Charro Beans

5 from 3 votes

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Pinto beans, onion, bacon, and jalapeno come together to create these spicy and smokey charro beans. This perfectly simmered and spiced side dish is a quick and delicious way to bring some authentic Mexican flavor to your dinner table. 

My easy charro beans make the most delicious side dish for Mexican night! They’re hearty, earthy, filling, and slightly chewy. The paprika, cumin, and fresh jalapeno give this dish a sense of warmth and a sharp bold flavor that balances perfectly against the natural richness of the pinto beans. These charro beans are delicious on their own, but they’re even better when paired with homemade tacos, burritos, enchiladas, or quesadillas!

Charro beans in a bowl
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Charro Beans

I like pairing these authentic charro beans with other Mexican dishes such as carne asada tacos or beef and cheese enchiladas. Serve these smokey beans plain or garnish them with a handful of cheddar cheese, cilantro, or a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Alternatively, you can add these cowboy beans to other dishes such as burritos, quesadillas, or taco salads. They’re a great way to add some extra spice and protein to your favorite dishes!

Pot of charro beans

Ingredient Notes

  • Pinto Beans—Canned beans work best. Drain them well!
  • Bacon—diced into small pieces. I prefer a thicker cut, but any bacon will work.
  • Jalapeno—Very finely chopped to add some heat! 
  • White Onion—Diced so the pieces cook evenly.
  • Paprika and Cumin—To add a smokey, earthy flavor. 
  • Water—The simple base for the beans!

How to Make Mexican Charro Beans

  1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until it reaches your desired crispiness.
  2. Add the onion, jalapeno, paprika, and cumin. Continue cooking until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add the water and pinto beans.
  4. Cook the beans on medium heat until the water thickens up slightly.
  5. Serve warm and enjoy!
Spoonful of charro beans

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between charro beans and black beans?

Charro beans is a side dish that is typically made by cooking pinto beans with bacon, onion, and spices. Occasionally you’ll see people make charro beans with black beans, but it’s not very common. Black beans can be prepared in a number of different ways and can be found in dishes like enchiladas, chili, and even plant-based burgers! 

Why are they called charro beans?

Charro beans originate from Mexico and are also known as cowboy beans. They are named after the traditional Mexican cowboys called “charros”. Charros spent most of their time outdoors and did not have the time or ingredients to cook extravagant meals. This was a quick and popular dish they would often throw together.

Are charro beans healthy?

The main ingredient in charro beans, pinto beans, are a good source of protein and fiber. By adding bacon, the fat and calorie content will increase slightly, but not enough to make this dish unhealthy. You can enjoy charro beans in moderation and feel good about eating them!

Ingredients for charro beans

How to Store and Reheat Frijoles Charros

You can store leftover charro beans in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 6 days. I find that these beans are best reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave. Simply cook the charro beans until warmed through, adding a splash of water if the dish seems to get too dry. Unfortunately, these beans will get mushy and grainy when thawed, so I don’t recommend freezing them.

Recipe Variations

Out of bacon? No worries! You can swap it out for another type of meat. Chorizo, ham, or even chopped sausages would all work great.

You can easily make these frijoles charros vegan by swapping out the bacon for tofu or tempeh. You’ll also need to add a bit of oil to get things cooking, but other than that, the recipe should stay the same! You can even add some extra veggies to this dish if you’d like! I like tossing in some diced tomatoes or bell peppers.

Don’t have any pinto beans on hand? You can use any kind of canned bean in this dish! Black beans and kidney beans will be most similar in texture to the traditional pinto beans, but even cannellini beans, great northern beans, or chickpeas would work! 

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • If you’re sensitive to spice, you’ll want to make sure you scrape the seeds out of your jalapeno before chopping it and adding it to these beans.
  • Your beans may seem a little soupy when the recipe is initially finished, but the dish will thicken as it sits.
  • Do your best not to overcook these charro beans! Overcooked beans will turn into a thick, mushy paste—it’s not very appetizing. 
Spoonful of charro beans over a pot.

More Recipes

If you’ve tried this Charro Beans recipe or any other recipe on Bless This Mess, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some pictures of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories.

pot of charro beans
5 from 3 votes

Charro Beans

Charro beans are a savory and aromatic Mexican dish made with tender beans,bacon, aromatic spices, and fresh vegetables.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 8 ounces uncooked bacon, diced
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 3 jalapenos, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, smoked paprika recommended
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cans pinto beans, 15 ounce cans each (45 ounces total) drained
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  • Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until fully cooked.
  • Add onion, jalapeno, and spices. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes or until the onion is soft and tender.
  • Add water and pinto beans.
  • Allow the beans to cook for 20 minutes or medium heat.
  • Serve and enjoy!


  • Store your leftover beans in the fridge for up to 6 days. I do not recommend freezing and then reheating these beans. You can reheat your leftovers on the stovetop or in the microwave. They may be a little bit drier when reheated.
  • These beans are great served as a side or used on classic dishes like tacos.
  • I prefer to leave the jalapeno seeds with the chopped veggie to add a little more heat, but you are welcome to scrape the seeds out before chopping your jalapeno.
  • I found it easiest to use a food chopper on the jalapeno rather than finely chop them with a knife.
  • Your beans may seem a little soupy when the recipe is initially finished, but they will thicken as the beans sit. It is important not to overcook the beans in order to prevent them from being to dry or thick.


Serving: 1 of 6 servings, Calories: 166kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 0.05g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 254mg, Potassium: 121mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 258IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 0.5mg
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Charro beans stand as a flavorful and hearty dish that holds a significant place within Mexican cuisine. Their rich history and diverse ingredients reflect the cultural tapestry of Mexico, showcasing the fusion of indigenous and European culinary influences. Whether enjoyed as a side dish or a main course, the combination of tender beans, savory meats, aromatic spices, and fresh vegetables creates a delightful medley of textures and flavors.

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