The Best Ways to Use Pinto Beans

Updated: Nov. 11, 2021

Throw together a quick and easy meal tonight with some help from a can of pinto beans.

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Cantina Pinto Beans

Cumin, cilantro and red pepper flakes lend southwestern flair to tender pinto beans in this dish, which was inspired by one we had at a restaurant in Dallas. It makes a terrific Tex-Mex side or a filling lunch when served with cornbread. —L.R. Larson, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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Grilled Bean Burgers

These juicy veggie patties have major flavor with cumin, garlic and a little chili powder. They hold their own against any veggie burger you‘d buy at the supermarket. —Marguerite Shaeffer, Sewell, New Jersey
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Collard Greens & Beans

I didn't eat southern-style collards until a friend gave me a recipe for greens with bacon and pinto beans. Now I’m delighted to make them. —April Burroughs, Vilonia, Arkansas
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Double-Duty Layered Enchilada Casserole

Here's a heap of cozy comfort. The Taste of Home Test Kitchen took my recipe for chili without beans and turned it into a scrumptious enchilada casserole. —Molly Butt, Granville, Ohio
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Tangy Bean Soup

This soup has a great southwestern flavor and is a real winner with my family. I love it because I can have the soup cooking in my crock pot, and when I get home from work, I can quickly make the dumplings and fix dinner in a jiffy.

Craving chili? Try this pinto bean chili recipe next.

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Layered Cornbread Salad

When the garden comes in, we harvest the veggies and layer them with cornbread and sweet relish for this snappy salad. Everyone wants seconds. —Rebecca Clark, Warrior, Alabama
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Baked Beans Mole

My son and husband love this hearty side dish. It's quick and easy to prepare but yet so flavorful. Chocolate, chili and honey mingle to create a rich, savory flavor that's not too spicy and not too sweet. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California
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Six-Bean Chili

When it's cold and frosty outside, this meatless chili is sure to warm you up. It's packed with fiber, protein and flavor. Serve it with sliced avocado, or add shredded cheese, corn tortilla chips or a side of your favorite cornbread. —Liz Bellville, Tonasket, Washington
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Texas Chili Fries

The delicious chili goes together in minutes and then cooks while you run errands. The only way to make it even better is to pour it over crisp french fries and sprinkle with cheese to make Texas chili fries. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Frito Pie

Frito pie is legendary in the Southwest for being spicy, salty and cheesy fabulous. Here’s my easy take on this crunchy classic. —Jan Moon, Alamogordo, New Mexico
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Tasty Taco Chopped Salad

My friends and I love Mexican food, but we try to eat healthy. My mom taught me how to make this tasty taco salad for my friends. —Matthew Smith, Knippa, Texas
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Sweet N Sour Beans

This recipe is popular on both sides of the border. It came from a friend in Alaska, then traveled with me to old Mexico, where I lived for 5 years, and is now a potluck favorite in my Arkansas community. It's easy to keep the beans warm and serve from a slow cooker. -Barbara Short, Mena, Arkansas
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Southwest Chicken Dinner

I created a lighter, no-guilt alternative with the bold flavors we love, but missing the calorie-laden tortilla. —Marquisha Turner, Denver, Colorado
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Butternut Squash Chili

Add butternut squash to chili for a tasty, filling, energy-packed dish your whole family will love. Mine does! —Jeanne Larson, Mission Viejo, California
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Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken

This is a go-to recipe when I know I'll be having a busy day. My family loves salsa, so I came up with this recipe for something to throw into a slow cooker and simmer on low. We love it served over rice or noodles, and then top it with tortilla chips and sour cream. —Deborah Pennington, Falkville, Alabama
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Patio Pintos

Any time Mom had the gang over for dinner, she made these pinto beans. Once she made a batch for my cousin’s birthday and he ate the entire thing. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Chili for a Crowd

This chili for a crowd was handed down to me by my aunt, who said she got it from a "grizzled Montana mountain man." I added some zesty ingredients to come up with the final version. Hot food is something that my husband's family isn't accustomed to, so I adjust the spices for them. In fact, with a few simple alterations to the "heat" index, I can serve this chili to anyone. —Lisa Humphreys, Wasilla, Alaska
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Warm Rice & Pintos Salad

During my undergrad years, my roommate taught me how to cook vegetarian dishes like brown rice with pintos. It's so versatile; you can turn it into a wrap or casserole. —Natalie Van Apeldoorn, Vancouver, British Columbia
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Mexican Leek Soup

This soup is so satisfying. You can substitute other beans, use kale instead of spinach or add leftover corn. For brunch, I add a fried egg on top. For dinner, my husband adds lots of hot sauce! —Donna Ahnert, Scotia, New York
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Pinto Bean Tostadas

Ready-to-go pinto beans and crispy corn tortillas prove how easy it is to make a healthy meal. Chili powder kicks up the fun, making this a popular pick for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia
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Tangy Baked Seven Beans

