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Momma's Pinto Beans

Courtesy Moriah Brooke

Chef notes

Every year, my mother makes these pinto beans the day after Thanksgiving. After scraping my fair share of bowls clean, I've recently started putting her recipe to use in my own kitchen. Growing up, I was always taught to not waste anything in the kitchen, so in this recipe, I use my mom's hot tip for using leftover holiday ham to add smoky flavor to this dish. The best part about this recipe is that there's no bean-soaking required. And though these hearty beans are incredibly delicious by themselves, they also do well paired with rice or cornbread.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers, diced into small pieces
  • 1 shallot, diced into small pieces
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic powder
  • 2 cups chopped ham or 1 (1½- to 2-pound) petite ham
  • 2 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 10-12 cups water or chicken broth, plus more if needed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper



Place a large 8-quart pot over medium heat and add the oil. Once the pan is hot and the oil begins to sizzle, add in the bell peppers, shallots and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Add in the dried thyme, paprika, garlic powder and ham. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.


Add in the pinto beans, cover with water and season with kosher salt. Once the water comes to a simmer, reduce the heat and cover with a lid.


Simmer on low for 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until the beans are fork-tender.


Once finished cooking, season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Finally, pull apart any large pieces of ham and serve warm.