Mad Gringa Pintos-Made in my Pressure Cooker (Fat Optional)

Recipe at bottom of post.
I’m white, really, really white. But I was raised in SoCal, and I’ve grown up on Mexican food, TexMex, CaliMex, Tijuana Street Tacos, you name it. I love the Mexican spices and flavors, and they have become a staple in our home cooking. I use more cumin than anyone I know! My Mexican friends tease me about being a Gringa that knows how to cook beans in the same manner as their own Abuela (no measuring and from scratch). One dear friend came over with her Tia and took her to my pantry to show her that I bought Pintos 25 pounds at a time, I was so pleased. A few years ago, I purchased a pressure cooker, I use it so often, that I got rid of my crock pot altogether and use the pressure cooker for all of my slow cook recipes, as well as for many new recipes. I make beans about 3-4 times a week in the cooker and I am excited to share my first Bean/Pressure Cooker recipe with you. This is my main recipe, the Mexican Beans that my family has grown to love, my Gringa Specialty.

My Vat of Beans-I keep a measuring cup in my beans so I don’t have to go searching for one.

This is She, the One, the Lovely, the Well Used, Pressure Cooker! I have the Cuisinart, but the recipe timing may vary slightly if you have another brand. Pictured here are the Base, the Pot, the Lid and the Rubber Seal that fits inside the Lid.

Here are some of my favorite ingredients: Chipotle Chile Powder, Cumin, Cilantro Bouillon and Onion Bouillon.
Then of course SALT. There is an old-wives tale out there that says you can’t use salt while cooking the beans or they will be tough. That is just not true. If you don’t use salt while cooking the beans, you will end up with seasoned gravy/broth, but beans that are bland on the inside. You want the water to be salted, so that the salt goes all the way into the bean while cooking.
Cilantro and Onion Bouillon are not necessary, you may substitute Vegetable, Chicken or Beef Bouillon as well. If you don’t have any, don’t worry, just use some extra salt.
So we’ve added the beans, the spices and 2 1/2 to 3 cups of water for every cup of beans ( I like lots of gravy/broth, so I use 3 cups of water per cup of beans). Dip your finger in and taste the broth at this point (you can use a spoon but it feels more like home cooking to use your finger). You can get an idea of what it will taste like. Want it spicier? add more chili powder. Add Oregano if you’d like, or more Cumin. It’s really up to you. Tip-Use good tasting water. The beans are like sponges and will soak up the flavor of anything you add to them.
I cook my pintos for 60-70 minutes on high pressure. Whenever I buy new beans, I make a test batch at 60 minutes. Sometimes, that’s just not enough to make them creamy in the middle and I have to add an extra 5-10 minutes. It really depends on your beans, but my rule is 60 minutes for a firm texture, 65 minutes for a creamy texture. And yes, at some point there was writing on the buttons that has long worn off.
And here they are 65 minutes later! Creamy, tender, and very flavorful, with lots of gravy/broth to put over my rice. If you would like to, you may add some fat at this point. Sometime I add a pat of butter, lard or even a bit of bacon grease to add more flavor. But overall,  my family doesn’t need the extra fat and these beans do not lack flavor. Taste and add more salt at this point, IF NEEDED.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I would love some feedback to see how this recipe worked for you or how you altered it to your own family’s taste. The general recipe is below, along with some variations and substitutions.

Mad Gringa Pintos

    • 2 cups dried pinto beans
    • 5-6 cups good tasting water
    • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
    • 1 teaspoon Chipotle Chili Powder ( or any kind of Chili powder that you like, I just love the spice and smokiness of the Chipotle)
    • 1 or 2 Bouillon cubes
    • Salt to taste-this will vary depending on the use of bouillon cubes. Taste the broth, and salt until you can taste the flavor of the spices.
    • 1/2 teaspoon Oregano

Rinse beans, puts all ingredients in cooker pot. Attach lid and set to 60-65 minutes on High Pressure (I like going 65 for really creamy beans). Salt if needed.

