Charro Beans are delicious Mexican style pinto beans flavored with bacon, onions, tomatoes, cilantro and spices. This budget friendly and easy to make side dish is sure to become one of your favorite Instant Pot recipes.
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. Although I must admit, a big bowl of these mouthwatering beans served with rice or a piece of cornbread is one of the best comfort foods ever!
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 delicious, hearty and easy to make side dish originated in the Northern parts of Mexico. Charro Beans are 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 Cowboy Beans call for other meats like sausage, ham, beef franks or chorizo.
Charro Beans 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.
- Garlic – I use fresh garlic.
- 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.
- Spices – Ground cumin, chili powder, dried oregano (I use Mexican dried oregano), ground black pepper.
Pressure Cooker Beans
Cooking dried beans in an instant pot or pressure cooker is one of the best things ever. 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 The 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 Takes To Cook 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 Charro Beans Last In The Fridge?
You can store charro beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
Can These Mexican Beans Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze 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.
Charro Beans Tips and 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 pressure cooking them.
- Top the beans with sour cream, jalapeno slices and avocado for a perfectly tasty Mexican side dish!
- You can serve these Mexican-style pressure cooker beans with homemade corn tortillas and the easiest instant pot shredded chicken for the most perfect, easy and delicious Mexican dinner!
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- Pressure Cooker
- 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.