Spicy Pinto Beans Recipe

When you're looking for a way to spicy up your next barbecue, or you want a chili-adjacent dish to serve up on a cold night, this spicy pinto beans recipe is guaranteed to hit the spot. The hearty flavor of pinto beans combined with the meaty goodness of chorizo, all spiced up with the help of onions, jalapeños, and chili powder, and you've got a side dish that will set tongues a' blazing.

These spicy pinto beans, courtesy of recipe developer Hayley MacLean, make for the perfect side dish, alongside a few slices of beef brisket, a cob of corn, and a slice of watermelon to help cool things down. Or, if you'd rather take it a simpler route, you can turn the beans into a meal with a quick topping of crumbled cheese and a dollop of sour cream served with a handful of tortilla chips. Either way, you'll feel full and satisfied after a bowl (or two, there's no harm in going back for seconds) of these tasty and spicy beans. 

Gather your ingredients for spicy pinto beans

Since you're making these beans from scratch, you'll need a fair number of ingredients to get the spice level just right. The two main ingredients are dried pinto beans (which you need to soak in advance) and uncased chorizo (you may want to look for a spicy version if you like things even hotter). You'll also need a sweet onion, garlic cloves, jalapeño peppers, a Roma tomato, chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, paprika, brown sugar, chicken broth, olive oil, and fresh cilantro. 

Soak the beans overnight

While there's some debate over whether or not you need to soak beans before you cook them, if your beans have been sitting on your shelf for awhile, it's best to go ahead and give them a soak. This cuts down on cooking time by a hair, especially if your beans have dried out from sitting around for awhile. And if you're meal-planning in advance, it's easy enough to simply place your pinto beans in a bowl and cover them with a couple inches of water to let them soak overnight. That said, if you forget, or you're making this recipe to eat tonight, you can skip the soak, but you may have to add a little bit of cook time to your recipe (shoot for 10 extra minutes to start, then go from there).

Prep the pinto beans and begin cooking

After completing your overnight soak (or skipping it if you're on a time crunch), rinse and drain your beans and transfer them to a large pot or dutch oven. Add the onion wedges, smashed garlic cloves, jalapeño pieces, and diced tomato. On top of your beans and veggies, toss in the chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, paprika, and brown sugar. Stir them well to combine, then add the chicken broth and enough water so all of your ingredients are covered by 3 to 4 inches of liquid. 

Set the heat on your stove to medium and place the pot on your burner. Cover the beans and bring them to a simmer before reducing the heat. Allow the beans to cook for 2 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beans are soft. 

Sauté the chorizo as the beans cook

When your beans begin to soften, go ahead and cook your chorizo so it's ready when the beans are. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo to the pan and sauté until it's cooked through — you want to cook it long and well enough that there are some crispy parts. When it's ready, drain the excess fat and transfer the meat to a plate. 

Combine the beans and chorizo, garnish, and serve

When the beans are cooked through, remove the large pieces of jalapeño, if desired. If you like the taste of jalapeño, you can reserve the slices for garnish, or simply serve the beans without removing the jalapeños. Stir the cilantro and chorizo into the pot, but reserve a little bit of both for garnish. Serve the beans immediately, adding extra cilantro and chorizo, as desired. 

Spicy Pinto Beans Recipe
5 from 52 ratings
If you want a little spice in your life, you can't go wrong with these spicy pinto beans.
Prep Time
Cook Time
bowl of spicy pinto beans
Total time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • ½ sweet onion, cut into wedges
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, sliced into large pieces
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound chorizo, uncased
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish
  1. Place the beans in a large bowl of water, covering the top of the beans by 2 inches. Let them soak overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse the beans and place them in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion wedges, garlic, jalapeño, and tomato.
  3. Add the chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, paprika, and brown sugar to the pot, and stir to combine.
  4. Pour in the chicken broth and add enough water to cover the beans by 3 to 4 inches. Set the heat to medium.
  5. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and continue to cook for 2 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beans are soft.
  6. While the beans cook, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and sauté until cooked through with some crispy parts. Drain the excess fat and transfer to a plate.
  7. When the beans are finished, remove the large jalapeño pieces. Stir in the cilantro and chorizo, reserving some for topping. Serve immediately, garnished with more fresh cilantro and chorizo, as desired.
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