Charro Beans (Frijoles Charros)

An easy component that takes dried, bulk pinto beans and turns them into a delicious meal or base for another recipe.

  • Author: Erin Alderson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: About 3 cups 1x



1 cup uncooked dried pinto beans

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large yellow onion, mincd

1 poblano pepper, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons fresh oregano

1 teaspoon toasted and ground cumin (see note)

½ to 1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons tomato paste


  • The night before making the beans, combine the one cup pinto beans with 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt. Let the beans soak for 8 to 12 hours.
  • When ready to make the beans, heat a pan over medium heat. Add the diced onions and poblanos to the pan and cook until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for one more minute.
  • Drain the beans and add fresh water to the pot (see note) about 2" above the dried beans along with the cooked onion mixture, oregano, cumin, and salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes. Reduce to the heat to a simmer and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the beans are tender (will change based on soaking time). Stir in the tomato paste, cook for a few more minutes, taste, and adjust seasonings as desired.


Tips & Tricks: Cumin: use the whole cumin seed and toast in a dry skillet then grind. You can use pre-ground cumin, the flavor just won't be as prominent.

If you're looking for an in-depth guide on cooking beans, I wrote up this information.