layer with tortillas in a pie plate, bake for 15 minutes, and tuck into a gooey cheesy, yummy meal. Get the recipe.
Turkey Bean Enchiladas
What makes this recipe different is the ground turkey meat and the use of tomatillos for flavor. Corn tortillas, a sharp cheddar cheese and cilantro make this recipe super tasty.
Unlike the chicken enchilada recipe, where the tortillas are placed in layers, these ones are softened by heating, filled and rolled then placed seam side down in the casserole dish. Get the recipe.
Layered Pinto Bean Enchilada (Vegetarian)
A layered one, this is a vegetarian recipe relying on mushroom and corn tortillas, with all the usual flavorings and seasonings, but with avocado, cilantro and lime juice to serve. Get the recipe.
Spinach and Pinto Bean Enchiladas (Vegetarian)
Another vegetarian recipe this one uses the mix of baby spinach and Cotija cheese for the flavor, combined with the special taste of smoked paprika, among the usual ingredients and seasonings. Get the recipe.
Refried Bean Enchiladas with Fresh Pico (Vegetarian)
Combining the regular pinto beans with the mashed refried beans, this recipe has a lot of seasonings, cheese and corn tortillas to make it super tasty. Get the recipe.
Rush Hour Refried Beans
Admittedly, it takes some time to produce a huge bubbling pot of perfectly seasoned beans – and this recipe is for those in a hurry, using a can of pinto beans. Heat a skillet, add some onion and garlic, and cook in bacon fat.
A can of beans is drained then added to the mix, mashed in with some cumin, salt and pepper, and whatever other spices you fancy, heated through and in a few minutes you have a plate of re-fried beans to tuck into.
You can make this over a campfire when bugging out, or when the electricity goes off using a gas or solar cooker. Get the recipe.
Korean Style Refried Beans
Pinto beans may originate in Mexico but there is no need to keep to all Mexican spices.
This easy recipe relies on Gochujang, an Asian chili paste made from rice, red chilis and wheat, with a taste that is a mix of savory, sweet and spicy. You can find it in Asian food stores. It can be substituted with Sriracha chili sauce if you find it hard to obtain.
Instead of bacon, use pork belly and cook in sesame oil and add toasted sesame seeds for the Asian flavor. Get the recipe.
Garlicky Pinto Beans
Great for survival situations, this recipe takes 15 minutes, serves four and all it needs is a couple of cans of beans, garlic, salt, olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano.
Lastly, you will need some thin sliced scallions to stir in just before serving. Done and dusted – a meal on the table. Get the recipe.
Southwestern Steak with Pinto Beans
The steak takes centre stage for this meal with the pinto beans in a supporting role. The recipe takes about 20 minutes to prepare, and while the steak is in the grill pan, the skillet can be used to sauté the bell pepper, then the salsa, seasoning, and can of beans are added. It’s incredibly quick and easy. Get the recipe.
Chicken Chipotle Chimichangas
Of all the places to discover Chimichangas I first tried them in a Mexican restaurant in Bali, Indonesia. I was in love, and returned as often as I could persuade my fellow travellers, to enjoy these delicious bites.
Deep fried, they are probably not the most healthy but they are sooo delicious. Perhaps try them in an air frier if you’re worried about the amount of oil used for deep frying. Get the recipe.
Mushroom Bean Burger (Vegan)
When meat is in short supply in survival situations this is a delicious recipe using onion, mushrooms and a can of pinto beans. The recipe uses egg replacer to make it vegan, but you could use egg powder or a fresh egg for a vegetarian meal.
The recipe can be made gluten-free if you avoid serving on buns, and serve instead with rice or some fresh foraged greens. Get the recipe.
Pinto Bean Beef Tacos
Make the mix in a skillet using a can of pinto beans, ground beef, and all the seasonings, then fill taco shells with the mix, add shredded lettuce and grated cheddar cheese for a quick lunch or supper that is sure to be wolfed down by a hungry family. Get the recipe.
Pressure Cooker Mexican Pinto Bean Soup
This recipe is for a spicy (or mild if you prefer), warming soup for those colder days. As the recipe creator points out this recipe works in any pressure cooker – Insta-Pot or not. Smoky bacon, a broth infused with beer, onion and green chilies form the basis for this soup. Get the recipe.
