Cheesy Pinto Beans

$2.96 recipe / $0.74 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.88 from 40 votes
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We’re getting back to the basics with this one! I love exploring really simple ways to transform pantry staples, like canned beans, into a filling and satisfying meal. For these Cheesy Pinto Beans, I simply seasoned up some canned beans, puréed half to make the beans nice and creamy, then stirred in a little cheese to make it extra flavorful and satisfying. Serve them over rice and you’ve got an easy and satisfying meal for pennies.

A bowl of cheesy pinto beans over rice.

What Are Pinto Beans?

Pinto beans have been a staple ingredient in many parts of the world, including Mexico and the Southwest U.S., for generations, so if you live in those areas you’re probably very familiar with this delicious bean. But if pinto beans aren’t already part of your regular diet, this recipe will be a great introduction. Pinto beans are a small, tan-colored bean that has a speckled appearance when dried. They have a deliciously creamy texture once cooked, which makes them great for refried beans, soup, burritos, or just enjoying over rice, like I did here.

Can I Use Dry Beans?

Dry beans will always be more budget-friendly, usually lower sodium, and oftentimes have better flavor, but they can definitely a little more time and work to prepare. This Cheesy Pinto Bean recipe is designed for convenience, so we’re using canned beans this time around. If you want to use pinto beans that you’ve cooked from dry, you’ll need about three cups of cooked beans. You’ll likely need to add a little more salt to your recipe at the end, as well.

How to Serve Cheesy Pinto Beans

This deliciously simple recipe can be eaten a few different ways. I served mine over a bowl of rice, but you could also purée more of the beans and serve it as a beany chip dip! I think it would also be good served in a bowl then scooped up with some fluffy naan or pita. Or, simply serve them alone as a side dish with your favorite meal.

What Else Can I Add?

Beans are such a flexible ingredient, so there are several other ingredients you can add to these cheesy pinto beans. Here are some other ingredients that you can stir into your beans:

  • Diced Hatch green chiles
  • Salsa
  • Diced red onion
  • Diced ham or bacon
  • Sour cream (makes the beans EXTRA creamy)
  • Cilantro
  • Green onions
Cheesy Pinto Beans on a serving spoon in the pot.
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Cheesy Pinto Beans

4.88 from 40 votes
Cheesy Pinto Beans are a quick and satisfying meal made with simple pantry staple ingredients, like canned beans.
Overhead view of a bowl of cheesy pinto beans over rice.
Servings 4 ⅔ cup each
Prep 10 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 jalapeño (optional) ($0.08)
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.04)
  • 2 15oz. cans pinto beans ($2.00)
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika ($0.03)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin ($0.03)
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)
  • 2 dashes hot sauce ($0.10)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese ($0.50)

Instructions 

  • Mince the garlic and finely dice the jalapeño (remove the stem and seeds).
  • Add the garlic, jalapeño, and cooking oil to a pot. Sauté the garlic and jalapeño over medium heat for about one minute, or just until the garlic is very fragrant.
  • Add one can of pinto beans to a blender, with the liquid in the can, and purée until smooth.
  • Add the puréed beans and the second can of beans (drained) to the saucepot with the garlic and jalapeño. Stir to combine.
  • Season the beans with the smoked paprika, cumin, pepper, and hot sauce. Stir to combine, then heat through over medium, stirring occasionally.
  • Finally, add the shredded cheddar and stir until it has melted smoothly into the beans. Taste the beans and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Serve over rice or with your favorite meal.

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Nutrition

Serving: 0.66cupCalories: 268kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 13gFat: 10gSodium: 664mgFiber: 10g
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How to Make Cheesy Pinto Beans – Step by Step Photos

Garlic and jalapeño in a pot.

Mince two cloves of garlic and finely dice one jalapeño (seeds and stem removed). Add them to a pot along with one tablespoon of cooking oil. Sauté over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or just until the garlic becomes really fragrant.

Puréed pinto beans in a blender.

Add one 15oz. can of pinto beans to a blender (with the liquid in the can) and purée until smooth. Alternately, you can use an immersion blender in the pot with the beans.

Pinto beans in the pot, puréed beans being poured into the pot.

Add the puréed beans to the pot along with a second 15oz. can of pinto beans (drained). Stir to combine.

Seasonings added to the pot.

Season the beans with ¼ tsp smoked paprika, ¼ tsp ground cumin, ⅛ tsp freshly cracked black pepper, and a couple of dashes of hot sauce. Stir to combine and then allow the beans to heat through, stirring occasionally.

Shredded cheese added to the beans.

Once the beans are hot, add ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese.

Cheesy pinto beans being stirred.

Stir the beans until the cheese has melted smoothly into the beans.

Finished cheesy pinto beans in the pot.

Taste the beans and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Because canned beans and cheese contain a fair amount of salt, I did not find that I needed to add any to the beans. Serve the beans over rice, with chips, or as a side to your favorite meal!

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  1. Delicious, simple and flexible. I added a half an onion I had to eat up. I want to try it with other kinds of peppers.

  2. I halved the recipe, and simply mashed one can beans “halfway”, right in the pot using a potato masher, until they more or less looked like the beans in the picture. Served them over 50/50 white rice and cauliflower rice, because I had leftovers of both to use. And I topped my bowl with a few drops of hot sauce and an egg. It made a fine breakfast!

  3. Okay, I’ve made this recipe an embarrassing amount of times since it’s been posted because it’s so simple and beans + rice is just a comforting combo. I up the spice amount and serve it with yellow rice. My partner and I just love this meal.

  4. Really easy and yummy! I almost always have these ingredients on hand. Used pickled jalapeño since that’s what I had and it was super good! Thanks!

  5. You did it again! This recipe was amazing for our meatless Monday. Can I give it more than 5 stars?

  6. When you say 15oz cans do you mean 15 fluid ounces? I can only find 19oz cans that say 19 fluid ounces.

    1. If you want to follow the recipe to a T, just reserve a quarter cup for a different preparation. I’d use the entire can though. Taste taste taste as you cook and adjust for seasoning. XOXO -Monti

      1. Thanks, should I use 2 cans or just the one? Trying to be accurate to the original recipe so I don’t mess up serving sizes/portions.

        1. If one can is 19 ounces and the recipe calls for 15 ounces, I would just use one can and be over by 4 ounces. XOXO -Monti

  7. Despite all the seasonings, I found it rather flavorless. Adding a bunch of salt and more hot sauce made it edible, but would never make it again. Also very soupy.

  8. Super simple to make and absolutely delicious. I enjoyed the beans over rice as well as in burritos. I replaced the jalapenos with a small can of green chiles, and it turned out great.

  9. This is a great recipe base! I used what I had (garlic powder rather than garlic cloves, chipotle powder rather than jalapeño), tripled all the spices and used kidney beans. We ate the entire pot practically in silence because it was so good. And it was very easy to make.