My Family's Soup Beans Recipe - Both Frugal And Yummy!

Here's my family's soup beans recipe, made with pinto beans, which is both a cheap and tasty meal my whole family loves.

soup beans
Are you looking for an easy, hearty and very cheap meal to feed your family? Well, this is a recipe for you. We've really been trying to save money in the grocery part of the budget recently, so we have been relying on this meal almost weekly.

It doesn't feel like deprivation though. Just the opposite. Our whole family enjoys this family recipe. We call it "soup beans," but when I describe it to people I say it is basically a very simple pinto bean soup.

We generally serve this with our homemade cornbread, and you can also serve another vegetable on the side if you like, although we don't always do that.


dried pinto beans
  • 1 1/2 pounds of dried pinto beans
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 slices of salt pork
  • Salt and pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon of each)
  • Water (amount varies, see instructions below)

Directions For Soup Beans

Rinse your dried pinto beans, and remove any rocks or other debris from them (see picture above). You can soak them overnight if you wish, after washing them, but we don't.

The tradeoff for not soaking them overnight is that the beans need to cook much longer, and you need to keep adding water as they basically suck it up in the first hour or so of cooking.

If you want to cook your soup beans for only a couple of hours you need to soak overnight. We generally start our beans at around 9:30 in the morning, with the plan to eat them for dinner at around 6:00 p.m.

cooking pinto beans
Next, brown your salt pork in the bottom of a pot with the vegetable oil. After it has cooked a bit next add your pinto beans, salt and pepper, and approximately 4 cups of water (enough to cover the beans) and bring it to a boil, and then turn down to simmer.

To the left is a picture of what this mixture looks like at first. I am showing this picture to you because I was very skeptical the first time I tried this without soaking the beans the night before. When I saw the way it looked at first I thought I had basically ruined our dinner for the night.

Within the first hour you need to check the beans every 15 minutes or so to keep adding water as the beans soak them up. For example, after about 15 minutes of cooking I added another cup and a half of water, and you periodically need to keep adding water if water no longer covers them all.

pinto bean soup
Finally, just let these soup beans simmer on the stove all day long, and make wonderful smells which get your family hungry for dinner. After several hours it will look more like the picture to the right, and it is basically ready to serve then. However, the longer you let it sit on the stove the more the flavors will develop and meld together, and the yummier it is.

We love this very simple recipe in our home, and it is very cheap. It easily feeds our family of 5, plus leftovers for lunch for myself and my husband the next day (which somehow taste even better!).

In addition, we often plan to make this meal the day before we have tacos or other Mexican food, and make extra, and then smash the beans the next day and have a simple version of refried beans with the meal. That is really yummy too!

I hope you enjoy this soup beans recipes as much as we do. Enjoy!

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