Frijoles Charros | Mexican Charro Beans Recipe

Frijoles charros or Mexican cowboy beans are a whole different level above refried beans. It’s a hearty pinto bean stew that’s savory, smoky and a delight to serve as a main dish or as a side dish.

Frijoles Charros Recipe
Frijoles Charros

Mexican Charro Beans

When I think of these Mexican beans, I think of hot summer days with family when we would have cook outs with carne asada (back then I ate meat) and a large pot of frijoles charros with countless other foods and drinks.

These beans remind me of summer…but can really be enjoyed all year round. In the hot months I make them in my pressure cooker (like the Instant Pot) and on cold days I make them on the stove top.

The stew is a complete or full meal, and you can serve it as such. Maybe add some warm tortillas on the side — either corn or flour tortillas is fine. Or you could also serve smaller portions as and appetizer or it also makes a perfect side dish.

🤠 What are Frijoles Charros

Frijoles charros, or cowboy beans, are a hearty Mexican bean stew that originated in the Northern states of Mexico. They were invented by the Mexican cowboys using whatever ingredients they had on hand.

The traditional method was to cook them in an earthenware pot and over the fire.

Often times they were served with some carne asada or with just tortillas being that it’s such a hearty soup…or is it technically a stew?

Frijoles charros are a very popular dish not only in Northern Mexico, but over the years became well known and loved all over Mexico. They are very popular at most Mexican restaurant and you’ll see them a lot at sit down taquerias offered as one of the side dishes. 

My family is from Jalisco and we all love them and make them often.

Other Similar Bean Stews

There are other similar Mexican bean stews you may have heard of, like frijoles rancheros or ranchero beans which means ranch or rancher beans. Then there’s also frijoles borrachos or borracho beans, which mean drunken beans. These have beer added to them.

I suppose any or all of these authentic Mexican recipes could have been where the inspiration for Americanized version of chili con carne came from.

Frijoles Charros Ingredients
Frijoles Charros Ingredients

🧅 Traditional Ingredients Used for Frijoles Charros

Being that whatever ingredients they had on hand were what was used, the recipes can vary a bit. But below is a list of the most common foods used in the original recipe.

  • frijoles (either dry beans or cooked beans can be used)
  • hot dogs
  • bacon
  • onion
  • garlic
  • spices
  • water (or broth from the cooked beans)

As time passed and it spread around Mexico, other ingredients began being incorporated. Different meats like spicy chorizo, diced bacon, ham, chicharron or pork rinds are also added by some.

Some people will also add chile peppers or chili powder instead of fresh chili peppers. In my mom’s recipe she used chile guero, which are like banana peppers. I don’t have those available where I live so I add serrano peppers or jalapeños for a milder heat. I also like to add poblano peppers.

Canned chipotle peppers are another chili variation.

Herbs and spices may also be added. I like to add salt, black pepper, cumin and fresh cilantro. But occasionally I’ll also add bay leaves.

What Beans to Use

In the Northern states they prefer to use frijoles bayos or peruanos.

I’ve used both of them but I mostly grew up eating pinto beans so most often times I use Mexican pinto beans. In a pinch you could also even use black beans or kidney beans — both of which will not only give the dish a different color, but different flavors too.

I personally like to start with dry beans, but if you want you could also use cans of pinto beans. Just rinse them before using.

Frijoles Charros Recipe
Frijoles Charros Recipe

🌱 Are Frijoles Charros Vegan

Well, traditionally no…not in any way! In fact they are very much a meat heavy dish.

But don’t worry because with my easy recipe, we’ll transform these meaty recipe into a delicious vegan version with all the same amazing flavors as the meat version.

You’re going to have a large pot of this authentic Mexican bean recipe, that I promise even the carnivores will love!

Vegan Frijoles Charro Ingredients

So for the vegan recipe for my charro beans is pretty much the same traditional recipe. The only exception, of course, is that we’ll be using vegan meats instead of the animal-based ones.

For the hot dogs use vegan hot dogs, for the chorizo use your favorite soyrizo, swap the bacon for vegan bacon. If you want to add more cruelty-free meat then toss some chopped up vegan ham into the pot.

How to Make Frijoles Charros
How to Make Frijoles Charros

How to Make Frijoles Charros in The Pressure Cooker

This is a very easy way to make the pot of beans without having to warm up the kitchen or having to keep checking on the beans. Stove top instructions are below.

Make sure you have all of the ingredients ready to go because this recipe moves rather quickly.

  • Select the Sauté function on the pressure cooker or Instant Pot and wait until it warms up. Then add the oil and the onion. Sauté until the onion is soft and translucent, then add the garlic and sauté a couple of minutes.
  • Add the chorizo and hot dogs and sauté another few minutes. (If using bacon or ham, add it at this time too.)
  • Now add the chilies, fresh roma tomatoes, stir until well combined then add the dry pinto beans and mix until well combined. Add the seasonings and seasoned broth and mix until well combined.
  • Cancel the Sauté function and carefully place the lid on the pressure cooker. Set valve to Sealing then set to High Pressure and time to 50 Minutes.
  • Once finished cooking do a natural release for 10 minutes then a forced release of any leftover steam – be very careful and stand away from the pot. The r
  • Allow to cool slightly before serving topped with some roughly chopped cilantro. You can also serve topped with sour cream, or pico de gallo or some lime wedges and warm tortillas. Enjoy!
Pressure Cooker Frijoles Charros
Pressure Cooker Frijoles Charros

👩‍🍳How to Make Charro Bean on The Stove Top

This is the more traditional method used, I just live in a place that’s very pretty much all year long, so I use my pressure cooker. But on the stove is perfectly fine too.

