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HomeHealthy FoodEasy Pinto Beans Recipe - Thick and Creamy

Easy Pinto Beans Recipe – Thick and Creamy


This easy pinto beans recipe is the perfect side dish to serve with any Tex-Mex-inspired supper. Thick and creamy, gluten free, low fat, and vegan, too!

creamy pinto beans over rice

You know you’ve arrived at a stellar pinto bean recipe when your husband requests they become a permanent staple at the family’s weekly taco night.

Easy pinto beans recipe, FTW!

This thick and creamy side dish is not only incredibly simple, but low fat, gluten free, and vegetarian / vegan too. Creamy Pinto Beans are the perfect pairing with any Tex-Mex-inspired dinner, or served simply with rice and accoutrements (hello, new fave #girldinner!)

bowl of creamy pinto beans with toppings

Easy Pinto Beans Recipe

I like to call these beans “un-fried refried beans” because while the texture is creamy like refried beans, they don’t require lard or excess fat to make. Nor does this recipe require soaking beans or planning ahead. This is one of the many reasons why you’re going to love this stovetop pinto beans recipe!

  1. Simple. While yes, soaking and cooking dried beans is simple — opening a can of pinto beans is faster and still inexpensive.
  2. Gluten free. All beans, plus the rice we usually serve these creamy pinto beans with, are naturally gluten free.
  3. Healthy. Beans are a fantastic source of soluble fiber and protein, and are fat and cholesterol free.
  4. Inexpensive. My three kids’ appetites are such that I need to cook at least 2lbs of ground beef anytime we make tacos. Bringing this hearty pinto beans recipe into the mix has allowed me to get away with cooking just 1lb of ground beef.
  5. Delicious. In case the photos haven’t convinced you, these beans are FANTASTICALLY tasty! You’re going to be shocked by how a handful of everyday ingredients creates such a delicious little side dish.

Ingredients Needed

These easy pinto beans not only come together in minutes, but require only a handful of everyday ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Canned pinto beans: pinto beans are a medium-size bean with a mild taste and creamy yet hearty texture. Canned pinto beans are nutritious, convenient, and inexpensive, and I prefer Bush’s Pinto Beans, which are gluten free. A portion of the beans are blended to thicken the dish, while the other portion remains whole for texture.
  • Aromatics: minced onion, jalapenos, and garlic add cozy, craveable flavor.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: for sauting the onion, jalapeno, and garlic.
  • Seasonings: cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper bring a warming, smoky taste to the beans.
  • Hot sauce: this is optional but I find adds a welcomed tang, and heat of course. I like Lola’s hot sauce, which is gluten free. If you want to add tang but not heat, add a drizzle of fresh lime juice instead.
  • Liquid: it may be necessary to add a splash of chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water when heating the creamy beans. I’ll cover this more below!

creamy pinto beans with rice and cheese

How to Serve Creamy Pinto Beans

The sky is the limit as to what, when, and where you can serve these beans. They make an excellent and easy side dish to pair with recipes like tacos, Cheese Enchiladas, Chicken Enchiladas, Shredded Beef Enchiladas, and Homemade Burrito Bowls, but can be used within other recipes too. They’re soft and creamy when hot, and spreadable when cool.

Use the creamy pinto beans to create:

  • Bean and Rice Bowls: scoop the creamy pinto beans over cooked white rice or Cilantro Lime Rice with shredded cheese, pickled jalapenos, and salsa. Add grilled chicken or steak for additional protein.
  • Bean Dip: top the warm beans with fresh pico de gallo, sour cream, and sliced raw jalapenos then serve with tortilla chips.
  • Mexican-Style Pizza: spread the pinto beans over gluten free pizza crust instead of pizza sauce then add shredded Mexican-blend cheese and bake. Top with fresh toppings before slicing and serving.
  • Loaded Nachos: dollop the beans over tortilla chips then sprinkle on shredded Mexican-blend cheese and melt under the broiler. Top with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, pickled jalapenos, and fresh toppings then serve.
  • Tostadas: spread a layer of the pinto beans on crisped corn tortillas then add ranchero chicken and sauce.
  • Bean and Cheese Enchiladas: add a couple Tablespoons creamy pinto beans plus shredded Mexican-blend cheese inside corn tortillas then roll and place inside a casserole dish. Top with homemade red enchilada sauce then bake.

Top Tips for Easy Pinto Beans

This is a delightfully easy recipe though I have some notes re: the canned beans to consider before cooking.

