Can You Grow Pinto Beans From the Store?

Pinto beans are a favorite in pantries all over the world. While enjoying this well-loved legume, you may have been wishing you could grow your own pinto beans to have even more tasty dishes to enjoy. The good news is that you can do exactly that with the pinto beans you find at your grocery store.

You can grow pinto beans straight from the grocery store, provided you buy the right kind of bean. Not all beans are viable to grow, so it’s important you test the viability of the beans before planting them.

Want to start growing your own pinto beans? Read on, and I’ll give you all the information you need for this home gardening project.

Choosing the Right Pinto Beans to Grow

It’s important to note that not all of the beans you find at your local grocery store are ready to be taken home and grown. For example, you should stay away from beans that you’ll find in the canned goods aisle of the store. These beans have already been cooked and prepared, so they won’t be able to grow from their current state.

You can find pinto beans that are dried and pre-bagged on the shelves of your store. These beans have a chance of growing when planted, so they make a better option than canned beans. However, some of them may be too old to grow if the process to bring them from the farm to your store has taken too long.

Your best bet is beans in the produce section that you bag yourself. These beans are most likely to be fresh enough to still be viable. Although some other beans may be able to be grown, these fresh dried beans are your best bet for this project.

Testing Viability of Pinto Beans

If you aren’t sure whether or not the pinto beans you have are viable to grow, it’s easy to test them out. Take about twenty of the beans and place them between five layered pieces of paper towel that have been moistened with water. Leave these beans in a warm place for about one week.

After a week has gone by, remove the paper towels from the bag and unwrap them to take a look and see whether or not the beans have begun to sprout. If you have beans that are able to germinate, they can then be planted to grow into full plants.

How To Grow Pinto Beans

Now that you’ve got the right beans to plant, it’s time to start the process of growing them into plants that will give you more tasty beans to eat later. Pay attention to the essential information below to get a thriving bean plant right in your own home.

Supplies You’ll Need

Before you get started in trying to grow your own pinto beans, it’s important to make sure you have the right materials on hand that you’ll need to complete the project successfully. This is a fairly basic gardening project, so you won’t need much to get the job done. 

Here are the supplies you’ll need for this project:

  • A pot or other container to plant the beans in
  • Potting soil
  • Watering can or other container for watering plants
  • Trowel
  • Paper towels (for germinating and testing viability)
  • A sunny spot in your home

Once you have these gardening supplies close at hand, you’ll be able to grow the beans more conveniently.

Deciding on the Right Spot

The first step in this project is figuring out where in your home you should grow your bean plant. Pinto beans require full sunlight or exposure to sunlight for at least six hours per day, so be sure to choose a location that gets plenty of sunshine throughout the day. 

These beans can take up to 150 days to fully grow, so it’s important you choose a location where the plant can be left in for an extended period of time.

A sun-facing window sill is one great idea for where to plant your pinto beans. You can also get the right conditions on a screened porch or patio if you have one available. As long as you have a place in your home that gets plenty of sunlight, you’ll have the conditions you need to grow pinto beans.

Ideally, you should grow pinto beans in spring. When growing them indoors, you can start in early spring. However, when growing them on your patio, you may need to wait until the last spring frost date.

Planting the Beans

Once you’ve got viable pinto beans and a place to keep them as they grow, the next step is to plant the beans. Fill the pot you’re going to be planting in with potting soil to get started. Then, plant the beans about one inch deep into the soil. 

If you’re planting multiple beans in the same container, be sure to give them about six inches (15 cm) of space between one another so they don’t crowd each other out.

Pinto beans grow in two different ways. Some sprout on bushes, while others grow on vines. The vine-growing beans need to be supported by a stake or trellis in order to grow properly, while the bush-growing beans are able to grow without support. 

Since you likely don’t know which variety of pinto beans you have from the grocery store, it’s best to plant the beans with a stake, trellis, or other support just in case they need some additional structure.

Caring for Your Bean Plant

Now that you have your beans planted in the soil, you’ll need to give them proper care to help the plant thrive to its fullest potential and provide you with more tasty beans to eat. As stated previously, beans need plenty of sunlight, so monitor the area where you’re keeping your plant to ensure that it has sun exposure for at least six hours per day.

You should keep the upper six inches (15 cm) of the soil the beans are planted in moist but not soggy throughout the growing period. This will give the bean, and its roots adequate water to nourish itself with. 

Well-draining soil that has a sandy texture to it is ideal for beans, or you can amend more dense soil with gravel or sand to get the same effect. Beans do best in soil that has a neutral pH level.

Harvesting Your Pinto Beans

Pinto beans can take between 90 to 150 days to grow to full maturity, so give your plant plenty of time. Prior to reaching a fully mature state, the beans will first appear green and soft. While they can be eaten in this form, most people prefer waiting until the beans are fully matured and dry before eating them.

You’ll know your beans are ready to be harvested when they grow thick and have a firm texture instead of the soft texture the immature green beans have. You’ll also see the characteristic speckled brown and red color pinto beans are known for when they’re fully grown.

Bush pinto beans mature all at once, but pinto beans that grow on a vine can be continuously harvested for around one to two months. This will give you a steady supply of beans to use in your cooking.

What To Do With Your Pinto Beans

Now that you’ve successfully grown your store-bought dry pinto beans into a mature plant that produces more beans, you might be wondering what to do with your harvest. Pinto beans are a tasty, protein-packed food that fits into many dishes. Here are some ideas for cooking with your fresh-grown pinto beans.

Refried Beans

Of course, one of the most popular ways to eat pinto beans is to mash them up and cook them as refried beans first. This staple of Mexican cuisine couldn’t be easier to make. 

All you’ll need to do is to take your blended or mashed pinto beans and cook them up with olive oil, lime juice, garlic, and chili powder. The results taste delicious and go great as a side, dip, a topping for your next taco night, and so much more.

Three-Bean Salad

Pair pinto beans with any other two beans of your choice to create a healthy and delicious way to enjoy them. Use red wine vinegar as the base for the dressing you’ll toss your bean salad in, then add any seasoning you’d like to achieve the flavor you want. Parsley, onion, garlic, lime juice, cayenne pepper, and a dash of salt will bring out the flavor of your beans to perfection.


This classic dish tastes even better when you’re using your own fresh-grown pinto beans in it. Slow-cook your pinto beans with tomato sauce and ground beef, adding in any veggies or seasonings you’d like to further improve the taste. Add a dollop of sour cream or some cheese once it’s all cooked to give a creamy contrast to the spicy and savory flavor.

Final Thoughts

With your own home-grown tasty pinto beans to enjoy, the possibilities are endless for what you can do in the kitchen. Try out some more home gardening projects to get even more tasty, fresh ingredients straight from your garden into your pantry.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

Recent Posts