Authentic Borracho Beans

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If you love Mexican cuisine, then you are going to want to have this recipe in your rotation, without a doubt.

The smell of these beans as they are simmering on your stove is intoxicatingly delicious. This makes sense since borracho beans translate to “drunken” beans. But don’t worry, they cook in just one bottle of beer. They are the perfect side dish for tacos, enchiladas, chicken molé, and more!

An overhead view of a large oval Dutch oven filled with borracho beans with a wooden spoon inserted into the middle of them.

How To Make Authentic Borracho Beans


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The Ingredients You Will Need

Just a handful of ingredients are slow-cooked for several hours to produce an amazingly deeply flavored pot of beans. Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:

Dried beans – Pintos are traditional, but you could substitute red kidney, cannelloni, or even black-eyed peas. Soaking them overnight is best, but see notes for expediting this.
Stock or broth – Chicken is what we use, but you could use vegetable or even beef broth or stock.
Mexican beer – We use Dos Equis, but other options include Modelo, Tecate, Corona, Victoria, or whatever beer you have on hand. You can omit the beer completely if desired and still get good flavor.
Water – You’ll add more water as the beans simmer for several hours.
Pork – Salt pork, ham bone, or ham hocks are all great choices.
Bacon – Thick cut is our favorite.
Onion -Chopped
Jalapeño peppers – Seeded and finely chopped. Leave some seeds in for a little extra heat.
Garlic – Minced.
Cilantro – Fresh is best. Chopped.
Tomatoes – Roughly chopped, they’ll completely cook down as they simmer.
Seasonings – Cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.

EXPERT TIP: Next time you have a bone-in ham, be sure to keep the ham bone and freeze it and then use it when making borracho beans. If you don’t have a ham bone, go with a salt pork from the grocery store, usually found near bacon and lunch meats in your local grocery store. See the NOTES about using a salt pork.

A person pouring a beer into a large Dutch oven filled with chicken stock and a ham bone.

Tips for Perfect Borracho Beans

Soak the Beans – Soaking them overnight ensures they cook evenly and become very tender.

Use a Quality Broth or StockHomemade broth or stock is best, but store-bought is perfectly fine. Just be sure to go with a quality brand. It makes a big difference.

Maintain a Soupy Consistency – As the beans simmer, much of the liquid will evaporate. This is normal, but you’ll need to add more water to maintain a somewhat soup consistency. See the video for visual reference.

EXPERT TIP: If you have a Hispanic market near you, seek out pork lard. It adds a depth of flavor to the beans that is truly authentic and incredibly tasty.

A person dumping sautéed onions and jalapeños into pot filled with chopped tomatoes, a hambone, and chicken stock.

How to Serve

As mentioned, these beans are a wonderful side dish to all of your favorite Mexican/Tex-Mex dishes.

We serve them in small cups, but any kind of bowl will work. Because they are soupy, they need some sort of a vessel to hold them in.

You can place the pot on the table with a ladle and let family and friends serve themselves, if desired.

To re-heat, simply heat over medium heat on the stove and add about another cup of water or broth. They are even better the next day!

A person using a ladle to transfer a helping of borracho beans into a small white cup filled with the beans.

Other Mexican or Tex-Mex Side Dish Recipes

No Mexican or Tex-Mex platter would be right without the classic sides. Here are some our favorites that are authentic and incredibly delicious:

Authentic Refried Beans
Slow-Cooked Mexican Black Beans
Mexican Rice
Cilantro-Lime Rice
Elote (Mexican Corn on the Cob)
Mexican-Style Cream Corn
Best-Ever Guacamole
Homemade Flour Tortillas

These are all amazing, for sure. But, these beans are about as yummy as they come and the perfect side dish.

An overhead view of a white platter filled with a serving of Mexican rice, grilled chicken, and a bowl of borracho beans surrounded by bowls of the same.

Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines are some of the most popular types of food in the world.

We love refried beans, especially when serving beef fajitas or chicken fajitas.

But there is something extra special about these borracho beans. They warm you to the bone, and are so delicious and filling, they can make a meal by themselves! Just serve with tortillas.

These are the real deal and your family will absolutely love them (and you!).

A close-up view of a white ceramic cup filled with a serving of borracho beans on a platter surrounded by rice and grilled chicken.

Ready to make the best beans this side of the Rio Grande? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of them, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

An overhead view of a large oval Dutch oven filled with borracho beans with a wooden spoon inserted into the middle of them.

Authentic Borracho Beans

These Borracho Beans are about as comforting of a pot of food as you'll ever make.  Warm, delicious, and wonderful any time of the year.  Allowing the beans overnight ensures they will cook evenly and be perfectly tender.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: TexMex / Mexican
Keyword: Borrocho beans, how to make borracho beans, slow-cooked beans
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Soak: 8 hours
Total Time: 11 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 341kcal


  • Large pot or Dutch oven 7 to 9 quart


  • 1 lb pinto beans dried
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bottle beer preferably Mexican, not dark
  • 2 cups water plus more as the beans simmer
  • 1 pound salt pork or ham bone or ham hocks, See NOTES
  • 6 slices bacon roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp pork lard optional
  • ½ cup cilantro fresh, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt See NOTES
  • 1 tsp black pepper


  • Soak the beans overnight.  The next day, drain and add beans into a large pot. 
  • Add the stock, beer, water, and salt pork (or ham bone) to the pot and simmer on low for 1½ hours.  Stir occasionally to prevent the beans from sticking to the bottom of the pot. 
  • Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove to a paper towel-line plate.
  • Pour out all but 2 tbsp of the bacon grease from the skillet and then heat over medium heat.
  • Add the onion, peppers and garlic and cook until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add to the simmering beans the cooked bacon and sautéed vegetables, along with the pork lard (if using), cilantro, tomatoes, cumin, oregano, black pepper, and salt (to taste). Simmer for another 1½ hours, or until the beans are tender. Stir occasionally and add more water to maintain a "soupy" consistency.


