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Easy Charro Beans with Canned Beans

Easy Charro Beans are an authentic Mexican bean recipe made quickly by using canned beans and tomatoes, bacon, spices, and fresh produce.

This recipe was compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and my local Smith’s Store, a Kroger brand store, with a focus on highlighting canned goods and the floral department for family gatherings. The recipe, thoughts, and opinions are mine.

It has been updated from its original June 20, 2016 publication with new content, re-edited photography, and clarified recipe card.

Like most, the childhood extended family memories that have remained decades later center on food. There is something magical about eating together with loved ones.

An aqua colored bowl full of charro beans garnished with fresh cilantro

My ethnicity is a mixed bag of Western European and North American origins. Simply broken down, I always said 1/4 Mexican, 1/4 Italian, 1/2 White (Irish, English, Scottish blends). A for-fun DNA test last year mostly confirmed that, but was way more specific than my description.

My Mexican side (paternal grandfather’s family) gathered once or twice a year (or I attended once or twice a year).

Not every meal was authentic Mexican food. We had plenty of gatherings where hamburgers and hot dogs were grilled, or fried chicken was served.

But every meal, without exception, whether burgers and dogs or tamales and carne asada, there was rice and beans, not refried beans either. A big, bubbling pot of charro beans, a term I only learned about a decade or so ago. Beans this style were just frijoles.

What are Charro Beans?

Frijoles charros have many names. Frijoles rancheros or ranchero beans is another common name for this style of beans.

A bowl of frijoles charros with a spoon raised with a bite.

Roughly translated, they are cowboy or ranch beans. Named because the cowboys or vaqueros who were camping out would dine on these.

Instead of being a big pot of pinto beans, charro or ranch style beans are fortified with meat, usually pork: bacon, chorizo, ham, etc. The cowboys needed a heartier dish to keep them going while out on the range.

What’s the difference between charro beans and borracho beans?

Borracho beans are a cousin to frijoles charros. Most of the ingredients are the same, however they cooked traditional in a dark Mexican beer instead of broth or water.

What is the difference between charro beans and refried beans?

Refried beans and charro beans both begin with pintos beans. That’s basically the only similarity.

Two aqua bowl of beans side by side with a bright linen between them and white elephants

Refried beans are cooked (sometimes with onions and herbs), then smashed with lard to make them smooth.

Are pintos de la Olla the same as charro beans?

No, they are not the same thing, but are closer related than say refried beans. Pintos de la Olla are probably the most commonly made Mexican style pinto bean in the every day home.

Stereotypically, as one thinks of cooked rice always being available in an Asian home, a pitcher of sweet tea in the American South, this style of beans would be that equivalent in the Mexican home.

Pintos de la Olla often are turned into refried beans.

Can I make charro beans vegetarian or vegan?

Meat is what makes charro or ranch beans, well, charro or ranch beans. That being said, you can omit the animal protein and still have a wonderful dish.

Two bowls of charro beans with the canned products in the background

There will be a bit less smoky flavor by simply omitting the bacon. You could add a bit of smoked paprika or even a tiny bit of liquid smoke.

Additionally, using vegan bacon or chorizo to help retain the flavor I’ve intended.

How to Make Easy Charro Beans

First off, I used canned beans, but you’re more than welcome to make these with dried beans.

These are quite perfect for a random Tuesday night dinner, or any big party (fiesta) you may have on the calendar.

Ingredients needed to make easy charro beans: canned pintos, canned fire roasted tomatoes, diced onion, garlic, jalapeños, and cilantro, and thick cut bacon

Ingredients for making easy charro beans.

Most of these are pantry staples, or are for me. They are available at any grocery store and won’t break the budget.

  • pintos beans (I used canned)
  • thick cut bacon
  • fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I used canned)
  • white onion
  • jalapeño (s)
  • garlic
  • bay leaves
  • salt/pepper
  • fresh cilantro

Prep all the ingredients before beginning to cook.

Use a large cast iron skillet, dutch oven, or heavy-bottom pan for this recipe.

Sautéing bacon, onion, garlic, and peppers in a stainless steel pot.

