Q. My son really likes cooked pinto beans mixed into his rice, but since he’s still young and just learning how to cook, I usually still cook them for him. The other day he decided to make some himself, and misjudged how much dry pinto beans to use to get just a few servings cooked. Anyway, to make a long story short, we now have a pot of cooked pinto beans left over that we don’t know what to do with. I was thinking of just throwing out the extra, but he suggested that we freeze it so that next time he can just defrost some beans without having to cook up a pot. Can you freeze cooked pinto beans?
A. Yes, you absolutely can freeze cooked pinto beans. Sine cooking beans from dried takes such a long time, it’s a great way to save time and ultimately money, since canned beans are so much more expensive. The trick is to freeze them so they don’t dry out, and then thaw them so they don’t turn to mush. Luckily, both are fairly easy to do.
How to freeze cooked pinto beans?
The first step is to start with freshly cooked beans. Cooked beans will go bad quite quickly, and there’s nothing worse than the smell of rotting beans! Cool the cooked pinto beans and then drain off about ¾ of the cooking liquid. If the beans have already been drained, you will need to add back in some water or a bit of broth.
Portion the cooked pinto beans out into desired serving sizes. If your son is the only one who really eats them, about ½ to ¾ cup servings should work. Scoop the cooked pinto beans into freezer bags or hard freezer safe containers, and add enough liquid to just cover the beans. This will stop them from drying out or getting freezer burned. Remove the excess air, or lay a piece of plastic wrap over the beans if freezing in a hard container. Seal the bag or secure the lid on the container. Label and date the pinto beans. Frozen cooked pinto beans are best used within 3-4 months of being frozen.
To use frozen cooked pinto beans, it’s best to thaw them in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight, rather than to thaw them quickly in the microwave. Thawing them slowly will help keep their shape and consistency. Add cooked pinto beans to any recipe in the last few minutes of cooking. The beans are already cooked, so they only need to be heated through. Excess cooking will break them down and turn them to mush.