Pinto Bean Soup
This is a quick pinto bean soup recipe that takes around 20 minutes before adding your already cooked pinto beans, or canned pinto beans. Perfect when you have limited access to electricity, or are cooking over a campfire. Get the recipe.
Pinto Bean Ham Soup
Slow simmering on the stove top, or over a campfire make this a deliciously rich soup with the ham hocks giving plenty of flavor, combined with the vegetables, pinto beans and seasonings. Perfect for cold days! Get the recipe.
Pinto Beans salad with avocado and tomatoes
This is an easy meal to prepare in emergencies. It needs either fresh, frozen or canned corn kernels, teamed with a can of pinto beans. Added flavor and color comes from chopped red onion, tomato, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and a splash of vinaigrette or olive oil.
This can either be a main course or served as a side salad. The recipe calls for avocado which would make a delicious finish to the dish but it not absolutely essential in difficult situations. Get the recipe.
Mexican Pinto Bean Salad with Jalapenos
This is a spicy and colorful salad. You can use a can of beans or homemade beans, fresh tomatoes, add green onion, green bell pepper, jalapeno and finish with a twist of lime and a good handful of chopped cilantro. A guaranteed taste explosion in your mouth. Get the recipe.
Pinto Bean Salsa Salad
Just twenty minutes and you can have this on the table to accompany a meat dish or a fish dish. You’ll need a can of pinto beans, fresh corn kernels ( a can will do if you don’t have fresh), avocado, tomato, a bell pepper, lime, cilantro, garlic and chili. Get the recipe.
Creamy Pinto Bean Dip
Made with a can of pinto beans, onion, garlic, bell pepper and seasonings, this is a great dip to serve with tortilla chips, or spread as base when building a nachos dish. Get the recipe.
Best Homemade Bean Dip Recipe
Add pico de gallo (store bought or homemade) to a can of pinto beans, onion and garlic with shredded Mexican cheese for big flavor in this dip. Get the recipe.
Pinto Bean Dip
Control the spiciness of this dip by adding more or less jalapeno. This is a real prepper recipe, relying on garlic and onion powder that can all be kept in the stockpile, as well as canned pinto beans, and canned jalapenos, plus a few other store-cupboard essentials.
It takes just 5 minutes to whip together. Get the recipe.
Bush’s Pinto Bean Pie Recipe
Beans, vanilla, pecan nuts, sugar and eggs all go into this special pie. Who would have thought beans could be combined with sweetness. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream. Get the recipe.
Pinto Bean Cake
We’ve all come to accept that carrots are delightful in a cake, and even zucchini, but just try this pinto bean cake redolent with the flavor of cinnamon, cloves, allspice, raisins, and pecans. Get the recipe.
Pinto Bean Pie
Served with frozen yoghurt or vanilla ice-cream, the spices in this pie are reminiscent of a pumpkin pie. Creamy, rich and sweet, the pie mixture is a rather unappetizing greige color when in the bowl, but the color deepens once you bake it. Get the recipe.
Growing the Ingredients for Pinto Bean Recipes
If you fancy growing your own pinto beans you can plant some from a packet of dried beans, and wait between 3 to 5 months for them to reach maturity as a dry bean, or if you are in a hurry you can start harvesting them as green snap beans.
They come from Mexico so do not appreciate cold, require a bit more space between the plants than other beans, but will give a great return – expect around 60 to 120 beans from each plant.
While some of the recipes collected here seem to have quite extensive lists of ingredients, it is possible for a person with a survival farm or even a balcony garden to grow many of the items used, such as cilantro, oregano, chilis, paprika, and various other seasonings – or add them as dried herbs to your stockpile.
Lime trees will grow in a large pot and can be taken into a greenhouse or indoors providing there is sufficient light during winter. Basics like onions, bell peppers, scallions, and carrots can be grown in a small vegetable patch.
Jeanie is an avid camper and a cook. She likes to do pioneer recipe sin particular, and any other type of survival food that our great-grandfathers loved.