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Borracho Beans

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
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Borracho Beans

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Tender and creamy Borracho beans (Frijoles Borrachos) are an easy Mexican side dish recipe of pinto beans simmered in a flavorful beer broth. These beans are great as an easy side dish, or delicious as a main dish served with tortillas.

The recipe starts with dried pinto beans which give the recipe the perfect texture. Simmer the soaked beans with bacon, onion, and spices until creamy and you’ve got an easy and delicious side dish. If you love beans, bacon and beer, then you’re going to love this one-pot recipe!

One Pot Borracho Beans Recipe

Whenever I’m grilling up some Pollo Asado or Cilantro Lime Chicken, I want a delicious side to serve and these borracho beans are perfect! They’re packed with flavor, make great meal prep, and freeze easily.

This is another side dish recipe for my Summer Sides Series that I turn to over and over again. I absolutely adore beans and this easy recipe for borracho beans is packed with flavor. It’s the perfect side dish recipe for a backyard bbq!

If you plan to grill up some tacos this summer, borracho beans are the perfect side dish. They are a staple in our household and once you try this recipe, it’ll be one in yours too!

Check out all my delicious side dish recipes for all your summer BBQ needs!

Authentic Borracho Beans

What are Borracho Beans?

Borracho beans, or “drunken” beans, are a traditional Mexican and Southern Texan recipe. Pinto beans are cooked in a savory broth made with beer and flavored with bacon, onion, tomato, and cilantro.

Borracho beans can be served as a main dish with tortillas, a side dish alongside recipes like carne asada, or served as a dip with warm tortilla chips. However you serve them, they’re delicious!

Borracho beans vs Charro beans

So how are borracho beans different than charro beans? They’re both extremely similar, but only borracho beans are simmered in beer.

Charro beans follow a similar recipe method, but without any alcohol. They’re instead cooked in chicken stock or beef broth.

Don’t let this recipe fool you! While the beans are “drunken”, they definitely won’t get you buzzed as the alcohol cooks out while simmering and only leaves behind a delicious and savory flavor.

Borracho Beans

How to Make Borracho Beans

Borracho beans are so easy to make any time of year, but I recommend investing in a dutch oven which is my go-to kitchen cookware for soups, stews, and braises. It’s a workhorse in my kitchen and probably my most used kitchen tool!

Tools Needed

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Pinto beans. Dried pinto beans really make all the difference in this recipe. Scroll down for instructions on making this recipe with canned beans.
  • Bacon. Bacon adds a smoky flavor and is essential to this recipe. You could skip it to make this recipe vegetarian, but I recommend adding a bit of liquid smoke to make up for it.
  • Onion. Yellow or white onion is classic here, but you could also use red onion if that’s what you have.
  • Jalapeño. A bit of jalapeño adds the perfect touch of heat. For even less spice, leave the seeds out.
  • Spices. Cumin, dried oregano, and ancho chile powder add all the Mexican flavor. Don’t forget a couple of bay leaves!
  • Dark lager. I like using Negro Modelo here as dark beer is classic. Just be sure to use a flavorful lager-style beer without a strong hop presence.
  • Chicken broth. I always have some homemade chicken stock on hand for recipes like this, but you could sub in water or vegetable broth.
  • Chicken bouillon. A cube of chicken bouillon is my secret weapon for boosting flavor.
  • Pico de gallo. Stirring in some pico de gallo at the end adds so much freshness to the beans. You can use homemade or store bought pico de gallo.

The Process

  1. Soak the beans. Place the beans in a mesh strainer and rinse them well. Remove any discolored or broken beans and any rocks that may have made their way into the bag. Place the beans in a large mixing bowl or container and cover with at least 3 inches of cold water. Stir in 1 tablespoon of kosher salt until dissolved. Soak 8 hours or overnight at room temperature.
  2. Cook the bacon. Add the diced bacon to a large dutch oven over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crispy and the fat has been rendered.
  3. Saute the aromatics. Increase the heat on the pot to medium and add the onion and diced jalapeño. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the onion is starting to soften. Add the minced garlic, chile powder, cumin, and oregano and cook for 1 minute more.
  4. Simmer the beans. Drain and rinse the soaked beans and add them to the pot with the beer, chicken stock or water, and bouillon. Season with salt and pepper and cover. Simmer on medium-low heat for 90 minutes, then remove the lid, and simmer for 30 more minutes, until thick. Be sure to stir occasionally to keep the beans from sticking.
  5. Mix the pico. If you’re making homemade pico de gallo, mix all the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl and stir well. Make at least 1 hour before using.
  6. Finish the beans. Once the beans are creamy and tender, season to taste with any additional salt and pepper. Stir in 1 cup of the pico de gallo. Transfer the borracho beans to a serving bowl and top with additional pico de gallo and chopped cilantro.

