Healthy Frijoles Charros

Frijoles Charros are easy to make and are absolutely delicious beans. This is a HEALTHY recipe for Mexican Charro Beans with onion, peppers, tomato and cilantro. So much flavor!

Two bowls with spoons with Frijoles charros.

This recipe for Frijoles Charros is one of my favorite ways to make beans! I do a large batch of these hearty beans and serve it with carne asada, Milanesa or Bistec Ranchero Con Papas.

This is a family recipe and different from other versions out there. A lot of recipes combine different meats – sliced ham, hot dog meat, bacon, chorizo and even chicharrones – all together in the same pot! Yikes!

In my opinion, these charro beans don’t need any of these extra ingredients. In fact, I didn’t know people added this other stuff until I decided to blog about my recipe!

My version is so delicious plus healthy and good for you. Let me show you how easy it is to make. I hope you give them a try 😉

A brown bowl with beans and a spoon.

Frijoles Charros Ingredients

This recipe uses simple ingredients that are very easy to find wherever you are in the world!

  • Pinto Beans – If you can’t find or run out of pinto beans, you can use black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, great northern beans or black turtle beans instead!
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Onion – White or yellow onion will work well.
  • The Chiles: You’ll need a jalapeño and yellow chile (aka chile güero) and an anaheim pepper (chile verde)
  • Tomato – I use roma tomatoes but any other kind will work well.
  • The Spices: You’ll need 2 bay leaves, kosher salt, black pepper (preferably freshly ground) and dried oregano.
  • Fresh chopped cilantro.
Charro beans vegetables ingredients on a white oval plate.

See recipe card for quantities and details.

How To Make Frijoles Charros

  • In a large bowl, add the pinto beans and top with water, ensuring that the beans are covered completely. Soak the beans overnight or at least for 5 hours. Drain out any excess water and rinse the beans off. 
  • In a large medium pot, add the beans and water. Cover pot with a lid and bring to a boil then lower heat to medium or medium low (to cook on soft boil).
  • Cook for 2.5 hours or until beans are soft and break easily with a spoon.

Add ½ tablespoon of kosher salt and turn heat to low while you saute the vegetables.

The ingredients on a white plate.

While the beans are cooking, cut the vegetables similarly to this image.

  • In a medium skillet, add the vegetable shortening and heat until very hot.
  • Add the onions, peppers and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes until vegetables start to get soft.
  • Add the tomato, the other ½ tablespoon of kosher salt, pepper and oregano and mix to integrate. Saute for another minute or so.
  • Add the vegetable mixture to beans plus the bay leaves and cilantro. Mix and cover the pot. Cook for 15 more minutes on medium-low to integrate all of the flavors into the beans.
A large pot with cooked pinto beans and vegetables.

These beans don’t need to be served a special way or require any toppings. They are perfectly good as is! Just serve hot to accompany your favorite Mexican meal.

Serving beans into a bowl with a ladle.

Tips

  • COVER – When cooking on the stovetop, always keep the lid on while simmering. This helps to generate & trap more heat while minimizing the amount of water that evaporates.
  • STORING – Store cooked beans in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or FREEZE for up to 3 months.
A brown bowl with charro beans and a spoon.

Soaking the beans

Did you know that soaking beans helps them cook faster and more evenly? It can also make them easier to digest and be less gassy :-). Adding salt to the soaking water also helps the beans cook faster. About 1/2 a tablespoon of salt will do if you choose to do so.

  1. OVERNIGHT SOAKING – Add the beans to a large bowl and cover them with 2 to 3 inches of water, and let them soak for at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours. Drain and rinse very well with cold fresh water.
  2. QUICK SOAKING – If you forget to soak the beans overnight, follow the same process as above but add boiling water to the beans. Cover and let them soak for about 2 hours. Drain and rinse very well with cold fresh water.
  3. DON’T SOAK AT ALL – If you don’t have time to soak them at all, not a problem! Just proceed to the recipe but plan on cooking the beans for another hour or two beyond the usual cooking time. Make sure the liquid level stays the same. Add hot water if needed.
Two bowls and a saucepan filled with beans.

FAQ

What is the difference between Frijoles Charros vs Frijoles Borrachos?

Frijoles Borrachos means Drunk Beans that contain beer. Frijoles Charros do not.

Are these Frijoles Charros Vegetarian (vegetariano)?

