Cheesy Pinto Beans

$2.96 recipe / $0.74 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.88 from 55 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 55 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. This was so quick and easy. I ate it like a dip with some tortilla chips as a snacky meal. It’s definitely a keeper. Thank you!

  2. I’ve made this recipe before, and it’s amazing! This time I subbed canned red kidney beans and it was just as good!

  3. Stupid easy and stupid good. I topped it with avocado, tomato and sour cream/salsa. So good and filling.

  4. This has been on my meal plan for a couple of weeks, but I’ve been putting it off because bean dishes are always 50/50 for me. But I finally made it for lunch today before my jalapeno went bad and it was delicious! Very quick, too–I served it over boil-in-a-bag brown rice, and the beans were done long before the rice. I, unfortunately, was out of smoked paprika, so I used regular paprika and added some chili powder to round out the flavors. Cheap, easy, filling. I will definitely be making again.

  5. Good flavor and very easy to put together.

    Unfortunately, was extremely dry upon reheating and yogurt only helped so much.

    This recipe should probably have some broth added to thin it out.

  6. I’ve made this recipe 4 times and I just can’t get over how good it is. For sure one of my favorite recipes!

  7. My two year old and I LOVE this recipe! I serve it over brown rice with zucchini and she literally says yum yum yum while eating! Today i made them with black beans as I was out of pinto, and very good as well. I skip the blender step and just use a submersion blender to blend and squash them a little. Thank you!

    1. The can liquid is nice and starchy, which helps thicken the beans. You can try using water instead, but it won’t have quite the same texture. :)

  8. I kid you not when I say this has to be the easiest and cheapest recipe in my arsenal. From start to finish it took less than 10 minutes, making it perfect for evenings after work when you’re too tired to preheat the oven. The texture is lovely and the dish is very warming.

    1. I’ve made this many times now and everyone in the house loves it. I more often have either canned green chili’s or pickled jalapeños on hand over fresh jalapeño, so I often end up using one of those two pantry items in its place. Still turns out very tasty, even though the fresh jalapeño is superior. Great recipe to have in one’s arsenal .