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Frijoles Charros (Cowboy Beans)

Frijoles charros (or Cowboy Beans) is a traditional Mexican dish that is more of a bean soup than a plain old side of beans.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 25 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6 people



  • 1 lb. dried pinto beans
  • 8 ounces bacon - cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion - diced
  • 3 serrano chiles - seeds and veins removed, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 tsp. Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ripe tomatoes - cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro - chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt - or to taste


  • Place the beans in a large bowl with enough water to cover them by 2-inches. Let soak overnight.
  • Fry the bacon until all of the fat has rendered and it has become crispy. About 10 minutes over medium heat. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and place in the refrigerator. Pour off all but 2 tbsp. of the bacon grease (reserve for another dish). Add the onion and cook until translucent. About 8 minutes. Add serrano, garlic, oregano, and cumin. Cook an additional minute.
  • Add in the chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pot to remove any stuck-on bits. Add the beans. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 1 1/2 hours, or until tender.
  • Add cilantro, tomatoes, and bacon. Taste for salt and add more, if necessary. Cook an additional 15 minutes.
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