Frijoles de la Olla (Mexican Beans)

Prep 15 mins
Cook 2 hrs
Add'l 6 hrs
Total 8 hrs 15 mins
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Once you try these easy Frijoles de la Olla, all your pots will be filled with Mexican beans from now on. Simmered until soft and tender, this soupy side is hearty, healthy, and loaded with flavorful possibilities.

Easy Mexican Beans

Simmered until perfectly tender, these easy Mexican beans are the side dish your weekday menu was missing. Made with only 5 staple ingredients, you won’t even need to worry about going grocery shopping throughout the week.

There’s no going wrong with this recipe when the “hardest” thing about it is cleaning the beans and letting them soak overnight. After that, throw everything into the pot and let time do its thing. With hints of onion and garlic, each bowl is soupy, simple, and extremely flavorful.

For the full Mexican experience, don’t forget to add diced onions, cilantro, and chicharron for crunch. They’re fuss-free, healthy, and hearty— perfect to fuel your days and kickstart your lunch menu. Once they’re out of the pot, they’ll be hands-down the best frijoles de la olla you’ve tried.

Two bowls of Mexican beans with diced onion and cilantro on top.

What Are Frijoles de la Olla?

Frijoles are a traditional Mexican bean soup made with very simple ingredients like beans, onion, and garlic. Depending on the region, sometimes herbs like cilantro or epazote will be added for extra flavor. For the most part, they’re considered a side dish and are a staple in many households. Despite their simplicity, they’re very comforting and packed with all the protein needed to get through the day.

What Does Frijoles de la Olla Mean?

The name translates to “beans made in a pot” or “beans from the pot,” both referring to the traditional clay pot they’re usually cooked in. Regardless of the kind of pot they’re made in, frijoles de la olla are synonym for a pot of simple, soupy beans.

Dried beans in a bowl with salt, water and onion in separate bowls.

Recipe Ingredients

You only need 5 ingredients to make these Mexican beans. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.

  • Bayo beans – This is a Mexican bean variety, but if you can’t find Bayo beans, dried pinto beans are a great substitue. Feel free to also use black or kidney beans if you prefer.
  • Water – Veggie broth works too.
  • White onion – Yellow onion is fine too, but you do not want to use red onion for this.
  • Garlic cloves – Substitute them for 1 teaspoon garlic powder if needed.
  • Salt

What Are The Best Beans To Use?

Mexican bean varieties like Bayo and Flor de Mayo will yield the most authentic results, but feel free to use pinto beans, black beans, or red kidney beans.

How to Make Frijoles de la Olla

Mexican beans are quite easy to make. All you have to do is clean, soak, and simmer them.

  • Clean the beans. Spread the beans on a baking sheet, container, or clean surface. Pick out any debris, pebbles, dirt, or badly bruised beans. Discard them and only keep the nice ones. Rinse and drain them. Set them aside.
  • Soak the beans. Place the rinsed beans in a large container and cover them with water. Make sure they’re submerged by at least 3″. Leave them away from any sunlight, otherwise, they could go bad. Soak the beans overnight.
A wooden spoon scooping Mexican beans out of a pot.
  • Fill the pot. Drain the beans and rinse them really well. Add them to a large pot with the white onion and garlic. Pour in the 7 cups of water. Season with salt.
  • Simmer the beans. Bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Then, reduce it to medium-low. Cover the pot and let them simmer for 1-3 hours or until the beans are fork-tender. You can also do it with an uncovered pot but the trapped steam helps them cook more evenly.
  • Serve. Remove the onion and garlic. Season with more salt to taste. Serve them warm or use them to make frijoles refritos. Enjoy.
Two bowls of Frijoles de la Olla with two forks and fresh cilantro.

Tips for Success

Follow these tips to make Mexican beans like a true local:

  • Add a pinch of baking soda. Mixing 1/2-1 teaspoon of baking soda into the pot will help soften the beans as they cook.
  • Avoid high heat. Cooking them over high heat won’t work. They’ll turn out hard, unevenly cooked, and most likely burned. You need to cook them over low heat.
  • Blend them. Add 1-2 scoops of beans to the blender. Process them until they’re completely smooth. Pour the blended beans back into the pot and mix. This will help thicken the beans and create a thicker, more stew-like texture.
  • Make them spicy. Add 2-3 dried chiles de arbol to the pot as the beans are boiling to give them a spicy kick.
  • Add herbs. Fresh cilantro and epazote are the most common. You don’t need to chop them, so feel free to throw them in whole. Be careful with epazote because it’s got a very potent flavor. You only need 2-3 leaves per pound of beans.

Serving Suggestions

These Mexican beans are traditionally topped with diced onions, cilantro, and even crumbled chicharron. Usually served on the side, there’s lots of room for creativity when it comes to mains. Try them with my tacos, carne asada, enchiladas, chiles rellenos with red rice, or your favorite Mexican dishes.

I doubt there’ll be any leftovers, but just in case, you can use them to make refried beans, Mexican bean dip and enfrijoladas (they’re like enchiladas with a bean-based sauce.)

Frijoles de la Olla in a bowl with onion, cilantro and seasonings on top.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

Refrigerate any cooled leftover beans in an airtight container for up to 5 days. To reheat them, pop them into the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until warm. You can also heat them in a pot over medium heat, stirring for 4-5 minutes or until warm.

You can also freeze them. Once cooled, transfer them to a freezer-friendly bag or container (with their broth). Freeze for up to 3 months. Transfer them to the fridge a day before serving and then reheat them as usual.

More Authentic Mexican Dishes

Yield: 6 servings

Frijoles de la Olla (Mexican Beans)

A bowl of Frijoles de la Olla with onion and cilantro on top.

These easy frijoles de la olla will have all your pots filled with Mexican beans from now on. Served warm, it's a hearty and comforting side.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Additional Time 6 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 13 oz dried *Bayo beans, uncooked
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 small white onion, quartered
  • 2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • Water, for soaking

Instructions

    1. Spread the beans out on a baking sheet, container, or clean surface. Pick out any debris, pebbles, dirt, or badly bruised beans. Discard them.
    2. Place the beans in a large container and cover them with water. Make sure they're submerged by at least 3". Leave them in a cool, dry place away from any sunlight. Soak them overnight, or for at least for 6 hours.
    3. Drain the beans and rinse them really well. Add them to a large pot with the white onion and garlic. Pour in the 7 cups of water. Season with salt.
    4. Bring the beans to a boil over medium-high heat. Then, reduce it to medium-low. Let them simmer for 1-3 hours or until the beans are fork-tender.
    5. Remove the onion and garlic. Season with more salt to taste. Serve them warm or use them to make frijoles refritos. Enjoy.

Notes

*Bayo Beans - If you can't find dried Bayo Beans, you can also use dried pinto beans!

Storage: Refrigerate any cooled leftover beans in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Reheat: To reheat them, pop them into the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until warm. You can also heat them in a pot over medium heat, stirring for 4-5 minutes or until warm.

Freeze: Once cooled, transfer them to a freezer-friendly bag or container (with their broth). Freeze for up to 3 months. Transfer them to the fridge a day before serving and then reheat them as usual.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 62Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 805mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 3g

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Welcome!

Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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