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Kalyn's Kitchen

Instant Pot (or Stovetop) Copycat Recipe for Rubio’s Pinto Beans

This Copycat Recipe for Rubio’s Pinto Beans is 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.

Click Here to Pin Instant Pot Copycat Recipe for Rubio’s Pinto Beans!

Instant Pot (or Stovetop) Copycat Recipe for Rubio's Pinto Beans found on KalynsKitchen.com

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.

Instant Pot (or Stovetop) Copycat Recipe for Rubio's Pinto Beans found on KalynsKitchen.com

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.)

Instant Pot (or Stovetop) Copycat Recipe for Rubio's Pinto Beans found on KalynsKitchen.com

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.

Instant Pot (or Stovetop) Copycat Recipe for Rubio's Pinto Beans found on KalynsKitchen.com

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 RecipesFind 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 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) Copycat Recipe for Rubio's Pinto Beans found on KalynsKitchen.com

Instant Pot (or Stovetop) 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!


  • 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)


  1. Rinse beans and pick out broken ones and place beans in Instant Pot with enough water to cover by about 2 inches.
  2. Add garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper and 1 T olive oil.
  3. Lock lid on Instant Pot and set to MANUAL and HIGH PRESSURE AND cook for 30 minutes.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.)
  6. Release pressure using quick release method.
  7. 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.)
  8. 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.
  9. 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.)
  10. 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:

  1. Soak beans overnight in cold water to cover by several inches.
  2. 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.)
  3. Bring beans to a low boil and simmer uncovered for  about1 hour, adding a bit of water if needed.
  4. After an hour, start checking for doneness, and when beans are starting to fall apart slightly turn off heat.
  5. Use potato masher to vigorously mash most of the beans, leaving a few chunks.
  6. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper and a bit of olive oil if desired.
  7. 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.
  8. (If anyone makes these on the stove without a pressure cooker, I’d love to hear just how long you cooked them.)


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.

Recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from Rubios pinto beans.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Dried beans are a wonderfully low-glycemic food, and this Copycat Recipe for Rubio’s Pinto Beans is a 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.

Nutritional Information?
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!)

Pinterest image of Instant Pot (or Stovetop) Copycat Recipe for Rubio's Pinto Beans

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51 comments on “Instant Pot (or Stovetop) Copycat Recipe for Rubio’s Pinto Beans”

  1. i made the stove top version. i did a quick soak, then cooked as directed. simmering on low for about 1 hour.  perfect and delicious!

  2. No beans are good beans without chopped onion in them. Other than that look delish.

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  6. I am going to try this next time I make beans! This looks fantastic.

  7. Great timing! I brought back a bag of pinto beans from our recent travels in New Mexico, and had not yet gotten around to cooking them. I'll definitely try this recipe.

  8. Do you soak your beans with this recipe (or any other)? Benefits to soaking?

    • In this recipe the beans were not soaked. I have made beans in the pressure cooker with soaked and unsoaked beans and with beans that are relatively fresh (have been been in the pantry or on the store shelf too long) they work well without soaking. If you're not sure how fresh your beans are I would soak overnight.

  9. How long to cook in 6qt instant pot? Do you think recipe could be doubled?

    • My stovetop pressure cooker is 3.7 quarts and this recipe is so old that I honestly don't remember how full it was, so I would probably make once with this amount before you try doubling. I can't give exact instructions for cooking in the Instant Pot since I haven't done it that way, and cooking time for beans depends so much on the age of the beans, but I would probably start with the 30 minutes at high pressure like I did and then cook longer if they aren't as soft as you'd like.

  10. Cindy, so glad you're enjoying them!

  11. I made these today. I found your recipe on Pinterest and it was exactly what I was looking for. We don't have a Rubio's in NC (never heard of it) but we do have places that serve chunky, creamy 'refried' beans. I have tried slow cooker versions and, similar to someone else who posted the stove-top version, they come out a little 'al dente'.

    I bought myself a pressure cooker *just* to make these and, MAN OH MAN, these are WONDERFUL. THANK YOU!!

  12. Laura, the cooking time for dried beans is largely determined by how old the beans are. Beans that are old and more dried old, and they will take much, much longer to get soft. If you soaked them that long and then cooked for 2 hours, it sounds like your beans might be old. With fresh beans that have been soaked overnight, I'd guess they would be very soft in two hours, or even less.

  13. I didn't see any follow up to this on how long to cook the beans on the stovetop. I just made this and soaked them for about 20 hours, cooked at a low simmer for an hour and then at a moderate boil for another hour and they were still not really soft and falling apart. I went ahead and mashed them because it was dinner time but there were too many unpleasant undercooked pieces. I am hoping to salvage them as a soup base later this week. Has anyone else made these on the stovetop and how long did you cook them for?

  14. Chef Pablo, Recipe Girl acknowledges in a comment here that she got the recipe from a magazine, so no harm in that. I couldn't say how the recipe works for her version, but I can tell you that my recipe tastes just like Rubios beans. I've tried it on quite a few people and they all have loved these beans.

  15. I was just visiting family in San Diego and I ran across this recipe in a magazine they had. I took it home and tried it but it tastes way to salty for me. It's the same one RecipeGirl posted (verbatim). It also doesn't seem like you can get these beans cooked enough with just 20 minutes of boiling and an hour of sitting (even with overnight soaking).