  1. Salt. Sodium levels in canned beans can vary WIDELY based on the brand. For example, one brand I tested this recipe with has 140mg sodium per serving, while another brand has 470mg/serving. That said, I advise you wait to add salt until the end after tasting the final dish.
  2. Liquid. Similar to the differences in sodium, canned beans can vary in how much liquid they’re packed in. One can of beans is blended with the liquid inside the can, so if needed, feel free to add chicken or vegetable broth, or water, to thin the creamy pinto beans out to your desired texture.

Alright — break out the beans and let’s do this!

tortilla chip dipped into pinto beans recipe

Pair Creamy Pinto Beans with These

How to Make this Pinto Beans Recipe

Step 1: Prepare the pinto beans.

Start by adding one can pinto beans, including the liquid in the can, into a blender then blending until smooth and creamy. Drain then rinse a second can of pinto beans into a strainer and set both preparations aside.

blended pinto beans

Step 2: Saute the aromatics.

Heat extra virgin olive oil in a small pan over medium heat then add minced onions and fresh jalapeno. Saute until tender, 5-7 minutes, then add pressed or minced fresh garlic cloves and saute until the garlic is very fragrant, 1-2 minutes.

Tip: did you know, the larger the jalapeno, the more mild it is? For spicier pinto beans, choose small jalapenos and leave the seeds and ribs intact before chopping.

saucepan with sauteed onions and jalapeno

Step 3: Add the beans and seasonings.

To the sauted aromatics, add both the blended and drained beans plus smoked paprika (use chili powder if you don’t have smoked paprika on hand), cumin, and black pepper. This is when you can add a dash or 30 of hot sauce, if you like!

Cook the creamy pinto beans while stirring for 4-5 minutes, or until heated through, adding a splash of chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water as needed to maintain a creamy consistency. Once the beans are hot, they’re ready to rock!

If you want to use the beans in a spreadable way — for example, inside Bean and Cheese Enchiladas or as a Mexican-Style Pizza sauce, cool the beans and they’ll become spreadable.

creamy pinto beans in a saucepan

How to Store Pinto Beans

Store leftover Creamy Pinto Beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days then microwave to reheat, or enjoy cold with tortilla chips (highly recommend!)

These beans are also very freezer friendly. Scoop cold leftovers into a Ziplock freezer back then freeze flat. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or in a bowl of warm water.

However you serve them, I hope you adore this easy and delicious creamy pinto beans recipe! Enjoy!

bowl of pinto beans and rice with salsa

More Easy Bean Recipes

Description

This easy pinto beans recipe is the perfect side dish to serve with any Tex-Mex-inspired supper. Thick and creamy, gluten free, low fat, and vegan, too!

Ingredients

  • 2, 15oz cans pinto beans (see notes)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot or 1/2 yellow onion, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed then minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper (see notes)
  • hot sauce, optional
  • chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water, optional

Directions

  1. Pour one can of pinto beans, including the liquid in the can, into a high-speed blender then blend until smooth and creamy and set aside. Drain then rinse the second can of pinto beans and set aside.
  2. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the shallots/onions and jalapeno then saute until tender, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic then saute until extremely fragrant, 1 minute.
  3. Add the pureed beans, drained and rinsed beans, smoked paprika, cumin, pepper, and hot sauce, if using, then stir to combine. Add chicken broth, vegetable broth or water,if needed to thin out the beans then cook while stirring until warmed through, 4-5 minutes. Add salt to taste then serve. Note: the beans will thicken as they cool.

Notes

  • Sodium levels in canned beans can vary WIDELY based on the brand. I advise you wait to add salt until the end after tasting the final dish.
  • Canned beans can vary in how much liquid they’re packed in. Feel free to add chicken or vegetable broth, or water, to thin the creamy pinto beans out to your desired texture while heating.

Serving suggestions:

  • Bean and Rice Bowls: scoop the creamy pinto beans over cooked white rice or Cilantro Lime Rice with shredded cheese, pickled jalapenos, and salsa. Add grilled chicken or steak for additional protein.
  • Bean Dip: top the warm beans with fresh pico de gallo, sour cream, and sliced raw jalapenos then serve with tortilla chips.
  • Mexican-Style Pizza: spread the pinto beans over gluten free pizza crust instead of pizza sauce then add shredded Mexican-blend cheese and top with fresh toppings before slicing and serving.
  • Loaded Nachos: dollop the beans over tortilla chips then sprinkle on shredded Mexican-blend cheese and melt under the broiler. Top with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, pickled jalapenos, and fresh toppings then serve.
  • Tostadas: spread a layer of the pinto beans on crisped corn tortillas then add ranchero chicken and sauce.
  • Bean Enchiladas: add a couple Tablespoons creamy pinto beans plus shredded Mexican-blend cheese inside corn tortillas then roll and place inside a casserole dish. Top with homemade red enchilada sauce the bake.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

photo collage of easy pinto beans recipe

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin

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