Optional, add in beginning:

  • 1 whole chopped onion
  • sliced jalepeno, or any chile pepper of your choice
  • 1-2 peeled tomatoes

Optional, add at end of cooking time:

  • fresh cilantro, oregano or herb of choice
  • cooked meat like chorizo, carnitas, chicken or bacon
  • 1-2 cooked peeled tomatoes


  • Chipotle Powder can be changed to: Chili Powder, Taco Seasoning, or Mexican Spice Rub
  • Bouillon can be changed to: Broth (your choice) but reduce water by amount of broth used
  • Pintos can be changed to: Black Beans, Peruano or Pink Beans, BUT the timing will change, please consult your pressure cooker manual to find the correct time.


33 comment on “Mad Gringa Pintos-Made in my Pressure Cooker (Fat Optional)”

  1. Pingback: – Mad Gringa Gramma Beans!

  2. Pingback: – Mad Gringa Pintos-Made in my Pressure Cooker (Fat Optional)

  3. Melissa,

    Yep. Best beans ever, I make them at least once a week since I got a pressure cooker for Christmas. Went on vacation last week, went to 2 different Mexican eatery’s. Just didn’t get my “bean” fix. Came home last Saturday night and had to make my beans on Sunday. I thank you so much for the best beans EVER!!!!

  4. tobreth,

    Wanted to let you know that I make a lot of beans but found this several months ago and it is my husband’s favorite bean I make. We eat it a lot because it is easy and versatile (though we mostly do burritos with this and rice). Rarely is a recipe so good I would bother to comment it but this one is a real keeper.

  5. Melissa,

    Can’t wait to try this. I eat beans but have resorted to canned as I tried soaking them overnight, out in the crockpot and they were still hard. Pressure cooker is my next purchase!

  6. Carrie,

    I ONLY do my Gringa Beans in a crock pot and I cook them from 6-8 hrs.
    I have never used ginger, but I think that might be something I try next! Good suggestion!
    How much do you use?
    And do you use fresh (white) or commercial (pink) or do you use powdered?
    My family loves my version, but I am always on the look-out for new versions!!

  7. Katie,

    I want a spiffy pressure cooker like the one you have. Mine is a bit more old school:) Maybe I will ask for a Cuisinart Pressure Cooker for Christmas:)

  8. Elaine,

    OK, you said add ‘hours’ if you do the beans in a crock pot. Since I have 2 crock pots and no PC, I am more likely to use the crock. How many hours for an average sized crock pot? Also do you ever add a little ginger to beans to help do away with the “music”??
    I love Mad Cooking, too 🙂

    1. Comment author madme,

      I used to do my beans for 8-12 hours on high in my crock pot to get them to the right consistency and you must remember to add water as they need, the crock pot will allow some moisture to escape when it’s been running that long. We eat beans so often here, that we have NO digestive issues with them at all so I don’t add anything to make them less gassy. I know a lot of folks do, or they soak them and rinse them until the water is clear. But I read an article years ago that said if they are a regular part of your diet, you will not have problems and I have to say, I believe it! We’ve been eating beans on an almost daily basis for 16 years.

  9. mjskit,

    I’m with you – who needs a crock pot if you have a pressure cooker. I’m still using my pressure cooker from the 70’s and LOVE it, especially for cooking beans – pintos, black, white, you name it. There’s nothing better than pressure cooked beans! Your pintos look perfect – creamy and delicious!

  10. Carrie,

    Okay, so I set the slow cooker up at 8:30 am and didn’t get home until 7ish. I did swing home a bit in the afternoon to check on them (I was so excited to smell the house – and it smelled amazing). I stirred the beans at that point and then left again until the evening. The beans would have been great at 4 or 5pm but they were fantastic when I got home and tried them. Husband said they were EPIC beans and has requested them twice since I made them on Tuesday (today is Friday) and we set up the crock pot this morning with another batch!! I’ve already transferred the recipe to a legitimate recipe card and attached it to the refrigerator door – doesn’t make sense to put it into the recipe book yet, since I will be using it pretty much every week.
    Brought a bowl of beans to someone to have for dinner and she said she ate her fill that night and finished the remaining beans for breakfast because they were “fabulous”!
    Best beans recipe there is. I’m convinced of it.

