Borracho Beans


What Makes Borracho Beans Different from Regular Pinto Beans?

Borracho Beans are not just your average pinto beans. At their core, yes, they are pinto beans, but what sets them apart is the process of simmering them in a mixture that’s nothing short of a flavor bomb. Your traditional pinto beans are generally boiled and seasoned lightly, often serving as a base in various recipes. In contrast, Borracho Beans take center stage. With the addition of ingredients like bacon, garlic, onion, and jalapeño, these beans are meant to be anything but boring.

Borracho Beans A Mexican Delight with a Beer Twist

One of the most distinctive aspects is the inclusion of alcohol—specifically, beer. If you’re well-acquainted with cooking beans, you might wonder why you’ve never thought of this before! The beer not only tenderizes the beans but also adds a rich, earthy undertone that takes the dish to a whole new level. If you’ve tried my Pinto Beans with Mexican Seasonings Recipe , imagine taking that to the next level.

Spices, too, play a pivotal role in separating Borracho Beans from its regular counterparts. Mexican oregano, cumin, and paprika bring in layers of complexity. When these spices mingle with the beer and bacon fat, you get a dish that’s as robust in flavors as it is in textures.

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Another difference lies in cooking time. When you are creating Borracho Beans, you’re encouraged to use a slow cooker. The extended time allows the beans to soak up all the surrounding flavors, becoming plumper and more delicious. However, you can easily adapt the slow cooking process to your Crockpot with Ham, Green Beans, and Potatoes, with some adjustments, of course!

And lastly, there’s the communal aspect. Borracho Beans aren’t generally a dish you make for a quick weeknight dinner for one. The recipe’s richness and depth of flavor make it an ideal dish for gatherings, elevating it to an almost celebratory status.

Can I Make Borracho Beans Without Alcohol?

So you’re eager to try Borracho Beans, but you have reservations about adding beer. Fret not, you’re not alone. Many people prefer to avoid alcohol in their cooking for a myriad of reasons—health concerns, personal preferences, or dietary restrictions. Good news! You can still make an incredibly flavorful pot of beans without the booze.

Simply replace the beer with vegetable or chicken broth, and voila! Instead of Borracho Beans, you now have Charro Beans, a close cousin that still packs a punch in terms of flavor. This version would be more broth-based but won’t lack depth or richness.

Substituting the beer with broth does more than make the dish alcohol-free. It’s also a great way to control the sodium content if you’re watching your salt intake. You can opt for low-sodium broth to make the dish even healthier.

One thing to remember is that the taste will, naturally, be different. Beer imparts a unique, earthy undertone that’s hard to mimic. However, you could experiment with spices to achieve a similarly complex flavor profile. For instance, a little smoked paprika could add a hint of that elusive depth you’re missing.

If you’re a fan of bean dishes, you might have tried my Crack Green Beans. Imagine taking the convenience and flavor you loved in that recipe and applying it to this alcohol-free version of Borracho Beans.

But in the end, Charro Beans are delightful in their own right. They may lack the ‘drunken’ moniker, but they make up for it with their own kind of hearty warmth, perfect for family gatherings or a cozy dinner.

How Do You Properly Prepare Dried Pinto Beans for Borracho Beans?

If you’ve ever questioned the purpose of soaking dried beans overnight, you’re not alone. Yet, this preliminary step can be crucial in achieving the perfect Borracho Beans. Dried beans have a few advantages over canned ones: they are cheaper, allow for better flavor absorption, and let you control the amount of salt in your dish.

Soaking is a time-honored method to prepare dried beans. It softens the beans and reduces the cooking time. The standard practice is to soak them in water overnight. Simply place them in a large bowl, remove any unwanted debris, and cover them with enough water to submerge them by a few inches. Come morning, you’ll find your beans plump and ready for cooking.

If you’re pressed for time, there’s a quick-soak method. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, add the beans, and cook them for about 2–3 minutes. Then remove from heat, cover, and let it stand for an hour. This method can be a real lifesaver when you’re in a rush to make a pot of delicious Borracho Beans.

But what if you forget both? If you’re really in a pinch, you can actually skip the soaking. However, you’ll need to adjust the cooking time significantly. Unsoaked beans will require a longer simmer in the slow cooker or, if you’re using an Instant Pot, an extended high-pressure cooking time.

The type of water you use for soaking can also make a difference. Hard water can toughen beans during soaking. If your area has particularly hard water, consider using bottled water for soaking. It may seem trivial, but the difference in texture can be noticeable.

The key takeaway here is preparation. While making Borracho Beans is simple enough, ensuring your dried pinto beans are adequately prepped can spell the difference between a good dish and an outstanding one.

