Mom's Pinto Beans

I grew up eating lots of Mom's pinto beans and cornbread, one of my favorite things to eat. I called Mom last night (10/16/2008) and asked her to tell me how she makes her beans because mine never turn out as good as hers.

These can be used with or in burritos, chile, huevos rancheros, enchiladas, green chile stew, etc. -- anywhere you'd use canned beans. Or eat them the way I did as a kid: Spoon the beans and lots of the bean juice over freshly-made cornbread and maybe add some chow chow. After Dad ate his beans he'd eat crumble-in, pronounced "crummel-in", which is cornbread torn up into a glass of milk with salt and pepper. I never got into eating crumble-in but Dad really liked it. We also often had good fresh garden vegetables (grown by Dad) to eat with beans.

NOTE: We have stopped soaking our beans. We have read that this reduces the flavor. And, especially with a pressure cooker, soaking is not necessary.

IMPORTANT: This recipe uses a pressure cooker. It's difficult and time-consuming to cook beans at the higher altitudes in New Mexico without one. (Hey, Denver isn't the only mile-high city. Albuquerque is a mile high, too!) Of course, be sure you know how to safely use a pressure cooker BEFORE trying this recipe. This recipe doesn't attempt to explain how to use a pressure cooker. Follow the instructions with your cooker. (I highly recommend InstaPot pressure cooker. Very easy to use.)

The Recipe


  1. Don't proceed until you know how to use a pressure cooker safely!
  2. Sort through beans, checking for stones.
  3. Wash the beans well. (The ones we get from coop usually have little clods of mud in them and are very dusty.)
  4. Add rest of the ingredients listed above.
  5. Add water so that water at least 2 inches above the bean level. (My Presto cooker instruction book says don't fill pressure cooker over 1/2 full.)
  6. Stir and remove any loose bean skins that float to the top.
  7. Cook in pressure cooker, under pressure, for about 45 to 60 minutes. (Experiment to see what works for you.) (With my InstaPot I cook for 45 if do slow release and 60 if do quick release.) Beans should be completely tender, NOT crunchy or al dente. But not mushy either.
  8. Of course, don't open the cooker till it's cooled and the pressure has gone down completely.

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