These copycat Chipotle Pinto Beans are easy to make, inexpensive, and healthy! Add to burritos and salads or serve with rice for a tasty vegetarian meal.

These copycat Chipotle Pinto Beans are easy to make, inexpensive, and healthy! Add to burritos and salads or serve with rice for a tasty vegetarian meal.

“Black or pinto beans?”

Before Chipotle removed the pork from its pintos, this was an easy decision. Because bacon!

But now there is no bacon and the beans are just is good, and life is full of tough choices.

Do I need to soak the beans first?

No, you don’t have to soak the beans first.

I created this recipe assuming you would NOT pre-soak the beans. I assumed you would wake up one day and decide to make Chipotle pinto beans.

Un-soaked beans take about 30 minutes longer to cook and require more liquid than soaked beans. This recipe accounts for that.

Warning: If you substitute dried kidney beans, you MUST pre-soak them and boil them for at least 10 minutes. Please see “Kidney Beans are Toxic if Not Cooked Correctly” below.

If you want to soak the beans first, there are two methods to do it: Overnight-soak and Quick-soak.

Overnight-Soaking Method for beans:

  1. Pick through and rinse 1 pound beans.
  2. Cover the beans with 5 cups over water and soak overnight.
  3. Drain and discard soaking liquid (see below “Should I discard soaking liquid?”).

Quick-Soaking Method for beans:

  1. Pick through and rinse 1 pound beans.
  2. To a large saucepan, add beans and enough liquid to cover them by 1 inch.
  3. Bring beans to boil and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove saucepan from heat, cover, and let beans sit for 1 hour.
  5. Drain and discard soaking liquid (see below “Should I discard soaking liquid?”).

Should I discard the soaking liquid?

Yes.

But people have differing opinions on this.

  • Some people say it’s a waste of water to throw away the soaking water.
  • Some people say if you keep the soaking water, it adds a sour taste.

I have learned from cooks in Mexico that they don’t usually soak beans at all. But if they do, they toss the cooking liquid. So that’s what I do, too.

These copycat Chipotle Pinto Beans are easy to make, inexpensive, and healthy! Add to burritos and salads or serve with rice for a tasty vegetarian meal.

Cooking Dried Beans:

You can pre-cook beans to keep on hand or freeze for later. These instructions will work for 1 pound of pinto beans, navy beans, Great Northern beans, red kidney beans, Cannellini beans, or black-eyed peas.

  1. To a large saucepan, add 1 pound beans, 2 ½ teaspoons salt, and water (4 quarts for soaked beans, 5 quarts for un-soaked beans).
  2. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to gentle simmer and cook until beans are tender (about 1 to 1 ¼ hours for soaked beans and 1 ½ to 1 ¾ hours for un-soaked beans).
  3. Stir the beans occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan and adjust heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Drain.

Wait – you add salt to the beans before they are cooked?

Yes.

You may have heard somewhere that the universe will implode if you add salt to beans before they are completely cooked.

However, if you read Kenji López-Alt’s information in his book, The Food Lab, he did some side-by-side testing and determined that salting beans before they are cooked is fine. In fact, doing so helps prevent the beans from exploding (see page 256 in his book).

Kidney Beans are Toxic if Not Cooked Correctly

Kidney beans contain phytohemagglutinin, a type of lectin that is very toxic at high levels.

You MUST pre-soak dried kidney beans and hold them at boiling point (212 degrees Fahrenheit) for at LEAST 10 minutes.

This means you should never cook kidney beans in a slow cooker. You won’t know for sure if the slow cooker reached boiling temps and held it for 10 minutes. Better to be safe than sorry!

How to Cook Chipotle Pinto Beans on the stove:

  1. First, sauté onions in oil.
  2. Next, add garlic, spices, chipotles in adobo for heat, and your beans.
  3. Add enough water to cover the beans, and then simmer until the beans are tender, about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  4. Finally, remove the bay leaf and chipotle chilies if desired. Stir in fresh lemon and lime juice and season to taste with s&p.

How to Cook Chipotle Pinto Beans in a Slow Cooker:

  1. Heat oil until shimmering and cook onions until softened.
  2. Stir in garlic until fragrant, then add beans, spices, and enough water to cover.
  3. Bring to a boil, then transfer to a slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
  4. Remove bay leaves and chipotle chilies if desired. Add lemon juice, lime juice, and s&p to taste.

Can I substitute canned beans?

To substitute canned beans, use 3 or 4 cans of pinto beans. Rinse and drain before adding to the saucepan and bringing to boil.

  • 1 pound of dried pinto beans is approximately 6 ½ cups of cooked beans
  • 6 ½ cups of beans is approximately 52 ounces
  • 3 (15.5 ounce) cans = 45 ounces beans
  • 4 (15.5 ounce) cans = 62 ounces beans

Are Chipotle Pinto Beans Vegan?

Yes, they are. Just have a look at the ingredient statement and see for yourself.

What can I do with my leftover Chipotle peppers and/or adobo sauce?

Transfer to a bag and freeze for future use, or use in:

A side shot of chipotle pinto beans in a pot.

