Charro Beans (cowboy beans)

  • Yield : About 6 cups
  • Servings : 8
  • Prep Time : 15m
  • Cook Time : 1:30 h
  • Ready In : 2:0 h

Charro beans (frijoles charro, cowboy beans) are my favorite Mexican-style bean side dish. Made with pinto beans (also used for refried beans) charro (Spanish and Mexican for horseman or cowboy) beans has the consistency of bean soup and 5 grams of fiber per serving. Add quinoa to a cup of charro bean for even more dietary fiber. Serve charro beans with Mexican food, chicken, beef or pork.

Beans can produce embarrassing flatulence (gas). Soaking beans reduces cooking time and their gas producing oligosaccharides a complex sugar most people cannot digest. Changing the soak water 2 or 3 times helps minimize flatulence. Do not cook soaked beans in the soak water. That reintroduces the gas producing oligosaccharides back into your beans.

Strained charro beans can be mashed and substituted for refried beans in burros and other recipes. Reserve the broth and serve with rice, quinoa or orzo.


  • 8 oz. (225 g) dry pinto beans
  • 2 (60 g) sliced smoked bacon, diced
  • 1/2 (100 g) medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano chili, minced
  • 1 (110 g) Roma or small tomato, diced
  • 5 cups cold water for cooking
  • 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml) Kosher salt

Method of Preparation

Step 1

Rinse beans, place in a bowl or pot and cover with at least 1-inch (25 mm) of water. Soak beans overnight, removing any beans that float or are shriveled. You can also quick soak beans by placing bens in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover and soak 1 to 2 hours. Drain and discard soaking water.

Step 2

In a 3 to 4 qt/l heavy bottom saucepan, sauté bacon over medium heat until nearly crisp. Add onion and sauté about 3 to 5 minutes.

Step 3

Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer partially covered 1.5 to 2 hours or until beans are tender but not falling apart. Stir occasionally and add water, if necessary, to maintain a soupy consistency and. Beans are done when you can easily mash them with a fork or spoon.

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Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.

  • Calories

  • Calories from Fat

  • Total Fat

  • Saturated Fat

  • Trans Fat

  • Cholesterol

  • Sodium

  • Carbohydrates

  • Dietary Fiber

  • Sugar

  • Protein

  • Serving Size:

    3/4 cup (190 g)