Red Wine Pinto Beans With Smoky Bacon Recipe (2024)

By Melissa Clark

Red Wine Pinto Beans With Smoky Bacon Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour 45 minutes, plus overnight soaking
Read community notes

Beans can be made ahead and get better after sitting a few days. The red wine, cooked down to syrup, adds intensity, complexity and that certain company-worthy fanciness to the whole thing. Whether you’re vegetarian, meat eater, soup slurper, wine lover or none of the above, the only thing you need to enjoy this dish is a fondness for beans. That part is nonnegotiable.

Featured in: Beans and Red Wine: Party Hearty

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Yield:8 to 10 servings

  • ½pound smoky bacon, diced
  • 1large onion, peeled and diced
  • 2celery stalks, diced
  • 2medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4garlic cloves, minced
  • 2large sprigs rosemary
  • 1pound dried pinto beans, soaked overnight
  • 1tablespoon coarse kosher salt, more to taste
  • 2cups dry red wine
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving (optional)
  • Coarsely grated Parmesan, for serving (optional)
  • Coarsely ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, for serving (optional)

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (10 servings)

317 calories; 11 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 33 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams dietary fiber; 3 grams sugars; 13 grams protein; 360 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Red Wine Pinto Beans With Smoky Bacon Recipe (2)


Make the recipe with us

  1. Step


    In the bottom of a large pot over medium-high heat, brown bacon until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in onion, celery, carrots, garlic and rosemary. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

  2. Drain beans and add to pot along with 1 tablespoon salt. Pour in enough water to just cover the beans (about 7 to 8 cups). Bring liquid to a boil; reduce heat and simmer gently until beans are just tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  3. Step


    Meanwhile, in a small pot over medium heat, simmer wine until it is reduced to ⅔ cup, 20 to 30 minutes.

  4. Step


    Remove rosemary branches from bean pot and discard them. Pour wine into beans and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes longer to meld flavors and thicken broth to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan, if desired; add more salt and black or red pepper to taste.



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Cooking Notes


I didn't have enough red wine, so I emptied the dregs from white wine and hard cider bottles to get to 2 cups. The beans were still delicious.

I don't understand why the preface implies that they are appropriate for vegetarians when bacon is a big part of the flavor? I'd love to see a vegetarian version.


Even better, just take a tip from Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo and soak the beans but don't discard the soaking water, cook them in it. World's better flavor. I've been making them this way for about three years.

chris nc

I have been making this recipe for several years now and it is by far my favorite way to cook a pot of beans. If you are thinking about trying it, do not hesitate, you will love it. I generally use whatever pork I have on hand, bacon, ham bone and scraps or sausages, they all work well here. Thanks Melissa!


This vegan version replaces the smoky, fatty, salty, umami flavor of the bacon with 16 oz mushrooms, 2 oz sun-dried tomatoes, 2 Tbsp coconut oil, 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 1.5 Tbsp smoked paprika. My family loved it.

Start by sautéing the mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and coconut oil over medium high heat, until the mushrooms are lightly browned. Follow the rest of the directions, adding the olive oil and smoked paprika when sautéing the onion, celery, carrots, etc.


What is the advantage of reducing the wine in a separate pan rather than simply adding it as-it-comes to the beans and using less water?


For those asking about just replacing some of the water with the red wine instead of cooking the latter separately, acidity can interfere with the softening process of the dried beans and therefore acidic ingredients are usually added after beans are fully cooked.


Pour 2/3 cup of wine into the small saucepan and note how deep the liquid is; then add rest of wine and simmer as instructed. If you freeze (or partially freeze) bacon it's a lot easier to dice. I didn't have time to soak beans: I used two 15.5-oz cans. I might try three cans next time. Served the beans with crusty sourdough bread. Fantastic. A keeper.


Delicious made with canned pinto bens. After step 1 (I used about a teaspoon of dried rosemary leaves for one can of beans) add rinsed beans and a little broth or water, maybe 1/2 cup. Scrape up brown bits. Add wine and simmer about 10 minutes to meld flavors. Quite delish.


I remember from Home Ec never to salt beans before they are fully cooked. Is there a new rule?


Very good! Made without bacon. Added two tablespoons of butter and a little bit of smoked paprika in its place. Added two tablespoons of brown sugar towards the end as well because the (not very good) red wine I used tasted very sharp. Cut the salt back to 2 tsp and that was plenty for me.

Simple, but fancy

This recipes raises ham n' beans to the next level. Cooked in my instant pot. Soaked pinto beans on bean setting at 20 min with a 10 min NPR. Added the wine syrup and cooked down as suggested.


