Upgrade your classic basic baked beans recipe with these amazing Charro Beans. Also known as Frijoles Charros and Mexican Cowboy Beans, this easy Charro Beans recipe is made with pinto beans, bacon, chipotle adobo pepper, and just a handful of other pantry staple.
Charro Beans have the perfect combination of smoky and savory flavors with just a hint of spice in every bite - so you know this will disappear fast at potlucks! Serve as a side dish for your Mexican or BBQ main dishes, or jazz up the Frijoles Charros with some chorizo sausage to enjoy as a main dish.
Why We Love This Recipe
Amazing Flavor. The number 1 reason that everyone loves these Charro Beans is how incredibly flavorful they are. They're made with an intoxicating combination of bacon, tender pinto beans, smoky adobo sauce, and other delicious aromatics.
Budget Friendly. Not only are all of the ingredients needed to make this dish full of flavor, they are low cost. Plus, everything is readily available at most grocery stores.
Easy to Prepare. Pinto beans are soaked overnight in water, then simmered in one large pot with the other ingredients. Authentic Frijoles Charros are cooked low and slow to get that perfect taste, but require very little effort to make.
Great to Make Ahead. This dish can be prepared several days before you serve, and easily reheated to enjoy at potlucks and picnics. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to Make Charro Beans
Ingredients. Dried pinto beans work best. You also need bacon, onion, jalapeños, garlic, a can of diced fire roasted tomatoes, chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (plus the sauce), chicken stock and spices. It might seem like a lot, but these are all wholesome and simple ingredients that really create an incredible flavor when cooked together.
Soak the Beans. You want to start preparing this recipe the night before you plan to cook. Place the dry pinto beans in a bowl and cover with water, and let soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse when they're done soaking.
Cook the Aromatics. In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, sauté the bacon, onion, and garlic until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, peppers, and adobo sauce. Lastly, add the soaked pinto beans and seasonings. Simmer for 40 minutes, stirring regularly.
Mash and Stir. Mash two cups of the bean mixture in a separate bowl, and then stir back into the main pot. This will help thicken the frijoles charros.
Serve Warm. The Charro Beans can be enjoyed right away, or kept warm in a slow cooker or electric pressure cooker (like an Instant Pot) at a gathering.
Serving and Storage Suggestions
Add Garnishes. Top the Charro Beans with your choice of chopped cilantro leaves, sliced jalapeños, and/or diced white onion.
Serve as a Side Dish. These Mexican Cowboy beans are great to enjoy with Birria Tacos, Amazing Chicken Tinga tacos, Instant Pot Carnitas, and Easy Enchiladas Verde. Or with your favorite grilled main dishes, like Grilled Skirt Steak or kebabs.
Enjoy as a Main Dish. Add chorizo to make heartier and more filling. Serve with your favorite Mexican-inspired sides like Elote (Mexican Street Corn), tortilla chips or cornbread, slices of white or whole wheat bread, or even just a simple Instant Pot Brown Rice.
Refrigerate Leftovers. Store in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Freeze Charro Beans. Transfer the cooled beans to an airtight freezer-safe storage container. Keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
- If you prefer more heat you can easily make this Charro Beans recipe spicier. Don't remove all of the seeds when you prep the jalapeños and you'll get deliciously spicy Frijoles Charros.
- Increase the smoky flavor of the beans by adding 1 smoked pork hock along with the chicken broth in step 5 of the recipe below.
- Also, you can add a teaspoon of liquid smoke to enhance the smokiness of the beans.
More Easy Side Dish Recipes for You to Try
- Zesty Spanish Rice and Beans
- Creamy Cheesy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Cabbage Slaw for Tacos
- Festive Instant Pot Potato Salad
- Perfectly Crispy and Tender Roasted Baby Potatoes
Charro Beans (Frijoles Charros)
- 1 pound dried pinto beans
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 8 strips thick cut bacon, cut crosswise into ¼ inch pieces about 12 ounces
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded and minced see tip
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic about 2 medium cloves
- 1 14.5-ounce cans diced fire roasted tomatoes with sauce
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, diced
- 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can of chipotles
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- Pinch kosher salt
- 2 bay leaves
- Fresh chopped cilantro leaves optional
- Sliced jalapenos optional
- Diced white onions optional
- Place dried pinto beans in a large bowl and add the salt and 8 cups of water. Let stand 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.
- In a Dutch oven, over medium high heat, add the bacon and cook, stirring often, 7 to 9 minutes until fat is rendered and bacon is starting to crisp.
- Add the onions and jalapeños; cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or until onions are translucent and starting to soften. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes , chipotle peppers and adobo sauce; cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to bubble.
- Stir in the beans, chicken stock, oregano, cumin, bay leaves and pinch of salt into the tomato mixture. Increase the heat to high, stirring occasionally, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmering, cover and cook, 40 minute or until beans are just tender.
- Transfer two cups of beans to a shallow bowl. Mash beans until smooth with small chunks. Return the beans to the pot. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, 40 minutes or until the beans are tender and the liquid has thickened. Season to taste with salt.
- Serve garnished with chopped fresh cilantro, jalapeños, and diced onions, if using.