Frijoles de la Olla

This Frijoles de la olla recipe is made with a few pantry ingredients and is perfect to serve as a side for many Mexican recipes or to use to prepare many other traditional dishes.

Learn how to make those de la olla beans, once you’ll try this super easy recipe, you will never go back to store-bought beans!

Frijoles de la olla in a traditional clay pot.

Frijoles de la olla is a basic dish widely used in Mexican gastronomy. It consists of dried beans boiled until tender and then used in different traditional dishes as a side or as an ingredient.

This simple preparation is used to make many other traditional dishes, like enfrijoladas.

Frijoles means beans in English, while olla translates to pot. The dish’s name comes from the pot where they’re cooked: Olla de barro (clay pot). Even though other types of pots can also be used.

There are many ways in Mexico for making frijoles that depend on the state, region, and even family preferences.

Some ingredients and spices can be added to enhance the flavor, from herbs like epazote, to onions, garlic, cilantro, and bay leaves among other

Close-up of frijoles de la olla.

Frijoles are a healthy food that can be a good source of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, and iron.

They are also low in cholesterol and packed with fiber, protein, and phytonutrients.

There are more than 70 types of beans in Mexico, among those the most popular are frijoles pintos, bayo, flor de junio, peruano and frijoles negros (black beans).

Various types of beans in bowls and spoons displayed on a wooden surface.

Ingredients

  • BEANS. You can use pinto beans, peruano, black beans, or any type of heirloom beans to make frijoles de la olla.
  • FLAVORS. I am using only garlic and onion to flavor the beans, feel free to add other spices and herbs such as bay leaves, a pinch of cumin, chili peppers, epazote, or cilantro.
  • SALT. Any type of salt you prefer.
  • BAKING SODA. This ingredient is optional and is added only for soaking the beans, it’s used mostly if beans are a bit old as baking soda will help to soften them and make them more digestible.

How To Make Frijoles de la Olla

The night before clean and rinse the beans thoroughly. Place them into a large bowl and cover them with water for at least 2.5 inches (6cm). You can also add 1 teaspoon of baking soda.

Dry beans soaking in a bowl.

The next day in the morning you’ll notice that they are fully soaked. So discard the water and give them a good rinse under running cold water.

Pro Tip: Soaking the beans will help to soften them and make them creamier.

Soaked beans after 8 hours.

Place beans into the pot where you will cook them. I am using a crockpot in this recipe, but as I said, you can also use an Instant Pot or a regular pot.

Add garlic, onions, and salt. Pour water to cover them for about 4 cm (1,5 inches) and cook on high for about 4 hours.

Beans, onions, and garlic, covered with water in a crockpot to make frijoles de la olla.

Once the beans are cooked, discard the onion and garlic. Adjust salt to taste and that’s it! Your frijoles de la olla are now ready to use as you prefer.

Cooked frijoles de la olla in a crockpot.
Frijoles receta

Other cooking methods

In a regular pot (olla): Anything between 75 and 90 minutes (depending on the type of beans you are using). You should check that frijoles are always covered with liquid, and stir them from time to time. The tradition calls for a clay pot, but you can use any pot available at home.

In an Instant Pot or pressure cooker: 35 minutes at high, then naturally release for 20 minutes. Add only about 1-inch water covering the beans or you’ll end up with too much liquid.

Notes

  • When placing the beans to soak, make sure you add lots of water as they will absorb a lot of liquid.
  • I have also made these Mexican beans without soaking but you need to be sure that they are not too old or they will take too much time to cook.
  • You can add two teaspoons of baking soda to the soaking water. This will help to soften the bean’s skin, allow them to cook faster, and become more digestible.

How To Eat

Queso con chile served with de la olla beans.

How To Store

  • Refrigerator: Place frijoles de la olla leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
  • Freezing: Leave the beans to cool down completely. Discard any extra ingredient you added to the cooking (onions, bay leaves, garlic, etc). Freeze in a single portion or divide in various containers. Last up to 6 months.
  • Room temperature: Simmer the leftovers for 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Leave them untouched until needed (within 18hrs). Repeat for up to 4 days in cold temperatures, and up to 2 days in the warmest months.

