Instant Pot Charro Beans

Charro Bean Soup

Gather your ingredients for instant pot charro beans: dry pinto beans, yellow Spanish onion, hot or mild pepper, chorizo, olive oil, bouillon, canned tomatoes, and spices (onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika) as well as any optional ingredients as desired. *See notes for tips about cooking dry beans in an instant pot.

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The Lowly Bean

Instant Pot Charro Beans
Assorted Beans

Lately, I find myself just randomly stocking up on both dry and canned beans of all kinds although my favorites are red beans. pinto beans, black beans, and kidney beans. Having celiac and IBD make it difficult for people like me to eat them but as long as I do not eat them every day and I cook them thoroughly I can have them a couple of times a week. I love the taste and texture of beans. Instant pot, beans dry recipe Mexican style is so easy and delicious.

This need to ‘stock up’ may be due to the recent pandemic triggering my survival instincts. And speaking of survival many countries rely on beans as one of their main protein and food sources. Beans are considered a “super” food because they are powerhouses of nutrition. Beans are also high in protein making them high on the list of affordable staples. Beans are easy to store and keep for up to 10 years when stored with the oxygen removed and stored in mylar type bags or other air tight containers.

Beans are high in polyphenols, a class of antioxidants, that help in regulating blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and have been shown to reduce the chances of developing colon cancer. Beans are a great source of dietary fiber and contain folate a water-soluble B vitamin the body uses to produce red blood cells. If you want to make your beans recipe vegetarian simply omit the chorizo and bouillion.

They also reduce weight and improve gut health. There are many menu ideas for the lowly bean and they provide both protein and complex carbohydrates so what’s not to love? Many people consider beans as a meat substitute and others like them as a side dish or even snack food.

The instant pot cooks beans to perfection when prepared properly. You may choose to soak them but it is not really necessary in the instant pot. If you do soak them overnight remember to reduce your cooking time accordingly. Charro beans recipe instant pot style is both quick and easy.

Charro and Barracho beans are very similar. Barracho beans are made with beer and Charro beans are made with broth stock or water. Charro beans recipe slow cooker style is similar just takes a little longer to cook. This Charro beans recipe with rice on the side makes a complete meal.

Charro Beans or Cowboy Beans

Instant Pot Charro Beans
Bowl of Charro Beans with Avocado, Cheese Slivers, and Cilantro

Charro beans also called cowboy beans, or frijoles charros are a true Texas staple. Charro beans originated as an inexpensive traditional bean stew in northern Mexico. Traditional charro beans also include proteins, such as ham, bacon, chorizo, or salt pork. Frijoles charros are named after Mexican cowboys known as charros or vaqueros who often ate stewed beans from the campfire when herding cattle.

Pinto and black beans are Mexican staples and are commonly used in traditional Mexican foods. Beans have been a Mexican staple since prehistoric times. Pinto beans are native to Mexico as is epazote, a traditional Mexican herb, that is often added to Mexican bean dishes. Epazote is an herb that works as a stomach tonic helping with digestion and flatulence. It is not especially common in the US but can be found at some Mexican grocery stores. 

Refried Beans

refried beans
Refried Beans are a Traditional Mexican Food

Refried beans (frijoles refritos) or bean paste, as it is sometimes called, is another popular Mexican traditional bean side dish. Refried beans although commonly made with pinto beans can also be made with kidney and black beans. The beans are cooked and mashed to a thick consistency sometimes with freshly cooked onion and other flavorings such as chipotle, jalapeño, and garlic. Then they are lightly cooked again in Pork lard. A healthier version skips the lard and just lightly reheats the beans with low heat point oil such as olive oil.  Beans are a healthy high fiber addition to the diet if you opt for the healthier vegan oils

I often use this simple side dish, reheated with my favorite spices, as a quick easy bean dip with tortilla chips. Refried beans are also quite tasty on oven-baked Italian crostini (sliced crispy oven-toasted bread). Chipotle refried beans are one of my personal favorites and a traditional Mexican favorite made with chipotle adobo. You can purchase chipotle adobo at most US stores in the can or powdered form. One popular brand is Goya which makes a powdered and canned version of the spice. I also like Fiesta brand Pinto Bean Seasoning for a less spicy flavor. Another great Mexican food snack or meal is Bean Taquitos served with Crema Mexicana, guacamole, or slightly salty cotija Mexican cheese.

Crispy tostadas are great topped with refried beans, avocado, and shredded Mexican cheese! 

pinto beans
Pinto Beans

What you need to make Instant Pot Charro Beans

If you have an instant pot then this Charro Bean recipe is for you, no soaking needed. When cooking beans in an instant pot I recommend cooking only the beans with olive oil and water for the initial cook. Otherwise, your beans may have a leathery appearance and texture. Also, soaking beans will not reduce gas so you can put the beans straight into the instant pot without presoaking. Gather your ingredients: pinto beans, yellow Spanish onion, peppers, chorizo, olive oil, bouillon, canned tomatoes, and spices (onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder,  smoked paprika) as well as any optional ingredients as desired. This Charro beans recipe easy preparation will make it one of your favorites.

In Conclusion, Instant Pot Charro Beans

We hope you enjoy this instant pot recipe for Charro Beans. Keep in mind the instant pot tips throughout the article when cooking your beans for a perfect Mexican dish. You can also try the optional ingredients for a change in variation and add additional precooked proteins to make a double-filling entree!

Find more delicious recipes here.

Read more about the health benefits of the lowly bean here.

