Nothing could be easier than cooking up a batch of pinto beans in the slow cooker, but in this recipe, we trade in the slow cooker for the cast-iron skillet to bring these soup beans to a delicious and tender finish. Here, hearty and tasty pinto beans cooked with bacon and Mexican-style seasonings, like jalapeño chiles and ground cumin, make a great side dish for summer grilled favorites, a flavorful topping for classic Southern cornbread, or served over rice with fresh cilantro. It's a quick one-pan dish that comes together in just 20 minutes for a savory, salty, and smoky meal. To get the cast-iron skillet screaming hot and at the proper temperature to slightly char the beans on all sides, heat the skillet on the grill and cover with grill lid for 5 minutes. Next, cook the four bacon pieces with the grill lid on until they're crisp and browned for 7 minutes. Soak up bacon grease on a paper towel-lined plate, reserving 1 tablespoon of the fat drippings in the skillet. From there, you'll cook or sauté the jalapeños, onions, and garlic until tender in the leftover bacon fat about 5 minutes. Lastly, add beans and chicken broth to complete this creamy and spicy side dish. 

Southern Living


Credit: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Kellie Kelley; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Recipe Summary test

20 mins
20 mins
Serves 4 to 6 (serving size: about 1 cup)


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat grill to medium (about 400°F). Heat a large cast-iron skillet on grill, covered with grill lid, for 5 minutes. Add the bacon to skillet, and cook, covered with grill lid, until bacon is crisp, about 7 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving 1 tablespoon of the drippings in the skillet. Add the onion, jalapeños, and garlic to hot drippings, and cook, covered with grill lid, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in oregano and cumin, and cook 1 minute. Add beans and chicken broth, and cook, covered with grill lid, until beans are heated through and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in bacon, salt, and pepper.