Hearty, healthy pinto bean tacos with creamy avocado and savory pickled onions are an easy weeknight dinner that your whole family is going to love!
Smoky pinto beans are perfect layered into pillowy tortillas with pickled onions, avocado, and veggies. These pinto bean tacos are crowd-pleasing and take less than half an hour to make.
You only need simple ingredients to make these pinto bean tacos.
Before you make the pinto beans, make the quick pickled onions. All you have to do is slice an onion; simmer vinegar, water, salt, and sugar; and pour that mixture over the onions.
Set this aside to cool while you whip up the beans.
These tacos are great with my smoky Instant Pot pinto beans, but you can also use canned pinto beans, if you prefer.
If you're using canned beans, you'll simply simmer them in vegetable broth on the stovetop with garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika or chili powder and liquid smoke.
While the beans cook, prep your veggie toppings.
Then, you're ready to pile them into tacos with your favorite toppings! In the recipe card, you'll see that I'm topping these with:
- pickled onion
- shredded cabbage
But feel free to use what you have or what you're craving.
Substitutions & gluten-free option
Are you sensitive to paprika? No problem! You can give your pinto beans a smoky flavor with chili powder and liquid smoke instead.
If the toppings I used don't speak to you, feel free to mix and match to build your ultimate pinto bean tacos! Here are some alternate toppings ideas:
- guacamole (like my pickled jalapeño guacamole)
- shredded lettuce
- diced tomato
- green onion
- minced, fresh red onion
- raw or cooked corn kernels
You can also replace the flour tortillas with gluten-free flour tortillas or with corn tortillas, if you want to make these gluten-free.
How to store
If you have leftovers, store the ingredients separately in airtight containers in the fridge. The beans will keep for up to three days in the fridge or in the freezer for up to three months.
The pickled onions will keep for one to two weeks.
To reheat, warm the beans on the stovetop or in the microwave, then assemble the tacos as directed in the recipe card.
If you freeze the beans, thaw them overnight in the fridge or for a couple of hours on the counter before reheating.
Pinto Bean Tacos Recipe
For the pickled onions
- 1 cup sliced onion - red or white onion is fine
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
- ¼ cup sugar
For the pinto beans (if you're not using my Instant Pot Pinto Beans)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped sweet onion
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika - or 1 tablespoon chili powder and 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 15- ounce can of pinto beans - drained and rinsed
- salt and black pepper - to taste
For the tacos
- 8 small flour or corn tortillas - warmed
- 1 Haas avocado - sliced
- shredded cabbage - or shredded lettuce
- chopped cilantro
- 1-2 jalapeños, sliced thin - optional
- 1 lime - cut into eight wedges
Make the pickled onions
- Stuff the onions into a pint-size mason jar or other heat-safe glass container.
- Combine the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan, and heat them until they boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. This should only take a few minutes. Turn off the stove, and pour the hot brine over the onions. The heat from the brine will soften the onions.
- Set aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the tacos.
Make the beans
- In a small saucepan, heat the oil on medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and a pinch of salt and cook until the onion starts to brown. You can add a small splash of water, if needed, to prevent sticking.
- Add the paprika (or chili powder and liquid smoke), broth, and beans to the pan, and simmer for 10 minutes, partially covered. Add more water or broth, if needed, if the pan starts to go dry. When the 10 minutes are up, taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
To make one taco
- Place a tortilla onto the plate and use a slotted spoon to scoop some of the pinto beans onto the tortilla. Top with some pickled onions and the remaining toppings and serve with a lime wedge on the side.
- mason jar
Frequently asked questions
You can use the fillings listed in the recipe card or mix and match. Good taco fillings include salsa, tomato, onion or green onion, pickled onion, cilantro, cabbage or lettuce, corn, and jalapeños.
I like to add a creamy element in my tacos for a little texture contrast. Avocado works great for this. Or, you can use vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, or garlic cashew cream.
Yes! If you'd rather cook the beans from scratch, make my smoky Instant Pot pinto beans. They are perfect in these tacos!
They are! In fact, they are totally vegan.
This recipe doubles easily.
Absolutely! Whether you're seasoning canned beans or using my Instant Pot pinto beans recipe, you can make them up to three days ahead.
In fact, pinto beans taste even better the next day. Just warm them up on the stove or in the microwave before spooning onto your tacos.