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Pinto Bean Chili

Total Time

Prep: 20 min. + soaking Cook: 1-3/4 hours


8 servings

Updated: Dec. 20, 2022
Cumin and chili powder season this traditional pinto bean chili recipe. Quesadillas on the side make this Southwestern soup a meal. —Sandy Dilatush, Denver, Colorado
Pinto Bean Chili Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chiles
  • 12 flour tortillas (6 inches)
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 teaspoons canola oil
  • Optional: Corn off the cob, chopped red onion, sliced jalapeno pepper and sour cream


  1. Place beans in a Dutch oven or soup kettle; add water to cover by 2 in. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans, discarding liquid.
  2. In a Dutch oven, cook the beef, onion and celery over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in water. Add the beans, chili powder, cumin and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Stir in the tomatoes, vinegar and salt; heat through, stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, for quesadillas, spread about 1 tablespoon of chiles on half of each tortilla. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of cheese; fold in half. In a large skillet, cook tortillas in 1 teaspoon of oil over medium heat until lightly browned on each side, adding more oil as needed. Cut each in half and serve with chili. Top with desired toppings.

Pinto Bean Chili Tips

Can you use canned pinto beans instead of dried in this pinto bean chili recipe?

Yes, you can use canned pinto beans for this recipe. If you loved this pinto bean chili, try zippy three-bean chili or one of our other chili recipes next!

What are some toppings for pinto bean chili?

Top your pinto bean chili with the classic toppings like sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro and tortilla chips. Check out our ultimate guide to chili for more ideas.

How can you adjust the spice level in this pinto bean chili recipe?

Add more spice by increasing the amount of cumin and chili powder. You could also add sliced jalapenos to add some more zip. If you want less spice, just decrease the amount of cumin and chili powder used.

Christina Herbst, Taste of Home Assistant Digital Editor

Nutrition Facts

1-1/2 cups: 787 calories, 34g fat (15g saturated fat), 120mg cholesterol, 1373mg sodium, 72g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 18g fiber), 51g protein.

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