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Charro Beans

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Charro  beans are a fabulously flavorful side dish made of pinto beans simmered with bacon, peppers, tomatoes, and spices. A great kid friendly side dish.

Charro  beans are a fabulously flavorful side dish made of pinto beans simmered with bacon, peppers, tomatoes, and spices.
overhead view of cast iron skillet filled with cowboy beans and serving spoon
charro beans in two small bowls next to cast iron skillet with more

The great thing about these beans is you can easily serve them as either a side dish or as a main course! Also called frijoles charros, and sometimes called cowboy beans, you can serve them in this thicker form or add more broth to make a soup. 

They are so flavorful, you won’t even dream of serving boring beans again! And because they are made with canned pinto beans, they don’t take hours to make, making them perfect for a weeknight dinner.

Other great Latin American inspired side dish recipes:

two small bowls of charro beans in front of cast iron skillet

This side dish is fantastic when you want something with tons of great flavor but is also kid friendly. Loaded with bacon and familiar spices, and mild but flavorful peppers, this dish is sure to please everyone in your house!

overhead view of cast iron skillet filled with cowboy beans and serving spoon

How to make these beans at home

This recipe is simple to make! For the full set of directions, please scroll down to the recipe card below. This is just a general overview on how to make it to help you plan.

  1. Dice the bacon.
  2. Heat a large braiser or skillet over medium heat.
  3. Place the bacon into the heated skillet and allow to cook to almost crispy, stirring frequently. Remove the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.
  4. To the pan with the bacon grease, add the diced onion and diced pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for four minutes.
  5. Add in the minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds, until it becomes fragrant.
  6. Add in the drained and rinsed beans, fire roasted tomatoes, broth, cooked bacon, brown sugar, and spices. 
  7. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes, until flavorful and bubbling.
  8. Top with chopped cilantro, and serve.

Recipe Note: I suggest using a green bell pepper if you are serving kids who don’t handle a lot of heat well. If you want to start introducing more pepper varieties to them, you can also use a milder pepper like a hatch chili pepper or a poblano pepper. If you want more heat, you can use one seeded jalapeno diced finely. 

cooking charro beans in cast iron skillet

Prepping ahead of time

These beans can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Please place beans in an airtight container when storing.

Reheat servings individually in the microwave for your convenience.

How to serve this to your family

These beans are great when served as part of your family bbq feast, but they are also an amazing addition to your weeknight meals. Try serving them beside green chili chicken enchiladas, or slow cooker pork carnitas, or with beef empanadas.

cast iron skillet with cowboy beans and serving spoon, cilantro bunch in the corner

How to make this kid friendly 

These beans are already kid friendly, and a great flavorful addition to weeknight meals. If your kids need a little more help being interested in trying these beans, try these suggestions:

Dinner conversations with kids

Discussing our food with our kids is a great way for them to become more open and curious about trying them. 

  • What other beans do you remember eating? How might these be similar or different than what you have had before?
  • How many different things do you see in the beans? What besides beans can you see?
  • Smell the beans! What ingredients can you identify? What does the smell remind you of?

Read more about how to explore the sense of taste with your kids.

overhead view of two white bowls with charro beans and a bunch of cilantro stems in the corner

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overhead view of cast iron skillet filled with cowboy beans and serving spoon

Charro Beans

Charro  beans are a fabulously flavorful side dish made of pinto beans simmered with bacon, peppers, tomatoes, and spices.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Kid Friendly Side Dishes
Cuisine: Latin American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 126kcal
Author: Jenni

Ingredients

  • 2 15 ounce cans pinto beans rinsed and drained
  • 8 slices applewood smoked bacon
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 15 ounce fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup cilantro chopped

Instructions

  • Dice the bacon.
  • Heat a large braiser or skillet over medium heat.
  • Place the bacon into the heated skillet and allow to cook to almost crispy, stirring frequently. Remove the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.
  • To the pan with the bacon grease, add the diced onion and diced pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for four minutes.
  • Add in the minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds, until it becomes fragrant.
  • Add in the drained and rinsed beans, fire roasted tomatoes, broth, cooked bacon, brown sugar, and spices.
  • Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes, until flavorful and bubbling.
  • Top with chopped cilantro, and serve.

Notes

To Store: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To Reheat: Reheat servings individually in the microwave for your convenience.
A note on peppers:  I suggest using a green bell pepper if you are serving kids who don’t handle a lot of heat well. If you want to start introducing more pepper varieties to them, you can also use a milder pepper like a hatch chili pepper or a poblano pepper. If you want more heat, you can use one seeded jalapeno diced finely. 




Nutrition

Calories: 126kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 466mg | Potassium: 125mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 503IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg

2 Comments

  1. I just tried this recipe last night! It was fantastic! The best bean side dish ever. I will be making this again!

  2. One of my absolute favorite sides! I love extra flavorful beans accompanying my meal.

5 from 2 votes

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