When I think of pinto beans, I think of my grandma.  She is the queen of a comforting pot of simple beans.  As a child, when we would visit, we would almost always be served a pot of beans at one point or another.  That and chicken and dumplings have become her two signature dishes.  Both make you wanna slap your pappy as my grandpa says.  She often serves hers with greens and cornbread for a complete simple and frugal down home cookin’ country meal.

Beans are so simple to make, but I know many of you aren’t home during the day to babysit a pot of beans simmering on the stove for a couple of hours.  Using the crockpot is a great way to get dinner on the table if you work outside the home or are just busy with other things and can’t devote a lot of time to cooking.

These crockpot pinto beans are seasoned very simply with just salt, pepper and a little bit of bacon, ham, or bacon fat.  In my mind there is no need for fancy seasonings with this humble dish.  The simplicity of the seasonings, makes the flavor of the bean shine through.  I also like to keep the seasonings simple so leftover beans can be turned into different things.

Beans are an excellent frugal protein source.  One of my favorite food budget tips after I have cooked them, is to reuse them in other recipes.  Cook once, use in multiple dishes.

They are excellent in burrito bowls or taco salads. Simply layer any ingredients that you desire:  rice, beans, cheese, salsa, guacamole, corn, peppers, lettuce, sour cream.

For re-fried beans, drain off a tad of the liquid and mash or puree.  You can add it to a toasted corn tortilla shell for tostadas, wrap them in wrap, serve it with eggs and salsa, etc.  You can also use them in tacquitos, beans and greens soup, a bean dip or bean burritos.

For more budget recipes and tips for reeling in your grocery budget, check out my frugal meal plans or my ebook, Eat Well Spend Less.


Here is the process for cooking crockpot pinto beans through pictures, for all you visual people out there.


1.  Rinse and sort beans.  Pick out any funky ones or debris.


2.  Soak beans overnight with about 2 inches of warm water covering beans.  Add a pinch of baking soda if desired.


3.  Drain beans and place in crockpot.


4.  Add 6 cups water or broth and fat of choice, or bacon or ham hock, or a bay leaf if you are vegetarian.


5.  Season that bad boy up after they’re tender.  Now gobble down your delicious pinto beans.  Nom nom nom

Pinto beans in the crockpot

Slow cooker pinto beans
Serves 6
Pinto beans. Dirt cheap simple comfort food made in the slow cooker.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Total Time
8 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Total Time
8 hr 10 min
270 calories
48 g
1 g
2 g
16 g
0 g
315 g
609 g
2 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 270
Calories from Fat 15
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 1mg
Sodium 609mg
Total Carbohydrates 48g
Dietary Fiber 12g
Sugars 2g
Protein 16g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. Make the simple humble pinto bean even simpler by cooking them in the crockpot.
  2. Ingredients
  3. 1 lb. dry pinto beans
  4. 6 cups. water or broth
  5. 1-1/2 tsp. sea salt (add more if desired)
  6. pepper to taste
  7. 1 T. bacon fat, or 2 pieces of bacon, or a ham hock (omit if vegetarian)
  8. 1 bay leaf (only if vegetarian)
  1. Rinse and sort beans.
  2. In a pot or bowl, add warm water covering the beans by two inches. Let soak overnight.
  3. Drain the next day and add beans to a crockpot.
  4. Add 6 cups water or broth as well as fat (use a bay leaf if you are vegetarian).
  5. Cook on low for 7-9 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
  6. After beans are tender, add salt and pepper to taste.
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