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Frijoles Charra (Charro Beans)

Frijoles Charra (Charro Beans)

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.

Serve this charro beans recipe alongside other popular Mexican recipes: carne asada, Achiote Chicken, flour tortillas, tacos, pollo asado, birria, Camarónes a la Diabla and Instant Pot carnitas.

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. 

Labeled photo showing ingredients to make Mexican Pinto beans.


Here are a few non-staple ingredients required to make Frijoles Charra. For the full list of ingredients, reference the recipe card below.

Charro beans in a cream dutch oven.

Charro Beans Recipe

You can use either dried beans or canned beans to make Mexican charro beans. 

Dried 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. 

Canned Beans 

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.

Uncooked Instant Pot Pinto Beans in an Instant Pot insert.

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

crispy bacon in a cream dutch oven.


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.

Low Sodium

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!

Frijoles Borrachos

To make “drunken beans”, add a cup of your favorite beer when simmering.

Pinto Beans and Rice

Make a batch of Mexican rice  or Cilantro Lime Rice to serve along side, to create pinto beans and rice.

Frijoles Charra unmixed in a crem dutch oven.

Recipe Tips

  • 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.

Drink Pairings

When enjoying Instant Pot Mexican Recipes, we always reach for a MicheladaMango Michelada or Margarita.

Frijoles Charros in a small bowl.

More Bean Recipes

Refried Bean Dip
Smoked Baked Beans
Instant Pot Beans Recipe
Instant Pot Pinto Beans

Mexican Beans

These beans would be a perfect addition to a Carne Asada Platter.

Frijoles Charra in a small bowl.

Frijoles Charra

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.
Serve this charro beans recipe alongside other popular Mexican recipes: carne asada, flour tortillas, tacos, pollo asado, birria and Instant Pot carnitas.
Rate this Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Soaking: 6 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 15 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Bean Recipes, Cinco De Mayo Recipes, Pinto Bean Recipes
Servings: 6 bowls
Calories: 400kcal
Author: Darcey Olson
Cost: $10



  • 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



  • 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.


  • 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!


To use canned beans, replace the dried beans with 3 15-oz cans of pinto beans. Make sure to drain and rinse them first.


Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 695mg | Potassium: 1395mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 117IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 130mg | Iron: 5mg
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