Cheesy Pinto Beans

$2.96 recipe / $0.74 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.90 from 66 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

4.90 from 66 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 minutes
Cook 10 minutes
Total 20 minutes


  • 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)


  • 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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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. Love this! I used one can cannellini and one can pinto because that’s what I had. I eat without an additional carb but with toppings like tomatoes and Greek yogurt

    1. I’m not sure how well they would come back together once you unthawed, the texture might be a little grainy, but you can definitely try!

  2. Delicious, filling, and most importantly quick! I will be making again. I subbed a sprinkle of cayenne pepper in for the jalapeno but I would use more of a tabasco or frank’s hot sauce next time instead of Cholula. I just mashed my beans with a potato masher and it turned out fine.

  3. Making this for a second time tonight. So quick and easy to put together! Delicious. Thank you!

  4. I absolutely love these beans! I prefer my beans a little less thick and more saucy though. One little adjustment solves this for me and makes it even easier. I don’t blend my beans and rinse them all instead. I throw them in with a little water (maybe 1/4 cup, eyeball it) to make a sauce. The cheese will thicken it. But this is such a delicious and quick weeknight meal. I love them with rice or over a baked potato.

  5. Honestly delicious! I’ve even subbed black beans once and slightly increased the hot sauce and it was a huge hit. Even my young kids devoured it!

  6. This was so delicious and filling. I served it over rice. My husband asked if the next time I made it, it could be more brothy with the rice, so I added 1 1/3 c broth to make the serving size 1 cup. Very good!

  7. Have made this twice now. First time as is and my 18yo son and I both loved it. So good and filling.
    Today I made it again and added half a diced onion and 2 handfuls of shredded kale. Still delicious!!!!! :)

  8. Really easy and filling recipe. I used pepper jack cheese instead of cheddar and found it really delicious with some green onions scattered on top!

  9. So simple but so good. Every time I make it I can’t stop eating it…I think I’m about to have leftovers with an egg and call it breakfast.