Yes they are! This recipe contains no animal products. They are healthy (as beans and vegetables are good for you) and contain very little vegetable shortening.

What kind of beans should I use?

I always use Pinto Beans for this recipe. If you can’t find or run out of pinto beans, you can use black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, great northern beans or black turtle beans instead!

Mexican Bean Recipes You’ll Enjoy:

Did you try the recipe? I’d love to know how it turned out for you—let me know how you served it, who you shared it with, and what you liked about it!

Leave a comment and a rating below ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ as it helps other users (plus it makes me happy!).

Buen Provecho!

XO, Ana

A brown bowl with beans and a spoon.

Healthy Frijoles Charros Recipe

Servings 6 people
Ana Frias
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 55 mins
Hands down, the best Frijoles Charros Recipe! It’s rich, hearty and so flavorful! The beans are perfectly tender, served as a side or as a main dish. It’s a comforting meal in a bowl, that’s bound to please!
6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound dried pinto beans. See Note #1
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher salt (divided 1/2 + 1/2)
  • 3 Tablespoon vegetable shortening
  • ½ medium onion sliced thinly
  • 1 ea jalapeño and yellow chile (aka Güero Chiles) See Note #2 seeded , cut in half (long way) then sliced thinly
  • ½ anaheim pepper sliced thinly
  • 1 large tomato cut in half then sliced thinly
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt (divided ½ and ½)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper preferably freshly grinded
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, add the pinto beans and top with water, ensuring that the beans are covered completely. Soak the beans overnight or at least for 5 hours. Drain out any excess water and rinse the beans off. See Note #3
  • In a large medium pot, add the beans and water. Cover pot with a lid and bring to a boil then lower heat to medium or medium low (to cook on soft boil).
  • Cook for 2.5 hours or until beans are soft and break easily with a spoon.
  • Add ½ tablespoon of kosher salt and turn heat to low while you saute the vegetables.
  • In a medium skillet, add the vegetable shortening and heat until very hot.
  • Add the onions, peppers and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes until vegetables start to get soft.
  • Add the tomato, the other ½ tablespoon of kosher salt, pepper and oregano and mix to integrate. Saute for another minute or so.
  • Add the vegetable mixture to beans plus the bay leaves and cilantro. Mix and cover the pot. Cook for 15 more minutes on medium-low to integrate all of the flavors into the beans.
  • Serve hot.

*Ana’s Notes:

  1. Can’t find or ran out of pinto beans? Use black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, great northern beans or black turtle beans instead!
  2. Add another jalapeño pepper if you can’t find Yellow Chiles or add a serrano pepper instead if you want it more spicy. 
  3. If you don’t have time to soak the beans, it’s okay, they’ll just take longer to cook so allow an extra hour of cooking time. 

ADD YOUR OWN PRIVATE NOTES

Whenever you come back to this recipe, you’ll be able to see your notes.

NUTRITION

Serving: 1large bowl | Sodium: 1156mg | Sugar: 3g | Fiber: 27g | Potassium: 1508mg | Calories: 248kcal | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Fat: 9g | Protein: 16g | Carbohydrates: 48g

The nutritional information and US conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data. If this is important to you, please verify with your favourite nutrition calculator and/or unit conversion tool.

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Recipe Rating




19 Comments

    1. I’m so happy to hear that you like this vegetarian frijoles charros! They truly don’t need any animal products to be delicious. Thanks for stopping by!

  1. 5 stars
    Your blog and website videos just get better and better, Ana. Amazing recipes that capture all the senses!
    Thank you for inspiring us to embrace fantastic Mexican cuisine and authenticity.

    1. Hi June! You can use olive oil, vegetable, avocado or even grapeseed oil. Those are all good options since we don’t use a huge amount. I hope you enjoy! Ana

  2. 5 stars
    Fantastic! What a delicious blend of flavors. The perfect side dish for so many of your other recipes. Love these!

  3. 5 stars
    I love family recipes and this one is no exception! It looks amazing and easy to personalize a bit! My husband love to cook with beans, and he really enjoyed this dish and so did I!

  4. 5 stars
    Instead of lard we fried up some bacon. Used the rendered fat But I never used cilantro in ours. OMG what a difference. The beans were taken to another level. I really liked your recipe. Will make it again with a different bean. Such great flavor. Thank you for sharing