Authentic Mexican Pinto Beans (Frijoles de la Olla)

Mexican Pinto Beans

Today, I learned how to make authentic Mexican Pinto Beans, aka, Frijoles de la Olla, which means, “Beans right out of the pot.”  This is extremely popular in Mexican cuisine and it’s ooooh so good!

Pinto beans are a very good source of fiber for lowering the cholesterol.   Also, the beans’ high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.

Pinto beans have a beige background strewn with reddish brown splashes of color; hence their name “pinto,” which in Spanish means “painted.” When cooked, their colored splotches disappear, and they become a pretty pink color.


2 bags (1 lb each) of dried pinto beans

4 large cloves of garlic

½ onion (large size) chopped

1/2 tsp of Chicken bouillon per cup of beans – my favorite brand is “Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base” in paste form


Optional – ham hock, side of bacon

Topping: Ground cotija cheese or shredded Monterey jack cheese

Serves 8

Rinse pinto beans

Place both bags of pinto beans in a large bowl.  Inspect the beans and get rid of any old one or rocks.  Rinse and squish the beans with your fingers several times to get rid of the dirt.  Rinse until the water is clear.

Soak the beans overnight in water to allow them to soften and to get the enzymes that causes gas to come out.Soak the Pinto beans

The next morning, rinse beans several times again.  You’re going to see that the water is cloudy at first, so that’s why you need to keep rinsing until the water become clear.

While you’re rinsing the beans, take a large pot (10 quarts) or larger and fill about half way and put the heat on high to boil the water.

Boil pot of water

Peel 4 large cloves of garlic and chop ½ of a large onion and add to the water.

Garlic and chopped onion in pot

Optional – this is the time when you can add ham hock or a side bacon to the water to add flavor to the beans and the broth.

Once the water starts to boil with the garlic and onion, add the beans.  Adding beans to the pot

Bring to a boilBring the water again to a boil and then simmer and cover the pot.  Simmer for about 2 ½ to 3 hours or until desired point of tenderness of the beans.

cover pot

About 30 minutes, before the beans are finished add about 1/2 teaspoon of chicken bouillon per cup of pinto beans to the water and mix.

After the pinto beans are done, scoop serving into a bowl with the broth and sprinkle some Mexican Cotija cheese.

Cotija cheese

This is a great side dish to a meal or you can put them in fresh tortillas and roll them up and eat them.

Mexican Pinto Beans

5 thoughts on “Authentic Mexican Pinto Beans (Frijoles de la Olla)

  1. It says in the direction, about 30 minutes before the beans are finished add about 1 teaspoon per cup of pinto beans to the water and mix. But it does not say what to add a teaspoon of?

    • Hi Kari, thank you so much for pointing out my error! It’s one teaspoon of chicken bouillon per cup of pinto beans. However, I’ve realized that this may make the beans too salty, so 1/2 teaspoon of the bouillon should suffice. I’ll correct the recipe. Thank you again and I hope you’ll enjoy this dish!

  2. It’s Frijoles de la Olla. Olla is pot 😉 Hoya means pit or hole in the earth

  3. I tried this yesterday, with the only modifications being use of of a smoked pork shank (vs. fresh ham hock) and the inclusion of two bay leaves. Outstanding results! I served it two ways: 1) in a bowl with the broth, including a sprinkling of cojita cheese and 2) as the sauce with penne rigate, including a sprinkling of pecorino Romano cheese. Thanks so much for taking the time to post the recipe, which I used as my guide.

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