Pinto Beans with Bacon and Jalapeños

A family favorite meal around here is steak, salsa, and beans, often served with some warmed fresh corn tortillas on the side. Usually the beans for this ensemble are refried beans, but this week we decided to serve the beans whole, and dress them up a bit with pan roasted jalapeños, onions, and bacon. So good! And quick and easy too. Sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro to serve.

Pinto Beans with Bacon and Jalapeños Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6.


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, grapeseed oil, or canola oil
  • 2 to 3 whole jalapeño chile peppers
  • 2 to 3 thick-cut slices of bacon
  • 2 cups of chopped onion
  • 2 medium clove of garlic, minced
  • 4 cups of cooked pinto beans (2 15-ounce cans, rinsed and drained)
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup, loosely packed, chopped fresh cilantro


1 Heat oil in a medium skillet on high heat. Put the jalapeños in the pan and stir to coat with the oil. Let cook, turning occasionally, on all sides, until all sides are nicely browned (about 10-15 minutes, depending on how hot your burner is). Remove from pan. Cut away and discard the stem, core, seeds, and veins. Coarsely chop the remaining jalapeño flesh.

2 While the jalapeños are cooking, cook the bacon slices on medium low heat in a large skillet, until crispy. Remove bacon from the pan to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off (do not discard down the drain!) all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat.

3 Add the chopped onion to the pan with the bacon fat. Increase the heat to medium high and cook until translucent and lightly browned. Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more. While the onion is cooking, chop the cooked bacon.

4 Add the cooked beans, chopped bacon, and the chopped jalapeños to the pan and stir to mix. Sprinkle with salt.

Serve with chopped fresh cilantro, and steak and salsa.

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  1. Celeste

    This looks to be very, very good. Thanks to you Elise, your family and friends for all the wonderful recipes and stories from the outset through 2011. Especially the stories. Don’t get me wrong, the recipes are the best, but the stories and the stories/comments from all who read and cook are lovely. It feels somehow as if we’re in the kitchen together. Cornball, yes, but I hope perhaps cornball cool. All the best in 2012.

  2. Kiran @

    I love bean salads’. Its is usually pack with protein and flavors. A crowd pleaser for sure :)

    Happy New Year, Elise :)

  3. Jim Price

    Thanks, Elise, for sharing your love of cooking with us these past years. Wish you all the best for the coming New Year.

  4. Tracee

    I don’t see where the steak is added in…???

    This dish is a side, excellent served with steak. ~Elise

  5. Je Ae

    This looks awesome. Side dishes are a bane for me because hubby is so picky. I’d have to remove the lovely jalapenos (hubby can’t stand the heat), but otherwise he’d love this! Thanks for a new side I can add to our rotation.

  6. Kate

    This looks amazing and right up my alley! I have a jar of dried pintos just waiting to be used up. Thanks for sharing :)

  7. Kevin

    Everything is better with bacon. Yum.

  8. Robin

    Sounds delish. I’m a long-time follower of your blog. I was intrigued to find out that you live in the Carmichael area (me too!)- your references to farmer’s market and Corti Bros. should have clued me in long before. And now I just saw your Stanford alumni blog post. Delighted to know you’re a fellow Stanford alum! Enjoy the Fiesta Bowl and GO CARDINAL!

  9. Sade

    This looks great! If you don’t discard the bacon fat down the drain, how DO you do discard it?

    Soak it up with paper towels and discard. Or, save to a bacon fat jar to use in cooking. See how to render bacon fat. If you dump it down the drain, over time your pipes will definitely clog. ~Elise

  10. Sally

    I’m not sure if I ever told you this, so as the year comes to a close, I wanted to be sure to share it. When I wrote about my ‘Mexico excursion’ on my blog, my nephew’s girlfriend e-mailed me to say how excited she was that I had met ELISE BAUER !!! because she practically learned to cook on your site. All your hard work is so appreciated by so many people; may it continue to enrich all of us. Happy, happy new year, to you and your family. dear Elise. I hope it brings you blessings, and all of your heart’s desires.

    Wow, thanks Sally, and the same to you! Happy happy new year! ~Elise

  11. JoAnn

    I love your recipes Elise, but I just couldn’t let this one go by! I understand the need for quick recipes, but cooking dried beans in a crockpot or on the stovetop is REALLY the best way to eat them! I grew up on pinto beans once a week as our protein with cornbread. It’s a staple here in Texas! A piece of bread with butter and a bowl of beans right off the stove before dinner was served was a special treat from my mom’s kitchen! Of course bacon, pork or ham bone is the best seasoning. Leftover beans can be used for refried beans by mashing and heating in a skillet with a little oil. Keep those recipes coming and try a pot of beans cooked all day on a cold winter day!

    I absolutely agree, which is why the recipe specifies cooked beans. They can come from a can or you can cook them from scratch. ~Elise

  12. Becki Robins

    What an easy way to make pinto beans interesting. I confess that unless the beans are part of a main course I usually just dump them into a pot and warm them though. Thanks!

  13. merd

    Soaking some beans right now… thanks!

  14. KimH

    I never met a pinto bean I didnt love.. Thanks for a quickie version of charro beans, my most favorite of all pintos.

  15. Kelly

    Eating this as we speak, used Serrano, they are
    really spicy!
    This is very warm and smokey!
    Thanks for all the great recipes!
    Happy New Year!

  16. Susanne

    Steak strips rolled in tortillas with salsa and beans was my dad’s favorite meal, and became my favorite way to enjoy steak! Can’t wait to try this, we always reheat or refry our beans in bacon fat yum! thank you!

  17. Kalashnikov Dude

    I used this recipe the first time I saw it here and made it for my familys New Years dinner celebration right next to the fried turkey.Everybody raved.Its a new tradition.Thanks!I did some changes though.I used roasted green chilles from Hatch New Mexico,grilled and frozen some time back instead of Jalapenos.That and I did cook my own Pintos.The rest was all you.And it rocked : )

  18. Marita

    We had this last night for dinner and it was delicious! I didn’t have any bacon on hand so I added a half teaspoon of liquid smoke and a few splashes of dark beer. Fantastic! I’ll definitely be making this again.

  19. Andrew Frappier

    I just made this and it is fantastic. This will become a regular on our home menu. I know there are a lot of cooking sites out there, but yours is on my Google homepage and every recipe of yours I have made comes out amazing.

    Keep up the good work. mmmmmmmmmm

  20. Beverly

    This was excellent. I don’t really care for beans that much but this was great! My husband loved it. It was easy, fast and very flavorful. I will definitely make this again.

  21. Terry

    Anything with beans is great and this is so easy! Really dresses up a plain can of pintos. Thanks!

  22. Jerry Gartner

    Great recipe! For a vegetarian twist, I forewent the bacon, (one of the hardest things I’d ever done!), and settled for 5 or 6 shakes of liquid smoke.

    A good squish of lime also sets the flavors off quite nicely.

  23. Lauren

    So simple, quick, and flavorful! I kept it all in one skillet. While the jalapeno was roasting, I chopped up vegetables for plum and cabbage salsas, and prepped a simple chicken for the grill. The beans were a perfect accompaniment.

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