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel
If you forget to soak the beans overnight, you have two options:
  • Hot soak - Cover the beans with 10 cups of water in a large pot, and bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the beans sit for 4 hours. Then proceed with the recipe. 
  • Quick soak - Cover the beans with 6 cups of water in a large pot, and bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the beans sit for 1 hour. Then proceed with the recipe. 
If cooking with salt pork, be sure to taste the beans before adding salt. Some salt porks are very salty and others are not. If yours is salty, you may need to add very little salt. Add the salt near the end of the simmering process.
Pork lard adds an amazing depth of flavor and gives the beans a very authentic taste. Pork lard can be found at your local Hispanic food market. 
Reheat beans over medium heat on the stove and add more water or stock to reach the "soupy" consistency. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 6 to 7 days.  They freeze nicely for months. 


Calories: 341kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 712mg | Potassium: 342mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 376IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in August 2015 but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe and new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in September 2023!


  • 5 stars
    These are great beans! Thank you for the awesome recipe! One thing, tho….my pot of beans doesn’t look as dark as yours do. Mine is light in color…the same as the chicken stock. Wonder if yours has more depth of flavor…how did yours turn the darker shade? Anyway, I will definitely make again!

    • Hi Stacy! Yay!! We are so so happy you made the borracho beans and enjoyed them! You know, I’ve been making borracho beans and refried beans for years, and we’ve noticed that sometimes the beans turn very dark, and sometimes not at all. I’ve researched it quite a bit, and it seems like it’s the freshness of the bean. If it’s had a longer shelf life, the beans may turn darker. They’re still just as delicious and perfectly fine, just a slightly different shade of brown. I probably used chicken stock, rather than broth, that can also be deeper in color. Regardless…sounds like you made them perfectly! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing and for the wonderful review! That means the world to us!

  • 5 stars
    I make these every New Year’s Day! (Screw the black eyed peas!!) this Texas girl says this recipe is legit. I usually sub our leftover ham from thanksgiving or Christmas that I’ve frozen to use for this recipe. I also modify by throwing in crockpot so that I can just let it hang while I let my hangover (or not now that I have six year old twins) recuperate. Seriously love this with cornbread and dos xx. Can’t wait!! Happy new year!

    • Hi Fefe! Woo hoo! Sorry for the late response here but we LOVE that you make our borracho beans every New Year’s Day! PERFECTION! Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family! Stay in touch!!!! xoxo Kris & Wesley

  • Could these beans be done in a slow cooker?
    Every recipe of yours that I’ve tried is delicious.
    I especially love your chicken tortilla soup!
    Thanks guys and Merry Christmas

    • Hi Mary! You absolutely could do these in your slow cooker. Place the beans with water and beer in slow cooker. Saute as directed in the recipe, add everything into the pot and cook on LOW for 8 hours. Let us know if you make them and how they turn out!! Merry Christma. !!! Kris & Wesley

      • 5 stars
        Thanks so much. I’m not making them until Christmas Eve day but I’ll let you know how they turn out!

      • 5 stars
        Happy New Year!
        I didn’t use my crockpot like I’d planned so I cooked them following your recipe and these came out great! With the little amount I had leftover I made bean dip that was fabulous.
        Thanks again for another yummy recipe!

      • Woo hoo!! That sounds fantastic, Mary! We are so so happy you had success with the beans, and bean dip sounds AMAZING! YUM!! Thanks so much for letting us know and for the wonderful review! That means the world to us! Kris & Welsey

  • I made the beans almost exactly as the recipe called. The salt pork came in a 12 oz. pack so I added 3 more slices of bacon to make up for this. After the beans were cooked long enough to eat, I tasted them and put a few in a small bowl. Once I did that I added another 12 ounces of beer, then doubled the cilantro and finally a second teaspoon of Mexican oregano. After each addition, I took a small sample in a bowl to taste. Four bowls later, I decided that I liked the double beer, double cilantro and double oregano version the best (for my taste). I do beleave that next time I will probably only add 6 ounces or less salt pork as my beans were VERY salty. This was with only 12 ounces of salt pork instead of 1 pound and no additional salt. GREAT job on the recipe!!! I will make it again with my mods. and very little salt pork

    • Hi Bob!! All sounds good!! That’s true about the salt pork, some you pick up from the store are highly salty, and others not so much. We are thrilled that you kept playing with the beans and found the perfect combination of ingredients for your liking. That’s what it’s all about!! Thank you for sharing! We appreciate that very much!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • Hi my new fab friends! Question please, on the Borracho Beans will eliminating salt pork kill the recipe? Can I sub it? I’m in Newport Beach, CA and just can’t seem to find it.



    • Hi Dee! Sorry for the delayed response! Sure, you can omit the salt pork, no problem, it will still be delicious. You may need to increase the amount of salt, though. The beans can take a lot of salt. Taste to your own liking. We hope you like them as much as we do!! Let us know!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

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