This hearty frijoles charros recipe is meatier than most bean recipes. Brimming with smoky bacon, flavor-packed chorizo, and tender beans, it’s as delicious as it is satisfying. Feel free to use other meats like hot dogs or ham to the beans, too, and serve it with carne asada for a filling meat-lovers meal.
Today we’re talking about Mexican charro beans, a recipe attributed to Mexican cowboys whose signature is the inclusion of different meats like beef franks or pork rinds.
We love this charro bean recipe on cold winter days. It is brothy like a bean soup not so much like a side of beans you would get at your favorite Mexican restaurant. My recipe includes smoky bacon and chorizo (if I’m feeling extra I’ll make homemade chorizo) and pickled jalapeños.
If you love beans or hearty stews then you’re going to love this one-pot recipe!
What Are Frijoles Charros?
This bean dish is known as Mexican cowboy beans because they were a popular recipe of the cowboys of Northern Mexico. You may also see them called ranchero beans. This simple recipe starts with Mexican pinto beans cooked in a flavorful broth seasoned with onions, garlic, tomatoes and spices.
A pot of charro beans always includes some kind of cured meat like bacon, chorizo, or sometimes hot dogs. It is one of those authentic Mexican recipes that doubles as a perfect side dish or enjoyed as a hearty soup for a main dish.
See recipe card for exact amounts.
- Pinto beans. These creamy beans are the star of the show just like in our drunken beans recipe.
- Bacon. Smokiness is essential to charro beans—reminiscent of cooking over a campfire like the cowboys do.
- Chorizo. Go for pork Mexican chorizo. For the very best version of these beans, use homemade chorizo.
- White onion. Bright and vibrant white onions offer the best flavor but if all you have are yellow or red onions those will work in a pinch.
- Garlic. For nice rounded flavor.
- Tomatoes. Use fresh tomatoes when in season, if not a 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes will do. Extra points for using fire-roasted.
- Cumin. I love the earthy, lemony flavor of cumin with all beans.
- Coriander. This is dried cilantro seeds that are ground up. You will find it in the spice aisle of any grocery store.
- Mexican oregano. Dried Mexican oregano is awesome if you have it but regular Mediterranean oregano works too.
- Kosher salt. I always use Morton kosher salt unless otherwise noted.
- Pickled jalapeños or fresh chili peppers like serrano peppers. If you’d like them less spicy substitute 2 teaspoons of mild chili powder instead.
- Fresh cilantro for adding that final touch of freshness.
- Water or chicken broth. As far as cooking liquid goes, I don’t think chicken broth is necessary here because the beans have so much flavor but many people make their charro beans with chicken broth so feel free to experiment and see which you prefer
How To Make This Recipe (Step-By-Step Instructions With Photos)
Soak beans. Place the beans in a colander and rinse them well. Remove any discolored or broken beans and any rocks that may have made their way into the bag. Place beans in a large bowl and cover with a couple inches of water. Let sit on the counter overnight.
If you are short on time, you can skip this step but it is the best way to reduce the cooking time for the beans.
Cook the bacon. The next day, heat a large Dutch oven or other large pot over medium heat. Add the diced bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp. Remove to a bowl leaving the bacon grease in pot.
Cook the chorizo. Add the chorizo to the pot and cook, breaking the sausage with the back of a wood spoon. Keep cooking a few minutes until the chorizo becomes firm and releases much of its fat.
Cook the vegetables. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and stir to combine with the chorizo. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions become tender and translucent. Add the tomatoes and the spices, let cook a few minutes to combine the flavors.
Cook the beans. Drain the beans and rinse them then add them to the pot. Add the water and bacon and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat to low so the beans are slowly simmering. Cover and simmer until the beans are tender. This will take anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on if you soaked them or not.
Serve. Once the beans are tender, stir in the chopped pickled jalapeños and cilantro. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve in small bowls topped with more fresh cilantro and a side of warm tortillas.
The cooked beans can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for up to 6 months.
How To Make In A Crock Pot
Follow these simple steps to make slow cooker charro beans. This is the same method we use for our slow cooker frijoles borrachos.
- Soak the beans the night before.
- Fry the bacon in a large skillet and transfer to the slow cooker.
- Cook the chorizo, onions, and garlic in the bacon grease. Add the tomatoes and spices and cook for a few minutes then scrape that into the slow cooker with the bacon.
- Drain the beans and rinse them then add them to the slow cooker.
- Add only 4 cups of water, cover, and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8 hours.
- Once beans are tender, add the pickled jalapeños and cilantro. Taste and add more salt if needed.
What Can I Serve With Charro Beans?
Serve in large bowls topped with fresh cilantro or pico de gallo with a side of warm corn or flour tortillas as a main dish.
If serving as a side dish, these beans go great alongside red wine and garlic marinated London broil, grilled fish tacos, chiles rellenos, shredded beef tacos, or classic steak fajitas. Or, try a new favorite, my cilantro garlic pork chops.
Top 5 Most Popular Side Dish Recipes
- Mexican Street Corn
- Pressure Cooker Mexican Rice
- Best-Ever Easy and Quick Canned Black Beans
- Cilantro-Lime Slaw
- Pickled Red Onions
A Truly Delicious Pot of Beans
The next time you are looking for ann easy way to get your bean fix, make a big pot of this easy charro beans recipe! Let me know when you make it by snapping a pic and tagging me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ recipe rating) ! Also, sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!