What Are the Best Meat Alternatives to Bacon in Borracho Beans?

Meat lends a distinct flavor and depth to Borracho Beans, but what if you’re vegetarian or simply want a lighter version of the dish? Substituting bacon doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor. There are several delicious alternatives that can hold their own in this classic recipe.

One of the most straightforward replacements is smoked tempeh. Made from fermented soybeans, tempeh absorbs flavors well and has a meaty texture. Its smoked variant provides the dish with a depth similar to bacon. Sauté it as you would bacon, and you’ll have a credible meatless alternative in your Borracho Beans.

Mushrooms, particularly the more robust varieties like portobello or shiitake, can also serve as an excellent bacon alternative. Sautéed until they release their liquid and take on a chewy texture, mushrooms can mimic the mouthfeel of meat and add a rich, earthy flavor to the dish.

For a more unconventional approach, consider using coconut bacon. While it doesn’t have the same protein content as meat or tempeh, its salty, smoky flavor profile and crunch make it a fascinating addition. Just sprinkle it on top of your beans before serving.

Seitan, a protein-rich wheat gluten, is another alternative. It’s chewy and can be flavored to resemble various meats. If you’re adventurous in the kitchen, you can even make your own seitan bacon at home with liquid smoke and soy sauce for flavoring.

Do note that your choice of meat alternative might also affect the fat content in your recipe. Bacon renders fat that’s used to sauté other ingredients like onion and garlic. When using meat alternatives, you may need to add some vegetable oil to compensate.

In sum, Borracho Beans can be adapted to various dietary needs without sacrificing flavor. It’s all about finding the right substitute that complements the other rich flavors in the dish.

Can Borracho Beans Be Made in an Instant Pot?

You’re short on time but you’ve got a craving for Borracho Beans that just won’t quit. Enter the Instant Pot, your trusty kitchen gadget that turns slow-cooked dreams into quick, delicious reality. Yes, you can absolutely make Borracho Beans in an Instant Pot, and the results can be just as good.

Start by using the sauté function on your Instant Pot to cook your bacon (or its alternative). Once the fat starts to render, add in the onions, garlic, and jalapeño, and continue to sauté until soft. Stir in your spices, making sure they meld into a fragrant mix.

Then comes the crucial step: adding your soaked—or unsoaked, if you skipped that part—pinto beans, beer, and vegetable stock. Note that you won’t need extra water, as the Instant Pot’s sealed environment minimizes evaporation. Make sure to give it a good stir to combine all the ingredients.

Seal the Instant Pot and set it to cook on high pressure. For soaked beans, 20 minutes should suffice. If you’re using unsoaked beans, you’ll need 30-40 minutes. Once cooking is done, allow for a natural pressure release for about 10–15 minutes.

After you’ve opened the lid, use the sauté function again to thicken the beans if needed. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking and burning.

Ah, the beauty of modern kitchen gadgets! While the conventional method might have its own romantic allure, using an Instant Pot can be a fantastic way to enjoy Borracho Beans without having to plan a day ahead.

Borracho Beans

Elevate your culinary experience with Borracho Beans, a sumptuous Mexican side dish featuring pinto beans enriched with bacon and aromatic spices. Slow-cooked to perfection and infused with dark Mexican beer, this dish is a harmonious blend of complex flavors.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 287kcal


  • 1 lb of dried pinto beans
  • 4 oz of diced bacon
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 minced jalapeño
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika recommended
  • 12 oz dark Mexican beer e.g., Negra Modelo
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Fresh cilantro finely chopped (for serving)


  • Pre-soak the Beans: The evening before you intend to cook, soak the dried pinto beans in a bowl with enough water to cover them.
  • Preparation: Drain the beans the next day and keep them aside.
  • Sauté Aromatics: Use a sauté pan or your slow cooker’s sauté setting to cook the bacon until the fat begins to melt. Introduce the diced onion, minced jalapeño, and garlic, sautéing until the bacon crisps up and the vegetables are tender.
  • Spice It Up: Fold in your spices—sea salt, cumin, Mexican oregano, and paprika—into the sautéed mix.
  • Combine Ingredients: Add the drained beans to the pan and give them a good stir. Follow up with the dark beer, vegetable stock, water, and bay leaves.
  • Slow Cook: Cover the pot and set your slow cooker on Low for 6 hours. Taste test; if needed, extend the cooking time.
  • Serving: Garnish the Borracho Beans with freshly chopped cilantro before serving.


If you opt not to pre-soak the pinto beans, extend the cooking time to 8 hours for optimal tenderness.


Calories: 287kcal


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