Tender and filling, these Borracho Beans, also known as Drunk Beans, are an easy to make Tex Mex side! Pinto beans are slow simmered in a flavorful broth made of bacon, onion, tomato, spices and beer! Serve these beans alongside your favorite tacos or with some fresh homemade flour tortillas.
All about these beans..
- What are they? Borracho beans or Frijoles Barrachos translates to Drunken Beans or Drunk Beans. These beans are simmered in a dark mexican beer instead of just water or broth to help give flavor.
- Easy to make: starting from dried beans does take longer, but it’s hands off soaking and simmering time to ensure a flavorful broth. The steps are easy and the recipe comes together with pantry ingredients.
- The perfect side dish: this is a great side dish option for all of your favorite Tex Mex and Mexican meals!
Notes on Some Ingredients:
- Pinto Beans: using dried beans gives a creamier, more flavorful finished dish. But it does take longer due to the soaking and cooking of the beans. If needed you can make this recipe using canned beans, instructions are detailed below.
- Jalapeno: this can be substituted for any other green chile or pepper of choice.
- Beer: use a dark lager, avoid using lighter sour beers.
How to Make Borracho Beans(step-by-step)
- Prepare your beans: if using dried beans, soak them overnight then drain. Add to a large pot or dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium allowing the beans to simmer for about 2 hours. They should be tender and cooked through. If using canned, then drain and rinse first before using.
- Step 1: Cook the bacon, then remove the bacon and saute the vegetables in the bacon grease.
- Step 2: Make Broth, add beans and remaining ingredients to create a thick, flavorful broth while the beans continue to cook.
- Step 3: Simmer, let the beans simmer another 20 minutes. Then add the bacon back in and add toppings.
- You can change up the type of pepper you are using. I like to use Poblano peppers, you can also use jalapeño peppers, or even a Serrano pepper if you want a bit more heat.
- Add fresh diced tomatoes if desired. Let them simmer with the beans to soften.
- You can use any beer you prefer. A dark beer is going to give a deeper, more savory flavor to the beans. I typically grab a Shiner Bock or Negra Modelo. I would advise against using a lighter, sour beer.
- If more liquid is desired, you can add more beer, water or some chicken broth to the pot while the beans cook.
- The beer is simmered, meaning the alcohol amount will be reduced not eliminated. The amount it reduces is determined by how long you allow it to simmer. Please use your own discretion in serving these beans.
These are two very similar bean recipes, the main difference will be the addition of beer to the broth.
Yes you can, simply drain and rinse the beans and continue the recipe from step 4.
Some of the alcohol will cook out, but not all of it. For further information here is an interesting article. Please use caution with this recipe if you are needing to avoid alochol. If needed you can make a pot of Charro Beans instead.
What to serve with these Borracho Beans:
These pinto beans are the perfect side for tacos and enchiladas!
Borracho Beans (Frijoles Borrachos)
- 1 lb pinto beans , notes below on using canned beans
- 8 cups water
- 2 bayleaves
- 5 slices bacon, uncooked
- 1 jalapeno, seeds & membranes removed, diced
- ½ cup onion , diced
- 4 cloves garlic , minced
- 12 ounces beer, Shiner Bock or Negra Modelo
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 (14 ounce can) diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup Cilantro, diced
- lime juice
- Soak Beans: Sort through the beans, then pour into a colander and rinse off. Add the beans to a large bowl and cover with water. Set aside to soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. After they have doubled in size, drain the excess water and rinse the beans off.
- Cook Beans: Add the beans to a large pot or dutch oven and cover with water, about 8 cups, enough to cover by 2 inches. Add the bayleaves. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium allowing the beans to simmer for about 2 hours. Beans should be tender and cooked through.
- Drain: Drain the beans, reserving about 1/3 a cup of the bean broth from cooking the beans, and set aside. Rinse out the pot and wipe dry.
- Cook Bacon: Heat the large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside. Drain the grease, reserving 1 tablespoon in the pot.
- Cook veggies: Add the diced onion and jalapeno. Cook until the onion and jalapeno are soft and tender. Add in the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
- Make Broth: Add in the pinto beans, reserved broth, beer, diced tomatoes, oregano, cumin, chili powder and salt.
- Simmer: Bring to a simmer, let the beans simmer covered for about 15-20 minutes over medium heat.
- Add Bacon: stir in the bacon and diced cilantro before serving.
