Charro Beans (Frijoles Charros) are Mexican-style beans cooked in a broth made from bacon, onions, garlic, chiles, tomatoes and other delicious spices. Great as a side dish or as a full meal served with some flour tortillas or jalapeño cornbread!
If you’re searching for a hearty and filling Mexican side dish, then Charro Beans are made for you!
They’re great in the summer to serve at potlucks and family get-togethers, perfect in the winter in a big bowl with homemade flour tortillas or a piece of jalapeño cornbread, or as an everyday side dish when you’re tired of the same old refried beans.
Plus they’re made with bacon, and we all know that everyone loves bacon! But before we get into the recipe, you may be wondering…
What are charro beans?
Charro beans, or “cowboy beans” in English (or “frijoles charros” in Spanish), are Mexican-style pinto beans cooked in a broth made from bacon, onions, garlic, chipotle peppers, tomatoes and other delicious spices.
The beans are simmered in the flavorful broth until the liquid has reduced and thickened, resulting in a rich and irresistible mouthful of goodness. I like to think of charro beans as the Mexican version of “pork and beans.” Same concept with a touch of chipotle pepper smokiness.
Charro beans and borracho beans (or “drunken beans” in English) are very similar. They’re essentially the same thing, except borracho beans are made with the addition of Mexican beer.
How to make charro beans
- Place the dried pinto beans in a large bowl and cover them completely with water. Let them soak for about 4-8 hours.
- Cook some diced bacon in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat until all the fat is rendered. Add in some onions and jalapeños and cook until translucent.
- Add in garlic, diced tomatoes and chipotle pepper and cook until mixture is bubbling and slightly thick.
- Add in chicken stock, seasonings and soaked pinto beans and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 35 minutes, until beans are barely cooked.
- Uncover, turn up the heat to medium-high and cook for another 35-40 minutes, until the liquid has reduced and thickened.
Short on time? Use canned beans!
If you’re looking to save some time and would rather use canned pinto beans instead of dried, skip soaking the beans and follow the directions as written except for the part where you cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook the beans for the first 35 minutes.
Since canned beans are already cooked, skip that step and cook everything uncovered for about 35-40 minutes, until the liquid has reduced and thickened.
I’m a big fan of eating this dish as a meal with a thick slice of cornbread, but if you’re looking to serve it as a side dish, here are some tasty options!