Slow-Cooker Pinto Bean Stew with Jalapeno-Corn Dumplings

Slow-Cooker Pinto Bean Stew with Jalapeno-Corn Dumplings

20 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
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Dumplings
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal, preferably whole-grain
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Garnish
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 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 1 1/4 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; 1287 IU vitamin A; 27 mg vitamin C; 126 mg calcium; 4 mg iron; 647 mg sodium; 814 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Folate (67% daily value), Vitamin C (45% dv), Vitamin A (26% dv), Iron, Magnesium & Potassium (24% dv).
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 3
  • Exchanges: 3 starch, 1/2 vegetable, 1 lean meat, 1/2 fat

Reviews 20

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 jalape+¦os 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!
April 27, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Uses lime cook dumpl right in pot wld half