    I've perfected the fish tacos, including the white sauce, and the hot sauce (listed at my site linked to from my name above) but the beans have always been a struggle for me.

    I'll get it right and post it to my site.

  16. Rumela, so glad you liked them.

  17. I made this pinto beans for dinner last night, and it was so good! Even my meat-loving husband liked it. I'm trying to do several meatless meals a week both for our health and our budget, so I really appreciate easy, veggie packed meals. Great blog!

  18. Wow – well done you for reverse engineering till you got to your own version of the beans! I love the look of these, and I am a sucker for legumes so I might have to give your non-pressure cooker version a try soon…

  19. How funny – I really like Rubio’s beans too. But I stopped going there a couple of years ago when the quality of the food went downhill (at least at my local one). BUT, I had always noticed that the beans had LOTS of pepper in them. You could see it dotting the little cup. Am so glad you culled the secret from them!

  20. Kevin, I loved these beans!

    Tuki, not quite sure what you mean by that, but thanks for stopping by!

    Sharon, I have used epazote in bean dishes. I do like it, it adds a subtle but good flavor to the beans, in my opinion.

  21. A fun herb to try in beans is epazote. I have a second home in Mexico and it is always added to the beans. You can find it in a Mexican markets or it is easy to grow in pots.

    I love my pressure cooker too. I have one at both houses.

  22. Creamy bean dishes are really good.

  23. Inadobo, lucky you! This is such a delicious recipe, simple but perfectly seasoned (at least to me!)

  24. I’m so glad you posted this. I have 36 #10 cans of dried pinto beans sitting in my store room!

  25. Lesley, thanks. And fun to hear about pressure cookers being used in South Africa. Don’t be scared!

    Mrs. W. I’ve made several types of beans without pre-soaking, great results. You also can pre-soak for even shorter cooking time in the PC.

  26. Sadly there are no Rubio’s this side of the Mississippi River. *sigh* At least now I can try their beans.

    So… to do beans in the pressure cooker no pre-soak is needed? This might just change my life!

  27. Hello Kalyn,
    I recently visited a friend from South Africa who served us an amazing soup using S. African beans & sadly I can't buy them here anymore, so I substituted pinto beans, the result was …the same taste! She used her pressure cooker, I soaked overnight…I'm still scared of it though! lol
    lovely post.

  28. Anonymous, I think the secret is the pepper. Hope you like them.

  29. Last week I decided to try and duplicate Rubio’s beans. Mine turned out good, but definitely not Rubio’s. Can’t wait to give yours a try. The beans are soaking right now!!

  30. Melissa, the fish tacos are pretty good, but I try to save them for a treat, not too often. I don’t know if I would have ever guessed about the pepper if they hadn’t told me. If I had tried googling I would have found the recipe!

    Cyndi, that’s funny! I love the peppery flavor.

    Tanna, these beans are awesome. Have you had them at Rubios?

    Pearl, such a perfect thing to make in the PC!

  31. i have a pressure cooker which i use to make sweet potato and congee, but i’ve never thought of making pinto beans in it before! how cool, thank you!

  32. I’ll have to be making these soon.

  33. That’s funny that you like the black pepper – it’s why I DON”T get the beans at Rubio’s. : ) I grew up on pinto beans and cornbread as a meal, and the beans were/are seasoned only with a slab of salt pork.

  34. I was just at Rubio’s yesterday! I still love those darn fish tacos.

    That’s pretty great that you did it on your own, without even knowing the recipe was recently released. And truly, they do look a LOT like the ones at Rubio’s. Impressive!

  35. Christy, thanks for that soaking tip. I think these beans would be awesome in the slow cooker, will have to try that myself.

  36. Gotta agree – these beans at Rubio’s are great.

    I tend to cook beans in my slow cooker and will try adding these seasonings and see how it goes. FYI for all of us who live in hard-water land – if you are pre-soaking beans, it helps to add 1/4 t baking soda for every quart of water. My soaked beans used to take forever to get softened, and the baking soda really helps that.

  37. CC – I think Rubios is really pretty healthful (for fast food) and quite tasty. And thanks for saying that because now they won’t be mad at me for posting the recipe! (Just kidding because I heard from RecipeGirl that Ralph Rubio gave the recipe to the local newspaper, I just didn’t find her recipe before I tried it!)

  38. Stuff Cooks Want, we were writing our comments at the same time I guess because yours wasn’t there when I answered ChicaJo. Thanks for offering to test the stovetop method! I was only guessing when I said simmer an hour, so keep an eye on them.

  39. I have never been to Rubio’s, but am now determined to go there for lunch this week. I don’t have a pressure cooker, so thank you for the stovetop recipe.

  40. Chicajo, the new cookers (with pressure valve built into lid) are completely safe! Love the pressure cooker!

  41. I’m gonna try this in the next week on the stovetop. Will comment again on how they worked w/o pressure cooker. Thanks for the recipe!

  42. That sounds absolutely delicious! I love all kinds on bean stews! I swear, one day I am going to get over my fear of the pressure cooker!

  43. How fun! I love those beans, and the other things I love there is the Fiesta Chicken Salad. It’s even South Beach Diet friendly, which is rare for fast food!

  44. Wow, you did such a great job of creating them on your own!! It wouldn’t have been any fun if you already had the recipe, right? 🙂

    The recipe was published not too long ago in one of our local magazines when they did a write up on Ralph Rubio. The secret is out!

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