Charro Beans are a traditional Mexican dish of pinto beans simmered in a flavourful vegetarian bean soup broth with onions tomatoes, garlic, fresh herbs and more. Easy Instant Pot Recipe! Vegan, healthy, gluten free.
What are charro beans?
Charro beans, AKA frijoles charros or “cowboy beans” The name is from the Mexican cowboys who ate them. It’s a Mexican style bean soup that originated in Northern Mexico.
And authentic side dish consisting of pinto beans cooked in a full flavoured broth of onions, tomatoes, herbs and often times ham, chorizo, bacon and beef franks were added. Usually served with carne asada
My vegetarian version of charro beans are fabulous and there’s no bacon added or needed. The veggies, pinto beans, with Rotel tomatoes, and herbs all simmer together to create an amazing broth with Tex Mex flavours that you’ll love! and best of all it’s made from scratch in the instant pot but tastes like it’s been slow cooking in a crock pot all day! Incredibly easy to make!
Fun food to serve to celebrate Cinco de Mayo along with other favs like Mexican street corn, warm tortillas some fresh pico de Gallo!
Ingredients needed for charro bean soup:
- Dried pinto beans (not canned!)
- Onions and garlic
- tomatos with green chilies: I use mild Rotel tomatoes
- Spices: regular Chili Powder and ancho chilli powder, cumin,
- Herbs: fresh cilantro, dried oregano
- vegetable broth: I use Better than bouillon no chicken soup base, so good in this!
How to make charro beans:
- Add pinto beans to a large heat proof bowl and cover with boiling water from the kettle. Set aside for at least 15 minutes while you prep other ingredients. Drain and rinse WELL with cold water.
- Set the saute function of your instant pot for 5 minutes and add in the onions, oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute.
- Once done stir in garlic and add water, bouillon, drained beans and rest of ingredients. Close lid and set valve to ‘sealing’ position. Push bean/chili button and set for 60 minutes or use pressure cooker button and set for same time on high pressure.
- When time is up let pressure naturally release for 10 minutes then turn valve to venting. Once pin has dropped remove lid. Stir & taste for seasons add salt/pepper if needed. Enjoy! The beans should be perfectly cooked! Serve with warm tortillas, add spoonful of fresh pico de gallo to your bowl if desired! For full recipe instructions and ingredients see recipe card below.
Charro bean Q & A:
Difference between borracho beans, charro beans & refried beans?
- Charro beans (cowboy beans) are left whole, simmering in their broth while Refried beans are mashed during the cooking process and borracho beans (drunkin beans) have beer added to the broth.
What to serve with charro beans?
- You can serve as a main soup dish with warm tortillas, or as a side with rice, Mexican street corn, salad, salsa. Some like them with carne asada
Do charro beans have pork?
- a lot of the recipes call for ham, bacon or chorizo and there are also some that are made without meat.
Can they be frozen?
- The beans will keep covered in the fridge for up to 5 days and freezes well
Are charro Beans healthy?
- It depends on what they're made with! My recipe is made without meat or animal fats so it is healthy.
Pro tips for cooking charro beans:
- Pick through beans before soaking to remove any debris or tiny rocks
- Ensure you are using dried pinto beans that are fresh. Check the package date to make sure. Old stale beans don’t cook well or taste great either!
- Do a 15 minute quick soak with the dried pinto beans that way beans won’t be bitter once cooked in the instant pot.
- If you want the soup thicker make ahead and serve the next day! I think the flavours develop even more!
Ok Let’s make some Vegetarian cowboy beans, they're:
- super simple in the instant pot!
- packed full of flavour!
- meatless- Yay!
- kid friendly
- mildly spiced
- loaded with warm Mexican spices
- great side dish or main meal!
Enjoy you guys! Happy Day! Please feel free to comment below and give this recipe a rating. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!
Want more Mexican bean recipes? Check these out:
- Best Ever Vegan Enchiladas With Homemade Enchilada Sauce
- Vegan Quesadillas with Refried Black Beans and Roasted Vegetables!
- Vegan Burrito (Better than Chipotle)
- 15 Minute Cowboy Caviar (AKA Texas Caviar)
- Ultimate Vegan Chili Recipe
- Mexican Bean Soup ( Slow cooker option)
- Vegan Crunchwrap Supreme (Taco Bell)
- Best Refried Black Beans