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Mexican Pinto Beans Recipe

These Mexican pinto beans are spicy, smoky, and just a touch sweet. Using tinned pinto beans, this ridiculously easy recipe takes less than 15minutes to make and uses minimal, pantry staple ingredients to result in a delicious dish perfect for lunches or dinners throughout the week.

 a bowl of mexican pinto beans topped with sliced avocado, a spoonful of plain yogurt, pickled red onions, and a wedge of lime

Beans are a huge staple of my diet. So is Mexican food. So it makes sense that Mexican beans are a big favourite around here. Between my Mexican black bean recipe and these ever-so-slighty more creamy pinto beans, we are feasting on the regular over here!

On the days when I have more time (and energy), I love turning my pinto beans into refried beans and making an epic burrito (similar to my black bean burrito recipe but with the homemade refried beans subbed for the black beans) or burrito bowl, but on days where I need something quick and easy, these Mexican pinto beans are my go-to.

Dried vs Tinned Pinto Beans: Which Is Best?

If you are using tinned pinto beans as I do in this recipe, you simply need to drain the can and rinse with cold water.

However, using dried pinto beans is much cheaper and – some say – more flavoursome. Of course, that does come with the caveat that you’ll need to account for soaking and pre-cooking your pinto beans before making this recipe, which dramatically increases the time to make your beans!

Personally, I keep a stock of both tinned and dried pinto beans to hand so I can grab a can when I’m in a rush, but I can also cook a bigger batch of dried beans when I’ve planned ahead and want a large portion for meal prep.

To cook your dried pinto beans, you’ll need to:

  • Soak them in water overnight
  • Drain the water the beans have soaked in
  • Add your soaked beans and water (following a ratio of approximately 3 parts water/broth to 1 parts beans) to a pan, bring to a boil, and simmer for 2 – 2.5 hours
  • Then, you can go ahead and follow the instructions for these Mexican pinto beans below

Ingredients You’ll Need

Below I’ve listed all the ingredients used in this recipe – please make sure you scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom for the exact quantities and follow-along instructions.

ingredients needed for mexican pinto beans: pinto beans, a small white bowl with the seasonings, diced white onion, minced garlic, tomato puree, brown sugar. Missing in the picture are vegetable stock , chipotle paste, and apple cider vinegar.
  • Pinto beans: As mentioned above, I often opt for tinned pinto beans as they’re much more convenient for my lifestyle. You could use dried beans (that you’ve pre-cooked) however.
  • Tomato puree
  • White onion
  • Garlic
  • Chipotle chilli paste: If you want your Mexican pinto beans to have a lot of spice, add in the chipotle chilli paste. Alternatively, however, the sundried tomato paste delivers just as much flavour without any of the added spice (aside from the seasonings you’ll add in). It’s a good option for milder pinto beans that don’t overpower a bigger dish.
  • Apple cider vinegar: I always love my beans to have a slightly acidic, tangy flavour, so apple cider vinegar (or alternatively, white wine vinegar) is a must!
  • Oil: Use whatever oil you prefer – for me, that’s olive oil.
  • Seasonings and spices: We add smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin powder, cayenne pepper, and oregano to this recipe – as well as salt and pepper.
  • Brown sugar: The brown sugar gives the pinto beans an ever-so-slightly caramelized, barbecue taste that is absolutely divine.
  • Vegetable stock: You’ll need about 1 cup (250ml) of vegetable stock (I use Kallo stock cubes mixed with boiling water) to help make the sauce in the beans.

How To Make These Easy Mexican Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are extremely popular in Mexican cuisine, alongside black beans, and I love them because of their almost creamy consistency.

To start, heat your oil in a saucepan and add the minced garlic. Saute for a minute or two until it begins to turn golden and fragrant, then add the tomato puree and chipotle chilli paste. Cook for two minutes to allow the pastes to turn fragrant and deepen in colour.

Next, add your smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, apple cider viengar, and stir.

Tip the drained pinto beans into the pan followed by your vegetable stock, and simmer the beans on low heat for 5 – 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened. I then use a hand blender to blend about 1/4 to 1/3 of the pan to give you a wonderfully thick sauce for Mexican pinto beans that will hold up alone, in burritos, or any way you want them!


To serve this pinto bean dish, I top my beans with:

  • Freshly sliced avocado
  • A squeeze of lime juice
  • Pickled red onions
  • A spoonful of plain yogurt
  • Sliced jalapenos

Making ‘Authentic’ Mexican beans

There are a lot of ways to cook your pinto beans ‘Mexican’ style and my recipe is by no means the only way – but it does result in a smoky, BBQ-tomato sauce using Mexican spices, and it’s delicious! To many, I’m sure this recipe is completely inauthentic to how you may make it – but this is the recipe I’ve tried and tested over many years and always fall back on.

Best of all, this Mexican pinto beans recipe is very versatile. If you don’t have one of the ingredients listed in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, it’s easy to swap it out for something else.

close up shot of mexican pinto beans

Serving Suggestings

I love to serve my pinto beans with toasted tortilla chips or pitta bread with a drizzle of garlic oil, served alongside some homemade guacamole, chopped coriander, and jalapenos. It’s also great served with brown rice or over a jacket potato – or even as a topping for nachos!

They’re also great used as a replacement for the black beans in these black bean tacos with a dreamy avocado sauce, as a topping for my epic loaded dirty fries or these spicy cajun fries, or alongside these spicy Mexican potatoes with avocado crema.

Other recipes you might like:

**This recipe was first published in 2019. In 2024, I updated the recipe to add diced onion and garlic for more flavor. I also removed the addition of soy sauce to make this Mexican pinto bean recipe more authentic with less unnecessary ingredients.

Mexican Pinto Beans

Mexican Pinto Beans

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 minute

One of my go-to quick and easy bean recipes, these delicious barbecue Mexican-style pinto beans are ready in less than 20 minutes.


  • 1 tin of pinto beans (400g), drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp chipotle chilli paste
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable stock


    1. Heat your oil in a pan on a medium heat and add the diced onion. Saute for 4-5 minutes then add your minced garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes until golden and fragrant.
    2. Add your tomato puree and chipotle chilli paste, stir.
    3. Add in all the spices, the apple cider vinegar, and the brown sugar and stir.
    4. Tip in the drained pinto beans and stir them into the sauce/spice mix until fully coated.
    5. Add your veegtable stock (use more for a thinner sauce) and simmer the beans on a low heat for 5-10 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
    6. Blend between 1/4 and 1/3 of the pan with a stick blender (or remove, blend, and return to the pan).
    7. Serve with fresh lime, chopped cilantro, plain yogurt, pickled red onions, and sliced avocado.


Store your beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Alternatively, these pinto beans are also suitable for freezing. Just defrost fully and then reheat before serving.

For refried beans, follow all the steps above, and then use a hand blender to blitz your beans, or you could use a potato masher to mash them. This is a great option for tacos, burritos etc.

Serve with toasted tortilla chips and avocado, or simply with brown rice for a healthy and simple meal that takes just minutes to make.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 218Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 453mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 9gSugar: 3gProtein: 9g

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