Pinto Beans with Chili Lime Rice Recipe

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Did you know pinto beans are the number one bean in the U.S. and Mexico? This was news to me, as they typically have a bad rap for being known to only be good for refried beans and chili. I’m a fan of pinto beans, so I was glad to hear this fun fact about them ranking well. 

Today I’ll be pairing the humble pinto bean with chili lime rice to make the perfect base for any Mexican themed dinner. 

My Approach to Pinto Beans and Chili Lime Rice 

Rice and beans have been a famous food duo for centuries. In college, if I wasn’t living off of ramen, I was having rice and beans. I’m taking this common pairing and elevating it. This pinto beans and chili lime rice recipe is partially inspired by the Chipotle Burrito Bowl and partially a Mexican take on red beans and rice. 

Close photos of pinto beans and chili lime rice

The Challenge with Pinto Beans

I do not want refried beans, so it is critical I do not allow the beans to break down in the cook. My solution here is to cook the juice down first, and then quickly cook the actual beans right before topping the rice. 

The Challenge with Chili Lime Rice

While you need to cook the peppers and garlic for the rice, you do NOT want to cook the cilantro or limes. Cilantro has a very fresh citrus flavor to it, as does lime juice. This means temperature control and timing becomes critical when finishing this dish off. 

The second challenge with rice is cooking the rice properly. Many people actually forget to clean rice or overcook it. Here are some tips when it comes to cooking rice:

  • Long grain rice like basmati is made with a 1:2 ratio of rice to water. 
  • You need to cover your rice when you simmer it so it can steam.
  • Always fluff your rice when it is done. This not only cools the rice but allows it to finish steaming evenly. 
  • Do not put fresh herbs into steaming hot rice. This will cook the herbs and you will lose the fresh flavor.
Prepping the ingredients for a pinto beans and chile lime rice recipe

Pairings with Pinto Beans and Chili Lime Rice

Grilled meat or taco meat will go amazingly with this pinto beans and chili lime rice recipe. If I had to pick one meat that goes best with this, I would highly recommend a crispy pork carnitas. You can also go completely vegetarian and pair this with other vegetables and make a sort of salad (such as lettuce, avocado, peppers, tomatoes, and onions). 

Tools Required

Making this side dish requires common kitchen tools. You will need the following items:

  • 1 medium sized pot
  • 1 large pan (like a rondeau pan)
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Can opener 
Pinto beans and chili lime rice topped with avocado and tomatoes served on a white plate placed on a brown wooden table

Pinto Beans with Chili Lime Rice

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Course: Sides
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 298kcal


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 serrano pepper
  • 6 sprigs cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 avocado


Chili Lime Rice

  • Wash 1 cup rice
  • Add 2 cups water
  • Mince garlic
  • Cut pepper
  • Add garlic butter and pepper into rice
  • Bring to a boil and cover
  • Simmer for 20 min
  • Zest and juice lime
  • Fluff rice
  • Add cilantro, lime juice, and zest to rice and mix together

Pinto Beans

  • Cut 1/2 onion
  • Place in pan and saute with oil or butter
  • Pour bean juice into onions in pan
  • Pour beans into pan
  • Season with cumin, garlic powder, and salt
  • Let cook in the pan for 3 minutes


  • Rice on bottom
  • Pinto Beans on top of rice
  • Top with avocado slices


Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 621mg | Potassium: 396mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 396IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1mg
Beginner Side Dish Guide

Nathaniel Lee is an avid cook, drawing on his decades of home cooking and fine dining experience. He is a contributing chef at Mashed, and his recipes and contributions have been featured in Tasting Table, Edible Arrangements, Insanely Good Recipes, and The Daily Meal.

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