Classic Texas Pinto Beans

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 1 review


1 lb. dried pinto beans (500g)

1 small onion, peeled and chopped

1 tomato, cored and chopped 

2-3 cloves garlic, peeled

Salt to taste (start with 1 tbsp./12gr)


Optional ingredients:


Handful chopped cilantro

2-3 strips bacon, chopped

2-3 fresh jalapeños


The pinto beans need to be inspected and picked over to check for small bits of dirt before cooking. Afterwards, place the sorted beans in a colander, and rinse thoroughly.


Place all of the ingredients in a 4 qt. (4lt.) clay pot, stock pot or saucepan and cover with approximately 3 qt. (3lt.) Place the pot on the stove and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the beans boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cover, leaving the cover slightly tilted to allow the steam and pressure to escape. 


Check the water level and stir the beans every 15-20 minutes, adding water 2 cups at a time if the water level seems low. 

Simmer the beans for a total of 2½-3 hours.  After boiling for 2 hours, test the beans by making sure they are tender and soft by tasting one. Continue to cook for 30 more minutes if the beans taste undercooked. Adjust the salt if needed. Once the beans are completely cooked, remove the beans from the heat, and allow them to cool for 15 minutes before serving. 


I get asked all the time about lead in clay cooking pots. I sold them for many years in my store, and have had endless conversations with experts and artisans, so I feel fairly educated on the subject.

Because clay is a natural material, it always has a small amount of naturally occurring lead. Unglazed clay pottery has lead, but some glazed potteries have just a little bit more, as lead is a component of some of the cheaper glazes used in Latin America. 

Professional cooks love clay cookware as the resulting dish is always superior to the result of metal cookware. Clay is an insulator and not a conductor, so clay delivers heat to your food in a gentler fashion.  Imagine clay cookware as a jacuzzi spa for your food. The beans have a mellow, tender texture.

Using clay cookware is a personal choice. The types of clay cookware that the USDA and FDA will allow for import for food use in the United States are strictly regulated. Stricter regulations exist for clay cookware in the European Union. Clay cookware is never lead free, but what is legally available in U.S. markets is regulated. 

So I feel confident in recommending La Chamba cookware if you are looking for a clay bean pot from Latin America. These unglazed, burnished pots are manufactured with natural clay in Colombia, and are approved for food use by the USDA. 

Again, using clay cookware is NOT required for making a batch of pinto beans. You can get very good results from metal cookware. But if you would like to use a clay pot, I am adding the link to the cookware that I would recommend.