Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Frijoles de la Olla {Cooked Beans}

Beans are the most important part of the Mexican diet. If you were to walk into an average home here in Mexico, I'm sure you would find cooked beans in the fridge. Cooked beans are known as "Frijoles de la Olla" (beans from the pot).

Frijoles are rich in protein and iron. It's no wonder that bean broth is the first food offered to infants in Mexico.

But beans aren't exclusive to Mexican kitchens. I still remember how my paternal great-grandmother, a true Southern belle, would serve cooked beans over a slice of buttered cornbread.

In Mexico, frijoles are served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Beans can be prepared in a variety of ways, most of which I'll will be sharing with you in future posts.

There are numerous methods on how to cook beans, such as soaking the beans overnight or cooking them with onions and garlic.  The possibilities are endless.  My grandpa liked to cook his beans with garlic and a patita de puerco (pigs foot).  And my grandmother preferred to add a couple slices of bacon.  This recipe is very basic. All you need is water and dried beans. You can cook the beans in a pot on the stove or you can use a crock pot. (That's how I cooked beans in the States.) Whichever cooking method you choose, I recommend that you don't add the salt until the beans are fully cooked.  Once cooked, the beans can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

My bean of choice is the peruano, but pinto beans work just as well.

When cooking beans, just make sure you are in a good mood.  Legend has it that if you're mad or upset while cooking beans, the beans won't soften, no matter how long you cook them.

Frijoles de la Olla
(Cooked Beans)


  • 1 pound peruano or pinto beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Fill a 3-quart stockpot with the 6 cups of water. Bring water to boil over high heat. Sort through beans and remove any rocks. Rinse beans with cold water.

Add beans to boiling water. Cover stockpot and let beans cook for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to low and let simmer 1-1/2 to 2 hours until beans are fully cooked. (Add additional water to pot, if necessary.) Stir in 1 teaspoon of salt and let simmer an additional 5 minutes. Serve with Chile de Molcajete and warm corn tortillas. Enjoy!!!

With Love,
Leslie Limón


  1. I've never made the peruano beans, but my sister in law makes these type and they taste really good!

  2. Hi Leslie,

    Can you believe after living here 8 years I still haven't mastered frijoles?

    I'm on a quest to make mole from scratch. I have a friend here who will show me, I just have to find the time.

  3. My husband loves refied beans, and has a certain way that he likes them. He likes them to be done in pork fat, and fried with no juice and stir them and stir and smash along side of the pot till they are a little smased and then add some of the bean juice in and stir, oh my they are so creamy and delicious!

  4. I took several pounds of dried peruanos with me to Alaska a few weeks ago. The kids had me cook them that day so we could enjoy them all week. Fortunatly, the local grocery store is finally carrying uncooked flour tortillas, so I no longer have to take thsoe with me.

  5. Angry people rinse their peruano beans with hot water ;D

  6. I have these simmering away now (I like pintos -- haven't ever tried peruano beans, but maybe next time) ... they smell amazing. Never in my life have I thought to put beans into boiling water for 30 minutes! Excited to see how they turn out. I like this method :)



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