Chipotle Pinto Beans (Copycat)

These copycat Chipotle Pinto Beans are easy to make, inexpensive, and healthy! Add to burritos and salads or serve with rice for a tasty vegetarian meal.
4.91 from 11 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 5 mins
Servings 16 servings
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 113

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or rice bran oil (see notes)
  • 1 medium onion minced
  • 16 ounces dried pinto beans rinsed and sorted
  • 2 chipotle peppers plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (see notes)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups water (enough to cover beans)
  • lemon juice
  • lime juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • In a Dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat, heat oil until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add beans, chipotle pepeprs and adobo sauce, garlic, cumin, oregano, and bay leaf. Add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. 
  • Remove from heat. Remove chipotle chilies if desired and bay leaf. Stir in lemon and lime juices, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe Video

Notes

You can use either Italian or Mexican oregano. They have different flavors (Mexican oregano tastes more like marjoram) but both taste great in this recipe. Feel free to use whatever you have.
Rice Bran oil: Chipotle uses Rice Bran oil in all of their products. Olive oil is more widely available (probably already in your pantry) and works equally well, especially if it has a neutral taste.
Pre-soaking the beans:
Soaking the beans before cooking is not required. However, you can cut about 30 minutes off the cooking time if you pre-soak the beans. WARNING: If you substitute dried kidney beans, you MUST pre-soak them and boil them for at least 10 minutes.
Overnight-Soaking Method for beans:
  1. Pick through and rinse 1 pound beans.
  2. Cover the beans with 5 cups over water and soak overnight.
  3. Drain and discard soaking liquid.
Quick-Soaking Method for beans:
  1. Pick through and rinse 1 pound beans.
  2. To a large saucepan, add beans and enough liquid to cover them by 1 inch.
  3. Bring beans to boil and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove saucepan from heat, cover, and let beans sit for 1 hour.
  5. Drain and discard soaking liquid.
To substitute canned beans:
  1. Use 3 or 4 cans of Pinto beans.
  2. Rinse and drain before adding to the pot and cook until heated through, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 113kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 6gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 9mgPotassium: 407mgFiber: 5gSugar: 1gVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 40mgIron: 2mg
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Comments

  1. Wondering if anyone has tried these in the Instant Pot? I’m thinking 45 minutes cook time and natural release with maybe 3 cups of liquid? Thoughts?

    1. Hi Amanda! I’m sorry for the delay, but I actually had you and one other person ask about these beans in the instant pot, so I wanted to test them for you two before giving you an answer. I saw tons of conflicting information from different sources on how long to do the beans. Ultimately, I ended up trying the bean button, and that cooked them on high pressure for 30 minutes, and did the natural release (which took another 30 minutes). They were chewy! I ended up closing the instant pot back up and doing another 10 minutes manual high pressure, then quick release. They were perfect! Here is what I would recommend:

      -Follow recipe card above for all ingredients (use 6 cups of water for sure)
      -Manual, high pressure 40 minutes, natural release

      I will update this post soon with these instructions! Have a great day! :D

    1. Hi Jenny! I’m sorry for the delay, but I actually had you and one other person ask about these beans in the instant pot, so I wanted to test them for you two before giving you an answer. I saw tons of conflicting information from different sources on how long to do the beans. Ultimately, I ended up trying the bean button, and that cooked them on high pressure for 30 minutes, and did the natural release (which took another 30 minutes). They were chewy! I ended up closing the instant pot back up and doing another 10 minutes manual high pressure, then quick release. They were perfect! Here is what I would recommend:

      -Follow recipe card above for all ingredients
      -Manual, high pressure 40 minutes, natural release

      I will update this post soon with these instructions! Have a great day! :D

  2. I made these tonight and they came out amazing!! This recipe is perfect. Taste just like Chipotle! 5 stars

    1. Anything that absorbs water during cooking should always be covered after bringing to boil and reduced to simmer otherwise the water evaporates and the result is a dry finished product. Same principle applies to rice

    2. Covering will help reduce evaporative losses but it isn’t strictly required. As for rice, most “boiling” rice reciped are really steamed rice which REQUIRES covering. True boiled rice doesn’t and you drain the water from it when you’re done.

  3. Never knew not to soak beans overnight!…always tossed the water too. Did i mention that this recipe is delicious!?5 stars

    1. And you were smarter for it. Tossing the water tosses the disolved sugars that make beans so magical.

  4. Hi! I have a question. I thought I had saw it on the recipe before [I have made this and a few other recipes you have listed with this, all super yummy if I might add! =D] but maybe I imagined it because I’m not seeing it now. Lol. How much lime and lemon juice do you add? I thought I had saw 1 TBSP for each but I don’t see any specific amount. TIA!! =D

    1. Hi Trinity, yes! You definitely can. You could simmer everything together for 20 or 30 minutes and be all done. 1 pound of dried beans (what this recipe calls for) is the equivalent of 4 cans of beans. So, if you just want to do a single can of beans, you should divide the rest of the ingredients by 4 (if that makes sense). Or use 2 cans of beans and then just halve the recipe (easier math). You can also feel free to just wing it! If you have any questions or need anything else, just let me know! Thanks for the question.

    1. You read it right! There are no beans in my bean recipe! Fixing the typo now, so sorry about that. :) But what a nice pot of spices and adobo sauce…. LOL. The beans go in in Step 2. Thanks Sarah, sorry about that.

    1. Hi Tracee! I used to do this all the time too, although some people have different opinions. But that’s awesome! I should probably start testing this and see if it makes a different in our house, too. Some people say the cure to gas from beans is to eat more beans! I have no idea if that’s true. :)