Charro Beans (Frijoles a la Charra) are a flavorful Mexican beans recipe cooked in broth with bacon, chiles and spices. Similar to Cowboy Beans, this delicious side dish is made quickly in the Instant Pot!
Whether you call these Mexican beans – Charro Beans, Frijoles a la Charra, Ranchero beans or borracho beans, one thing is certain, this is the best Charro bean recipe hands down!
Charro Beans are an incredibly flavorful and hearty side dish. I love serving these Mexican beans with my favorite carne asada recipe and some tortillas. I must admit, a big bowl of these mouthwatering Mexican pinto beans served with rice or a piece of cornbread is one of the best comfort foods ever!
If you are wondering why you should make Charro Beans, here are a few reasons:
- These Mexican beans are budget friendly and can be served as a side dish or a hearty stew.
- Cooking beans in the pressure cooker doesn’t require any soaking so you don’t have to plan ahead! (I always forget to get the beans out the night before anyway!)
- Thanks to the pressure cooker, you can get beans tender in a fraction of the time. Dinner ready faster – you are welcome!
- This Charro Bean recipe is absolutely delicious and one of the best Mexican beans recipe I ever had!
- Our Pinterest followers LOVE them! They are making them and sharing the photos with us!
What are Charro Beans?
Charro Beans is a Mexican style soup made by stewing pinto beans in broth, onions, tomatoes, chiles, bacon and spices until the beans become tender, rich and slightly thick. Some recipes for Mexican Charro Beans call for meats like sausage, ham, beef franks, weenies and/or chorizo.
Why Are They Called Charro Beans?
Charro beans also known as Mexican Cowboy Beans or Frijoles Charros got their name from traditional Mexican cowboys called “charros”. This authentic Mexican bean recipe originated in the Northern parts of Mexico.
What Is The Difference Between Charro Beans And Refried Beans?
Charro beans are cooked in one pot and left whole swimming in their tasty cooking broth. Refried beans are cooked, then smashed and lastly pan fried in lard. These days some people prefer to sauté the smashed beans in very small amounts of oil instead of using lard. Although there’s nothing quite like the taste of good lard.
Charro Bean Recipe Ingredients
- Pinto Beans – You don’t have to pre-soak the beans when cooking them in the pressure cooker.
- Bacon – You can use regular or thick cut bacon.
- Onions – You can use brown, yellow or white onions.
- Jalapenos – You can seed and devein the jalapeno if you don’t like any heat. For a spicier dish, don’t remove the veins or use a spicier pepper like serrano pepper.
- Garlic – I use fresh garlic. Garlic paste or granulated garlic can be used.
- Tomatoes – I use canned fire-roasted tomatoes as they give the pinto beans a little bit of a smokey flavor. You can use canned diced tomatoes also.
- Chicken Broth – Use vegetable broth if you prefer. Since this bean recipe has bacon, I use low sodium broth to better control the salt content.
- Cilantro – I use fresh chopped cilantro. If you don’t like the taste, simply skip it!
- Spices – Ground cumin, chili powder, dried oregano (I use Mexican dried oregano), ground black pepper.
Pressure Cooker Mexican Beans
Cooking dried beans in an instant pot or pressure cooker is one super convenient. You can make homemade beans in a fraction of the time and you don’t even have to soak the beans!
How to Make Charro Beans in Instant Pot
- First, start by turning your instant pot onto saute mode. Add the chopped bacon and cook until crispy (or until your desired doneness).
- Remove the cooked bacon from the pot and place it in a plate lined with paper towels. Drain some of the bacon fat leaving enough to saute the aromatics. Leave as much or as little bacon fat as you want. It’s up to you.
- Add the onions and jalapenos and saute for about 2 to 3 minutes stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds to a minute. If your pressure cooker gets too hot while sauteing the onions, you can always press the warm/cancel button and finish sauteing the garlic with the remaining heat coming form the pot.
- Press the warm/cancel button and stir in the rinsed beans, tomatoes with their juices, broth, water, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, oregano, bacon and cilantro into the instant pot. Now let the instant post do its magic!