I have been making this dish for years. I often add a couple of handfuls of collard greens or kale, and adjust seasoning to taste. This makes the dish feel more like a main course than a baked bean side dish.

Kenny Y

These are really good. In the video, she says you can use dry beans without soaking if you double the cooking time. I tried that--actually even more than doubled the cook time--and the beans were still a little firm. I would definitely soak the beans next time.

The red wine syrup and bacon cooking on the stove smelled great, and made the house feel cozy on a winter day. I served with cornbread. My kids liked the beans and they are picky eaters.


Delicious. We used turkey bacon, so I amped the flavor with a tiny bit of liquid smoke. Be careful if you use it because it's super intense. I'm craving more of this dish as I write about it.

Ada Shlanta

Delicious! So glad I tried this as it's quite different than my typical pinto beans. I used a ham hock which gave great smoky flavor and some smoked turmeric. This will be a new go to recipe


Delish! the wine adds a great depth of flavor ( and is a great way to use some of those old, opened bottles). I added chopped chard stems to the sauteed vegetables, I love their earthy sweetness, and a chopped chipotle chile.


We’re not crazy about beans but try to adhere at least partly to a Mediterranean diet for health reasons. This hit the spot for both of us. Halved the recipe, used dried rosemary and added a dab of tomato paste and a bit of smoked paprika. Otherwise followed the recipe (rare for me) and we both were surprised by how good it was. Going into the rotation.


Made as written, and this is one of the best bean dishes I’ve ever made. I served it with Italian-style corn bread (pane di mais).


soaked beans for 8 hours, made in an instant pot, 20 minutes high pressure, NPR. Removed beans, cooked bacon & vegetables, then added the reduced wine, grated parmesan and olive oil. Served with the 'easy no-kneed crusty bread'. fantastic and easy!

Jeffrey Mendelssohn

Best bean dish I've ever made!

Ada Shlanta

Delicious! So glad I tried this as it's quite different than my typical pinto beans. I used a ham hock which gave great smoky flavor and some smoked turmeric. This will be a new go to recipe


Vegetarian here: no bacon, but added about 1 TBSP tomato paste and the juice of some rehydrated wood ear mushrooms plus some of those chopped up for umami. Used Rancho Gordo cassoulet beans bc it's what I had on hand, and like others they needed a good long time to be done. Great use of not great red wine, leftover broth in the freezer, and carrots and leeks in the fridge.

David in Templeton

I made this last night, not as a pot of beans, but as a soup. I first made the beans in a mica/clay pot using The Parsons Method (Heirloom Beans: Recipes from Rancho Gordo). I then made the recipe as directed. The resultant pot of beans was too dry for a soup. It needed more liquid. I added 3 cups of vegetable broth. The liquid/solid ratio was better, but as a soup it was too watery. I then pureed 2 or 3 cups of the beans, adding the puree back to the soup. The result was perfect!


Making to eat Apr21: reducing recipe is troublesome - "1 lb of pinto beans"?Using 1 can of pinto beans which will likely need to be softened. Substitute basil for sprig of rosemary. Decide to use chicken broth or water with recipe...


Made it today exactly according to the recipe. Soooooo good!


For those asking about just replacing some of the water with the red wine instead of cooking the latter separately, acidity can interfere with the softening process of the dried beans and therefore acidic ingredients are usually added after beans are fully cooked.


What is the point of step 3? Specifically why boil 1 1/3 cup of water out of the wine when one could just add 1 1/3 cup of water less in step 2 and add then the 2 cups of wine in step 2? Can someone explain the science behind this, please?

Always Learning How To Cook Dried Beans

So do you cover the pot while the beans cook for 45-60 min? What about after you add the wine? Cover it? Or cook uncovered the entire time?


Uncovered the whole time.


Rancho Gordo Cranberry beans. Smoked salt. No need for bacon. Cook per RG method: in soaking water. Truly delicious.


I made this with Rancho Gordo pinto beans that I had already cooked - adding them, and their broth, after browning the bacon and veg. I also added a rind of Parmesan cheese to the pot.

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Red Wine Pinto Beans With Smoky Bacon Recipe (2024)


How much water do I need for 1 cup of pinto beans? ›

Place rinsed beans in a large cooking pan. Cover with 3 cups of water per 1 cup of beans.

What happens if you don't soak beans before cooking? ›

Modern cooking websites often say it doesn't matter. In a way, they're both right. Soaking beans can help improve the texture of the final product once the beans are cooked and reduce the gas produced when the food is being digested. But it isn't necessary to soak them.