To start grab a large heavy pot, I love to use my Dutch oven. Heat the oil over medium heat, then sauté the onion and garlic. Then add the “meats” and cook for a few minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and give the pot a good stir.

Cover the pot and turn the heat down to medium low. Allow to simmer until you have tender beans and the broth is thickened. You’ll need to keep some vegetable broth (or some cups of water) on hand so that you can add liquid as needed. Check on the beans now and then. To thicken the broth remove the pot’s lid and simmer to help evaporate the liquid.

Serve with any of the suggested foods.

🍽 How are Traditional Charro Beans Served

In my family when we had them at cookouts we were served bowls to go with our grilled meats. For the toppings we usually did it just plain since there was so many other foods on offer.

You can enjoy charro beans for any special occasion too — great for cookouts, potlucks, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, 15 de Septiembre or even if you like to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, these beans are a great crowd pleaser.

I personally love a big bowl of frijoles charros topped with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Some warm tortillas — usually corn, but if I have homemade flour tortillas I’ll use those.

That’s eat, traditionally they are served as a main dish on their own. Or you can serve them as a side dish to tacos. Below are some great drinks you can serve with your frijoles charros.

How to Make Frijoles Charros
Frijoles Charros Recipe Made Vegan

How to Store Leftovers

You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. Alternatively you can freeze leftovers — beans actually freeze quite well. Freeze frijoles charros for up to a 3 months.

Frijoles Charros or Mexican Charro Beans Recipe

Ok amigos, below you’ll find the recipe card that you can print out or save for later — make sure you click on the heart to save the recipe. Please read through the entire recipe before you begin and feel free to reach out with any questions.

Buen provecho and don’t forget to leave me a comment and rating if you make this recipe. Gracias!

Frijoles Charros Recipe

Frijoles Charros | Mexican Charro Beans Recipe

Nancy Lopez & MexicanMadeMeatless.com
These frijoles charros are another level of beans. Serve as a main dish or as a side dish. Perfect for cookouts too.
4.98 from 46 votes
Save Recipe
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Course Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican, vegan mexican
Servings 4 servings
Calories 367 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil or vegetable
  • 1 small white onion finely chopped
  • 3 whole garlic cloves finely minced
  • 3/4 cups vegan chorizo
  • 2 whole vegan hot dogs
  • 3 strips vegan bacon
  • 2 whole Serrano or jalapenos to taste
  • 1 large Poblano pepper or chile guero
  • 2 medium Roma tomatoes chopped
  • 1.5 cups dry pinto or other beans (can soak overnight if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin adjust to taste
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro

Instructions
 

  • Select the Sauté function on the pressure cooker or Instant Pot and wait until it warms up. Then add the oil and the onion. Sauté until the onion is soft and translucent, then add the garlic and sauté a couple of minutes.
    Frijoles Charros Ingredients
  • Add the chorizo and hot dogs and sauté another few minutes. Now add the chilies, tomato, stir until well combined then add the dried beans and mix until well combined. Add the seasonings and broth and mix until well combined.
    How to Make Frijoles Charros
  • Cancel the Saute function and carefully place the lid on the pressure cooker. Set valve to Sealing then set to High Pressure and time to 50 Minutes.
    Pressure Cooker Frijoles Charros
  • Once finished cooking do a natural release for 10 minutes then a forced release of any leftover steam – be very careful and stand away from the pot.
    Frijoles Charros Recipe
  • Allow to cool slightly before serving topped with some roughly chopped cilantro. You can also serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!
    How to Make Frijoles Charros

Video

Notes

Please note that the 4 servings are if served as a main dish. If serving as a side dish you can get up to 10 small portions. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 4servingsCalories: 367kcalCarbohydrates: 56gProtein: 21gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0.01mgSodium: 770mgPotassium: 1325mgFiber: 16gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 692IUVitamin C: 45mgCalcium: 129mgIron: 5mg
Keyword bean stew, charro beans, frijoles charros, mexican beans
Tried this recipe?Mention @MexicanMadeMeatless or tag #mexicamademeatless!

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28 Comments

  1. I”m new to vegan foods, so it would be nice to have some brand names for the vegan chorizo, hot dogs, and bacon. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi John!
      I don’t live in the US so that’s why I don’t give the brand names. If you go to my Facebook group you could ask there and get lots of tips and suggestions.

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/336041227342394/

  2. 5 stars
    Pressure cooker is the best way to cook beans! I’ll definitely try this recipe, I love traditional frijoles and haven’t gotten it “just right” yet 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    You had me at chorizo and bacon! I love these beans when I go out to Mexican restaurants so being able to make them at home was fantastic! I enjoy my taco and enchilada dinners so much more now.

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve been looking for a vegan version for years. Will be making them this weekend. Can I also add vegan bacon?

  5. 5 stars
    Loving the flavors and spices here. This with warm fresh flatbreads and I would be in heaven. Such a fabulous recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    These beans were so flavorful! I have never made a dish like this before, but will definitely make it again! Thanks for the share!

  7. 5 stars
    The kids loved it! This was the first time I’ve made frijoles charros but we’ll make it again.

  8. 5 stars
    These beans came out so good! I just love the depth of flavor the fresh chiles added. Will definitely put these beans on the menu again.

  9. 5 stars
    I made this recipe over the weekend – the flavours were absolutely delicious and the recipe was very easy to follow!

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