FAQ

How long should beans cook

Depending on which method you use, beans can take from 35 minutes to up to 6 hours to cook. Refers to the “Cooking Methods” section below for more info.

Will my beans get tough if I add the salt too soon?

No, adding salt at the beginning of the cooking is not the reason why beans are tough even after hours of boiling. If beans are tough after hours of cooking can be for 2 possible reasons:
The first is that beans are old or of poor quality, and the second is the type of beans you use. For example, black beans can take more time to cook than pinto beans.

Do I need to soak beans before cooking?

Not really. Good quality beans will cook just nicely as soaked beans. However, the soaking process helps to cook them faster.

How can I flavor my beans?

To give an extra flavor to frijoles de la olla, use different herbs and spices, such as epazote, cilantro, thyme, marjoram, bay leaves, or oregano. Garlic and onions are also popular ingredients, and some people even use pork or beef bones to flavor the bean broth.

More Beans Recipes

  • Mexican black beans – A simple and easy recipe for traditional black beans.
  • Chorizo Beans – Get those refried beans to the next level by mixing Mexican chorizo, a delicious recipe yet so simple to make.
  • Charro Beans – Those frijoles charros are flavorsome and a perfect side dish for your carne asada.

Video

Mexican frijoles de la olla recipe.

Frijoles de la olla

10 servings
Frijoles de la olla is a staple recipe in Mexican cuisine. They are easy to make and uses just a few pantry ingredients. Cooked beans are a great addition to salads, pasta, and stews, or can be used for many Mexican traditional recipes.
prep 10 minutes
cook 4 hours
resting time 12 hours
total 16 hours 10 minutes

Equipment

  • Slow cooker optional

Ingredients 

  • 1.5 lb dry beans (pinto, bayo or other type)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 Tbsp salt

Instructions
 

  • The night before clean and rinse the beans. Place them into a large bowl and cover them with water for at least 2.5 inches (6cm).
  • Next day in the morning discard the soaking water and rinse the beans again.
  • Place beans into your slow cooker (read notes below).
  • Add garlic, onions, and salt. Pour water to cover them for about 1.5 inches (4cm) and cook on high for about 4-5 hours (or 6-8 hrs on low).
  • Once the beans are cooked, discard the onion and garlic.
  • Adjust salt to taste and serve or use them as your recipe calls.

Notes

Other cooking methods:
In a regular pot (olla): Anything between 75 and 90 minutes (depending on the type of beans you are using). You should check that frijoles are always covered with liquid, and stir them from time to time. The tradition calls for a clay pot, but you can use any pot available at home.
In an Instant Pot or pressure cooker: 35 minutes at high, then naturally release for 20 minutes. Add only about 1-inch water covering the beans or you’ll end up with too much liquid.
Other notes:
  • When placing the beans to soak, make sure you add lots of water as they will absorb a lot of liquid.
  • Soaking beans is optional, I have also made them without soaking but you need to be sure that they are not too old or they will take too much time to cook.
  • You can add two teaspoons of baking soda to the soaking water. This will help to soften the bean’s skin, allow them to cook faster, and become more digestible.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 102kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 0.5g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 699mg | Potassium: 314mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 0.2IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg
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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Definitely making frijoles de la olla instead of buying them canned is one thing everyone should try. The recipe is so easy to follow and there are many options to cook beans that you can choose the method you prefer, I like to make mine in an Instant Pot.

  2. 5 stars
    I love this, I’ve made your recipe a few times now both on the stove top and now in an instant pot (this recipe seems perfect for the 3qt model I have). I put the beans on to soak when i leave for work in the morning and cook them when I get home, with the stove top method this is preparation for the next day’s meal but with the instant pot I’ll have them with dinner tonight. I’ve been halving the finished beans and making refritos out of 1/2 and frijoles charros with the other.