Easy Cowboy Beans (Frijoles Charros)


This is a tasty, zesty side dish that can easily become a main meal. Serve soupy with warm flour tortillas or crusty bread, crumble corn bread on top, or scoop up with tortilla chips. Like mac and cheese, it's a great comfort food. It is easy to make because it doesn't require constant attention and is good for everything from a family meal to a football party. It can easily be doubled. Check flavor before serving and alter seasonings to taste if necessary. Top with more onion and cilantro as desired. If there are any leftovers, they hold up well and taste great the next day.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
6 servings


  • 2 (15.5 ounce) cans pinto beans, undrained

  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers (such as RO*TEL®), drained

  • 1 cup cubed cooked ham

  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • ground black pepper to taste

  • 1 dash hot sauce, or to taste


  1. Combine pinto beans, tomatoes with green chile peppers, ham, cilantro, red onion, garlic, black pepper, and hot sauce in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour.

Cook's Note:

This dish can also be made in a slow cooker.

One-half cup beer (dark Mexican beer like Negra Modelo(R) or Dos Equis(R) if possible) can be added to make borrachos (drunken beans).

Bacon and/or sausage can be added to make a heartier version.

Substitute 1 teaspoon minced garlic from the jar for fresh garlic cloves if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

194 Calories
5g Fat
25g Carbs
12g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 194
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 13mg 4%
Sodium 913mg 40%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 8g 27%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 14mg 68%
Calcium 79mg 6%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 503mg 11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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