Start with the bacon, then as it renders, add the onion. A few minutes later add the garlic and peppers.

I only used 1 jalapeño, but please, use as many as you’d like according to your own desired heat level.

Tomatoes and cilantro have been added to the sauté to begin the liquid for cooking the beans.

Add the UNDRAINED tomatoes and cilantro. Use the liquid to pull up any stuck on bits or as I like to thing of them, the flavor enhancers.

Then add the UNDRAINED beans and stir gently. Get them up to a low boil, then reduce to a low simmer.

When ready to serve, garnish with the remaining cilantro.

Aqua colored bowl of beans with chunks of tomatoes, bacon, peppers, and onions in a luscious broth, garnished with fresh cilantro.

What to serve with charro beans?

I have no problem eating these as my meal, they’re that good. However, to round out a proper meal, these beans are wonderful with the following dishes:

Close up side view of an aqua bowl of beans with fire roasted tomatoes, bacon, jalapeños, and onions, garnished with fresh cilantro.
Close up view of beans in an aqua bowl.

Easy Charro Beans with Canned Beans

Course: Beans
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Charro beans
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 317 kcal
Author: Michelle De La Cerda

Authentic Mexican charro beans, made quick and easy using canned beans and tomatoes, bacon, and fresh produce.



  • 4 oz thick cut bacon chopped
  • 1 cup white onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic cloves minced/grated; 4-8 cloves depending on plumpness
  • 1 jalapeños seeds and veins removed; minced. Use up to 5
  • 14½ oz fire-Roasted diced tomatoes UNDRAINED; I used Kroger brand
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro chopped; divided equally
  • 46½ oz pinto beans Three-15.5 oz cans UNDRAINED; I used Kroger brand
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp black pepper +/-, to taste
  • tsp salt +/-, to taste


  1. Place a large, heavy bottom pot on the stove, heat over medium heat.
  2. Chop the bacon, or use kitchen shears to make small pieces and brown in the heated pot for about 3 minutes, just until it begins to render fat and start to cook.

  3. Add the chopped onion, stir well and often with the bacon until the onions begin to cook and deepen in color, about 6 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and jalapeño, stir constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn, but does brown and everything becomes aromatic, 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the canned tomatoes with juices and half of the chopped cilantro, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all the stuck on bits up.

  6. Add the UNDRAINED beans, black pepper, and bay leaves.

  7. Bring to a high simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  8. Once bubbling nicely, reduce the heat to low, taste for seasoning, if needed, add salt to taste, a bit at time.
  9. Cover, and keep on warm for 20 minutes, giving all the flavors time to come together.
  10. When ready to serve, garnish with the remaining chopped cilantro.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Slow Cooker Directions:

Sauté the bacon and produce as directed in the stove top instructions above.

Once cooked, add to the slow cooker, 4 quart or larger. 

Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the reserved cilantro and salt. 

Cook on LOW for 2 hours or HIGH for 1 hour.

Stir and taste for salt, add if needed. 

Return to cook on LOW for an additional hour or HIGH for 30 minutes.

Switch to keep warm until serving.

Garnish with remaining cilantro when serving.

Nutrition Facts
Easy Charro Beans with Canned Beans
Amount Per Serving
Calories 317 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 9mg3%
Sodium 212mg9%
Potassium 781mg22%
Carbohydrates 48g16%
Fiber 16g67%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 17g34%
Vitamin A 292IU6%
Vitamin C 6mg7%
Calcium 98mg10%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Easy Charro Beans with Canned Beans ~ Authentic Mexican charro beans, made quick and easy using canned beans and tomatoes, bacon, and fresh produce ~ The Complete Savorist #RecetasParaMomentos ad
Easy Charro Beans with Canned Beans ~ Authentic Mexican charro beans, made quick and easy using canned beans and tomatoes, bacon, and fresh produce ~ The Complete Savorist #RecetasParaMomentos ad

Brightly dyed daisies to cheer up my table.

Thank you for sharing!

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  • Reply
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
    June 20, 2016 at 4:49 am

    O these sound delicious! Love all the smoky flavor!

