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16 June 2021

This charro beans recipe (frijoles charros) is a favorite Mexican or Tex Mex side dish of tender pinto beans simmered with lots of seasonings. Easy to make and customize!

We’re making Charro Beans in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen today, my friends, and I think you’re going to love them. Charro beans is a simple but flavorful dish of beans, usually pinto beans or bayo beans, that are simmered in a seasoned broth with onions, garlic, peppers and pork, such as bacon or chorizo.

The recipe is popular in Mexican cuisine, particularly Tamaulipas and Coahuila, where it is called “frijoles charros”, though you’ll also find Tex Mex versions with more local ingredients.

It is typically served as a side dish, much like refried beans or pork and beans, though it is very easy to customize and serve as a meal with added meats or other fillers.

Recipes vary from region to region and cook to cook, with different meats and seasonings of preference. This is my particular adaptation, with bacon as the pork, though I do love it with spicy Mexican chorizo and/or some tender pork shoulder or fatty beef.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Let’s talk about how we make charro beans, shall we?

A big scoop of Charro Beans in a pan

Charro Beans Ingredients (Frijoles Charros)

  • Bacon. 3 slices is great, though you can easily fit more to your taste.
  • Vegetables. Onions garlic, jalapeno or serrano peppers (or both!).
  • Pinto Beans. I used dried pinto beans that have been soaked and drained. If using canned pinto beans, the recipe will need to be adjusted for liquid and cooking times.
  • Tomatoes. I love fire roasted tomatoes for this, but you can use canned diced or the equivalent of fresh tomatoes. Roast them in the oven! Or just add them with the other ingredients.
  • Broth. I usually use chicken broth, but vegetable broth is great as well, or use a few cups of water.
  • Seasonings. Chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, salt and pepper.
  • Garnish. Chopped fresh cilantro, spicy red pepper flakes, crumbly white cheese

Charro Beans in a bowl, ready to serve

How to Make Charro Beans (Frijoles Charros)- the Recipe Method

Cook the Bacon. Heat a large pan or a large pot to medium heat and add bacon. A Dutch oven is great for this recipe. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the bacon starts to crisp up. Remove the bacon and set aside. 

Onion, Peppers and Garlic. Drain excess bacon grease and add onion and jalapenos. Cook for 5 minutes to soften. Add the garlic and cook another minute.

Cooking down onion and peppers in a pan to make charro beans

Remaining Ingredients. Add the reserved bacon, beans, tomatoes, chicken broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt and pepper. Stir and reduce heat to simmer.

Simmering the charro beans in a pan

Simmer the Charro Beans. Cover and simmer for 60 minutes or longer, until the beans are tender to your preference. Check at 45 minutes. It could take up to 90 minutes, depending on your beans. If the beans are too dry and not tender enough, add in a bit more broth or water to the pan and continue to simmer. Add salt to taste.

Garnish and Serve. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro, chili flakes, crumbly white cheese and serve.

Hot Charro Beans in a pan

Boom! Done! Your pot of charro beans is ready to serve! Looks wonderful, doesn’t it? It really is a great side dish, easy to make, but also easy to customize or turn into a meal! See the recipe notes below.

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Make it a Meal. You can easily add in extra meats to turn your charro beans into a full meal for dinner or gatherings. Try ground beef, turkey or pork, cooked chopped chicken, slow cooked pork shoulder or loin, spicy chorizo or others. Add some chopped brisket for a great Tex Mex version. So many options.
  • The Beans. Soaking the beans reduces your cooking time overall. Try this recipe with bayo beans, which are more traditionally used in Mexican style charros frijoles.
  • Additional Ingredients. Try making this with smoked paprika, or cayenne powder for an extra spicy version. Or use ghost powder, my true chilihead friends! A bit of fresh lime juice squeezed over the top is always a very nice addition as well.
  • Soup Option. Add more broth or a bit of water and serve your frijoles charros as a soup! This is great as a starter to your meal.
  • Canned Pinto Beans Option. You can easily make this recipe with canned pinto beans. To do so, follow the recipe as written, but reduce the amount of broth to 1/2-1 cup and simmer until warmed, about 10 minutes. This is a quick and easy way to make taste charro beans when you’re strapped for time.
  • Slow Cooker Option. You can easily make this recipe in the slow cooker or Instant Pot by letting all of the ingredients cook slowly on high for 2-3 hours, or until the beans are softened to your preference. Just be sure to cook the bacon and vegetables first before slow cooking.

Charro Beans in a bowl

That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this charro beans recipe. Let me know if you make it. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you and how you’ve made it your own.

Cookbook Recommendation

If you love traditional Mexican cooking, I love this cookbook with recipes from all over Mexico. Definitely recommended.

Charro Beans in a bowl, ready to serve

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

Charro Beans in a pan with garnish

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Charro Beans Recipe
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Charro Beans Recipe (Frijoles Charros)

This charro beans recipe (frijoles charros) is a favorite Mexican or Tex Mex side dish of tender pinto beans simmered with lots of seasonings. Easy to make and customize!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican, Tex Mex
Keyword: beans, chili powder, jalapneo, pinto beans, serrano, spicy
Servings: 8
Calories: 274kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 slices bacon chopped
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2-3 jalapeno peppers chopped (use serrano for extra heat)
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 pound dried pinto beans soaked and drained
  • 14 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes or use equivalent fresh tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth or use vegetable broth - or more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • FOR GARNISH: Chopped fresh cilantro spicy red pepper flakes, crumbly white cheese

Instructions

  • Heat a large pan or a pot to medium heat and add bacon. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the bacon starts to crisp up. Remove the bacon and set aside.
  • Drain excess bacon grease and add onion and jalapenos. Cook for 5 minutes to soften.
  • Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  • Add the reserved bacon, beans, tomatoes, chicken broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt and pepper. Stir and reduce heat to simmer.
  • Cover and simmer for 60 minutes or longer, until the beans are tender to your preference. Check at 45 minutes. It could take up to 90 minutes, depending on your beans. If the beans are too dry and not tender enough, add in a bit more broth or water to the pan and continue to simmer.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro, chili flakes, crumbly white cheese and serve.

Notes

Make it a Meal. You can easily add in extra meats to turn your charro beans into a full meal for dinner or gatherings. Try ground beef, turkey or pork, cooked chopped chicken, slow cooked pork shoulder or loin, spicy chorizo or others. Add some chopped brisket for a great Tex Mex version. So many options.
Additional Ingredients. Try making this with smoked paprika, or cayenne powder for an extra spicy version. Or use ghost powder, my true chilihead friends! A bit of fresh lime juice squeezed over the top is always a very nice addition as well.
Soup Option. Add more broth or a bit of water and serve your frijoles charros as a soup! This is great as a starter to your meal.
Canned Pinto Beans Option. You can easily make this recipe with canned pinto beans. To do so, follow the recipe as written, but reduce the amount of broth to 1/2-1 cup and simmer until warmed, about 10 minutes. This is a quick and easy way to make taste charro beans when you're strapped for time.
Slow Cooker Option. You can easily make this recipe in the slow cooker or Instant Pot by letting all of the ingredients cook slowly on high for 2-3 hours, or until the beans are softened to your preference. Just be sure to cook the bacon and vegetables first before slow cooking.

Nutrition

Calories: 274kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 191mg | Potassium: 964mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 523IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 4mg