How To Thicken Pinto Beans? 6 Best Tips For Your Dishes

Pinto beans are famous worldwide due to their versatility, soft texture, and benignness. Compared to other beans, it is easier to digest, full of nutrients, and available in multiple forms, from dry to canned.

Different from other beans, pinto beans are creamy, nutty, and earthy. With such a flavor, it works well as a filling for burritos and soup. 

However, there is one common question among new cooks: how to thicken pinto beans? The beans seem soft, so are there any tips you should know to avoid losing its flavor? Scroll down this post to find out!

How To Thicken Pinto Beans In Crock Pot?

How To Thicken Pinto Beans

There are six useful methods for you to opt for. Keep reading to know how to thicken up ham and bean soup!

1. Add Less Liquid

When simmering pinto beans, it is a must to add liquid as the simmering goes. This step can accidentally make the beans too soft and sometimes runny. So, how to make pinto beans thick?- Add less liquid.

Not only can you reduce the water, but you can also decrease the stock and broth in the simmering liquid. Cutting off the amount of broth will reduce the foam formed and help your pinto beans and ham bone be less runny.

2. Let The Beans Simmer

Another useful tip is to continue simmering the beans. Yes, it is just simple like that!

Pinto beans and other beans, in general, share a similar point: the more you simmer, the thicker the beans become. If you want to thicken pinto beans, let them simmer for about 7 to 10 minutes more at 221 Celsius degrees (430 Fahrenheit degrees). 

This step will reduce the liquid and make the beans thicker, as well. Through this long-simmering procedure, the beans are not only thicker, but their taste is deeper and sharper. It’s the same method as to how to thicken mac and cheese.

If you apply this method, then remember to use low heat all the time. High heat may crack the beans!

3. Mash The Beans

How to thicken beans? Beans belong to the starch in the food chart. Naturally, this ingredient contains a waxy core, making its mash act as starch and possible to thicken the sauce.

To be more particular, if you see the soup is unacceptable thin, scoop up the pintoes, move them into a container and mash them up into small pieces! This step must be done while the beans are still hot. Please keep in mind that the heat is the key – if pintos are not hot enough, the thickening effect will not be as you might expect.

After smashing, transfer beans into the pot and stir until they become thick as demanded. Let the dish rest for 30 minutes so that the beans will absorb the seasonings.

4. Make A Cornstarch Slurry

We used to have a small trick while cooking, which we would love to share. As we lacked time to simmer our white bean pasta sauce, we made the cornstarch slurry.  

Here is the recipe: 

  • Mix two tablespoons of cornstarch into a cup of cold water. 
  • Whisk the cornstarch thoroughly to ensure no lumps occur. 
  • Add cornstarch to the beans. 
  • Continue cooking the mixture for the next 10 minutes, and you will get your thick pinto bean soup vegetarian dish.

5. Use Thick Seasonings

Sometimes, you must take strong action to get the effect you want. It is the same case for cooking. If applying the above steps still did not bring you the desired result, try using thick seasonings! Besides adding flavor to the beans, seasonings can also aid in thickening them.

We also use condiments such as honey, barbecue sauce, golden syrup, tomato paste, and puree to thicken the sauce.

6. Add Flour And Butter

Similar to the approach to cornstarch above, let us introduce you to another natural thickening agent: flour and butter. Mixing flour and butter in the proper amount can produce a similar condensing effect, just like cornstarch.

The formula is simple: mix the flour with butter, and stir until they blend all together. You can add water (but just a bit) to the mixture and stir with a spatula until no lumps appear. Then, add and stir the flour and butter to the bean dish.

You can choose any flour type you want, but the best kind is still tapioca flour and instant flour. Xanthan gum is also recommended as it can condense the vegan pinto bean soup.

What Are The Tips To Cook Delicious Pinto Beans From The Beginning?

Cooking Time

Well, there is no confirmation on the cooking time. Based on our experience, from half an hour to two hours are average. 

You should consider the type of beans you use, the taste you demand, your condition, the strength of the stovetop, the bean’s age, and most important- is it soaked? 

If you live in an area above 1000 meters above sea level, the cooking time will take longer.

Cooking Tools

  • Clay/ metal cooking pot (clay pot is better)
  • Pinto beans, washed and dried
  • A stovetop
  • Spatula
  • Seasonings (if had)

Cooking Method

How to thicken red beans? First and foremost, wash the beans carefully and dry them. Then, put the beans in the cooking pot and set the temperature at a simmering mode. Control the heat, ensure that it always stabilizes at that middle range. Please note that if you set the heat too high, the beans will break.

During the simmering process, add water occasionally. The longer you cook, the tastier the beans are. Besides, be mindful that the longer you simmer, the more water evaporates as well! Stir the beans with a spatula frequently so that they won’t stick at the bottom of the pot. 

When it comes to a boil, a thick foam layer will form at the water’s surface. These foams won’t affect the quality of the food, but you can add oil or lard to avoid formation.

If necessary, you can add seasonings like garlic, herbs, onion, scallions, etc., when the beans are cooked. Please remember not to add anything acidic or salty to the pot too soon because the acid can soften the beans, and thicken baked beans will be destroyed in just one glance as a result!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Have To Soak Pinto Beans When Cooking In A Slow Cooker?

No, you don’t have to soak pinto beans beforehand. The slow cooker can release enough heat and moisture to thicken bean soup. You should add more water directly to the cooker before closing the lid to account for the loss of soaking.

Do I Have To Use Fat Or Bacon In Pinto Beans?

No, you don’t. Pinto beans already had a creamy taste, so using fat or bacon is not a must. However, if you would love the taste of them, add as you want.

After cooking, the beans will normally be mashed a bit, and the starch, as well as the creamy texture of the beans, are enough to add sweetness to the sweet pinto bean recipes.

Do I Need To Add A Thickening Agent To Pinto Beans In A Slow Cooker?

No, you don’t. When cooking the beans, there will be a creamy, thick juice extracting from the beans’ starch. That substance will be used as a thickening agent. It is best to just cook the beans as normal as guided in the “How to make baked beans thick?” above, without adding any thickening substance!

When you cook the beans longer, there will be more creams to thicken beans more effectively.

Final Thoughts

We have answered the question “How to thicken pinto beans?” and provided some tips on cooking this versatile food. In fact, cooking the pinto beans is not hard; you just need carefulness and mindfulness!

Hopefully, you can apply it to your cooking and make the best of the pinto beans you just bought with the information provided. Thank you for reading and share with us your experience in the comment box. We would love to hear your voice!

Kevin Richard

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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