Celebrating Cinco de Mayo! Frijoles Charros Recipe

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Disclosure: Thank you to El Monterey for sponsoring this post.  All opinions and content are my own.

One week until Cinco de Mayo!

Before you ask “What the heck is Cinco de Mayo celebrating anyway?” here is a little blurb about my favorite Mexican holiday:

Cinco de Mayo—or the fifth of May—commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations. Cinco de Mayo traditions include parades, mariachi music performances and street festivals in cities and towns across Mexico and the United States.

Visit History.com for more info on this festive day.

I know, I’m not Mexican. I don’t have any Mexican ancestry that I know of, and yet I look forward to Cinco de Mayo every year.

You see, I grew up celebrating Cinco de Mayo every year.  During my elementary K-8 school years, the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo) was a day all the kids at my school looked forward to.

For weeks beforehand we practiced traditional Mexican dances–my favorite was the Mexican Hat Dance or “Jarabe Tapatío“.  Our moms sewed us flowing skirts in the traditional Mexican style.

Frijoles Charros Recipe

On the night of Cinco de Mayo all of the school’s families would turn out for a giant potluck! With over 60% of our school’s families originally from Mexico we were sure to eat lots of amazing homemade traditional Mexican dishes!  My favorites were always the taquitos and tamales.  Mmmm….   We’d sit on the lawn, enjoy the live mariachi band, and eat until we couldn’t eat anymore.

Now I live in a place where the celebration of Mardi Gras far outshines that of Cinco de Mayo, but I still find it fun to get up a delicious meal to celebrate my favorite Mexican heritage holiday.  I can cook pretty killer tex-mex style dishes, but this year I wanted to go for a truly authentic Mexican dish.  I called up my little sis who served an 18 month Spanish speaking mission for our church and had her ask her friends their favorite party dishes for Cinco de Mayo.

Traditional Mexican Recipe, Frijoles Charros

Frijoles Charros is a popular, traditional Mexican dish.  It is substitution friendly, easy to make, and feeds a lot of people making this a perfect Cinco de Mayo dish.

Translated, frijoles charros means “Cowboy Beans”.  This particular Frijoles Charros recipe is fairly hands off and tastes delicious when done.  Generally the frijoles charros has a fairly soupy consistency.  I made mine a little less soupy than I’ve seen some.  You’re welcome to add as little or as much “soupiness” as you’d like.


cinco de mayo food - Frijoles Charros and El Monterey battered taquitos

Yields 10-15 servings

Frijoles Charros

30 minPrep Time

5 hrCook Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 1 1/2 lbs Mayocoba beans (you should be able to find these at most grocery stores)
  • 1/2 lb Bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 lb Ham, diced
  • 1/2 lb sausage
  • *Optional ingredients for those who want to be super authentic. I did NOT include these in my dish.
  • 1/2 lb Chorizo (I skipped out on the chorizo for mine because I couldn't find high quality chorizo and wasn't sure if I could stomach the stuff made of salivary glands and intestines. Eww.) If you can find chorizo made from good cuts of meat it will really help give your frijoles charros the flavor it should have.
  • 1/2 lb Chicharron
  • 2-3 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 2 white onions
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 tomatoes (medium)
  • 3 cloves garlic


  • Put beans and garlic in a large pot with enough water for the beans to expand--about 2 inches over the top of the beans.
  • Bring to a boil and boil for 60 to 90 minutes.
  • Drain the beans, discarding the water, and pour beans into a large crock pot.
  • Add new water to the beans in the crockpot, again covering with 2 additional inches of water.
  • To prepare the rest :
  • In a skillet , fry bacon cut into bits. When the bacon is ready, take it out, drain it (save the grease), and add to the pot of beans.
  • Take the bacon grease and use it to fry chorizo (if you are including it in your recipe). Add 1 chopped onion, sausage, and diced ham, and jalapenos.
  • Once all of this is cooked through add it to the crock pot of beans. Salt to taste.
  • In blender liquefy the 2 tomatoes, remaining onion, and ½ bunch cilantro. Add to the frijoles charros. You can add this towards the beginning or the end of the cooking process, it doesn't matter.
  • Cook approximately 4 hours on high.
  • Be sure to monitor the beans throughout the process to ensure that there is enough water. Frijoles Charros is supposed to have a soupy consistency.
  • Optional: Add chicharron (pork skin) during the last hour of cooking.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Cinco De Mayo Food ideas



About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

Amy is mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. Her family is a former military family now settled in Lehi, Utah. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for Amy to share parenting and product advice with others. Just as she has evolved, Oh So Savvy Mom has evolved into a resource for Healthy Living for Families, Food, Parenting, and Family Travel.


  1. I must find those taquitos and make your frijoles charros!!
  2. This frijoles charros look so good! Thank you for sharing your recipe.