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.
4.96 from 23 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 ground 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. After gaining confidence from having success with the copycat black beans recipe, I tried this one as well. I made it as written, except for the fact that I forgot to add the lemon and lime juice at the end. Delicious regardless! I’ve always been afraid to cook dried beans (I tried once before and they never softened), but these were perfect. I’m happy to have these in my freezer.5 stars

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