How to Make Canned Pinto Beans Taste Better – Like They Didn’t Come from the Can!

How to Make Canned Pinto Beans Taste Better

Canned beans are that quintessential staple you need in your pantry. They come in handy when you’re making soups, for adding more protein to salads, filling burritos, or even being their own side dish. But if you have canned pinto beans collecting dust in the back of those shelves and you need to use them up, you may be wondering how to make them taste better.

One of the best things about canned beans is that they’ve already been cooked. If you lost power and had no means of cooking, you could eat them straight out of the can. Likely, that would put you off to canned pinto beans for a while.

However, even when you heat them, they have that bland and metallic taste that gives it away they’ve been trapped in a can. If you know how to make canned pinto beans taste better though, you’ll be able to turn that shelf-stable stash into a hearty meal or side dish that will have everyone coming back for more.

Save Your Dinner by Making Canned Pinto Beans Better

Don’t let those canned pinto beans go to waste! You can learn how to make canned pinto beans better with a few quick and easy tips.

– Give Them a Good Rinse

While you can technically use the canned liquid the pinto beans come with, it’s best to rinse them with cold water and drain them well. That liquid is often quite starchy and salty and by washing it away, it gives you a clean slate to cook with…one that doesn’t have that canned, metallic taste.


– Warm Up Some Aromatics First

Whether your pinto beans will be a side dish with rice, part of your chili recipe, or the filling for your burritos, they need bold flavors. That’s where aromatics come in. By sauteing minced garlic and onions in olive oil, you open up those flavors to coat the beans, enhancing their flavor before your next steps.


– Let Your Imagination Run Wild with Seasonings

Your spice rack is a treasure trove of ways to make canned pinto beans taste better. Experiment with garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Adding cinnamon gives it a unique depth while smoked paprika gives them that smoky taste. And of course, don’t skip out on the salt and pepper.


– Freshen Them Up

When it comes to making canned pinto beans better, you can’t go wrong by adding more fresh elements. Herbs like cilantro play up the flavors even more, plus they add a pretty pop of green for contrast. Not a fan of cilantro? Some people think it tastes like soap, and if you’re one of them, try fresh parsley, oregano, or even Thai basil.


– Brighten and Bolden with Citrus

When you have canned pinto beans you need to jazz up, adding a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime will do the trick. Combine it with these other flavor-enhancing tips to get a taste that will make everyone think you spent all that time soaking dry beans all night rather than opening up a can!


– Simmer with Broth

Draining away that salty, gunky liquid that comes along with the canned pinto beans means you’ll need to add something liquid to help them simmer with other flavors. Broths and stocks are a great choice here. You can use chicken, beef, or vegetable broth to enhance the flavors. Even better, along with those other seasonings mentioned above, toss in a bay leaf. This will give your beans more savory flavor and depth in every bite.


– Be Spicy

Open spices on the table

If you love things on the spicy side, you can make canned pinto beans taste better by adding some heat. Try chili powder, hot sauce, or even sriracha to bring the spice level up a notch.


– Butter Them Up

With or without broth added, canned pinto beans will taste much better if you chuck in a bit of butter. Use the real stuff, not margarine. The addition of fat brings more to the flavor spectrum here. You can also use it with olive oil to round out the flavors even more. Butter adds a bit more richness that will make everyone wonder what your secret is for amazing pinto beans.


– Pour in Some Sugar

A close look at granulated white sugar on a wooden spoon.

When you have all those bold and savory flavors, a hint of sugar really balances things out. It’s just like when you bake and you’ve got so many sweet flavors, the recipe tells you to add salt. It doesn’t come out salty though unless you accidentally pour in too much. Drop in a pinch or two of sugar, stir, and see how the flavors become more balanced and delightful on your palate.


– Add Bacon or Sausage

Slices of crispy fried bacon on a chopping board.

If you’re a meat lover, adding in some bacon or sausage will instantly make canned pinto beans taste better. These hearty additions go beautifully with smoky seasonings, giving you a robust dish no one will ever suspect started with you opening up a can. Cook them fully first before adding them!


– Serve Them with Texture

And finally, when you’re serving your canned pinto beans, think about what to top them with. Chopped green or red onions, more crispy bacon or hunks of cooked sausage, fried tortilla strips…you get the idea. Even a dollop of sour cream will really pull it all together.

Now that you know how to make canned pinto beans taste better, you’ll likely be using up your stash of cans more often. It’s certainly a great way to make a delicious and filling meal fast!

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Written by Laurie Graves

Laurie is a 50-something wife and boy mom, who loves to share easy recipes, DIY home ideas, and food hacks. She truly believes that with a little inspiration, anyone can make their home and meals feel special.