Mexican food spices
Variety of Spices
Charro Bean Soup

Instant Pot Charro Beans

If you have an instant pot then this Charro Bean recipe is for you, no soaking needed. Gather your ingredients: pinto beans, yellow Spanish onion, peppers, chorizo, olive oil, bouillon, canned tomatoes, and spices (onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder,  smoked paprika) as well as any optional ingredients as desired. 
5 from 34 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Pressure Cooker – Step Two and Three 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 12 Servings
Calories 350 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Instant Pot
  • 1 skillet (optional)

Ingredients
  

Step One – Prepare and Sautee 

  • 8 slices bacon (Optional)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 20 ounces chorizo crumbled or cut
  • 2 medium yellow onions chopped
  • 1 medium pepper, jalapeño or sweet mild pepper seeds removed and chopped
  • Remove sautéed ingredients from instant pot

Step Two – Prepare and Cook Beans

  • 1 pound dry triple cleaned pinto beans rinsed well
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • water to half fill line instant pot measurement
  • Allow instant pot to naturally release before adding remaining ingredients
  • Do not add any other ingredients, not even salt until beans are completely cooked. 

Step Three – Add additional ingredients

  • 1 Previously sautéed vegetables with chorizo 
  • 1 precooked bacon torn into bits (if desired) Optional
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped optional
  • 1 cup beef broth or 1 bouillon reconstituted on one cup water  (If using bouillon cube, you may want to reduce the salt to 1 t.)
  • 1 can mexican tomatoes can substitute one can of petite tomatoes if needed

Optional ingredients

  • You may add a bay leaf, pinch of dried Mexican oregano and pinch of epazote, if available to the bean soup

Instructions
 

Step One – Prepare and Sauté

  • Set instant pot to Sauté
  • Brown 8 slices of bacon to crispy (optional)
  • If using bacon, cook it first removing, and setting aside when crispy. You may wish to precook bacon in a skillet and set aside. 
  • Add 1 T olive oil to instant pot (you can omit this if using grease from bacon).
  • Add 20 oz chorizo, crumbled or cut in chunks depending on type purchased
  • Add 2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • Add 1 medium jalapeño or one sweet mild pepper, seeds removed and chopped
  • Sauté until vegetables are limp and chorizo is slightly browned about 4 – minutes stirring constantly. 
  • Remove ingredients from instant pot and set aside.

Step Two – Prepare and Cook Beans

  • Add 1 pound of dry pinto beans (two cups) to the instant pot with 2 T of olive oil. Olive oil helps to soften the beans as they cook.
  • Next add water to fill pot halfway and stir lightly.
  • Never cook beans (including the water) with over half of your instant pot filled or it will create foam and unwanted residue.
  • Set instant pot to bean/stew pressure setting for 50 minutes. (If using presoaked beans, you can reduce cooking time to 30 – 40 minutes depending on how soft you want your beans.)
  • Do not add any other ingredients, not even salt until beans are completely cooked. You will add remaining ingredients after the initial bean cook is completed.
  • Also, always allow beans to naturally release. 

Step Three

  • When beans are done and steam naturally released, remove lid carefully, adding previously sautéed vegetables with chorizo (and precooked bacon torn into bits, if desired) to the cooked beans. 
  • Add remaining ingredients to the instant pot (salt, black pepper, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, cilantro (optional) beef broth or bouillon reconstituted on one cup water, can of tomatoes
  • You may add optional ingredients if desired. Optional Ingredients: bay leaf, pinch of dried Mexican oregano and pinch of epazote, (if available)
  • Set pressure to 10 minutes and again let it naturally release.
  • Serve while hot and allow to cool before putting in refrigerator. 

Notes

*Instant pot tips for cooking beans.
  1. Use only water, beans and olive oil during cooking of your beans as shown above. Do not add any other ingredients, not even salt until beans are completely cooked.
  2. You will add any remaining ingredients after the initial bean cook is completed. 
  3. Never cook beans (including the water) with over half of your instant pot filled or it will create foam and unwanted residue.
 
  • Do not leave your beans at room temperature for long or they will turn sour. They can be kept in fridge for up to 5 days and can be frozen for long term use.
  • Charro beans are often made to accompany a main entrée such as Carne Asada. However, they make a great side for practically any Mexican food such as enchiladas or tacos.
  • You can add additional pre-cooked meats to the charro soup for a heartier entree. Additions can include chopped or shredded chicken, beef, pork of other proteins. 
  • You can top your charro beans with various toppings such as diced green onion, chopped fresh tomatoes, avocado, shredded cheese or even a dollop of sour cream, if desired.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 350kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 18gFat: 11gSodium: 406mgPotassium: 761mgFiber: 12gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 405IUVitamin C: 6.9mgCalcium: 65mgIron: 3.2mg
Keyword charro beans, cowboy beans, frijoles charros, instant pot, instant pot charro beans, refried beans, tex mex charro beans, tex mex cowboy beans, Texas charro beans, texas cooking, Texas side dish
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as a courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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What are charro beans?

Charro Beans is a traditional Mexican dish made with beans, salsa, and bacon. They are usually served as a side dish or even a main course. The name “Charro” means cowboy in Spanish and the beans were created to give cowboys enough energy for their long work days.

Kay Keeton, Ed.

Editor in Chief, Kay Keeton - Texas Lifestyle Expert. Kay is a designer turned author, marketer, storyteller, and influencer. A sixth-generation Texan, Kay is both an authority as well as being passionate about sharing her home state of Texas's diverse culture and lifestyle. Kay is a content writer and editor of content for various local and national online publications.

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Charro Mexican Bean Soup