Yields: 6 cups

I remember spending days in the kitchen with my Abuelita. Beans were a staple at lunch and dinner so there was rarely a day she didn’t have a pot simmering on the stove. My favorite part was the bean juice (the cooking liquid), which I’d drink by the cupful.  But I digress…beans are a wonderfully, tasty source of protein. Plus they’re also easy to make and basically cook themselves. They’re great in dozens of recipes or just served up with rice. Abuelita…I miss you. You would be proud 🙂


  • 1 lb of dried pinto beans
  • ½ yellow or sweet onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups of water
  • Salt

Prep It:

  • Check the beans for stones or any debris that might have made it into the bag. Dump the beans in a large pot and cover with about 6 – 8 cups of water. Let the beans soak over night. Drain the water.
  • Cut the onion in quarters and remove the peel.
  • Smash the garlic cloves and remove the skins.
  • NOTE: If you don’t have all night here’s a quick soak method:
    • Cover the beans with 6 – 8 cups of water.
    • Bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let the beans soak for 1 hour. Drain the soaking liquid.
    • Voila!! Presoaked beans

Cook It:

  • Add the drained beans along with the water, onion garlic and bay leaves to a large pot.
  • Cook for 1 ½ – 2 hours or until the beans are tender.
  • Add salt to taste. NOTE: Do not salt the beans until after they’re cooked. Salting them before they’re cooked with make them tough and gritty. Yuck!

Serve It:

  • Serve them hot with a bit of the bean juice. They’re good as is!
    Use them in any recipe calling for pinto beans. Check out the refried bean recipe her also.
  • Change it up!
    • Add 1 finely diced carrot about halfway through the cooking process. Celery works well also.
    • Don’t like pinto beans? Black beans cook up exactly the same way.

5 thoughts on “Frijoles!

    • Oooo! I never thought of adding potatoes to the bean juice. I’m going to try that later today. And thanks so much on the compliment…that means alot coming from such a fabulous photographer!

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