- Seal the instant pot and cook on high pressure for 45 minutes. After the cooking is done, let the pressure release naturally. This can take 30 to 40 minutes.
How long does it take to cook Mexican Beans in an Instant Pot?
I have seen many recipes online that instruct to pressure cook beans for 30 to 35 minutes for “firm beans”. I don’t like my beans firm. I like beans tender and soft yet whole – not mushy or completely broken up. I usually cook no-soaked beans for 40 to 45 minutes. This cooking time always results in perfect beans and I don’t have to re-set the pressure cooker and start all over again!
How long do these Mexican Beans last in the fridge?
You can store these homemade beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
Can Charro Beans Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze authentic Mexican Charro Beans for up to 3 months. I like to divide the leftover beans into smaller portions (about 1 cup each) and place them into freezer bags or sealed containers. Defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat in a saucepan or in the microwave.
What’s The Difference Between Charro Beans and Borracho Beans?
Charro beans and Borracho beans (drunken beans) are very similar recipes. The difference is that Borracho beans are cooked in beer while Charro beans use broth and/or water.
Do I Need To Soak The Charro Beans Before Cooking Them In the Instant Pot?
No, you don’t have to pre-soak the beans before cooking charro beans. One of the great advantages of cooking beans in an instant pot or pressure cooker, is that you don’t need to soak the beans at all. This is one of the reasons why I love my pressure cooker. It cuts prep time and cooking time so you can make this Charro beans recipe quickly and have dinner ready in no time.
Why do My Pinto Beans Taste Bitter?
To be honest, I’ve never experienced beans turning bitter. There are two main reasons why this could happen. The pinto beans are too old or the quality of your water is having some kind of chemical reaction that affects the taste of the beans. To prevent this, use filtered water instead of tap water. You can also use stock or broth (vegetable or chicken broth will work well).
Charro Beans Recipe Tips & Notes
- Before cooking the dried pinto beans, place them in a colander and rinse them well.
- You don’t need to pre-soak your beans before cooking them in the instant pot/pressure cooker.
- Top the beans with sour cream, pickled jalapenos and avocado for a perfectly tasty Mexican side dish!
- These Mexican beans are the perfect side dish to bring to a potluck or cook out!
- These pinto beans can also be made with ham or beef smokies.
- You can make charo beans in a slow cooker or on the stove top.
Take A Look At These Other Mexican Recipes:
- Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
- Shrimp Ceviche
- Chile Colorado
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Tequila Lime Chicken
- Potato and Chorizo Hash
- Pomegranate Margarita
- Homemade Corn Tortillas
Mexican Beans Recipe Fun Facts
- Mexican Charro Beans are very similar to Borracho Beans, the difference is that Frijoles Borrachos (drunken beans) are cooked in beer while Charro or Frijoles Charros are cooked in broth!
- Charro Beans vs Refried Beans: Both recipes are made with pinto beans. Authentic Refried beans are mashed and refried (or quickly saute) with a bit of lard which gives them a smooth and creamy texture plus lots of flavor!
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Charro Beans (Frijoles a la Charra)
- 1 pound dried pinto beans
- 12 ounces bacon, chopped
- 1 small yellow or white onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced remove the veins if you prefer less heat
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 15-ounces can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
- Salt to taste
- Chopped cilantro
- Sliced jalapenos
- Place the dried beans in a colander, rinse well, and remove any debris or shriveled beans.
- Set the pressure cooker to saute and cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pressure cooker and place it on a paper towel lined plate. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat (or leave all the fat, if you prefer).
- Add the onions and jalapenos into the pressure cooker and cook stirring often, for about 2 – 3 minutes or until the onions become translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds to a minute.
- Press the keep warm/cancel button on the instant pot. Stir in the beans, tomatoes with their juices, broth, water, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, oregano, bacon and cilantro into the instant pot.
- Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 45 minutes. Once the cooking cycle is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally – this will take about 35 to 40 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
- I’ve seen other recipes online that ask to cook dried pinto beans for 30 minutes in the pressure cooker however, every time I have cooked the beans for less than 45 minutes, I ended up with beans that are too al dente. 45 minutes of cooking plus releasing the pressure naturally guarantees tender beans.