- Pinto Beans: recipe can be made using four 14 ounce cans of pinto beans. Skip soaking the beans and precooking the beans. Proceed to step 4 with cooking the bacon.
- Jalapeno: use any kind of Chile you would prefer, poblano will have a milder heat, Serrano would give more heat.
- Beer: use a dark beer, either a Shiner Bock or Negra Modelo.
- Omit the beer: If you don’t want to add alcohol, make charro beans instead.
- Vegetarian/Vegan Borracho Beans: leave out the bacon and substitute with additional vegetables as desired: bell peppers, diced tomatoes, celery.
- To make ahead: Prepare the dry pinto beans by soaking and cooking, then storing in a sealed container 2-3 days in advance. The completed recipe can be made 2-3 days in advance and stored in a sealed container in the fridge. Reheat on stovetop over low heat.
- To freeze: Once the beans are cool store them in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat on the stovetop.
Recipe first published on September 20, 2019. Updated July 9, 2021 with new images and information. Recipe is unchanged.
Photography done by the talented @KJandCompany.co
I would say these beans are a really good base. I did use a crock pot, omitted bacon to keep vegetarian. I used a can of mild chili and tomatoes like Rotel as I didn’t have a jalapeno I would have to agree with the person that said they had to increase the seasoning thought they were pretty bland. We will definitely make again
If I were to use canned pinto beans, what would I do for step 6 where it says to add in some broth? Would I reserve some of the juice from the can?
The juice from the beans will have a lot of starch and sodium. I would advise using some chicken broth or vegetable broth instead.
I’m originally from southwest Texas and grew up in a household where mom made fresh tortillas every morning and made all sorts of Tex-Mex dishes. I thought I had figured out Frijoles Borachos, until I found your recipe! I’ve made this recipe over 5 times now and nothing else compares! (I would never tell my mom that!!) I’m the biggest fan of the bacon in the recipe as it adds such a richness to all the blended flavors. I recently cooked for a family gathering in San Antonio and was able to impress the guests with these frijoles!
Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe!
Our new favorite way to make beans. Perfect every time. They are delicious!
Thank you for giving us such a lovely recipies. All your recipies are so healthy and tasty.
Love this recipe, I have made it several ways depending on my pantry, but always good .. Thank You
Awesome recipe I had to adapt I didn’t use beer.
In what world do these instructions work? I soaked the beans for x3 the time and had to triple everything aside from the beans. Some of which I had to throw out. They have also been cooking for 4x the recommended time and are still not soft beans.
Hi Samantha. I’m not understanding you. You soaked the beans for 3 nights? They would definitely have started sprouting by then if left in water that long. Also, dried beans do need to cook longer than canned beans. If your beans never soften though, they are most likely old. Beans that have been dried and stored for awhile, either by you or the store, will remain tough and won’t soften.
In the future, try not to just assume their is something wrong with the directions (especially when no one else seemed to have problems.) It will save you embarrassment in the long run. Even if there was something wrong with the directions, you could have been a lot nicer!
The directions say if using dried beans to soak overnight and then increase cooking time to 60 minutes. Did you do that?
I am also lost about you soaking your beans 3x extra – that seems weird.
Old beans are the culprit here,there is nothing wrong with the recipe as written.Try again with good quality beans like Rancho Gordo and don`t give up you will be successful.
Although I’ve been told for years that cooking destroys alcohol, after looking around on a number of sites, it appears that there is some disagreement about alcohol remaining in cooked products. Simmering dried beans is going to produce a longer cooking time and burn off more than this recipe that uses canned beans where it appears that up to 40% of the alcohol will remain after 20 minutes at a near boiling temp. Shiner bock has 4.4% alcohol, and a 60% reduction of that 12 oz bottle leaves about 2.5%. But although this recipe doesn’t specify the number of servings, we’re talking about 45 oz of beans, between 4-8 oz pepper, onion, and bacon, and 12 oz of liquid–I’m thinking that even allowing for some evaporation, 55-62 oz is going to provide 12-14 half cup servings. That leaves a mere trace of alcohol per serving, so small that even following guidelines for feeding toddlers isn’t an issue. It’s certainly too small an amount to taste, and likely about the same amount you would pick up in a fruit salad that sat at room temp for a couple of hours and produced a trace of natural fermentation. That said, a healthy dose of jalapeno, or even poblano, is going to discourage the kids in my family from eating more than a few spoonfuls, and the adults will love an authentic taste of Texas.
oh wow, finally, I found the vegan recipe with full of protein like pork or beef.
Thanks for sharing.