This recipe is vegetarian, which means that everyone will enjoy it. It is so delicious that even your children who don’t like beans will probably try it or at least add a spoonful of creamy beans to their burrito.

Lately, I’ve been trying to incorporate more beans into my meal plans because I am a 5-year-plus survivor who is concerned about eating good quality foods. This recipe for flavorfully seasoned Crock Pot pinto beans makes a delicious addition to your dinner menu.

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refried vegetarian crockpot refried beans made in a crock pot topped with cheese, onions and cilantro. chips dipped in the beans.

There are so many great reasons to add pinto beans to your dinner menu. They’re perfect for a party because they really fill bellies and go a long way with a low budget; plus, they’re very affordable. Cooking dry pinto beans costs, well, beans and all the other ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard.

Making Your Own Pinto Beans Is Easy

  • Easy Recipe: Making beans can feel a bit overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time, but in the slow cooker, they’re really easy. So easy, in fact, that you just have to dump everything in, stir, and come back in a few hours.
  • Make Into Refried Beans: You can double the recipe and turn the leftovers into refried beans (instructions below). Portion and freeze for use in tacos and burritos in subsequent meals. Easy peasy.
  • Goes With All Types of Main Dishes: Slow cooker pinto beans are the perfect side dish for other Spanish, African, Filipino, or Tex-Mex dishes like tacos, burritos, or pulled meats like pollo verde. Serve alongside other yummy sides like Mexican coleslaw to make a complete meal that will stuff the stomachs of your whole family.

Perfectly Seasoned, Vegetarian Crock Pot Pinto Beans

Why Crock Pot Beans Will Become A Family Favorite Recipe

  • Quick & Easy: It’s quick to throw together. You really don’t have to do much. The most time-consuming part is soaking your beans (instructions below). Otherwise, you just need to measure, stir, and try to be patient while your Crock Pot bubbles away.
  • Great For A Crowd: These slow cooker beans are also perfect for serving a crowd, and for helping to stretch your meal further. Beans are filling so if you’ve got a crowd of your kids’ friends over, the in-laws are coming, or your hosting this month’s youth group movie night, serving up beans is the best way to keep everyone satisfied.
  • Vegetarian Beans: And, of course, they’re vegetarian! So no matter what, if you’ve got these beans, rice, and salsa, and chips, everyone around the table can eat and enjoy.

Ingredients You Will Need To Make These Great Beans

To make this recipe for vegetarian pinto beans in the slow cooker, you’ll just need a few simple ingredients.

crock pot pinto beans that are vegetarian ingredients needed for slow cooker
  • Dried pinto beans – You can buy these in bulk sections of your grocery store or in bags, usually in the international foods section
  • Onion – White or red onion will both taste fine in this recipe
  • Diced tomatoes with green chilies- AKA Rotel (and we all love Rotel, don’t we?) Don’t worry, it’s not too spicy!
  • Seasonings: coriander, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, dried chili flakes – You can omit the chili flakes or even cut them in half if you’re worried about the heat. Serving them on the side for your dinner companions to sprinkle on their food is also an option.

Will adding tomatoes to my crockpot pinto beans break them down too much?

It’s true that adding tomatoes to beans can break them down and even cause the skin of the beans to peel a bit. So what should you do?

I say, Add them anyway! Especially if you plan to make pureed smooth beans.

If these things bother you, you can add them halfway through cooking. This will help prevent the beans from breaking down too much, but it will also make them less flavorful. I recommend not worrying about a few peeling skins and letting the flavors meld together for the full cooking time.

📝 Note: You can find the full recipe with ingredients and measurements in the recipe card located at the bottom of this post.

Soaking Beans – Do I need to do it?