    • Reply
      Michelle De La Cerda
      June 20, 2016 at 11:07 am

      That’s my favorite part, those smoky flavors.

      • Reply
        June 22, 2016 at 7:01 am

        I’m a completr novice. When do you add the beans?

  • Reply
    Jenn @ Peas and Crayons
    June 20, 2016 at 7:09 am

    This looks amazing! I’m such a bean fanatic I’ve got to try this new-to-me dish! <3

    • Reply
      Michelle De La Cerda
      June 20, 2016 at 11:07 am

      Hope you get the opportunity to try them, they are fabulous (if I do say so myself.)

  • Reply
    Diana Johnson
    June 20, 2016 at 10:50 am

    What a delicious recipe! I love the story that goes with it!

  • Reply
    Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious
    June 20, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    I would seriously reach for those beans first at EVERY party!

  • Reply
    Amanda | The Chunky Chef
    June 20, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    This looks like such a great side dish!!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    I LOVE Charro Beans! I always order it as a side when eating Mexican

  • Reply
    Renee - Kudos Kitchen
    June 20, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    I love using canned beans and always have a nice selection in my pantry. Enough so that I think I can make your recipe tonight! Looks great!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    We love beans around here any time of the year. I love the fire roasted addition in there, such a nice layer of flavors.

  • Reply
    Chrisy @ Homemade Hooplah
    June 20, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    I’m the bean lover at my house so I’m TOTALY over the moon about this 😀 It’s like my perfect side dish to every meal. Love that you can make it with canned ingredients, too!

  • Reply
    Debra C.
    June 20, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Not much better than a pot a beans – love your recipe, looks just terrific!

  • Reply
    carrie @ frugal foodie mama
    June 21, 2016 at 5:51 am

    What great memories of cooking with your family! 🙂 And these beans look fabulous and so flavorful.

  • Reply
    Debra A Attinella
    June 21, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    I love family food memories – this dish looks great!

  • Reply
    Nutmeg Nanny
    June 24, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Beans are my ultimate bbq summer food! My hubs would go crazy over these!

  • Reply
    July 4, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    This bean dish was divine!! If by some miracle you have leftovers like we did, it took my last ditch effort dinner of baked potatoes the following day to a whole new level of YUM! Thanks Michelle!

  • Reply
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    May 5, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    5 stars
    I made these using dried pinto beans (about 1 3/4 cup) and slightly more than 2 cups water in the instant pot. Everyone commented on how good they were! This recipe is a keeper!

    • Reply
      Michelle De La Cerda
      May 6, 2019 at 5:04 pm

      I am happy to hear this worked well in the IP. I’ve not tried it that way! So glad they were enjoyed.

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    JoAnn Moreno
    May 23, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    5 stars
    These beans are fire! ???
    So delicious! I have been wanting to make homemade but I’m pregnant and impatient but didn’t wanna eat that nasty bean paste in a can. Thank you so much! ?

    • Reply
      Michelle De La Cerda
      May 27, 2020 at 4:57 am

      That makes me so happy to hear….I understand the pregnant and impatient but am pleased you enjoyed these.

  • Reply
    Rachel Nieto
    August 9, 2020 at 11:50 am

    5 stars
    This easy, time saving, tasteful recipe was a great addition to our fiesta meal (3-meat fajitas & Spanish rice)! I also added a small can of mild green chiles, and a few teaspoons of chili powder. Bam! Thanks Michelle for sharing!! You’re awesome!

  • Reply
    Heather Manz
    August 11, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    5 stars
    Easy, and delicious!!! Like the best restaurant charro beans you’ve ever had… At home!!! I didn’t have Rotel, so I used a can of diced green chili and a can of crushed tomatoes instead. Best recipe ever!!

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  • Reply
    February 26, 2022 at 3:21 pm

    5 stars
    Yuuuuummmmm!!!! Made this and it was soooo delicious!!! Just had to make a few tweaks because I did not have all the ingredients. I roasted my tomatoes on the stove fire and I used two tablespoons of tomato paste, I also roasted some sweet peppers as well as roasted and onion……it was superbly delectable!! Thanks for your awesome recipe!!!!

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