Mexican Charro Beans, also known as Frijoles Charros, are loaded to the brim with flavor! Pinto beans are cooked in a chicken broth seasoned with warm and inviting spices. Throw in some bacon, tomato, onions, ham, and jalapeños for the perfect blend of bold flavors.
I just love Mexican food, it’s so packed with flavor! It’s definitely a crowd pleaser and I love making it for guests and friends and family. If you are looking for some more must-try Mexican food recipes, you’ve got to try this Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder, yummy Chilaquiles, and this Grilled Mexican Street Corn.
I am in love with one pot dinners. Things like chili and this charro bean dish are life savers when you are looking for a simple yet flavorful meal to fill up some hungry bellies. I don’t even remember how I stumbled on this recipe, but I’ve been making it for a while now and can definitely say this is the perfect recipe! It’s simple and straightforward, and absolutely packed with bold and savory flavors. It’s not spicy, but you could definitely crank up the heat if you like it that way!
So if you’ve never heard of charro beans before, it is pretty similar to cowboy beans. It’s got bacon and ham instead of the classic ground beef we think of with a classic chili recipe. I honestly love it just as much as chili, it’s a heavily seasoned broth that leaves you wanting more and more. It’s also a really simple recipe to whip up so it’s definitely going to end up on your dinner calendar. It doesn’t really need a side dish, but we love eating it along with some skillet queso and tortilla chips!
I absolutely love this charro bean dish! So simple, and this list of ingredients is mostly spices because this is a flavor packed meal. I have also seen charro beans with chorizo instead of ham, which you could absolutely do! You can also add beer to the stock to make it a little stronger in flavor. You can find the measurements below in the recipe card.
- Bacon: I prefer a thicker cut of bacon, it just has a better texture in my opinion.
- Onion: Minced or diced into good size pieces so they cook evenly.
- Jalapeños: Seeded and chopped up pretty small. Remove the seeds so your dish isn’t too hot.
- Garlic: I prefer to use freshly minced garlic.
- Ham: Cubed into bite-size pieces.
- Pinto Beans: Canned so that they are already soft. I suppose you could cook them yourself if you felt like it!
- Diced Tomatoes: Canned, if you can find Mexican-style that’s a bonus!
- Chicken Broth: The base for the beans, you could use beef broth or vegetable stock instead!
- Cumin: It’s peppery and smoky, a must add!
- Brown Sugar: Sugar helps to balance out all of the savory flavors and add depth to the stock.
- Oregano: It’s a little spicy, and blends perfectly with these ingredients.
- Paprika: It’s actually a little fruity and brings amazing depth to the dish.
- Salt and Pepper: To taste.
- Cilantro and Limes: For garnish.
Charro Bean Recipe
You won’t be able to get enough of this flavorful charro bean dish! Make life easy and use canned beans so they are perfectly tender. Dried pinto beans are always an option but it will definitely add to your cooking time. This recipe is all made in one pot which makes it simple to whip up and clean up. As a mom of 4, I’m all about that!
- Cook Bacon: In a medium pot, cook your diced bacon until it has your desired consistency, I cooked mine until it was just becoming crisp. Then remove the cooked bacon and place on a paper towel to soak up some of the fat. Drain all of the bacon fat from the pot, reserving 3 tablespoons in the pot.
- Saute Ingredients: Add your diced onion, and jalapenos to the bacon fat in the pot and then saute over medium high heat until the onions are transparent, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the garlic and cubed ham and saute for an additional minute.
- Add Rest of Ingredients: Add your bacon back into the pot along with your cans of beans, tomatoes, chicken broth, cumin, sugar, oregano, paprika, and salt and pepper. Bring it just to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Enjoy: Serve fresh cilantro and limes.
Tips for Making Charro Beans
I absolutely love switching things up with this charro bean recipe. If I don’t have something on hand, I’ll just try it with something else! Use your leftovers and creativity to make the perfect dish for you and your family.
- Alternative Protein: You don’t have to stick to just pork! You could use ground beef or even chicken if you wanted to. I usually prefer to use chorizo if I go with a different protein to keep things in the same flavor profile. But this is your recipe now, make it however you like it!
- Extras for Garnish: I usually like to add extras on top after I serve myself a bowl. If you think of it like chili or a taco, any of those common toppings go great. My preference is shredded cheddar, sour cream or creme fresh, cilantro, and limes!
- Use Different Beans: If you don’t want to use canned pinto beans, you can use dry pinto beans. You could also choose a different kind of bean like black beans or kidney beans.
You are going to love opening your fridge and seeing charro beans for leftovers! They are easy to reheat and the flavors taste more intense the next day, so a total win win!
- In the Refrigerator: You can store your leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
- In the Freezer: You can store your leftovers in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and warm over the stove for the best taste.
- 8 slices thick cut bacon diced
- 1 yellow onion minced
- 2 jalapenos seeded and diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup cubed ham
- 2 cans pinto beans 15 ounce cans drained but not rinsed
- 1 can mexican style diced tomatoes 15 ounce can
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Cilantro and limes for garnish
- In a medium pot, cook your diced bacon until it has your desired consistency, I cooked mine until it was just becoming crisp. Remove the cooked bacon and place on a paper towel to soak up some of the fat. Drain all of the bacon fat from the pot, reserving 3 tablespoons in the pot.
- Add your diced onion, and jalapenos to the bacon fat in the pot and saute over medium high heat until the onions are transparent, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the garlic and cubed ham and saute for an additional minute.
- Add your bacon back into the pot along with your cans of beans, tomatoes, chicken broth, cumin, sugar, oregano, paprika, and salt and pepper. Bring it just to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve fresh cilantro and limes.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.
Thanks for this recipe. I made it with leftover Easter ham and everyone loved it. Leftovers were great the next day, too. Good served over rice.
I made this for dinner the other day with a few tweaks to accommodate what I had in the house. It was quite good!! reheated some of the leftovers the next day to use as breakfast ‘beans on toast’ too. Five Stars!
My changes were instead of bacon and ham, I had a fair chunk of speck I needed to use which was a bit more than the recipe called for (2 cups diced and cooked), and I used a 4-Bean mix can instead of Pintos. I only had one jalapeño left on the bush so I used it along with three bullhorn chilies (sweet). Since the type of Paprika wasn’t specified, I split it with a teaspoon each of sweet and hot. Also, I used only 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and was glad I did as it was the proper balance for the chilies I used.
Do you drain the canned diced tomatoes and pinto beans? Don’t you add any water at all?
You will drain (but don’t rinse) the pinto beans. Instead of water, you use the chicken broth to cook the beans in. Let me know if you have any more questions!
This is an incredibly flavorful dish. My husband and I had a bowl of this with salad for dinner, and leftovers will be even better tomorrow! I didn’t make any changes and left some of the ribs in the diced jalapenos, which made for the perfect amount of spice. Love it, thank you so much!
I made this recipe with 1 pound dried pinto beans in an Instant Pot. Adding 5 cups of water, no soaking, high heat for 30 minutes and 20 minutes coool down tume. Topped with Cojita queso, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Amazingly delicious!
Could I use dry beans?
wow, how did I ever miss this dish! Pintos are a staple of mine and basically just love all of the rest of these ingredients, so thank you!