  11. Carrie,

    I am setting up the crock pot right now! Beans are on the menu for next week too, so I will try the pressure-cooked then. 🙂

    I’m excited!!

    And thank you for the “Optional” and “Substitutions” section at the bottom! 🙂

    You make cooking-like-a-pro seem so easy. And I love stealing your years of knowledge to make me look like I know what I’m doing. ♥

    Thank you for your re-fried info! And I was just about to ask what fat you use and then you went ahead and answered it for me in the next sentence. 😉 You’re amazing.

  12. Carrie,

    Do you ever ‘stick blender’ the beans to make them more re-fried style?
    Just wondering if this recipe translates to a ‘bean and cheese burrito’ style bean….

    I have a 25 lb bag of beans and a 25 lb bag of rice in my pantry right now (Thank you Costco) so I am happy to get to try this recipe along-side my MIL’s Mexi-rice… tomorrow maybe!!!

    BTW, for those of you who have a local Food 4 Less in your neighborhood that is where I have seen the ‘exotic’ bouillons. 🙂

    1. Comment author madme,

      I cannot believe you asked this, we had that for dinner tonight. So the big difference is going to be that you drain off some of the liquid and add it back as needed and you will add fat into it as you blend it. You can skip the fat but the texture will not quite have that creaminess that you would expect from refried. I sometimes use lard but most of the time i use butter since it is what i have on hand and butter makes everything better.
      I’d love for you to try them and tell me how the recipe works for you! Thanks for stopping in to chat, talk soon.

  13. Christa B.,

    I’ve used my pressure cooker three times in the last week and a half (that’s probably more than the last year and a half put together. ha!), so thank you for the inspiration!
    I made “pantry pintos” last night with a few substitutions… I didn’t have either onion or cilantro bullion so I used coriander seed (not bad at all) and half a packet of Lipton Onion Soup mix. I’m sure I upped the sodium content on that one, but hey, it tasted great alongside Mexican rice and sour cream chicken enchiladas!!! YUMMY!

    1. Comment author madme,

      Yay! I just might steal you “pantry pintos” title it goes just too well with my “fridge door chicken” recipe title. I wanna eat at your house.

  14. Deb,

    I have the same great PC as you have and love it. I found that if i think ahead a little bit and soak my beans in a brine solution of water and 1/4 c. salt (such as during the day when I’m at work)’ then rinse them thoroughly, it tastes BETTER. It really does. Several blogs have quoted this from Cook’s illustrated. Also, you cook it only about 35-45 mins after the soaking, too. Try it-your flavors will improve over just salying.

  15. Miz Helen,

    I make pinto beans several times a month it is a real staple here at The Cottage. I agree with you about the salt and often times cook my beans in the pressure cooker. Your recipe looks delicious and your photo’s are awesome. Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

    1. Comment author madme,

      Thank you, thank you! It’s a pleasure to hear from you and I’m so glad you stopped by. And I will stop by your site again, I really enjoyed my time there.

  16. Musings of A Minister's Wife,

    The bouillon also comes in Chipotle cubes, which I love to use while cooking chicken drizzled in olive oil. It makes a great sauce!

    Thanks for this recipe! Always looking for new and better ways to cook my beans. I only started eating beans a few years ago, but my husband was raised on them, so it’s a continual process of me bettering my beans : )

    1. Comment author madme,

      Thanks for letting me know about the Chipotle! and for visiting my site. I just spent a few minutes on your site and I lover you emphasis on modesty. I have 2 teenage girls and they have been raised to be very modest (Praise God!) but it is a challenge to buy them appropriate clothing. I hope you come by for more visits, I’ll certainly be visiting your site again.

  17. Grace,

    The name of your beans made me snort coffee out of my nose.

    This recipe sounds great. I really love cumin, too. I’m like the old lady in the Frank’s Red Hot Sauce commercials. I put that stuff on everything.

    Cilantro and Onion!!! I had no idea that Knorr made these things. Thanks!

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