Copy Cat Cafe Rio Pinto Beans

Copy Cat Cafe Rio Pinto Beans are so easy to make in your slow cooker and loaded with lots of flavor thanks to the chicken stock, cumin, and Salsa Verde!

I can still remember the first time I went to Cafe Rio! It was 1997 at the original location in St. George, Utah.  Patricia Stanley, one of the original owners, would walk around greeting guests. She was a lovely woman.

I’d never been to a restaurant with Fresh Mex and the smells were amazing. I could stand for hours watching the wonderful Hispanic women make their homemade flour tortillas and bake them on the rotating grill!

Close up Pinto Beans

I love their food! So, when my daughter decided to do Cafe Rio for baby “R’s” blessing day…I was happy to hop on board and help!

I was assigned beans (still trying to figure out if there was a subliminal message in that…lol) So I went to work recreating the delicious saucy beans from Cafe Rio and Costa Vida! I’m not going to lie to ya…I LOVE these beans! So wickedly delicious and full flavored!

Start with two cans of Pinto Beans. Pour the beans into a strainer. Drain and Rinse well.

Note:  I tripled this recipe…we were feeding the masses!

Copy Cat Cafe Rio Pinto Beans

No! We are not bean counters! My Step-Father recently told us that there is a “magical” number of beans you can eat. 239! Because if you eat one more…wait for’s Too-Farty! (Bada-boom! Bada-bing!  Ya gotta love Grandpa jokes! I’m here all week friends!)

Place rinsed beans in a slow cooker, add I can of chicken broth.

TIP: Chicken broth adds a wonderful base flavor! It’s a great substitute for water in rice, potatoes, and beans.

Copy Cat Cafe Rio Pinto Beans

Add one 8 oz. can of tomato sauce. We just keep increasing the flavor…but wait…there’s more!  It’s time to get our spice on!

Pinto Beans and Tomato Sauce in Slow Cooker

In a blender, or food processor, add 1 can (4 oz) of green chilies,  1/2 cup of Salsa Verde, 2 teaspoons cumin, and 3 cloves minced garlic.

Blender with spices and seasonings for beans

Blend well! That’s right…zip and whip those ingredients together till they’re nice and smooth! Maybe not super smooth, but chunky smoothy. (That’s a new word for the books! Julia AND my High School English teacher just groaned! lol) 

Blender with blended spices

Add spicy mixture to the beans and stir.

Set crock pot on low and cook for 4-6 hours.  Then just sit back, soak up the amazing aroma, and start planning all the delicious ways you’ll serve these little pods of deliciousness!

Beans in the slow cooker

Here’s a little secret! The longer these Copy Cat Cafe Rio Pinto Beans sit…even if they’re in a container in your refrigerator….they become more flavorful! It’s like magic…and you know what they say about beans? They’re the magical fruit! “Toot-toot”!

Close up of Cafe Rio Pinto Beans

Okay in all seriousness…these beans are so delicious! They’re great as a side dish or wonderful in tacos, burritos, or on top of Nacho’s! There’s no end to the ways you can use these delicious Pinto Beans. You could even serve these with BBQ! They’re wonderful.

I’m sharing this recipe over on Meal Plan Monday. A great resource for delicious recipes by some of my favorite blogging buddies! Click HERE to join us.

Sharing this yummy bean treat over on the Weekend Pot Luck. Click HERE to join the party!

Photo of Norine with her Signature and Tag Line







Copy Cat Cafe Rio Pinto Beans
Copy Cat Cafe Rio Pinto Beans
Norine Rogers

A traditional Tex Mex side item these tender Pinto Beans are slow cooked in a Rich Flavorful Sauce and are amazingly delicious!

  • 2 cans pinto beans (15 oz.)
  • 1 can green chiles (4 oz.)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 oz.)
  • 1 can Chicken broth (14 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup Salsa Verde
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons cumin

  1. Pour beans into a strainer and rinse well. Place in slow cooker. Add one can chicken broth and one can tomato sauce.
  2. In a blender, or food processor, mix together 1/2 cup Salsa Verde, 1 can green chiles, minced garlic, and cumin. Blend until ingredients are blended together.
  3. Pour into bean mixture. Stir well. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, for 4-6 hours.

Prep Time: 15 minutes - Cook Time: 4 hours ; Yield: 10-12 servings


  1. Hamburger Mexican Skillet Dinner | Norine's Nest | 20th Jun 18

    […] lid. Stir in 1 cup of rinsed pinto or black beans. I used some of my left over Copy Cat Cafe Rio Pinto Beans, but any beans will […]

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