Mexican Beans are cooked in the crock pot overnight for a truly authentic taste. Made with just a few ingredients, these slow cooker pinto beans are the best side dish for all your favorite Mexican dishes.
On any given day, if you were to ask me what my favorite type of food is, it would be Mexican. But to be honest, even though we have some great ones in Southern California, I’m not a huge fan of Mexican restaurants. In my experience, you just can’t beat homemade.
Crock pot pinto beans are slow cooked, for a very long time – we usually leave them at least 12 hours or so. Trust me when you walk through the door, or get up in the morning you will be met with the most amazing smell.
Crock Pot Pinto Beans Ingredients
It doesn’t take much to make this delicious side dish. You’ll need a total of 7-8 ingredients. This is truly a dump and go recipe where you literally just dump everything in the crock pot, set it, and forget it!
Dried pinto beans – The beans go in dry and they soften and cook as the slow cooker does its thing. Be sure to pick through them for small rocks and broken beans and rinse them well.
Garlic – fresh or jarred minced garlic adds flavor. You can leave it whole and peeled if you like.
Pace Picante Sauce – I don’t always recommend specific brands but I highly recommend that you use Pace for these pinto beans.
Bacon – put it in raw to save time, or chop and cook for an extra smoky flavor.
Onion – the onion can also go in raw or you can saute it first. The beans cook for so long that the onion will be cooked and soft.
Jalapeno – Chop it up, leave the seeds for heat or don’t. If you don’t want to bite into a piece of jalapeno, you can slice them into larger pieces and pick them out later.
Salt – You want to add a generous amount of salt before cooking, then taste and add more before serving. Beans, like potatoes, will absorb the water and salt is important for flavor.
Pour a bag of dried pinto beans into a colander and rinse with cold water. Pick through them to look for any broken beans or pebbles.
Add the dry beans to the bottom of your slow cooker, then the salsa, bacon, jalapenos, onions, and spices.
Add enough water to completely cover the beans, then put the lid on and turn the heat to low.
I mentioned that these beans take a while to cook. We usually let them bathe in the slow cooker for 12-14 hours. And let me tell you – it’s worth every minute! I will usually put them in the slow cooker the night before and let them cook on low until dinner the next day. Because of this slow cooking method, the flavors have plenty of time to come together and they form this delicious broth that thickens as the beans sit. You can turn them into refried beans too.
Top Tips and Tricks for Slow Cooker Pinto Beans
You can see in the photos that we cut the jalapenos and onions a bit larger so that anyone who doesn’t like them can pick them out. You can dice them up small if you like.
See that crispy bacon? You can skip the cooking step for that if you want, but you’ll get a richer flavor if you render the fat and crisp the bacon in a skillet first.
You’ll want to use a 6-quart slow cooker for this recipe because it will fill it up. Anything smaller and you’ll want to cut the recipe in half.
Feel free to drain some of the liquid from the slow cooker if you want – there will be a lot. Otherwise use a slotted spoon for serving.
Add a few squeezes of lime juice for a tangy bite.
Season really well with salt. You can add salt before cooking, but be sure to taste them afterward because beans on their own are very bland.
Can You Freeze Pinto Beans?
Absolutely! This recipe is perfect for portioning and freezing because it makes a ton. Once the beans are cooled you can portion them into airtight freezer containers or freezer bags. Freeze them for up to 6 months and thaw in the fridge when you’re ready to enjoy them. Reheat smaller portions in a saucepan on the stove, or large portions in a crock pot.
How to store leftovers – Cool crock pot pinto beans and place in an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Reheat in the microwave, on the stove top or in your slow cooker.
What Goes with Mexican Beans?
Mexican beans and rice are a pretty classic side for just about any Mexican meal. These pinto beans are great because they are low in fat and high in protein, they are actually a great meal or snack all on their own. Top with cheese and sour cream for something extra special, or stuff them in burritos or on top tostadas.
Here are some more authentic Mexican recipes to serve with beans:
5-6cupswater(enough to cover the beans completely)
Optional: fresh cilantro for garnish
Stir all ingredients together in the slow cooker. Add about 5-6 cups of water or as much is needed to fully immerse the beans.
Cover and set slow cooker to low. Cook for 12 hours, or until beans are nice and soft. Since slow cookers vary, cook times can vary as well.
Garnish with sliced jalapenos and cilantro if desired
Nutritional information is approximate and based on 10 serving of approximately 1/2-¾ of a cup.Bacon can be added raw if time is short.Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days, or in the freezer for 6 months.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.