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!

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