How to cook beans step by step? ›

How to Cook Dried Beans
  1. Sort and wash the beans. Pick through the beans and discard and shriveled beans or debris you find. ...
  2. Soak the beans. ...
  3. Drain the beans and add them to a pot with aromatics. ...
  4. Simmer the beans until they're tender. ...
  5. Cool the beans and store them in their cooking liquid.

Are pinto beans anti inflammatory? ›

Pinto beans are particularly rich in kaempferol, a flavonoid associated with impressive health benefits. Many animal and test-tube studies link it to repressed cancer growth ( 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 ). Additionally, kaempferol is associated with reduced inflammation and a lower incidence of stroke ( 13 , 14 ).

How long does it take to cook 1 cup of pinto beans? ›

Rinse beans before cooking. Place 1 cup beans in a large pot with 4 cups water and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until tender, 1–1½ hours; drain well.

How many cups of water for 2 cups of pinto beans? ›

In a large pot, add 6 cups of water for each pound (2 cups) of dry beans. Heat to boiling; boil for 2–3 minutes.

Is it OK to cook pinto beans without soaking them? ›

Soaking beans can give very old beans a jump-start to softening, but unless you're cooking a dusty bag of pintos from the back of the pantry, this shouldn't be an issue. Plan for one to four hours to cook the beans depending on their age (most are done around the two-hour mark).

What is the minimum time to soak beans before cooking? ›

To soak beans the traditional way, cover them with water by 2 inches, add 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt (or 1 tablespoon fine salt) per pound of beans, and let them soak for at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours. Drain them and rinse before using.

Do you cover beans when soaking? ›

Soaking beans helps to ensure tenderness and reduce the cook time. I'd recommend soaking your beans all day or overnight (you're aiming for 8-12 hours), covered, in cool water that covers them by 2 to 3 inches. Unless your kitchen is very warm or it's the thick of summer, you can do this at room temperature.

What not to do when cooking beans? ›

13 Common Mistakes Everyone Makes With Beans
  1. Only eating canned beans. Ilia Nesolenyi/Shutterstock. ...
  2. Sticking to one type of bean. ...
  3. Not rinsing canned beans. ...
  4. Not rinsing and soaking dried beans. ...
  5. Cooking with hard water. ...
  6. Using acidic ingredients when cooking beans. ...
  7. Not adding aromatics. ...
  8. Overcooking your beans.
Jan 30, 2023

Do you cook beans with lid on or off? ›

Boil and simmer until perfection.

Placing the lid on the pot will help the beans boil faster, but make sure to keep an eye on them so they do not boil/bubble over. After beans have reached a boil, you can reduce the temperature to more of a simmer.

Do you cook beans covered or uncovered? ›

If you're looking to cook beans to use in other recipes, it's a simple process. After rinsing (and, if you choose, soaking) beans, add to a stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender.

What is the number one food that kills inflammation? ›

1. Avocados. Avocados are often sought after for their creamy texture and satiating taste. But they are also powerhouses when it comes to fighting inflammation.

What is the number 1 inflammatory food? ›

In particular, experts recommend avoiding these inflammatory foods: Red meat, such as steak and hamburgers. Processed meat, such as bologna, bacon, sausage and lunchmeat. Commercial baked goods such as snack cakes, pies, cookies and brownies.

Are pinto beans good for your bowels? ›

With 15 grams of fibre in one cup, pinto beans may help with digestion and keep your bowel movements regular.

How much water do I need to cook 1 cup of beans? ›

Add 3 cups clean water for every 1 cup of dry beans. Bring to a boil; turn the heat down to low and cook slowly until tenter - about 2 hours. Check the beans often to make sure there is enough water in the pot, if not add more water and continue to cook.

How much does 1 cup of pinto beans make? ›

Note: Make sure you use a pot large enough, since beans expand to double or triple their size when soaked and cooked. 1 CUP DRY BEANS MAKES ABOUT 3 CUPS COOKED BEANS.

How much does 1 cup of dry pinto beans yield? ›

One cup dry beans = three cups cooked beans, drained. One pound dry beans = six cups cooked beans, drained One pound of dry beans makes about 9 servings of baked beans or 12 servings of bean soup.

Do pinto beans need a lot of water? ›

A general guideline for cooking pinto beans in a Crock-Pot is to use approximately 3 cups of water per 1 cup of dried pinto beans. However, the exact amount of water needed can vary based on factors such as the size of the slow cooker and personal preferences for the consistency of the final dish.

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