Slow-Cooker Pinto Bean Stew with Jalapeno-Corn Dumplings

Slow-Cooker Pinto Bean Stew with Jalapeno-Corn Dumplings

21 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2013

This healthy slow-cooker pinto bean stew recipe is bursting with veggies—onion, bell pepper, celery and corn—and topped with crunchy bits of radish and chile- and lime-flecked cornbread dumplings. If you're pressed for time, skip the dumplings and serve this pinto bean stew straight out of the crock pot, topped with crushed tortilla chips and a sprinkling of Monterey Jack cheese. Make sure to soak your dried beans before using them in the slow cooker to ensure even cooking.

Ingredients 8 servings

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Original recipe yields 8 servings
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
  • 1 pound dry pinto beans, soaked (see Tip)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • Dumplings
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal, preferably whole-grain
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • Garnish
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup sliced radishes


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Drain the soaked beans. Combine the beans, water, onion, bell pepper, celery, corn, garlic, chili powder and cumin in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Cook on High for 4 hours (or on Low for 8 hours).
  2. To prepare dumplings: Just before the end of the 4 (or 8) hours, whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add butter and use a pastry blender, two knives or a fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add jalapeno and lime zest and toss to coat. Add buttermilk and stir to form a dough.
  3. After the stew has cooked for 4 (or 8) hours, stir in lime juice and salt. Using generous tablespoonfuls of dough, drop 8 dumplings on top of the stew. Cover and cook on High for 1 hour. Serve each portion of stew topped with a dumpling. Garnish with cilantro and radish.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Soak beans; prep vegetables, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day; measure seasonings.
  • Equipment: 5- to 6-quart slow cooker
  • Before using beans in a slow-cooker recipe, soak them to ensure even cooking. Start by sorting beans to remove any pebbles; rinse well with cold water. To soak overnight: Place beans in a large bowl, cover with 3 inches of cold water and soak at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours. To “quick soak”: Place beans in a large saucepan with enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour.
  • For easy cleanup, try a slow-cooker liner. These heat-resistant, disposable liners fit neatly inside the insert and help prevent food from sticking to the bottom and sides of your slow cooker.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: about 1¼ cups stew & 1 dumpling
  • Per serving: 317 calories; 5 g fat(2 g sat); 15 g fiber; 56 g carbohydrates; 15 g protein; 276 mcg folate; 8 mg cholesterol; 4 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 1,287 IU vitamin A; 27 mg vitamin C; 126 mg calcium; 4 mg iron; 647 mg sodium; 814 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Folate (69% daily value), Vitamin C (45% dv), Vitamin A (26% dv), Iron (22% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 3 starch, ½ vegetable, 1 lean meat, ½ fat

Reviews 21

April 01, 2017
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By: Karen
I followed the recipe but I did add a little water towards the end of the cook time, My husbands favorite meal is beans and cornbread, and he loved this recipe he did add salt to his bowl but I loved it just the way it was, this is definitely a keeper!
August 22, 2016
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By: GlynisTM
I made the recipe exactly as the recipe states. The only thing I did not do is add the garnishes, neither of which I had on hand. Most of the items in this recipe I keep stocked my kitchen anyway. The recipe came out glorious and I would not change a single thing. It is easy enough if your soup/stew is not the right consistency is to add more chicken/vegetable stock. This was one of the easiest recipes I have used, and is a part of my regular rotation. I simply love the fact that I typically have everything in my pantry/fridge. Thank you Eating Well!
June 13, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
After reading the reviews, I used half the beans and half the water - everything else stayed the same. I don't think it would have had any flavor had I used the full amount of beans and water.
June 04, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Undercooked beans, no flavor! The picture looks so good but I made this recipe two times in a row--both were fails even though I tweaked it the second time to try to save the recipe. I am an experienced cook and I have to say this was a big waste of effort and ingredients. Beans were undercooked even though I presoaked them 23 hours and cooked longer than recipe called for to try to get them done. I've never had trouble with pinto beans in the crockpot, I make them all the time! But something about this recipe left them with a bite. And the broth was so bland! The second night, to compensate, I used canned beans and chicken broth. Still terribly bland, only this time it was soupy as well--I guess you need the starch from dried soaked beans to make it into a stew. The dumplings were pretty good the first night, cooked up beautifully (although didn't have a ton of flavor) but the second night in the soupy broth, they just didn't stand a chance and disintegrated a bit. I might still play around with this recipe but please don't waste your ingredients and time making it as written. I will be adding tomatoes, slow cooking on the stovetop (which kind of defeats the purpose of a quick recipe), and upping the spices. Pros: healthy, slow cooker Cons: bland, undercooked
April 21, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Tasty recipe! After reading some of the reviews I was a little hesitant to taste this but I'm so glad I didn't judge until I tasted. The stew looked just like the picture and both my husband and I enjoyed it. I used Hatch Medium Chili Powder so maybe that made a difference since so many said it was lacking flavor. I did add a little more salt and instead of plain frozen corn I had some frozen roasted corn from Trader Joe's but other than that I didn't add anything else spice wise. The jalapeno corn dumplings complimented the spice of the stew. I will definitely make this recipe again. Pros: Easy to make
June 22, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Bland I read the reviews and decided to add a lot more seasoning. I also swapped the water for chicken broth & I had already put in a chopped anaheim chile & a poblano pepper. Even with the added seasoning (a lot more cumin & some cayenne) I thought it was really mediocre. I did like the dumplings, however. I would make those again. Pros: Healthy Cons: Has to be drastically altered to have any real flavor
June 10, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
I really liked this recipe, though I did make a few substitutions (yeah, I'm gonna be one of those people haha). First, I used vegetable broth instead of water (I never use water in anything if I can add more flavor with broth). I also added more spices than the recipe called for. I just kept adding until it tasted good to me. Finally, at the last minute as I was about to put the lid on and let the stew cook, I added a little chopped turkey bacon for extra smokiness. All of these additions were really simple, and really, I find cooking is more about finding the flavors *you* like than following a recipe to the letter, but I digress. The only complaint I have is I feel the dumplings had a little too much lime flavor, and little else. I followed the instructions for the dumplings exactly, so next time I make this I might half the amount of lime and increase the amount of salt in the dumplings. Overall, this recipe turned out a delicious, hearty stew that you can make even in the summer and not worry about heating up the kitchen by turning on the stove. It's very filling, too - my boyfriend, who eats like a horse lol, was stuffed after one bowl. I will definitely make this again.
May 19, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Tweaked and Spicy This was my very first crock pot dish. After reading the reviews I decided to take their negatives and make mine better! It worked! Instead of the chili powder, (I didn't have any) I used 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper powder, I doubled the garlic amount(because I love garlic), used a small red onion, only used 5 cups of water, added a half cup of reduced sodium chicken broth, and added three diced Roma tomatoes( although next time I'll use spicy Rotel). With the dumpling I cut out the lime all together and added cheese before adding the buttermilk. It turned out great! Very spicy but not melt your face hot, just how we like it. I will be making it again!
May 09, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Tasty, Filling, Kind to Your Diet My husband and I liked this a lot. I did not make the cornmeal dumplings; instead I used Heart Healthy Bisquick mix, using skim milk as directed on package and putting lime rind and jalapenos into that dough. The soup got better on its second (and even third) time on the dinner table -- storing it with the dumplings in it helped to thicken it a bit, and it seemed that the flavor of the fresh lime juice really matured (in a good way!) over several days. I'm planning to make it a second time at my son's home. I follow Weight Watchers, and this meal was extremely points friendly -- I could even have seconds!
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