Southern Pinto Beans


My entire family travels to Ararat, VA each summer for a week long vacation in the beautiful mountains! We rent a cabin near the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoy a slow, relaxing week together. The kids love exploring the outdoors, the adults get super competitive over evening board game sessions, and best of all – we eat DELICIOUS and awesome food all week long.

There is a small deli down the mountain – The Gap Deli – that serves pinto beans and cornbread. I’ve enjoyed it for the past few years each time we visit and this year decided I HAD to make them myself when I got home.

Here is my closest recreation! Serve it along side some honey cornbread and make it a meal. Add some raw chopped onions or chow chow to the top and enjoy!

Southern Pinto Beans

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Recipe by Chelsea Course: SidesDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 16 oz dry pinto beans

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 6 slices bacon, diced

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1 bayleaf

  • 4 tsp chicken broth granules

  • 2 tsp salt, more to taste if needed


  • Follow instructions on the bag of beans – you can either soak them overnight or boil them for about 10 minutes until slightly soft. (For the recipe I have written out, I simply boiled them for 10 minutes before proceeding.) Drain.
  • In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion and garlic until translucent.
  • Turn heat to low. Add beans, bacon, salt, chicken broth granules, bay leaf, and sugar to the pot.
  • Cover all ingredients with cool water – enough to cover the beans by 2 inches.
  • Turn heat to medium, until the beans come to a light boil. Stir, and reduce heat back to low.
  • Stir the beans occasionally – about every 10 minutes – keeping them on a very light boil.
    ** This step takes the longest as it will require PATIENCE and a lot of stirring. I promise it’s WORTH IT **
    ** Also, TASTE the beans each time you stir. This will give you the best idea on how done they are **
  • The liquid will reduce slowly and the beans will become softer over time. They are finished when squishy soft and the liquid is reduced.
  • Taste the beans! Add salt if needed.


  • This recipe just takes TIME. The estimated cook time may be longer or shorter for you – depending on your stove. Keep stirring and tasting!

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