Everyone needs a go-to side dish for school events, picnics and potlucks. Here's mine. Freeze leftovers for future outings. —Rod Lundwall, Tooele, Utah
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Upside-Down Frito Pie

Using ground turkey is a smart way to lighten this hearty family pleaser! —Mary Berg, Lake Elmo, Minnesota
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Pork, Bean & Rice Burritos

The combination of spices is key to this slow-cooked pork—it's my family's favorite burrito filling. The aroma that fills the air as the pork slowly simmers is like a Mexican restaurant. A perfect recipe for tailgate parties. —Valonda Seward, Coarsegold, California
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Tex-Mex Bean Bake with Cornbread Topping

I frequently cooked this dish when I was on the cross-country team in college. We loved this veggie-packed bake so much I would have to make two! For a meaty version, substitute shredded chicken for half of the potato. —Samantha Westveer, Kentwood, Michigan
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Spicy Touchdown Chili

For me, football, cool weather and chili just seem to go together. Whether I’m cheering on the local team on a Friday night or enjoying a Saturday afternoon of Oklahoma Sooner football with some friends, I enjoy serving this chili on game day. —Chris Neal, Quapaw, Oklahoma
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Chili Cornbread Salad

A co-worker brought this wonderful dish to a potluck several years ago. She had copies of the recipe next to the pan. Now I make it for get-togethers and also supply copies of the recipe. I never have any leftover salad or recipes. —Kelly Newsom, Jenks, Oklahoma
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Easy Chicken Enchiladas

This chicken enchiladas recipe is so quick and easy, and I always receive a ton of compliments. It quickly becomes a favorite of friends whenever I share the recipe. Modify the spiciness with the intensity of the salsa and the green chiles to suit your taste. —Kristi Black, Harrison Township, Michigan
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Bean & Beef Slow-Cooked Chili

This chili may be already chock-full, but we love to build it up even more with toppings like pico de gallo, red onion, cilantro and cheese. —Mallory Lynch, Madison, Wisconsin
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Texas Taco Dip Platter

When I'm entertaining, this colorful dish is my top menu choice. My friends can't resist the hearty appetizer topped with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and olives. —Kathy Young, Weatherford, Texas
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Simple Taco Soup

We first sampled this chili-like taco soup recipe at a church dinner. What a warming dish for a cold day. And because it uses packaged seasonings with several cans of vegetables, it's a snap to prepare. —Glenda Taylor, Sand Springs, Oklahoma
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Hearty Sausage-Chicken Chili

The company I work for has an annual chili cook-off, and this unusual recipe of mine was a winner. I combined two chili recipes and then added a few extra touches of my own. —Carolyn Etzler, Thurmont, Maryland
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One-Pot Chili Mac

This hearty entree is low in fat, but full of flavor. I love that you can cook the dried pasta right in the chili. One less pot to wash! This also reheats in the microwave perfectly. —Dawn Forsberg, Saint Joseph, Missouri
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Best Ever Beans and Sausage

When my wife asks what she should make for a gathering, she's always told to bring this—and a couple of copies of the recipe! — Robert Saulnier, Clarksburg, Massachusetts
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Freezer Burritos

I love burritos, but the frozen ones are high in salt and chemicals. So I created these. They're wonderful to have on hand for quick dinners or late-night snacks—I've even had them for breakfast! —Laura Winemiller, Delta, Pennsylvania
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Tortilla Chicken Bean Soup

Tasty toppings jazz up this no-fuss soup that has Mexican flair. The recipe for this sure-to-please soup was given to me by a friend. I make it often for company, and everyone asks for the recipe. You can substitute pinto beans in red chili sauce for the regular pinto beans and cumin called for in the recipe. —Michelle Larson, Greentown, Indiana
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Zippy Vegetarian Chili

Hominy and garbanzo beans are interesting additions to this zippy chili recipe that uses canned goods from the cupboard. I often serve it with cornbread or flour tortillas for a speedy meal. It's economical, too. —Karen Hunt, Bellvue, Colorado
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Southern Cornbread Salad

To feed a crowd, especially when I want to make a good impression, I make this eye-popping cornbread salad. It’s beautiful in a trifle bowl. I love it in summer, when we can make it with our own garden produce. —Debbie Johnson, Centertown, Missouri
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Healthy Turkey Chili

I've taken my mother's healthy turkey chili recipe and made it thicker and more robust. It's a favorite, especially in fall and winter. —Celesta Zanger, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
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Barbecued Bean Salad

This tangy, hearty salad is a refreshing dish to serve at a summertime picnic. Mild spices blend nicely with the beans and garden ingredients. Be prepared to bring home an empty bowl. —Linda Ault, Newberry, Indiana
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Beef and Bean Taco Chili

This chili recipe is a lifesaver when I'm cooking on the fly. It's loaded with convenience ingredients, but you can pile on the veggies if you're in the mood for a fresh crunch. —Teri Rasey, Cadillac, Michigan