Frijoles de Olla: Making A Pot of Traditional Mexican Beans
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Making a pot of traditional Mexican beans is easy and cheaper than buying canned. Taste the real flavours of Mexico with this delicious recipe.
Recipe type: Side dish, appetiser, main, soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 6-8
  • 2.2 lbs. or 1 kilo dried beans (pinto or bayos or peruanos or flor de mayo)
  • ¼ of small white onion, skin removed
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, peeled & left whole
  • sea salt to taste,
  • fresh or dried epazote, optional but adds great flavour
  • plenty of water
  • fresh or dried Mexican chillies, optional
  1. Pick through the beans to remove and dirt, rocks and broken or damaged beans. Rinse throughly, then place the beans in a large pot that has a lid. Add the onion, garlic and epazote if using. Pour in plenty of water to more than cover the beans. Cover and turn the heat to high and allow to come to the boil.
  2. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for about 2 hours. You'll need to check on the beans now and then to make sure they have plenty of water, if not add more so that they don't burn. After about 2 hours or ONLY once the beans have softened and their skin begins to curl or break away, you can add sea salt. Add a about 1.5 teaspoon at first then simmer and then taste the beans again and adding as much more salt as you desire -- just be careful because it's easier to add than it is to take away saltiness! When salting the beans you can add more water and simmer for another 20 minutes, taste again and repeat if necessary. Don't worry if there's "too much" broth as you can use it for reheating the beans and for making refried beans.
  3. Store leftovers, once cooled, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or you can freeze for several months if desired, they freeze quite well.
• Cooking time can depend on the quality of beans, drier ones will require longer simmering. Make sure to keep adding water so the pot does not dry out. If using black beans cooking time will be considerably longer.

• Store the beans (once cooled) in the refrigerator in an airtight container. They will keep for about 1 week. Alternately you can also freeze them in ziplock bags for up to several months -- they freeze quite well.
Recipe by Mexican Made Meatless™ at