Instant Pot (or Stovetop) Copycat Recipe for Rubio’s Pinto Beans
Rubio’s Pinto Beans are easy to make at home in your Instant Pot, electric pressure cooker, or stovetop pressure cooker! And these delicious beans are low-glycemic, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and South Beach Diet friendly. Use the Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.
When I lived in my old house I was mildly infatuated with the pinto beans from Rubios, a popular Fresh-Mex fast food restaurant. Rubios is famous for fish tacos, but when I go there I’m usually getting a salad, sometimes with Rubio’s Pinto Beans, which are loaded with flavor. The menu declares the pinto beans are “not refried” and the creamy, slightly chunky beans are served plain, with no cheese or toppings. To me Rubios beans have the absolute perfect creaminess and flavor that makes pinto beans so delicious.
On many trips to Rubios I puzzled over just what it was that made these beans so special. There was something that tasted familiar, but I couldn’t quite identify it. Then one day back in 2009 when I was eating at Rubios, I noticed an employee sitting down to eat, so I struck up a conversation, telling him how much I loved the beans.Maybe it was because this was a college kid who had braces so he understood the appeal of soft and creamy beans, but he went back to ask the cooks just what they put in them. He reported back that the beans were seasoned with just three things: garlic, salt, and black pepper. As soon as he said black pepper I knew that was the ingredient I’d been tasting.
And I had great success making Rubios Pinto Beans at home in my old stovetop pressure cooker. But now that I’m loving the Instant Pot, I had to try using that to make Rubios Beans, and taking new photos for this favorite was fun because we got to eat the beans! I’m excited to add this recipe to the growing collection of Pressure Cooker Recipes on the site, but if you don’t have a pressure cooker, after the recipe I’ll tell you how I’d make them in a regular pan.
Rinse the beans and pick out any broken ones. Put beans in the pressure cooker with enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Add olive oil, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Set the Instant Pot to MANUAL and HIGH PRESSURE, and cook for 30 minutes. Release pressure using QUICK RELEASE method. Check the beans to see if they’re soft enough to be slightly creamy when they mash, with a few chunks left. (Beans that have been in the pantry or on the store shelf for a while will take much longer to cook. If they aren’t soft enough, put the lid back on the Instant Pot and cook at high pressure for 10-15 minutes longer.)
When beans are softened to your liking, use an old-fashioned potato masher to mash them until they’re mostly creamy with a few chunks. (The chunkiness is one thing I always loved about Rubio’s beans!)
Rubios beans are definitely on the runny side, so I stirred in some water, added a bit more salt, pepper, and 1 T more olive oil, and simmered them for about 10 minutes. Serve hot, with some sliced green onion on top if desired. Of course you can add cheese if you like, but I love these beans just like they’re served at Rubio’s.
Make it a Meal: Rubio’s beans would be a great side dish for Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos.
Love Your Instant Pot?
I use a 6 Quart Instant Pot for all my Instant Pot Recipes. Check out my growing collection of Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot Recipes! Find more Pressure Cooker/Slow Cooker Recipes on my other site!
More Tasty Beans in the Instant Pot:
Pressure Cooker Refried Beans with Onions, Garlic, and Green Chiles ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Pressure Cooker Pinto Beans ~ Copykat Recipes
Pressure Cooker Recipe for Pinto Bean and Ground Beef Stew with Cumin and Cilantro ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Pressure Cooker Baked Beans ~ Pressure Cooking Today
Weekend Food Prep:
This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!
Instant Pot (or Stovetop) Recipe for Rubio’s Pinto Beans
(Makes about 6 side servings of beans, recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from Rubios pinto beans.)
(I used my 6-Quart Instant Pot, but I originally used a Kuhn Rikon Pressure Cooker for this recipe and you could definitely use an electric pressure cooker as well. If you have a bigger size, you might want to double the recipe and freeze some beans.
2 cups dried pinto beans
1 T +1 T olive oil (Oil prevents beans from foaming in the pressure cooker, and the T of olive oil added at the end gave the beans a bit of extra creaminess.)
water, enough to cover beans by 2 inches + plus more water for simmering if needed
2 T minced garlic
1 tsp. salt (I cooked with 1/2 tsp. and added more after tasting)
1/2 tsp. coarse “table grind” black pepper (I cooked with 1/2 tsp. and added 1/4 tsp. more after tasting)
Rinse beans and pick out broken ones and place beans in Instant Pot with enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Add garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper and 1 T olive oil. Lock lid on Instant Pot and set to MANUAL and HIGH PRESSURE AND cook for 30 minutes. Release pressure using QUICK RELEASE method and check beans to see how done they are. (Dried beans can vary greatly in how quickly they cook depending on how old the beans are, so I recommend cooking in two stages and not just leaving for 45 minutes.)
If beans are not soft enough that they’re starting to fall apart a little, put lid back on pressure cooker, lock, bring to high pressure and continue to cook (I cooked them for 15 minutes more, but judge by how soft the beans are after 30 minutes.) Release pressure using quick release method.Use a potato masher to vigorously mash the beans until they’re about 75% mashed, but still have some noticeable chunks. (This is a personal preference, but I like them rather chunky.) Taste beans for seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste (I added 1/2 tsp. more salt and 1//4 tsp. more pepper) plus 1 T olive oil. If the beans aren’t runny enough for your preference, stir in a little more water and cook beans on saute or simmer setting for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until beans are creamy and slightly thickened. Serve hot. (You can garnish with sliced green onions if you’re taking photos for your food blog, but Rubio’s serves the beans plain.)
When I reheat the beans after they’ve been in the refrigerator I like adding a bit of water to thin them down.
Stovetop Cooking Without a Pressure Cooker:
Soak beans overnight in cold water to cover by several inches. The next day, drain beans, fill pan with fresh water, add garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and 1 tsp. olive oil if desired (the first T oil is optional for regular pan.) Bring beans to a low boil and simmer uncovered for about1 hour, adding a bit of water if needed.
After an hour, start checking for doneness, and when beans are starting to fall apart slightly turn off heat. Use potato masher to vigorously mash most of the beans, leaving a few chunks. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper and a bit of olive oil if desired. Stir in 1 cup more water (or less, depending on how much water is left in the beans) and simmer a few minutes more until beans are creamy and slightly thickened. Serve hot.
(If anyone makes these on the stove without a pressure cooker, I’d love to hear just how long you cooked them.)
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Dried beans are a wonderfully low-glycemic food, and Rubio’s Pinto Beans are great dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet, but beans like this are probably too high in carbs for low-carb dieters.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. Or Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, you can sign up for a free membership with Yummly and use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information. Another option is entering the recipe into this Recipe Nutrition Analyzer, which will calculate it for you.
Guess Who Else Made Rubio’s Beans?
After I made these beans I discovered Rubio’s “No Fried” Pinto Beans from RecipeGirl (If I had found this sooner I wouldn’t have had to ask what the seasonings were!)