  • Yes, in short, you do need to soak your pinto beans before you cook them. Soaking is what gives you really perfect pinto beans, and unless you’re going to invest 4-5 hours simmering your beans away on the stove, don’t skip this important step. 
  • Remember, dried beans didn’t get harvested ‘dry.’ They were dehydrated before they were packaged and sold, so they need to be rehydrated to become tender and pleasant to eat. Soaking your beans helps cut down on cooking time, but more importantly, it also helps beans to cook evenly. 
  • And if that’s not enough, it also helps to reduce those… other side effects (ahem: gas 💨and indigestion) that beans can produce by reducing some of the acids in the beans. 
  • There are two ways to soak your beans. You can choose depending on your time constraints and laziness factor. The first takes effort but is faster, and the second takes longer, but you don’t have to do anything at all. Here are the instructions for soaking pinto beans:

Quick Soak Method for Beans

  1. Rinse the Beans: Start by pouring the dried beans into a colander. Rinse them thoroughly under cold running water. This will help remove any dust, debris, or impurities. Remove any stems, pebbles, or other debris from the beans and toss them in the trash. 
  2. Boil Water: Fill the large pot with enough water to cover the beans by about 4 inches above the beans. Bring the water to a rapid boil over high heat.
pouring pinto beans into a pot of boiling water on the stove to soften them.
  1. Place the Beans in a Pot: Pour the dried, rinsed beans into the pot of boiling water. 
  2. Boil: Let the water return to a boil and allow the beans to boil vigorously for about 5 minutes. 
  3. Remove from Heat: After the 5-minute boil, remove the pot from the heat source.
pinto beans in a pot of hot water on the stove to start softening them.
  1. Cover and Soak: Cover the pot with a lid and let the beans soak in the hot water for 1 hour. The residual heat from the boiled water will gradually soften the beans.
  2. Drain and Rinse: After the 1-hour soak, drain the beans into a colander or sieve. Rinse them once again under cold running water to remove any remaining impurities.
  3. Cook the Beans: Cook the beans as directed in your recipe.

Soaking Beans Over Night Before Cooking

  1. Pick and Rinse the Beans: Spread the dried pinto beans on a clean kitchen surface or a large plate. Pick through the beans to remove any debris, small stones, or damaged beans. Then, rinse the beans thoroughly under cold running water to remove dust and impurities.
  2. Place Beans in a Bowl: Transfer the rinsed pinto beans to a large bowl.
  3. Add Water: Pour enough cold water into the bowl to cover the beans by at least 4 inches. The beans will absorb a significant amount of water as they soak, so ensure there’s enough water to keep them submerged (too much water is better than not enough).
  4. Cover and Soak: Cover the bowl with a lid or a clean kitchen towel. Let the beans soak in the water for at least 8 hours or overnight. 
  5. Drain and Rinse: After the soaking time is complete, drain the soaked pinto beans in a colander or sieve. Rinse them thoroughly once again under cold running water to remove any remaining impurities.
  6. Use the beans: Use the beans as directed in your recipe.

How to Make the Best Pinto Beans in the Slow Cooker Step-By-Step

  1. Start by soaking your beans using one of the two methods outlined above. Once your beans are soaked and rinsed, place them in your Crock Pot.
  2. Chop up the onion into a small dice. Add it to the pinto beans along with the can of tomatoes with green chilies. 
adding beans, seasonings, onions, and tomatoes and chilis to a crock pot.
  1. Measure out the olive oil, coriander, cumin, onion powder, salt, and garlic powder and sprinkle each over the beans.
  2. Pour in the 4 cups of water and stir everything together until it’s totally combined.
all ingredients in a crockpot for vegetarian pinto beans
  1. Place the lid on the Crockpot and allow the beans to cook on high for 6-7 hours.
  2. At the 6-hour mark, check the tenderness of the beans. Continue cooking in increments of 30 minutes until the beans have reached a consistency you enjoy.

Tips and Helpful Hints

  • Add a touch of liquid smoke to the beans about halfway through the cooking time to give these beans a smoky flavor.
  • Replace the pinto beans with dried black beans or kidney beans if you prefer.
  • For extra flavor, you can use vegetable broth instead of water (or chicken broth if you don’t need this recipe to be vegetarian or vegan). 
vegetarian crock pot pinto beans in a bowl topped with fresh cilantro, red onions and jalapenos on the side.

