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)

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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 of 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.

Ingredients for Charro Beans

These beans can be made inexpensively, and are a great addition to any meal. This is what you need to make charro beans:

  • Dry Pinto Beans
  • Water
  • Bacon
  • Onions
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • Salt
  • Tomatoes
frijoles a la charra (charro beans) ingredients

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.

How to Make Charro Beans

Here are the simple steps for this copycat Pappasito’s charro beans recipe:

  1. Soak the pinto beans in water overnight.
dried pinto beans in a glass bowl
  1. Cook the bacon pieces, onions, and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Do not drain the bacon fat.
cooked chopped bacon, onion, and garlic in a skillet
  1. Combine soaked beans, bacon, onion, garlic, spices, and water in a large pot or Dutch oven.
  2. Simmer until the beans are fork tender and heated through.
  3. Add tomatoes, garlic, and cilantro.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

These beans taste even better the second day.

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

Recipe Variations

  • You can add extra bacon, smoked sausage, or chunks of ham.
  • Add a little pico de gallo when eating them.
  • Omit the bacon if you want to enjoy the beans vegetarian style.

How to Store Leftovers

Allow the beans to cool to room temperature. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will last up to 5 days.

Can You Freeze Charro Beans?

Yes, you can freeze charro beans. I love to make extra bean soup to store in the freezer. Charro 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 flour tortillas.

Freeze the beans in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. The frozen beans will last up to 3 months. Thaw them in the fridge overnight.

How to Reheat Charro Beans

The best way to reheat charro beans is on the stove-top. Put the beans in a small pan over medium-low heat until warm, stirring occasionally.

homemade Pappasitos Frijoles a la Charra (charro beans)

Love Beans? Try These Recipes

More Mexican Favorites

Check out all the tasty budget meals and Mexican food recipes.

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 5 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Pappasito’s Cantina Frijoles a la Charra
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 328kcal


  • 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


  • Soak the beans in 1 gallon of cold water for 8 hours. Drain when ready to use. 
  • In a large (2-gallon) heavy pot, cook the bacon cubes until well done – the bacon should 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 the salt, 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 of garlic, extra cilantro for garnish, and serve.


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

About Stephanie Manley

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's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

REVEALED: Copycat Secrets for 2023

free email bonus

Yes, you CAN make it at home! I'll show you how.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Reader Interactions


  1. Sandra M.

    5 stars
    This recipe is the bomb! As a loyal Pappasitos fan for many, many years, and now living out of state, this bean soup is the solution to my problems! The flavors in this recipe are spot on. I made no changes to the recipe and it was very easy to follow. Next time, and there will be lots of next times, I’ll probably add more water. Since this was my first time soaking and cooking beans, I had no idea how much they’d soak up. What a great recipe to discover at the start of winter. Now, I need to find the rest of their menu so that I can save money on flights to Texas. Muchas gracias!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.


  6. mustanger7up

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

5 from 5 votes (2 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

homemade Olive Garden Asiago Torgelloni Alfredo with chicken on a plate

Copycat Recipe Secrets for 2024


Yes, you CAN make it at home! 
I'll show you how.