Whip up a batch of Frijoles Charra, a.k.a. Charro Beans, a flavorful broth-based Mexican bean recipe loaded with creamy pinto beans, bacon, tomatoes, peppers and spice.
What are Charro Beans
Charro beans is a traditional Mexican dish originating in Northern Mexico. The dish is named after the traditional Mexican cowboy horsemen, or charros. Hence why they’re also referred to as “cowboy beans”. This Mexican bean recipe is served warm and as a soup.
Here are a few non-staple ingredients required to make Frijoles Charra. For the full list of ingredients, reference the recipe card below.
- Pinto Beans
- Chicken Broth
Charro Beans Recipe
You can use either dried beans or canned beans to make Mexican charro beans.
We prefer to use dried pinto beans as to better control the texture, taste, and sodium content. Of course not everyone has access to dried beans or the extra time required to cook.
To use canned beans, drain and rinse the beans in a colander to remove the excess liquid. Add them in when the dried beans are called for. You’ll need to cut back on the cook time as the beans are already softened. Think 12-15 minutes.
How To Make Frijoles Charros
Making Frijoles Charra is extremely easy. Here are a few key steps to make them. Reference the recipe card below for full details.
- Soak the Beans (6-24 Hours)
- Crisp the Bacon & Soften the Vegetables
- Simmer The Rest Of The Ingredients
Frijoles Charra is highly customizable – here are a few popular variations to consider when making Frijoles Charra:
Omit the bacon and use vegetable stock vs. chicken broth.
Utilize water or low sodium broth and forego the added salt.
To amp up the heat of Frijoles Charra, throw in some red pepper flakes, hot sauce, cayenne pepper or extra diced jalapeños. Anything goes!
To make “drunken beans”, add a cup of your favorite beer when simmering.
Pinto Beans and Rice
- For maximum nutrition, use Instant Pot Bone Broth when making Frijoles Charra.
- Don’t have broth on hand? Here’s substitute for beef broth and chicken broth substitute lists, if you need some ideas.
- Hard beans? If your beans aren’t softening they’re likely old. It’s best to purchase fresh pinto beans. Keep cooking and they’ll soften up.
- Use a large pot for this beast of a recipe. It makes a ton of Frijoles Charra! We utilize our handy large dutch oven.
More Bean Recipes
These beans would be a perfect addition to a Carne Asada Platter.
- 1 lb dried pinto beans (*Note 1)
- 5-6 cups water
- 6 slices bacon, diced
- ½ cup yellow onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups chicken broth, low sodium
- 14 oz diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- Optional Garnish: cilantro
SOAK THE BEANS
- Add the dried pinto beans to a large bowl and completely cover with water. Let soak for 6 hours up to 24 hours. Drain, rinse and set aside until ready to cook.
MAKE THE BEANS
- Heat a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium high heat. Add the diced bacon and saute until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate using a slotted spoon. Drain excess grease, leaving only 1 tbsp in the pot.
- Add the onion and jalapeno and cook until softened (approx. 4-5 minutes).
- Add the garlic and cook for an 30 seconds.
- Add the beans, bacon, broth, tomatoes, salt, cumin and oregano and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Top with cilantro and enjoy!