How To Make Refried Beans

  1. In a medium-sized pan, add two tablespoons of olive oil. Heat the oil on the stove over medium heat.
  2. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1/3 cup of diced onions to the hot oil.
  3. If you like it spicy, add 1 finely chopped jalapeno.
  4. Sautee for 1 minute or until the onions start to soften.
  5. Remove the pan from heat. Add 5 cups of cooked pinto beans to the pan.
  6. Use your immersion blender to gently blend the beans until they reach your desired consistency. If it seems a bit thick, you can add some cooking juice or broth to help with blending.
  7. Taste the refried beans to check if you need to add any extra seasonings or salt. For extra flavor, consider adding around 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder, cumin, or coriander.
  8. Place the pan back on low heat and stir frequently to prevent burning. Heat the refried beans until they are thoroughly warmed through and reach the consistency you like.

Topping Ideas For Refried Beans

  • Shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Chopped Fresh Cilantro
  • Sliced Avocado or Guacamole
  • Salsa (mild, medium, or hot, depending on your preference)
  • Sliced Black Olives
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Chopped Green Onions or Scallions
  • Pickled Jalapeño Slices
  • Sliced Red or White Onions
  • Crumbled Queso Fresco or Cotija Cheese
  • A Squeeze of Fresh Lime Juice
creamy vegetarian crockpot refried beans made in a crock pot topped with cheese, onions and cilantro. chips dipped in the beans.

Budget-Friendly Crockpot Pinto Beans For a Dinner Party

Pinto beans are a great choice for a Mexican-themed dinner party side dish, if you are on a tight grocery budget. Mexican food (especially Easy Mexican Appetizers are favorites around here, and they likely will be with your guests, too. Everyone seems to love a good old plate of Tex-Mex chips, salsa, and cheese, don’t they? 

I have 50 Mexican Party Theme Ideas and Recipes that you will want to browse through when planning a Cinco de Mayo party You will find dinners that are simpler to make, especially when you are hosting a big crowd for dinner.

I always want to spend more time visiting and less time cooking and cleaning when entertaining. Crock Pot recipes let you do just that. So here’s my best advice for throwing an epic Tex-Mex Dinner Party. Keep it simple! Try these easy, non-time-consuming recipes that go perfectly with these simple Crock Pot pinto beans:

Appetizers: Air Fryer Frozen Taquitos, Vegan Nacho Cheese or Shrimp Pico de Gallo with tortilla chips for scooping

Soups: Cheesy Tortilla Mexican Chicken Soup, Creamy Taco Soup with Ranch Dressing Recipe (Easy Crockpot)Tex-Mex Chicken Taco Soup Recipe (Crock Pot Make-Ahead) or Mexican Vegan Tomato Soup

Mains: Nacho casserole or this cheesy Mexican ground beef casserole  

Dessert: Churros or dessert chimichangas

How to Store Leftovers

  • In the fridge: Place the whole pinto beans or your refried beans in an airtight container. They should stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days. The flavors will get even better, and you might like them even more the next day.
  • In the freezer: Allow the cooked beans to cool to room temperature, then place them in an airtight freezer-safe container. Labe and date the container then place it into the freezer. They should stay fresh for up to 3 months. Let them thaw in the fridge before reheating.
  • How to reheat: Reheat beans on the stove in a pot over medium heat until piping hot. Note* You might need to add water or broth if the beans seem too thick. You can also use the microwave if you prefer.

I Want To Answer Your Questions & Hear Your Comments

Do you have a question about this recipe❓ I will answer in the comment form below👇🏼 the recipe card. Did you make this recipe? If so, could you be a gem and leave a comment and rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below? This helps others find yummy 😋 recipes to make for their family and friends.

vegetarian crock pot pinto beans in a bowl topped with fresh cilantro, red onions and jalapenos on the side.
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Easy Seasoned Tender Crock Pot Pinto Beans (Vegetarian)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 12 1/2 cups
These Vegetarian Crock Pot Pinto Beans are extremely easy to cook and always give you tender creamy beans full of delicious flavor.  This vegetarian recipe takes just a couple of minutes to prep and feeds a crowd. As a main dish or a flavorful side, this is a recipe you can come back to for Taco Tuesday or any Mexican-themed party.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 1/3 cup onion, diced
  • 15 oz diced tomatoes with green chilies, (do not drain)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • 4 cups water, You could also use vegetable broth instead if you prefer.

