Home » Recipes » Soup & Sides » Frijoles de la Olla

Frijoles de la Olla

This Mexican beans recipe is as simple as it gets. Make a hearty pot of frijoles de la olla just like my Mexican grandmother used to do, then use them in all sorts of delicious ways!

Frijoles de la Olla in a pot

When I was growing up my Nana always had a pot of frijoles de la olla simmering on the stove. We didn’t have much by way of money, but with my grandmother’s cooking knowledge and my uncles’ hunting skill, us kids never really thought about it. As far as we were concerned, our bellies were full and we had plenty! Nana was a genius with Mexican beans and could use them in so many ways you’d never realize you were eating beans every day.

To this day the smell of frijoles de le olla cooking in the kitchen brings back wonderful memories. You can eat a big bowl of frijoles by themselves or serve them as a side with many kinds of foods. You can even turn them into refried beans (frijoles refritos).

What Are Frijoles de la Olla?

“Frijoles de la Olla” is Spanish for “beans in a pot.” This refers to the way the beans are cooked – in a big pot that is simmered on the stove until the pinto beans are tender and the broth is full of flavor.

Frijoles de la olla are extremely nutritious. The pinto beans are loaded with nutrients, an excellent source of fiber, and rich in antioxidants. If you serve frijoles with rice, it also forms a complete protein. Beans and rice alone each lack certain essential amino acids, but when you eat them together each contributes what the other is missing to make a complete protein.

Rinsing pinto beans in a colander

Simple Ingredients

You only need a few simple ingredients to make frijoles de la olla. Here is a quick overview, but be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for specific amounts.

  • Olive oil
  • Yellow Onion – You are only to use one whole onion, thinly sliced. By the time the beans have finished cooking the onion will have dissolved into the broth.
  • Dried pinto beans
  • Kosher salt

How to Make Frijoles de la Olla

Here is how to make frijoles de la olla just like my grandmother used to do:

  • Clean the beans. Sort through your beans for any bits of rock. Rinse and drain twice.
  • Cook. Fill a large pot with water, leaving about 2 inches of room at the top. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the sliced onion and the rinsed beans. Bring to a boil and cook over medium high heat for 2 hours, checking periodically and adding water as needed so that the water level remains about the same. Stir occasionally.
  • Check for doneness. Remove a small spoonful of beans and gently blow on them. If the skin on the beans peels back, they are done. (If the skin doesn’t peel back cook for another 15 minutes and test again.) Add 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and cook for 15 more minutes. Taste and adjust salt if needed.

Why Do Bags of Dry Pinto Beans Have Rocks in Them?

Beans are planted in the spring and yield the bulk of their harvest in the fall. After the stalks are cut for the harvest, they are allowed to dry in the field. That’s why you will often find small stones in dry bags of pinto beans. When the stalks are gathered up and processed, the machines can’t remove the stones without also removing the dry pinto beans.

Cooked frijoles de la olla on a wooden spoon

Ways to Use Them

There are many, many ways to use Mexican beans. I’m going to list out some of my favorites below and will come back and link to the recipes as I add them to the site. 🙂

  • Hot dogs. I know this sounds unconventional, but this was literally one of my favorite ways to eat frijoles de la olla growing up. Cut a hot dog into cubes, then fry them up in a bit of olive oil or butter. Spoon the cooked hot dog pieces into a bowl of steaming frijoles and dig in.
  • Bacon. Instead of frying hot dogs, fry up a few pieces of bacon, let them drain on a paper towel and then cut each slice into pieces. Add to a bowl of beans. You can serve a warm flour or corn tortilla on the side, rolled up with a bit of cheese in the middle.
  • Mexican rice. A classic pairing! I love serving frijoles with a scoop of Instant Pot Mexican rice.
  • Tacos. Beans go with pretty much any kind of taco. My favorites are quesabirria tacos, carne asada tacos or simple ground beef tacos.
  • Quesadillas or Mulitas. Serve the beans on the side, or add them with the other fillings as shown in the mulitas recipe.
  • Enchiladas. Serve them with these black bean enchiladas, these avocado enchiladas or these beef birria enchiladas.
  • Flautas. Frijoles are wonderful with crispy black bean flautas, or beef birria flautas.
  • Burritos. You can serve beans on the side with burritos, or add them to the burrito filling. As I write this I’m realizing I don’t have any burrito recipes on this site! Going to fix that. 🙂
  • Refried beans. You can also turn these frijoles into refried beans, which are called frijoles refritos in Spanish .

How to Store and Reheat Extras

  • Fridge: Let the beans cool and then transfer them to an airtight container and store them in the fridge. They will keep for 4-5 days.
  • Freezer: After they have cooled, transfer the beans to an airtight, freezer-safe container. Make sure you leave 1-inch of room at the top of the container so that the beans can expand as they freeze. They will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge when you want to use them.
  • To reheat: You can reheat beans in a microwave safe bowl or on the stovetop over medium-low heat. The amount of time required will depend on how much you are trying to warm up at once. If you’re using the microwave, I recommend warming single servings at a time and pausing halfway through to give everything a good stir and make sure the food reheats evenly.
Print

Frijoles de la Olla

Frijoles de la Olla in a pot
Save Recipe

This Mexican beans recipe is as simple as it gets. Make a hearty pot of frijoles de la olla just like my Mexican grandmother used to do, then use them in all sorts of delicious ways!

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 5-6 servings
  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 23 cups of dried pinto beans, depending on how large your pot is
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Instructions

Clean the beans. Sort through your beans for any bits of rock. Rinse and drain twice.

Cook. Fill a large pot with water, leaving about 2 inches of room at the top. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the sliced onion and the rinsed beans. Bring to a boil and cook over medium high heat, uncovered, for 2 hours, checking periodically and adding water as needed so that the water level remains about the same. Stir occasionally.

Check for doneness. Remove a small spoonful of beans and gently blow on them. If the skin on the beans peels back, they are done. (If the skin doesn’t peel back cook for another 15 minutes and test again.) Add 1 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 15 more minutes. Taste and adjust salt if needed.

Keywords: frijoles de la olla, mexican beans, how to cook pinto beans

Did you make this recipe?

Ask a Question or Rate this Recipe

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating