Appetizer Tex-Mex

Jalapeño bean dip

Jalapeno bean dip DSC8292

When I was a kid, my friends and I would sometimes ride our bikes to the neighborhood convenience store for a treat. They would grab slushy beverages and candy, but I’d always get a pack of corn chips and a can of bean dip. We’d then head over to the creek and sit on the bank eating our purchases. I’d take each corn chip and swirl it around the dip in the can, each bite salty, creamy, spicy, and a little tangy. It was Tex-Mex snack heaven for me.

Even as a young adult, whenever I was on road trips and would stop to get gas, if I was hungry and needed a quick snack, that bag of corn chips and can of bean dip was what I reached for first. To justify my indulgence, I’d tell myself that it was a whole food, as the chips and dip together formed a complete protein. Eating well never tasted so good, I’d think as I dragged my finger around the inside of the can savoring every last bit.

In those formative years, most of the bean dips I enjoyed were from the store and it wasn’t until I went to college that I realized how simple it was to make from scratch. At school, a friend shared with me her recipe and we’d always whip some up before parties. Not only is it a cinch to prepare but you can also make a large batch very easily. I soon learned that in terms of both flavor and volume, homemade bean dip is much better than what comes out of a tiny can.

Jalapeno bean dip | Homesick Texan

That said, most homemade bean dips today are made with black beans, white beans, or chickpeas; it seems that pinto bean dip has gone out of style. I will confess it had been a while since I’d had some myself, but last week I had a milestone to celebrate and while some would have made a cake, I decided jalapeño bean dip was the best way to mark the occasion instead.

To make mine, for a few minutes I steeped jalapeños, onion, and garlic in a salty vinegar brine. I then threw those into a blender along with some cooked pintos (I used homemade but canned certainly would work, too) and a few dashes of savory spices such as chili powder and cayenne. Once it was smooth, I cooked the bean puree in a bit of bacon grease to bring it all together and help it reduce.

When the dip was ready, I shook some corn chips from a bag and took a bite. (Fritos are the traditional brand of choice.) While it wasn’t fancy, the combination of tangy jalapeños, earthy chili powder, and smoky bacon fat mixed with the creamy beans hit all the right notes. It was simple yet sublime. And a fine way to mark 10 years of having this blog.

Yes, last week I realized back in September 2005 I wrote my first blog post. Appropriately enough, that post was about refried beans, my first Tex-Mex love. While I didn’t do too much with the blog in its first year, I’m still in awe of what’s happened since I hit publish that day.

Jalapeno bean dip | Homesick Texan

If you had told me that because of my blog I’d get the opportunity to write books, publish magazine articles, speak in front of people, and make a ton of new friends, I never would have believed you. And while those things have all been very good, the best part has been getting to know this community of like-minded people, such as you.

Now, I know that it may seem strange to make jalapeño bean dip to mark the occasion, but since my first post was about refried beans it just seemed right. After all, refried beans are my first Tex-Mex love and bean dip is just refried beans gussied up a bit, which makes it perfect for a festive gathering.

Jalapeno bean dip | Homesick Texan

These past 10 years have been wonderful and I thank you for joining me on this adventure. I’ve loved sharing stories and recipes with you. And while I have no idea what the future holds for me, I’m thinking that if it’s anything like the past 10 years then it will be a blast! Thank you for reading and now go make yourself some bean dip. You’ll be glad you did, as a handful of corn chips with a bowl of bean dip is Texas snacking at its best.

Would you like more Homesick Texan? Well, I’ve started offering additional recipes for paid subscribers to help with the costs of running the site. While I’m not taking anything away, if you’d like to support Homesick Texan and have access to exclusive, never-seen-before subscriber-only posts, please consider becoming a member; annual subscriptions are as low as $25. Thank you for reading, your consideration, and your support!

Jalapeno bean dip DSC8292
5 from 3 votes

Jalapeño bean dip

Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 8
Author Lisa Fain


  • 4 jalapeños seeded, stemmed, and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/8 medium yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup tap water
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups cooked pinto beans or 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained
  • 3/4 cup bean juice or water
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease, unsalted butter, or vegetable oil
  • Corn chips, for serving


  1. Place the jalapeños, onion, garlic, vinegar, water, salt, and cumin in a pot. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat and let the jalapeños steep for 10 minutes.
  2. With a slotted spoon, transfer the jalapeños, onion, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of the pickling liquid to a blender or food processor. (You can save the remaining pickling liquid for another use, such as salad dressing or a meat brine.) Add the beans, bean juice, chili powder, paprika, and cayenne, then blend until smooth.
  3. On medium-low heat, melt the bacon grease in a skillet and add the bean puree. While occasionally stirring, cook the bean dip for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened and fragrant. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt if needed. Serve the dip either warm or chilled—it’s good either way—with corn chips.

Recipe Notes

While I tend to serve my bean dip without adornment, it takes well to cheese, sour cream, chorizo, bacon or taco if you like.

  1. Oh gosh…JUST last night I was finishing off a can of Frito's Hot Bean Dip and thinking "I need to Google a recipe for this stuff." It's not outrageously expensive- $2.50 at the dollar store and about $3.79 at the grocery store when not on sale – but as much of the stuff as I buy, I was thinking it couldn't be all that costly to make.

    I've subscribed to your blog/site for a long time and remembered seeing a recipe for refried beans that at the time I thought could be re-purposed for bean dip. I just did a quick search and found it: Refried Beans Recipe: A Life Pursuit. So, while I haven't subscribed in my reader for the entire ten yrs. of its existence, I got here as quickly as I could!

    "…..I dragged my finger around the inside of the can savoring every last bit…" Oh thank goodness…I thought I was the only person who did that.

  2. Lisa Fain

    Mike–What excellent timing! And so glad to know I'm not the only one who dragged a finger through the can. Enjoy the dip!

  3. anotherfoodieblogger

    Hi Lisa, I am still waiting for you to come to Bend, OR and sign my books of yours, lol! I know exactly what you mean by that canned bean dip from growing up in Texas. I have lots of ripe jalepeños now that I've been wondering what to do with. Along with this dip, I'll probably roast and freeze some then perhaps dry the rest.

  4. Linda Ford

    Congratulations on 10 delicious years! I hope you will continue developing and sharing recipes with us. And I am honored to have done some recipe testing for you.
    Best wishes!

  5. Up North Bush Chef

    I guess that's 9 years I've been following your blog posts then. I moved to Toronto from San Antonio in 2006. I've enjoy your writing, recipes and memories, they coincide with my own. I used to crush bags and cans of been dip on the regular. As a professional chef I know I can recreate the stuff, but there was something about pulling that tab. Thank you for the time and effort you put in to this blog. I seldom get homesick anymore, as Canada has surely embraced as her own native son. But I sure do miss the food…..

  6. Lisa Fain

    Anotherfoodieblogger–Unfortunately, I haven't been able to make it to Bend this year but maybe next June. Such a wonderful town!

  7. Lisa Fain

    Linda–Thank you so much! And your feedback has always been very much appreciated!

  8. Lisa Fain

    Up North Bust Chef–There is indeed something about that tab!

  9. Unknown

    Congratulations, and I always appreciate your work. Thanks!

  10. Anonymous

    I'm a lonely ex-San Antonian now living in "Little Sweden," & LONG for the Tex-Mex to be found on every street corner in South Texas. Also for ingredients I can't find, like jicama or piloncillo for capirotada. You're a life-saver! And congrats on TEN YEARS!

  11. Mike Bierschenk (Optional Kitchen)

    Congratulations! I think I've been reading almost as long as you've been writing, and it's been a GREAT time. Thanks for the very good food, and for the inspiration; I hope we're both still writing in another ten.

    (And now I gotta leave work early so I can go make some bean dip, mmhmm…)

  12. Great! I'm a corn chip addict and this is the perfect post for someone with that affliction! This over a cake any day, great dip! Thanks for the recipe.

  13. Derek H

    I lived this same story growing up in SE Texas. Thanks for sharing Lisa. I'm going to try the recipe and use it for brunch and spread on tostadas with a fried egg, cheese, and fresh salsa, and of course, a Bloody Mary. Cheers!


    Brings tears to my eyes! My mother loved loved bean dip and fritos….it just is Texas no matter where you live now! Thank you, going to make this for sure.

  15. My go-to road trip food was bean dip and Fritoes. I haven't had any in years, though, but I'm not sure why. And just recently, as in this week, I decided to embrace the fact that Fritoes are my chip of choice. Don't get me wrong–I love tortilla chips and there is a restaurant near us that makes the best. chips. ever. But at home, I'm just going to be honest and eat Fritoes. And your recipe for bean dip sounds perfect. Congrats on 10 years! I love your blog.

  16. Lisa Fain

    Unknown–Thank you!

    Anon–Thank you! And I know what you mean–it's always such a shock when you leave the state how hard it is to find what seems like the most common ingredients.

  17. Lisa Fain

    Mike–Good thing it's Friday as it's usually easier to sneak out early. Enjoy the dip and thank you for reading! Hope you're doing well!

  18. Lisa Fain

    Pam–Yep, I'm with you–corn chips over something sweet any day!

  19. Lisa Fain

    Derek–That sounds like an excellent idea and I can't wait to try it myself! Cheers to you, too!

  20. Lisa Fain

    Rockthewrinkle–It is sooo Texas! Glad the post brought back good memories of your mom.

  21. Lisa Fain

    Nikki–Indeed–there's just something about Fritos that's completely addictive. I have a hard time eating only a handful. Thank you for the kind words and for reading!

  22. Congratulations on 10 years and all of the successes brought about by your blog! I began following you in 2007 when looking up a recipe for queso. You have inspired me in the kitchen and taught me a lot about how to pull together flavors in recipes. Your pinto beans are a staple in my house. Thank you so much for pouring your heart out and sharing your love and talent.

  23. That's so fantastic! Happy 10 year anniversary! I think I've been reading for about 8 of those years, and I've loved following along with you on your adventures in food and life. You certainly helped me survive many years away from my beloved home state, and for that I'm very grateful!

  24. Lisa Fain

    Bonne–Thank you for the kind words and for reading. I'm so pleased the blog has inspired you in the kitchen!

  25. Lisa Fain

    Paige–Thank you for coming along on the journey! I'm happy the blog helped you survive while you were away from home.

  26. Anonymous

    Oh, golly – CONGRATULATIONS on 10 years of this great blog. Haven't been with you all that time but have come back frequently since discovering you 6 or 7 years ago.

    This post is so very timely. Was just wondering how I'd turn some of the pinto beans we've canned into bean dip! (We purposefully canned them with water and nothing else to increase their possible uses.) This sounds like the perfect way. Thank you!

    Looking forward to another decade of good ideas from you, Lisa!


  27. Lisa Fain

    Pete–Perfect timing! Enjoy the dip.

  28. ELizabeth

    I love black beans so I've forgotten about the humble pinto bean, but I'll have to get some and make this dip.

  29. lisadelrio

    I've been a fan since before I became a homesick Texan myownself 8 years ago. Congratulations and thanks for all these years of fantastic recipes. And for reminding me of the days when I rode my own bike to the convenience store for Frito's and bean dip.

  30. ann peck

    Congratulations on ten years of good sharing.

    I think we all remember the first recipe that lead us to another Homesick Texan . (Mine was Ninfa's green sauce.)

  31. THoey1963

    Lisa, first and foremost, congrats on 10 years. I haven't been following the whole time, but as they say about living in Texas "I got here as fast as I could". I truly enjoy the life behind all of your recipes…

    Think I'll have to give this a try for our next pot luck, which just happens to be Monday. Thank you for another great recipe!

  32. Lisa, so glad you hit Publish that day ten years ago! Gonna make this dip for a party to mark another anniversary: our 20 years of marriage! A Mexican friend is making salsas for us and another an amazing cake and cookies, and our favourite BBQ place (yes, we have BBQ in Dublin now!) is providing the brisket with all the trimmings. We love spreading the gospel of Texas food here in Dublin.

  33. Lisa Fain

    Elizabeth–It's time to get reacquainted!

  34. Lisa Fain

    Lisa–Thank you for reading! And those were good days, weren't they?

  35. Lisa Fain

    Ann–Still one of my favorite recipes and it's still the first place I usually visit when I fly into Houston. Thank you for reading!

  36. Lisa Fain

    THoey1963–Thank you for reading and have a great potluck. Bean dip is perfect for gatherings and it travels well, too.

  37. Lisa Fain

    Bill–Hey there! Congratulations on 20 years to you and your wife! Sounds like y'all are going to have a mighty fine feast to celebrate.

  38. Rebecca

    Congratulations on the Mile Marker!!!!

    Funny story on the bean dip…. When I had/have no time and a pot luck right now!!!! I buy a large can of refried beans a jar of spicy salsa and stir them together, top with chopped cilantro and white onion and serve with Fritos' or tortilla chips. Its always one of the first things gone. lol

  39. Lisa Fain

    Rebecca–What a great idea! I'll definitely try that sometime!

  40. Unknown

    Hi, Lisa, I read your blog for the recipes, of course, but also the writing. I now live in Arizona after 30 years in Houston and miss the talk and food! You speak my language in both such as "refried beans gussied up a bit"! Congratulations on your 10 years. Looking forward to sharing the next 10 with you. Joyce

  41. Great post, I’m inspired. Monday nite football for the gang will be bean dip – maybe with a smidge of toasted/ground cumin — paired with your queso of Rotel and the-only-legitimate-use for Velveeta. Congratulations on the milestone!

  42. Lisa Fain

    Joyce–Thank you! Happy to speak your language!

  43. Lisa Fain

    Jim–This dip is perfect for football watching and makes a fine companion to queso. Enjoy and thank you!

  44. THoey1963

    Hey Lisa, when you say that this makes 6 – 8 servings, how much is that really? I bought enough stuff to make this recipe X 4. Starting to wonder if I am going to be bringing a lot of this back home. Think I'll start with a double batch and go from there…

    I also wondered about adding some Chipotle Peppers with Adobo Sauce to add a smokey flavor to it. Already planning to add a little crumbled bacon since I have to fry some up for the bacon grease. Maybe mix in a little cheddar cheese at the end too.

    Yeah, I tend to over think things… 😉

  45. Lisa Fain

    THoey–The yield is probably about 2 1/2 cups. And your additions all sound good!

  46. THoey1963

    Ok, thank you for the response. I figured I was too late asking and didn't expect a response in time.

    I ended up making 4 X times the recipe, only to walk in to a pot luck with chili and pinto beans on the table already. I have about half left over (2X times the original recipe). So, can I save it until this weekend? I have a vacuum sealer and a freezer if that is an option.

  47. Lisa Fain

    THoey–Yes, it's good in the refrigerator for a week.

  48. THoey1963

    Thanks again Lisa…

  49. Back in the early 70's, I had a classmate at Second Baptist who would bring Fritos and bean dip for lunch. I was so jealous!

  50. Rocky Mountain Woman

    I'm making this to join you in celebrating! Your blog is amazing and I love your writing. I agree that the very best thing about blogging is meeting other people who view food as obsessively as I do.

  51. Just made tonight and holy smokes! Takes me back to kid years but way tastier. TY!

  52. Made the bean dip today to snack on during the "Red River Showdown" aka…OU -Texas football game, even though my husband and I are both Texans we live in Oklahoma City and I went to OU, so we were hoping Oklahoma would win. The bean dip was gone before the game ended (just me & hubby)! I made it with 'Ranch Style" beans, the only pinto beans in the pantry…it was great! Thank you!

  53. keto recipes

    What a great simple bean dip recipe! Anything jalapeno is for me 🙂 Thank you!

  54. Kassi A.

    Lisa, congratulations on ten years! I read your blog quite a bit when i was a homesick texan in new york. I loved how you responded to each and every comment too. Now I live in California and am not so homesick these days, and whenever i am, I just make some chili or cheese enchiladas (that i learned from you!). I can't wait to try this bean dip recipe.

  55. Lisa Fain

    Tracy–I would have been jealous, too!

    Rocky Mountain Woman–Thank you!

    Kathie–You're welcome! So glad you enjoyed it!

  56. Lisa Fain

    Kelly–So glad y'all enjoyed it during the game. Making it with Ranch Style Beans is an excellent choice!

    Keto Recipes–I'm with you! I love jalapeños.

  57. Lisa Fain

    Kassi–Thank you so much for reading and the kind words. I'm glad you're no longer homesick! And while California does indeed have wonderful food, there's nothing quite like the taste of Texas chili or cheese enchiladas.

  58. Heather Lucas

    I have loved that canned beandip as long as I can remember! As far as I'm concerned that's what fritos were made for.
    Congrats on 10 years of homesick Texan! I've only been following you for about a year and wish I had known about you the whole time. Recipes like this one make me giddy.

  59. Lindsay Millican

    Made this tonight for a family gathering and it was a hit! The 4 jalapeños scared me a little so I scaled back to 2.5 but next time I'm going all in!

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