We’re getting back to the basics with this one! I love exploring really simple ways to transform pantry staples, like canned beans, into a filling and satisfying meal. For these Cheesy Pinto Beans, I simply seasoned up some canned beans, puréed half to make the beans nice and creamy, then stirred in a little cheese to make it extra flavorful and satisfying. Serve them over rice and you’ve got an easy and satisfying meal for pennies.
What Are Pinto Beans?
Pinto beans have been a staple ingredient in many parts of the world, including Mexico and the Southwest U.S., for generations, so if you live in those areas you’re probably very familiar with this delicious bean. But if pinto beans aren’t already part of your regular diet, this recipe will be a great introduction. Pinto beans are a small, tan-colored bean that has a speckled appearance when dried. They have a deliciously creamy texture once cooked, which makes them great for refried beans, soup, burritos, or just enjoying over rice, like I did here.
Can I Use Dry Beans?
Dry beans will always be more budget-friendly, usually lower sodium, and oftentimes have better flavor, but they can definitely a little more time and work to prepare. This Cheesy Pinto Bean recipe is designed for convenience, so we’re using canned beans this time around. If you want to use pinto beans that you’ve cooked from dry, you’ll need about three cups of cooked beans. You’ll likely need to add a little more salt to your recipe at the end, as well.
How to Serve Cheesy Pinto Beans
This deliciously simple recipe can be eaten a few different ways. I served mine over a bowl of rice, but you could also purée more of the beans and serve it as a beany chip dip! I think it would also be good served in a bowl then scooped up with some fluffy naan or pita. Or, simply serve them alone as a side dish with your favorite meal.
What Else Can I Add?
Beans are such a flexible ingredient, so there are several other ingredients you can add to these cheesy pinto beans. Here are some other ingredients that you can stir into your beans:
- Diced Hatch green chiles
- Diced red onion
- Diced ham or bacon
- Sour cream (makes the beans EXTRA creamy)
- Green onions
How to Make Cheesy Pinto Beans – Step by Step Photos
Mince two cloves of garlic and finely dice one jalapeño (seeds and stem removed). Add them to a pot along with one tablespoon of cooking oil. Sauté over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or just until the garlic becomes really fragrant.
Add one 15oz. can of pinto beans to a blender (with the liquid in the can) and purée until smooth. Alternately, you can use an immersion blender in the pot with the beans.
Add the puréed beans to the pot along with a second 15oz. can of pinto beans (drained). Stir to combine.
Season the beans with ¼ tsp smoked paprika, ¼ tsp ground cumin, ⅛ tsp freshly cracked black pepper, and a couple of dashes of hot sauce. Stir to combine and then allow the beans to heat through, stirring occasionally.
Once the beans are hot, add ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese.
Stir the beans until the cheese has melted smoothly into the beans.
Taste the beans and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Because canned beans and cheese contain a fair amount of salt, I did not find that I needed to add any to the beans. Serve the beans over rice, with chips, or as a side to your favorite meal!