Slow Cooker Pinto Beans Recipe

Southern slow cooker pinto beans are delicious and easy to make in the crock pot with just a few ingredients. This vegetarian recipe can serve as a main dish over rice, or as a side dish for potlucks and family gatherings. 

white bowl of pinto beans with tomatoes and onions.

Southern Style Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are a terrific traditional southern side dish for a southern style dinner party, church socials, or a potluck party.

This classic recipe makes good use of dried beans and simple spices, and it can serve as a main course for vegetarians and vegans, or as a side dish for everyone else!

Why You’ll Love It

  • It’s easy, make-ahead comfort food.
  • It’s a great option for vegetarians.
  • It’s budget friendly and affordable.
  • This is a fantastic recipe that makes use of pantry staples.

For more tasty bean recipes, you’ll love this easy bean and corn salsa appetizer, or these sweet and spicy baked beans.

These baked beans with ground beef are also a crowd pleaser, and they’re perfect for family reunions too. 


  • Pinto beans. Use dry pinto beans for this recipe.
  • Water. You will need eight cups of water to cook the beans.
  • Rotel diced tomatoes & green chilies. Use one can to make the base of the beans.
  • Onion. I use yellow onions and dice them for this dish. You can also use white or sweet onions. 
  • Green bell pepper. Remove the stem and seeds, and dice the pepper.
  • Worcestershire sauce. Use good-quality Worcestershire sauce to add delicious flavor to the beans.
  • Black pepper. You can also substitute with an equal amount of paprika or smoked paprika.
  • Garlic powder
  • Chili powder 
  • Dry mustard 
  • Salt 

Additions & Variations

This recipe is easy to customize in various ways.

  • Try it with other dried beans such as black beans, black eyed peas, or white beans.
  • For more flavor add meats like smoked ham, ham hock, or bacon.
  • Substitute all or part of the water for vegetable broth or chicken broth for more rich flavor. You can also drop in a bouillon cube. 
  • Add additional herbs or seasonings like bay leaves, oregano, thyme or parsley. Add a pinch of cayenne for some heat. It’s really easy to change it up!
  • You can add diced celery too. Just use 2 stalks and add it in with the rest of the ingredients.
white bowl of pinto beans on dinner table with serving spoon.

How to Make Crock Pot Pinto Beans

  1. Soak pinto beans overnight. To prepare the beans, put them in a stockpot or a Dutch oven and fill the pot with enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches. After 8 to 12 hours, drain and rinse the beans.
  2. In the morning, put all the ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-7 hours. If you want to cook on high, the cook time will be about 4 hours.

Alternate Stove Top Method

​​​​​​​You can also cook pinto beans on the stove top.

  1. Place beans in a stock pot or dutch oven and add water to cover 2 inches above the beans. Bring to a boil and let cook for 1 minute. Cover and remove from heat, and let stand for 1 hour, then drain.
  2. Bring beans and 8 cups of water to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Add onion, bell pepper, and spices and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and simmer for another 30 minutes.

Expert Tips

  • If you’re short on time, follow the instructions for the stove top cooking method, above.
  • Before cooking the beans lookout for rocks and dirt and remove them.
  • If you prefer soft beans, then simmer for a longer time; however, if you prefer beans with some bite, then cook them until firm.


For leftovers or convenience, you can store your cooked pinto beans in the fridge or the freezer and reheat them later.

Put them in an airtight container and refrigerate them for up to four days. You can reheat them in the microwave or on the stove when you want to eat them.

To freeze them, put them in an airtight container such as a large Ziplock freezer bag, for up to three months. Thaw them in the fridge overnight before reheating them in the microwave or on the stove.


What are pinto beans?

Pinto beans belong to the legume family. They’re native to Mexico and the southwestern regions of the United States. They are brown in color and have reddish-brown spots.

What is the closest substitute for pinto beans?

A good substitute for pinto beans is black beans or black turtle beans. Both have a similar texture, flavor, and size to pinto beans.

blue willow plate with southern dinner of pinto beans, fried chicken, greens and cornbread.

Serving Suggestions

  • For a true Southern experience, serve these delicious pinto beans with fried chicken or fish, cornbread, and cooked greens.
  • Serve with pork loin or pork chops, or pulled pork and coleslaw. 
  • You can make them into a vegetarian meal by serving them over rice, or you can pair them with cornbread for a classic Southern combo.
  • I like to spice them up with a dash or two of hot sauce (Texas Pete). 
  • Top them with chopped onion or Chow Chow (southern relish).
  • Serve over riced cauliflower for a healthy lunch.

More Slow Cooker Recipes

If you like these easy slow cooker pinto beans, I hope you’ll try these other crock pot dishes.

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white bowl of pinto beans with tomatoes and onions.

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

Yield: 7 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Additional Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 14 hours 5 minutes


  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 can (10-ounce) Rotel tomatoes & green chilies
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Place beans in a stock pot or dutch oven and add water to cover 2 inches above the beans. Let sit overnight, and then drain and rinse.
  2. Add beans and the rest of the ingredients into the crock of a slow cooker, replace lid and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. Or cook on high for 4 hours.

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