I live for the simple side dish, and it doesn’t get much more simple than The Best Pinto Beans from a Can Recipe. A little red onion and the perfect blend of spices (including one you’ll never suspect), and you’ll be eating these by the spoonful!

I tend to be one of those pinto with chicken, black beans with beef people. My kids are slooooow to the beans scene. It has taken years to convince them and it all started as black beans. Now I’m finally showing them just how crazy delicious pinto beans are, especially if you add in cinnamon. It is a sneaky secret you’d never guess was there but cannot live without.

a photo of a royal blue ceramic bowl full of pinto beans topped with chopped fresh cilantro.

What Ingredients Do I Need to Make Pinto Beans?

You’ll want to head to the produce section and grab some red onion and cilantro, and the rest of your ingredients are going to come from the spice cupboard, besides the beans themselves, of course! If you’ve ever wondered how to add flavor to canned pinto beans, here is the list of ingredients you’ll need:

  • Red Onion
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Garlic Salt
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Cilantro
  • Olive Oil
  • Pinto Beans (canned)

The measurements of each ingredient can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.

How to Make Canned Pinto Beans Taste Delicious

I promised this recipe would be easy, so let me prove it! Here are the basic steps:

  1. Sauté the onions in olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and then all the seasonings.
  3. Add the pinto beans and water.
  4. Let the beans simmer.

Simple, right?! All of these instructions in full detail can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.

a photo of a blue full of cooked pinto beans. the bowl is royal blue with a brown rim and there is a silver spoon in the bowl.

Should You Drain Canned Pinto Beans?

The short answer to that is, it depends. It honestly depends on the recipe and how much extra liquids the recipe can handle. For this recipe, we want them drained so all the flavors from the spices and onions can saturate the beans.

I also don’t like the thick, sort of chalky flavor and texture of the liquid that the beans are canned with. I like to give the beans a good rinse then add water if a little extra moisture is needed to cook the beans.

Do You Have to Cook Pinto Beans from a Can?

No, canned beans are fully cooked and ready to eat straight from the can and cold if your heart desires. Which it shouldn’t desire because…ew!

Can I Make This Recipe in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker?

Yes, this recipe can be made in either the Instant pot or slow cooker.

Instant Pot: Put the Instant Pot on sauté mode and cook the onions and garlic until tender. Then add the spices to bloom them. Add the pinto beans and water and cook on high for 3 minutes.

Slow Cooker: To use a slow cooker, you’ll need to at least quadruple the recipe or else the beans will burn (unless you have a small slow cooker – 2-3 quart). Add all the ingredients (quadrupled) to the slow cooker and cook on low for 3 hours.

a closeup photo of a bowl of cooked pinto beans topped with fresh chopped cilantro.

What to Eat with Pinto Beans?

Pinto beans are a delicious side dish for any Mexican main dish. We eat them as a side dish with tacos, burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, etc. They also go great on top of nachos, in a burrito bowl, in a chicken burrito, scooped up to eat on tortilla chips, or on top of a Sonoran hot dog. We would love to hear what you eat them with so let us know!

Storage Tips

If you have leftovers, store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container. They will keep for 4-5 days. Reheat individual servings by giving them a quick zap in the microwave.

These pinto beans also freeze well. Let them cool completely and then pour into a freezer safe container. They will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let them thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in a saucepan on the stove top.

If you aren’t on the beans train yet, give these quick and easy canned pinto beans a try! You’ll be buying a one way ticket to bean town!

More Easy SIDE DISHES You’re Sure to Love:

Easy Pinto Beans Recipe

3.66 from 114 votes
Servings: 4 -6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes


I live for the simple side dish, and it doesn't get much more simple than The Best Pinto Beans from a Can Recipe. A little red onion and the perfect blend of spices (including one you'll never suspect), and you'll be eating these by the spoonful!


  • 1/4 Red Onion, minced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Pinch Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Oregano
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Cilantro, heaping, minced
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 Cans Pinto Beans (15 oz), drained


  • Drizzle olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and stir until softened, about 3 minutes.
    Olive Oil, 1/4 Red Onion
  • Stir in the garlic and stir for 20 seconds then add all seasonings, stirring the final 10 seconds.
    3 Cloves Garlic, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt, 1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder, 1 teaspoon Cumin, 1 Pinch Cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon Oregano, Salt
  • Add pinto beans and fill one can with water and add that. Stir and then simmer for 20-30 minutes or all the way on low for 1 hour.
    2 Cans Pinto Beans (15 oz)
  • Serve immediately topped with fresh cilantro.
    1 Tablespoon Cilantro


Serving: 0.5CupCalories: 184kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 10gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 721mgPotassium: 623mgFiber: 10gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 92IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 116mgIron: 4mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: 200+ Easy Side Dish Recipes Every Mom Needs
Cuisine: Mexican

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a photo of a blue full of cooked pinto beans. the bowl is royal blue with a brown rim and there is a silver spoon in the bowl.