Pappasito’s Cantina Frijoles a la Charra (Charro Beans)

Frijoles a la Charra (or charro beans) are a nice change from refried beans. These beans help to make a delicious soup that is inexpensive to make. What’s more, you can make these ahead of time, and the flavor will only get better. This copycat version of Pappasito’s charro beans soup is made with pinto beans and bacon in a rich tomato-based sauce flavored with onions, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and chili powder.

Homemade charro beans (Pappasitos Frijoles a la Charro)

What Are Charro Beans?

Charro beans (frijoles charro) are also known as cowboy beans from the Mexican cowboys who dined on them. Over time, they became a traditional Mexican side dish that is made by cooking dried pinto beans long and slowly in a broth full of amazing flavors. These flavors come from other ingredients, which can include onion, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, and meat (usually bacon, but ham, sausage, and chorizo can also be used).

  • Drunken Beans (frijoles borrachos) is an interesting variation on charro beans. This is basically the same recipe with some Mexican beer added (Borracho means drunk in English). Pork rinds may also be used to change the flavor up a little bit more.

In Mexico, steakhouses will bring this bean soup to your table before your meat course – you don’t even have to ask for it. The soup all by itself is a hearty dish to warm you on a cold winter day.

I love to make extra bean soup to store in the freezer – these beans taste even better when you reheat them. Plus, this soup is really handy for when you don’t feel like cooking. Just defrost, reheat, and serve with warm tortillas.

  • Variations: You can add extra bacon, smoked sausage, or chunks of ham. I love to add a little pico de gallo to these beans when I eat them.

Ingredients for charro beans

These beans can be made inexpensively, and are a great addition to any meal. These beans are not only tasty, but they can be made without the bacon if you want to enjoy the beans vegetarian style. These beans taste even better the second day.
This is what you need to make charro beans:

  • Dried Pinto Beans
  • Water
  • Bacon
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Cilantro
  • Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • Salt
  • Tomatoes

What Are Roma Tomatoes?

This recipe calls for Roma tomatoes. A Roma tomato is meaty and egg-shaped with thick walls. It is bright red in color, has few seeds, and is about three inches long. This tomato is not juicy and is not meant for slicing into salads. The flesh is thicker and drier than other tomatoes so it can cook down into a thick sauce that intensifies the tomato’s already rich flavor. It’s a tomato that’s great for canning, making pasta sauces, and tomato pastes.

frijoles a la charra (charro beans) ingredients

Soak the pinto beans in water overnight.

dried pinto beans in a glass bowl

Cook the bacon, onions, and garlic.

cooked chopped bacon, onion, and garlic in a skillet

Combine soaked beans, bacon/onion/garlic, and seasonings.

Simmer until beans are soft.

Add tomatoes. Serve and enjoy!

Frijoles a la Charra (Charro Beans) in a red serving dish

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Homemade charro beans (Pappasitos Frijoles a la Charro)

Pappasito’s Cantina Frijoles a la Charra

Make the much loved Pappasito’s Cantina Frijoles a la Charra at home. 
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Pappasito’s Cantina Frijoles a la Charra
Servings: 8
Calories: 328kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds pinto beans uncooked
  • 1 gallon cold water
  • 3/4 pound bacon cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup chopped garlic
  • 4 tablespoon cilantro plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup chopped white onions
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 gallon cold water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 cups chopped Roma tomatoes

Instructions

  • Soak the beans in 1 gallon of cold water for 8 hours. Drain when ready to use. 
  • Ina large (2-gallon) heavy pot, cook the bacon cubes until well done – the baconshould not be undercooked. 
  • Add the onions, 1/2 cup of garlic,and cilantro, to the hot bacon and cook until the onions are transparent. 
  • Add the beans, cumin, and chili powder.Stir well and add 1/2 gallon of cold water. Set heat to medium-low, add thesalt, and stir well. 
  • Cook the beans slowly until they are tender (approximately 1 hour). Stir constantly to avoid burning the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon ofgarlic, extra cilantro for garnish, and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 328kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 1646mg | Potassium: 587mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 465IU | Vitamin C: 6.9mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 2.8mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @CopyKatRecipes or tag #CopyKatRecipes!

About Stephanie

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. John Stansell

    5 stars
    Great recipe, l have been doing a similar recipe for years. I roast pablano, jalapeño and Roma tomatoes in cast iron skillet and then rough chop before adding to beans. Garlic and cilantro is key to your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Max17

    5 stars
    I doubled the recipe, following the ingredient amounts with minor exceptions: I had 2 lbs. of bacon so I used it all, and I started with 1Tbls salt and then added to taste. I probably ended up using 2Tbls. I also added 2tsp cayenne pepper. I wasn’t sure about “do not under cook the bacon”. When cooking gumbos I like to cook my bacon until it is brittle and the fat completely rendered. For these beans, I used thick cut bacon, cut in about 1/2 inch strips. Then I cooked it on medium heat until almost brittle – around 40 minutes. Most of the fat cooked down but there were the occasional pieces of very well done fat. Mmm! I soaked the beans overnight and cooked them gently in nothing but the water for about 3 hrs before they were approaching tender. I added the rest of the ingredients and brought to a light boil for the last hour. I will be cooking this recipe again very soon and will add the tomatoes and cilantro at the very end, as the recipe states, because they did cook down and left no ‘chuncky’ tomato in my dish.

    These were by far the best beans I’ve ever cooked. I served the bean soup with beef and shrimp fajitas to a party of 14. I like to think I cook a mean fajita and great seafood, but I had more guests wanting seconds on the frijoles. Thank you for this recipe!

    • stephaniemanley

      I really appreciate the detail you wrote here. I am going to give some of your suggestions a try. I love the extra bacon, I mean who doesn’t love bacon? Thank you for writing up your updates. I am going to give these a try.

  3. J Choate

    Add two jalapenos, seeded and chopped to the onion addition. Adds nice flavor and just a tiny bit of heat. I like a little ground coriander and a little more (1 tsp more) chili powder.

  4. admin

    It is 1/2 cup garlic, and then right at the end an additional 1 Tbsp of garlic. I need to take out the word remaining I think that makes it vague.

    Stephanie

  5. mustanger7up

    I have a question, it says 1 C garlic plus 1Tbsp. fresh Garlic. Is that correct? 1 cup of garlic?
    Thanks

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