Recipe: Grandma's Pinto Beans

Larry has been bugging me to find out how to make beans. Honestly - I didn't really know how to do it or even that it was a thing. We never had just beans - but for Larry in his grandma's kitchen - it was a thing...

So I set out to figure it out - luckily his Mom and my friend Lou put it all together for me. They're both from KY so they knew what he wanted. I didn't want to have beans for six months - so I actually made half of the recipe here - I figured I could always make more - and it was just the right amount for the two of us. I still had enough for lunch the next day...

It's definitely an easy recipe - but it also takes time. I just got an instant pot - and I hear that can speed it up quite a bit but I wanted to try it the old fashioned way first. We soaked the dry beans overnight in the fridge - and then used a slow cooker to cook them.

Now because this was his Grandma's recipe - I had to do something to huss it up - because Bitch - I AM the Secret Ingredient! Isn't this towel hilarious?! (Affiliate link) My friend Steph found it and sent me a pic of it - and then my friend Jennie got it for me! I just love it - it's perfect for me! So yes - there's a little extra spin I put in here to huss it up! The OG recipe called for lard - but I used bacon grease. It gave me a reason to HAVE to eat bacon first!

I used a cottage ham in this recipe as well - Lou said you need to put a fatty piece of meat in there - but it can be anything else - she said a piece of ham or even just a ham bone - will work. I liked the cottage ham because the crock pot demolished it - so when the beans were done - the ham just fell apart - which I loved!

Also - I used coarse sea salt in this recipe - Lou said that canning salt adds more flavor - if you have that!

All in all - Larry was happy getting his Grandma's beans and I liked the comfort food as well. It's a super simple recipe to make - you just need the patience since it soaks overnight and then cooks for a while in the crock pot. Or - speed it up in an Instant Pot -

pinto beans

Grandma's Pinto Beans

My husband loved his grandma's pinto beans - she was a depression era grandma and knew how to to make foods stretch to feed her large family. I got the recipe from his mom for her beans - it's his comfort food - and I'm glad I can make it for him!
prep time: 8 hourcook time: 4 hourtotal time: 12 hours


  • 1/2 bag dried pinto beans
  • water
  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease (or lard)
  • 1 cottage butt ham
  • 1 Tablespoon salt (canning salt is best but regular works fine)


  1. Rinse beans and place in bowl covered by at least 1 inch of water. Soak in refrigerator lightly covered overnight
  2. Pour the beans in crock pot - with at least an inch of water above the beans. Add bacon fat, ham and salt
  3. Turn crock pot on low for 4 hours
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  1. Yeah, we always use bacon as well and a bit of bacon grease. My mom used to cook a cottage ham in her green beans-yummy!