Pinto Beans with Chilies

Pinto beans cooked with dried chilies have a deep, rich southwestern flavor
Pinto Beans with Chilies

This pinto bean recipe uses ancho and pasilla chilies to create a healthy and delicious dish.

Pinto beans cooked with dried chilies have a deep, rich southwestern flavor. When you start cooking them together, it’s easy to see why they’re an integral component of cooking in the Southwest.

One of the best things about pinto beans is their versatility; this recipe works as a side dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

We also love to serve them with good BBQ, grilled chicken, and all sorts of other things.

Cooking Pinto Beans

During testing, we found that cooking the pinto beans over low heat for a long time helped keep them tender and that adding a little salt at the end brought the flavors together.

To deepen the flavors in this recipe, we use the water the chilies are soaked in to add their goodness to the beans during the cooking process. The liquid from the chilies becomes a dark, rich chili stock that adds layers and layers of flavor to dishes.

Dried Chilies Soaking
Using the soaking liquid, in place of water, adds the chilies complex flavor to the beans

One of our favorite recipes to use this technique is this Ancho Chile and Honey BBQ Sauce.

Another tip when working with dried chilies is if you don’t want too much heat, but want to keep the chilies’ complex flavors, cut them open, wash out the seeds, and remove the pith. You can get dried Ancho chilies from Umami’s market.

Dried Chilies
The flavor from the dried chilies is what makes this dish

There’s a big difference in a recipe like this between cooking the beans with whole dried chilies versus using ground chili powders.

Using entire chilies adds more complex flavors and textures to the pinto beans than ground chili powder.

A few dishes we like to serve these beans with are Ancho Chili Rubbed Chicken and Spit Roasted Pork Carnitas.

Pinto Beans With Dried Chilies Recipe

Pinto Beans with Chilies

4 from 5 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 8 servings


  • 1 lb dried pinto beans
  • 2 ancho chilies
  • 1 pasilla chile
  • 4 oz can roasted green chilies
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp hot sauce, optional
  • 28 oz water
  • 3 1/2 tsp salt, divided


  • Prep the beans by washing them and pulling out any that look off. Place the beans in a large pot, filled with 48 ounces of water, bring the water to a boil for a couple of minutes, remove from the heat, cover, and let the beans soak for an hour or two.
  • While the beans are resting, soak the dried ancho and pasilla chilies in hot water for 30 minutes. When the peppers have finished soaking, mince them and set them aside.
  • When the beans have finished soaking, remove them from the pot and discard the water. In the pot, you're going to cook the beans in, sauté the red onion, garlic, and green chilies for a couple of minutes, add in the minced chilies and cook for another couple of minutes before adding the beans and 28 ounces of water. 
  • Add in 2 tsp of salt, stir, and cover.
  • Cook the beans on a low simmer until they are nice and tender. This usually takes around 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Add in the rest of the salt and hot sauce.


The beans can be cooked in water if you want them to be vegetarian or chicken stock for slightly more flavorful beans.
Making this RecipeTag us on Instagram at and hashtag it #umami_site
Calories: 241kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1096mg | Potassium: 1002mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2630IU | Vitamin C: 10.1mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 3.5mg

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  1. Ok….you had us throw out the 48 oz of soaking water, but then you say add the water and cook for 21/2 to 3 hours. What water are you speaking of and how much, please

    1. Thanks for the catch. The beans should be cooked in 28 ounces of water if you want them to be vegetarian or in chicken stock for slightly more flavorful beans. The recipe has been updated to make it clear.