Making Borracho Beans with Canned Beans

While this recipe is so much better and more flavorful when made with dried beans, you can make borracho beans with canned pinto beans. To make this recipe with canned pinto beans:

  1. Start with 4 – 15 oz cans of pinto beans. Drain and rinse the beans in a colander or mesh strainer.
  2. Add the beans to the pot, but only add 12 oz of beer and 2 cups of broth.
  3. Cover the beans and simmer for 20 minutes, then uncover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. The beans will likely be thinner than their dried counterpart, so I recommend mashing them just a bit to get a thicker texture.

Storage Instructions

Borracho beans are great for meal prep and you can easily store and freeze them. If you have leftover beans, let them cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

To reheat the beans: Add them to a small saucepan or pot and bring them to a gentle simmer. If they’re thick, add a little broth or water to thin them out to your desired consistency.

To freeze borracho beans: If I’m planning to freeze a portion of these beans, I refrain from adding the fresh pico de gallo to the portion that I’m freezing. I find that the fresh tomatoes don’t hold up well to freezing.

Store the cooled beans in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. Press out as much of the air as possible and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating and adding pico de gallo.

Borracho Beans

What to Serve with Borracho Beans

While you can serve borracho beans as a main dish with warm tortillas on the side, I prefer serving it as a side dish in place of refried beans. Some of my favorite dishes to serve with borracho beans are:


Borracho Beans are a must for any backyard bbq or taco party! It’s an easy one pot recipe for a Mexican side dish that all your guests will love. If you do give them a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. Be sure to subscribe to my weekly newsletter and never miss a new recipe! You can also snap a photo & tag @JENNYGOYCOCHEA on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your SMF creations!

More Summer Side Dish Recipes

Skillet Cornbread
Italian Grinder Pasta Salad
Mom’s Classic Potato Salad Recipe
Dressed Up Baked Beans

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Borracho Beans
Main Dishes, Side Dish

Authentic Borracho Beans (Frijoles Borrachos)

Tender and creamy Borracho beans (Frijoles Borrachos) are an easy Mexican side dish recipe of pinto beans simmered in a flavorful beer broth. These beans are great as an easy side dish, or delicious as a main dish served with tortillas.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Makes: 10 servings

Ingredients

Borracho Beans

  • 1 lb. dried pinto beans
  • 6 strips bacon, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 24 oz (2 bottles) dark lager like Negro Modelo*
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • kosher salt

Pico de Gallo

  • 1/4 white onion, finely diced
  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeño, diced
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • 2 limes, juiced

Instructions

  • Soak the beans. Place the beans in a mesh strainer and rinse them well. Remove any discolored or broken beans and any rocks that may have made their way into the bag. Place the beans in a large mixing bowl or container and cover with at least 3 inches of cold water. Stir in 1 tablespoon of kosher salt until dissolved. Soak 8 hours or overnight at room temperature.
  • Cook the bacon. Add the diced bacon to a large dutch oven over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crispy and the fat has been rendered.
  • Saute the aromatics. Increase the heat on the pot to medium and add the onion and diced jalapeño. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the onion is starting to soften. Add the minced garlic, chile powder, cumin, and oregano and cook for 1 minute more.
  • Simmer the beans. Drain and rinse the soaked beans and add them to the pot with the beer, chicken stock or water, and bouillon. Season with salt and pepper and cover. Simmer on medium-low heat for 90 minutes, then remove the lid, and simmer for 30 more minutes, until thick. Be sure to stir occasionally to keep the beans from sticking.
  • Mix the pico de gallo. If you're making homemade pico de gallo, mix all the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl and stir well. Make at least 1 hour before using.
  • Finish the beans. Once the beans are creamy and tender, season to taste with any additional salt and pepper. Stir in 1 cup of the pico de gallo. Transfer the borracho beans to a serving bowl and top with additional pico de gallo and chopped cilantro.

Notes

You can make this recipe gluten-free by swapping in gluten-free beer or omitting the beer and adding more stock in its place.

Nutrition

Calories: 260kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 13gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 375mgPotassium: 792mgFiber: 8gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 517IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 70mgIron: 3mg

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5 from 38 votes (34 ratings without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    This looks delicious and simple! As a vegetarian, I plan on leaving out the bacon but adding liquid smoke for the flavor. Thanks so much!

  2. 5 stars
    WOW! I really think its the beer that makes this! I love drinking my beer, never cooked with beer so I had to try this. The dish was soooo good! Easy one pot meal, yum!