How to cook flavorful Mexican Borracho Beans using dry beans! A simple, easy recipe that can be made in the Crock Pot. A delicious addition to any Mexican dinner, or weekly meal prep. Even better when made ahead. No soaking necessary. Check out the video!
In this swinging pendulum of fall weather it’s kinda nice to have Crock Pot Borracho Beans every once in a while.
what are frijoles borrachos?
Frijoles Borrachos, or Drunken Beans, fall in that multitudinous category of Mexican bean soups and stews made with the humble but very satisfying pinto bean.
They are similar to Frijoles Charros or Cowboy Beans but unlike Charro beans, some of the cooking liquid is replaced with beer, giving them a almost sweet, yeasty flavor.
Bacon is also crucial, although some people use chorizo or ham hocks.
step-by-step making borracho beans in a crock pot
Every now and again I like to commit to a large pot of beans which we can then have for lunches, breakfasts, and snacks all week.
I tend to get very hungry around 10 am and a bowlful of beans just hits the spot. Especially if it’s rainy or surprisingly cold or (dare I say it), snowing in the middle of September.
Being able to dump all the ingredients in a Crock Pot and walk away makes these the easiest beans in the world. Here’s how you make them:
- Rinse the beans. Don’t skip this easy step. Beans have rocks and dirt mixed in with them. Place them in a colander and rinse under cold water. Look out for any small rocks or clumps of dirt and pick those out. Since we are cooking them low and slow in a slow cooker, you don’t need to soak the beans overnight.
- Combine beans with liquid. Place beans into a large crock pot then add beer, and water. I like to use a lager-style Mexican beer but you could also use dark beer for a sweeter flavor.
- Crisp bacon. To cook it over medium high heat and render the fat so you can cook your onions in the bacon grease.
- Cook aromatics. Sauté the onions, jalapenos, and garlic in the bacon grease, along with the chili powder and other spices.
- Mix it all together. Stir to combine everything in the crock pot. Put the lid on and walk away!
how to make them on the stove top
If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can make these beans on the stove instead, pretty much the same way. When cooking beans on the stove they spend less time being submerged in liquid than in the crock pot, therefore, you may want to soak the beans overnight for more even cooking.
- Place the beans in a large bowl and rinse with water. Drain.
- Cook the bacon in a large pot or Dutch oven. Once crisp remove bacon from the pot and add the onions, jalapeños, and garlic.
- Sauté the veggies then add the spices and toast them for a minute or two. Add the beans, beer, 6 cups of water. Crumble the cooked bacon and add that back to the pot.
- Bring this to a boil then reduce heat so it is simmering. Cook until beans are tender. The cooking time will depend on how fresh your beans are and if you soaked them before cooking or not. They could take anywhere from 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours. Scroll down to the recipe card for more details.
how to serve
Crock Pot Borracho Beans are an excellent side dish eaten straight from the pot, spooned into bowls with some of the broth and sprinkled with a handful of fresh herbs but they can also be turned into the best refried beans on the planet. Here’s how:
- Heat some oil in a frying pan (or lard or bacon grease) and add a ladleful of beans with a little of the broth.
- Bring to a boil then start mashing away with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon until they are creamy, about 15 minutes.
to salt or not to salt
An old-wives tale or not, I do not salt my beans before they are fully cooked.
One day, when I have endless time on my hands, I might try this two-part salting method which claims to cook beans quicker (??) but in the meantime if I am anything it’s stubborn and I’ve thrown away too many pots of hard beans to mess around.
After the beans are tender add a tablespoon of kosher salt and then taste. You might need to add 1 or even 2 more, but remember the beans will get saltier once reheated so err on the side of caution.
variations on borracho beans
So many of you have made this recipe and have great suggestions for tweaks and variations. Lots of you add diced tomato, which sounds really good. Here are a few more ideas that stood out:
Tara added extra veggies and her favorite chili powder. Here’s what she said:
“My favorite “drunk” beans. I used New Mexico Chile powder, Mexican oregano, cilantro, cumin and coriander, 12 oz bottle of Dos Equis beer and beef broth instead of water and added two 10 oz cans of Rotel original tomatoes and green chile and threw in a table spoon of salt at the end.”
Kristen says. “I made this recipe for a family “fajita party” and EVERYONE raved about these! No other tips needed except just make them!”
Amber swapped out the bacon for spicy smoked sausage!
more side dish recipes to try!
- Best Ever Canned Black Beans
- Sofrito Black Beans
- Perfect Pot of Beans
- Grilled Pierogy Mexican Street Corn
- Beet and Persimmon Salad with Candied Peanuts
- Blistered Sweet Potatoes with Serranos and Lime
- Roasted Carrots with Chipotle-Honey Butter
clean up tips
Need help with the clean up? Check out these 6 Kitchen Cleaning Hacks that really work, and take less than 5 minutes.
the best beans are also the easiest? who knew?!
- 1 pound dry pinto beans
- 1 (12-ounce) Mexican lager beer
- 6 cups water
- 8 ounces bacon
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 2 jalapeños, stemmed and chopped (seeded, for a less spicy version)
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Rinse the beans. Rinse pinto beans and pick through them removing any rocks.
- Place beans in the crock pot. Place beans in the slow cooker. Add beer and water.
- Crisp bacon. Meanwhile, cook bacon over medium heat in a large frying pan until browned and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to cool.
- Sauté vegetables in bacon grease. In the frying pan with the bacon grease, add onions and cook over medium heat until they are soft, about 8 minutes. Add jalapeños and cook another 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and spices to toast. Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, coriander, oregano, and bay leaves and cook, stirring for a minute more.
- Combine and cook everything in slow cooker. Transfer onion mixture to slow cooker. Chop bacon and add to slow cooker. Cover and continue cooking until beans are tender, about 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
- Season with salt and serve. Add about 1 tablespoon of salt, taste and add more to your liking. Sprinkle with cilantro and scallions and serve.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 196Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 393mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 4gSugar: 1gProtein: 12g
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