Borracho beans (also known as frijoles borrachos) is tender, seasoned pintos, crispy bacon, chili peppers, simmered together in beer. Make this recipe for a delicious side dish of Mexican drunken beans!
Whether you like pinto, white, kidney, navy, or black beans, there are many different ways to incorporate them into delicious and healthy meals for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Authentic refried beans are one of my favorite Mexican sides, and like today’s recipe, they’re made with pinto beans. As well as being a fantastic side, refried beans are great in a breakfast burrito, enchiladas, and of course refried bean dip.
This pinto bean recipe is seriously easy to make. Even better, legumes like this one are full of healthy nutrients, and they’re also high in fiber. This means, they keep you feeling full for longer than starchy sides like potatoes.
If you’re a regular reader of Kevin is Cooking, you might recall seeing a Mexican side dish recipe for charro beans not too long ago. The charro and borracho recipes do have similarities, but there are enough differences to make them both delicious in their own unique way. In other words, both recipes are worth making!
Borracho beans vs charro beans
Both of these Mexican bean recipes are made by simmering pinto beans. For borracho beans, the pintos are simmered in dark ale, which is why this dish is also known as drunken beans. The charro recipe calls for either water or beef stock.
Chorizo, boneless pork sirloin, and bacon are the protein sources in the charro beans recipe. As you might expect, that’s where the flavors of the dish come from. Meaty, smoky, and spicy.
Frijoles borrachos is made with Mexican seasonings, chili peppers, onion, and garlic. The flavor is primarily from the dark ale though. That being said, beans with bacon is a perfect combo, so I add crispy bacon to drunken beans as well.
This recipe is pretty versatile and adaptable, so it’s easy to substitute almost any of the ingredients. For example, if you are out of chili powder, you could make homemade chili powder, or use taco seasoning instead.
- Beans– If you aren’t a fan of pinto beans, this recipe should work with any dried bean that is similar in size.
- Bacon– This ingredient can be left out, or substitute it with turkey bacon or any other fatty pork, like a ham hock.
- Beer– The flavor of a dark ale works best for this dish, but feel free to use any type of beer or ale you prefer.
Borracho beans really should include beer, but understandably, some people either need or want to abstain from alcohol. In that case, if you’re able to use non-alcoholic beer, that’ll work.
NOTE REGARDING ALCOHOL
Keep in mind that alcohol evaporates at 172°F, and the temperature of liquid when it simmers is generally around 195°F. All that is left after evaporation is the flavor of the alcohol.
To see the process of making this Mexican beans recipe from start to finish, just scroll down to the recipe card and watch the video!
The photos below will give you an idea of just how simple the dish is to make. It’s just 3 simple steps!
Note and Tips For Making Frijoles Borrachos
- Soaking the Beans is Optional.
Many recipes that use dried beans will suggest soaking the beans in water for at least 8 hours before you begin preparing the recipe. In my experience, this is completely optional.
I made this recipe two ways. The first time, I soaked the beans for 8 hours, and the second time, I added them in without soaking. A few friends taste-tested both dishes side by side, and nobody was able to notice a difference.
However, soaking dried beans reduces the amount of raffinose, a carbohydrate in beans that tends to cause gas and bloat. (source)
- How to Thicken the Beans
I like borracho beans when they are extra saucy. For a thicker consistency, use a potato masher to smash some of the cooked pintos, then stir to combine.
- Adding More Protein
For a much heartier dish that could easily be served as a main course, feel free to add cubed or shredded cooked protein of your choice. Rotisserie chicken and pulled pork are both fantastic options.
- 1 lb dried pinto beans (See Note 1)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 3 slices bacon cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 1 jalapeño diced (or Serrano for spicier)
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 14 oz can diced tomatoes don’t drain
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 12 oz dark beer XX or Negra Modelo
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- (See note 1 regarding option to soak beans) Pick through and discard any debris from dried beans. Rinse the beans under cool water. Transfer the beans to a large pot or Dutch oven and cover with 8 cups of water.
- Bring beans to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 1 1/2 hours. Add salt and cook another 30 minutes, uncovered. Drain the cooked beans, transfer to a large bowl, and set aside.
- Add the bacon to the large pot or Dutch oven and render until crisp and brown. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and set aside, leaving bacon fat in the pot.
- Add the onion, jalapeno, garlic, tomatoes, and spices to bacon fat. Saute in the reserved bacon fat for 10 minutes. Add the cooked beans, half of the cooked bacon and dark beer, stirring to mix. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes (See Note 2). Season to taste.
- Before serving, stir in chopped cilantro and top each bowl of beans with remaining cooked bacon.
- Optionally, soak the pinto beans 8 hours before making this recipe. Using a recipe from Diana Kennedy I cooked the dried beans directly. It makes no difference texture wise, and in my taste test, nobody could tell the difference. What it does do: Soaking beans before cooking helps to remove some of those indigestible sugars that may cause flatulence.
- For thicker beans, use a potato masher and mash the beans several times and stir.
- This is also FANTASTIC with the addition of cubed rotisserie chicken.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.