Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you…well, you know. I can’t believe I haven’t taught that song to Vida yet. Gotta get on that. But first, let’s talk about making Instant Pot Mexican Pinto Beans. Because they’re easy, and delicious, and makes your life easier because you’ll have home cooked pinto beans on hand whenever you need them. Like for burritos, or tacos, or taco salad, or enchiladas, or tostadas, or soup, or chili, or whatever else you do with beans. I’m not here to judge how you let loose with legumes.
Getting these pinto beans cooking is straight up simple and requires next to no effort on your part. Rinse off a pound or two of dried pinto beans and add them to the Instant Pot along with half of an onion (keep the root end intact), a couple of garlic cloves, and some salt. If you’re feeling fancy, toss in a bay leaf and maybe even a whole jalapeño (for just a bit of a kick and a lot of flavor). The cilantro sprig adds a bit of brightness, and don’t worry, you just pull it out at the end along with the other flavor party guests. Lock the lid, set the cook time for 35 minutes, and walk away. The pressure will build in about 10 minutes, then the beans will cook for 35 minutes, then it will take about 30 minutes for the pressure to release. So you’re free as the wind blows for an hour and a half, basically. But then…you get this.
Plump, soft, warm, delicious pinto beans ready to to fulfill their date with dinner destiny. Or lunch destiny. Or breakfast destiny. You get it.
These are so good you may even be tempted to just toss some in a bowl with bit of the liquid gold in which they cooked, and eat them straight up. If you do that, may I recommend thinning out some Savory Cashew Cream with a bit of water and drizzling it over the top? I may? Thanks. Now you should heed my advice, because it’s solid. If you’re a cilantro person, toss some of that on top too. I’m really hungry right now.
You know what you can also make now, right? REFRIED BEANS. Except I don’t fry mine, or re-fry them for that matter. When did the first fry happen in order to necessitate a re-fry? I’ve never really gotten to the bottom of this. Anyway…you can simply mash the beans up or use an immersion blender to get a really smooth puree. Set aside the cooking liquid and add it in as necessary if things are looking too thick. Then just add salt to taste. Raise your hand if you also think that canned refried beans have WAY too much salt. This way, you are in control of the sodium, and that’s a good thing. Also, no cans to open.
Now I know we already talked about all the different ways you could use these beans, but let me just tell you one more option. They are right at home nestled into a Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl. Oh yes, that happened. And it was everything I hoped it would be (and more). So get ready for that.
- 2 lbs dry pinto beans
- 1 white or yellow onion halved but still connected to the root end
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 cups water
- 1 bay leaf optional
- 2 sprigs cilantro optional
- 1 fresh jalapeño optional
Add all ingredients to the liner of the Instant Pot and cook at high pressure for 35 minutes.
Allow for a natural pressure release (about 30 minutes), then remove the aromatics and season to taste with additional salt if needed.
Use immediately in your favorite recipe, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze in 2-cup portions.
Flavor variations: Chipotle - add 1 chipotle chile in adobo Smoky Bacon - add 1 T. liquid smoke Lime - add zest and juice of 1 lime To make refried beans - drain beans, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. Mash beans or blend with immersion blender, adding in cooking liquid as needed. Beans can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or frozen in 2-cup portions.