Refried Beans

Instructions
 

Crock Pot Pinto Beans

  • Start by soaking your beans using one of the two methods outlined in the notes. Once your beans are soaked and rinsed, place them in your Crock Pot.
    1 pound dried pinto beans
  • Chop up the onion into a small dice. Add it to the pinto beans along with the can of tomatoes with green chilies.
    1/3 cup onion, 15 oz diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • Measure out the olive oil, coriander, cumin, onion powder, salt, and garlic powder and sprinkle each over the beans.
    1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon coriander, 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • Pour in the 4 cups of water and stir everything together until it’s totally combined.
    4 cups water
  • Place the lid on the Crockpot and allow the beans to cook on high for 6-7 hours.
  • At the 6-hour mark, check the tenderness of the beans. Continue cooking in increments of 30 minutes until the beans have reached a soft consistency you enjoy.

Making Refried Beans

  • In a medium-sized pan, add two tablespoons of olive oil. Heat the oil on the stove over medium heat.
    2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1/3 cup of diced onions to the hot oil.
    1/3 cup onion, 2 cloves garlic
  • If you like it spicy, add 1 finely chopped jalapeno.
    1 jalapeno
  • Sautee for 1 minute or until the onions start to soften.
  • Remove the pan from heat. Add 5 cups of cooked pinto beans to the pan.
  • Use your immersion blender to gently blend the beans until they reach your desired consistency. If it seems a bit thick, you can add some cooking juice, broth, or water to help with blending.
  • Taste the refried beans to check if you need to add any extra seasonings or salt. For extra flavor, consider adding around 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder, cumin, or coriander.
  • Place the pan back on low heat and stir frequently to prevent burning. Heat the refried beans until they are thoroughly warmed through and reach the consistency you like.

Equipment

Notes

Quick Soak Method for Beans
  1. Rinse the Beans: Start by pouring the dried beans into a colander. Rinse them thoroughly under cold running water. This will help remove any dust, debris, or impurities. Remove any stems, pebbles, or other debris from the beans and toss them in the trash. 
  2. Boil Water: Fill the large pot with enough water to cover the beans by about 4 inches above the beans. Bring the water to a rapid boil over high heat.
  3. Place the Beans in a Pot: Pour the dried, rinsed beans into the pot of boiling water. 
  4. Boil: Let the water return to a boil and allow the beans to boil vigorously for about 5 minutes. 
  5. Remove from Heat: After the 5-minute boil, remove the pot from the heat source.
  6. Cover and Soak: Cover the pot with a lid and let the beans soak in the hot water for 1 hour. The residual heat from the boiled water will gradually soften the beans.
  7. Drain and Rinse: After the 1-hour soak, drain the beans into a colander or sieve. Rinse them once again under cold running water to remove any remaining impurities.
  8. Cook the Beans: Cook the beans as directed in your recipe.
Soaking Beans Over Night Before Cooking
  1. Pick and Rinse the Beans: Spread the dried pinto beans on a clean kitchen surface or a large plate. Pick through the beans to remove any debris, small stones, or damaged beans. Then, rinse the beans thoroughly under cold running water to remove dust and impurities.
  2. Place Beans in a Bowl: Transfer the rinsed pinto beans to a large bowl.
  3. Add Water: Pour enough cold water into the bowl to cover the beans by at least 4 inches. The beans will absorb a significant amount of water as they soak, so ensure there’s enough water to keep them submerged (too much water is better than not enough).
  4. Cover and Soak: Cover the bowl with a lid or a clean kitchen towel. Let the beans soak in the water for at least 8 hours or overnight. 
  5. Drain and Rinse: After the soaking time is complete, drain the soaked pinto beans in a colander or sieve. Rinse them thoroughly once again under cold running water to remove any remaining impurities.
  6. Use the beans: Use the beans as directed in your recipe.
Serving: 1g, Calories: 175kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 15mg, Potassium: 617mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 70IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 62mg, Iron: 2mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Side Dish
Author: Gina Dickson

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