How to Prepare Pinto Beans for Cooking


Whether you are using pinto beans grown in your own garden or cooking store-bought pinto beans, preparing the beans before cooking is necessary. Pinto beans provide vitamins, minerals and a quarter of the recommended daily allowance of protein, according to the New Mexico State University extension office. Pinto beans can be used in a variety of recipes or eaten on their own as a side dish. Getting the beans from their hard, dried state to an edible and soft state for recipes takes minimal work.

Step 1

Pour the dried pinto beans into a colander. Sort through the beans and remove any that are shriveled or discolored as well as any small stones and anything else that isn't a bean.

Step 2

Rinse the beans in clear water, moving them around with your hand.

Step 3

Fill a pot with 5 cups of hot water for each 1 cup of dried pinto beans. Boil for two minutes, then let stand covered for one hour. Alternately, cover beans with cold water and soak them in the pot overnight in the refrigerator.

Step 4

Pour the beans into a colander and drain out the soaking water. Refill the pot with fresh water using 5 cups of water for every cup of beans.

Step 5

Place the pot on the stove and cover with the lid. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and simmer on the stove for two hours or until beans are tender.

Tips and Warnings

  • Beans may take longer to cook if you have hard water. Add ¼ tsp. baking soda per cup of beans to alleviate hard water concerns.

Things You'll Need

  • Colander
  • Measuring cups
  • Pot with lid


  • New Mexico State University Extension: Using Pinto Beans
Keywords: preparing pinto beans, cooking dried beans, soaking beans

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.