How Do I Choose the Best Pinto Beans?

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  • Written By: Sherry Holetzky
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 January 2020
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Pinto beans can be a filling, tasty, healthy, and economical meal or side dish. The type you choose, and ultimately consider best, will be determined by a number of different factors, such as prep time, cooking experience, taste, and the number of people being served. You will also need to choose between raw and heat-and-eat varieties.

Beans are very affordable and they go a long way. A pot of beans can be used for supper, for lunch the next day, and can then be made into other dishes such as bean soup or refried beans. You can create quite a few meals from one bag of beans. Many people add pintos into their menus as a staple because they are inexpensive and satisfying.

Taste is often the key when it comes to food, so if you want specially seasoned pinto beans without all the fuss, look no further than the canned vegetable aisle in your favorite grocery store. Canned pinto beans come already prepared and in a bit of juice from cooking, or what some folks like to call sauce or broth. Canned beans may or may not be seasoned or have special flavorings or other ingredients added.


Choose from tastes such as soul food or Southern style or for a little more zip, you might want to try jalapeno or onion flavored pinto beans. Some offerings include onion. Canned pintos may also be available with or without meat, such as ham or bacon. Some varieties may not contain pieces of meat but still be flavored with meat.

If you are eating beans as a health-conscious choice, be sure to check the fat content on prepared pinto beans, as many types are prepared by slow cooking them with fatty cuts of meat. The beans and even the broth may contain high fat content. Plain beans in broth may be the best choice for lower fat diets. Those that require less salt in their diets can look for low sodium pinto beans.

Pinto beans can be served in many different ways and are considered a good source of protein. If you do not have a lot of experience cooking pinto beans, you may wish to choose an already prepared variety rather than starting with a basic bag of beans. If you would like to make them yourself, begin by sorting through the beans and removing broken or otherwise less than perfect ones.

After going through this sorting process a few times, you should be able to choose a better bag of beans to purchase just by looking at it carefully before purchase. There will always be some imperfect ones, but the majority will be good. Some brands may offer higher quality, or fewer “bad” beans per bag.



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