Based on my family’s traditional Brazilian pinto beans, this recipe has a deep smoky flavor, creamy beans and incredibly tasty broth. I use the stove top (slower) method of cooking, in a dutch oven all the ingredients come together and the result is nothing but a perfect batch of Brazilian pinto beans, ready to eat or be added to your favorite recipes!
It is no coincidence that we Brazilians are known for our delicious food particularly BEANS. For once our beans have a delicious deep smoky flavor while the beans are creamy and broth is thick. It is truly like no other! The second part reason is probably because we eat beans everyday, in fact beans have its own dedicated group on the food pyramid chart. For Brazilians it is hard to imagine having a meal without beans.
All this time cooking and eating beans, it is only natural that we found the perfect recipe for it. I grew up watching my Mom make her famous beans, and while I am confident on my beans making skills, it felt right to consult my Mama who makes the BEST BEANS EVER! Her most relevant input? Please add tomato paste!
what are Brazilian beans?
The main difference between Brazilian beans is the consistency but it also has a lot to do with the flavor too. A lot of times you see perfect beans that are intact or un-cracked I should say, and the broth is very liquidy. That’s not the case with Brazilian beans. We cook our beans a bit longer so that while some of the beans may crack, they are soft creamy and the broth is slightly thick.
Another way I can describe Brazilian beans is by its flavor. Because we always use some type of animal fat and a warm combination of spices, the beans have a deep smoky flavor. It is quite delicious and unique!
do I need to soak the beans?
Yes. While there are quite a few contradicting opinions on this (and yes, the beans will cook just fine if not soaked!), the process of soaking the beans is mainly to breaks down some of the complex sugars that make them hard for some people to digest. In other words, it makes people feel less gassy aaaaand it helps cook much faster!
what if I don’t have 18-24 hours to soak the beans?
You can use the quick soaking method that is explained in the recipe. Follow these easy instructions;
- Wash and drain the beans
- Transfer clean beans to a large pot (dutch oven or any heavy pot)
- Add four cups of water
- Cover and bring to a boil
- Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat and let beans soak for one hour.
Can I freeze my beans?
Yes! Absolutely!! Place it in an air tight container and freeze for up to 3 months. If you prefer you can refrigerate for up to five days.
What are the different methods of cooking pinto beans?
Most people use a pressure cooker. In Brazil EVERYONE has an old school pressure cooker and that’s how I learned to cook beans. Today I mostly use my Instant Pot but once in a while I cook my beans on a heavy stove top pot.
- Pressure Cooker – traditional Panela de Pressão
- Instant Pot – electric pressure cooker
- Stove Top – dutch oven (cast iron) or any heavy pot for better heat distribution.
Times will vary depending o each method you choose and I will update this recipe once I test and time all the different methods of cooking.
As for this recipe I decided to cook on a heavy stove top pot because not everyone has a pressure cooker or instant pot, but also because I wanted you to know that you can still make AMAZING tasting beans without having a pressure cooker.
I hope you will truly enjoy this recipe. If you make this Brazilian Pinto Beans recipe, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Thanks a bunch!
Brazilian Pinto Beans
- Dutch Oven/ Heavy Pot
- 16 oz dried pinto beans, rinsed
- 8 cups water
- 4 oz pork belly (fat), (alt: pancetta or bacon) cubed (small)
- 1 small white onion, diced (small)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
Seasoning & Spices
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp each, paprika and coriander
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
Quick Soaking Instructions
- SHOULD YOU DECIDE LAST MINUTE TO MAKE THIS RECIPE AND YOU NO LONGER HAVE 18-24 HOURS TO PRE-SOAK THE BEANS, USE THIS METHOD. IT WORKS REALLY WELL!
- Wash and drain the beans. Transfer to a large pot (you can use the same pot that you will be cooking the beans). Add 4 cups of water, cover and bring to a boil.
- When the water is boiling, turn off the heat and let the beans soak for an hour.
- When the time is up, drain and rinse the beans. Set aside
Brazilian Pinto Beans (Recipe)
- Place your dutch oven or heavy pot on stove and turn heat to medium-high. Add in the small bits of cut up pork belly. Alternativerly you can use pancetta, bacon or even bacon grease for flavoring. The key is to use some type of animal fat. Sauté for about 5-7 minutes, stirring often until the pork belly bits are golden brown and crispy.
- Add in onion. Lower the heat to medium-low. Saute the onions until translucent. Add garlic, tomato paste, and all the seasonings beside the salt and bay leaves. Give it a good mix.
- Add pinto beans to the pot and 8 cups of water. Stir everything up and add in bay leaves.
- Cover the pot about 95% of the way, leaving a small opening for the steam to be release. Cook for 1 hour and half to 2 hours, stirring occasionally more often towards the end.
- Beans are done when soft upon squeezing and broth is creamy and has thicken a bit. Most of the liquid will have reduced by now. Add in salt and mix well. Taste and adjust the salt as needed.