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How to make frijoles de la olla (Mexican Pinto beans) on the stovetop, in a slow cooker, or as Instant Pot pinto beans – a super versatile and delicious Mexican bean dish to enjoy as a side, in burritos, tacos, and more!

completed Frijoles de la Olla in a bowl against a white background
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Flavorful and Delicious Frijoles de la Olla

Frijoles de la Olla, which translates to ‘beans in a pot,’ is a dish that forms the foundations of Mexican cuisine, present at almost any meal. Traditionally they are cooked in a clay pot (‘olla de barro’), but today we’ll be showing you how to make frijoles on the stove, in an Instant Pot, or even a slow cooker with NO SOAKING necessary!

Not only is cooking the beans from scratch cheaper than using canned, but it allows you to easily tweak flavors to your liking. You can create truly flavor-packed pinto beans with just a handful of simple, inexpensive pantry ingredients, like onion, cumin, Mexican oregano, and chile flakes.

We’ve even included several ways to adapt the recipe to your liking – whether you want more heat, smoky flavor, tangy tomato depth, etc. Once prepared, these pinto beans are tender, comforting, and packed with plant-based protein, fiber, and several vitamins and minerals (like iron, potassium, and magnesium).

They’re also super versatile, so you can meal-prep a large batch to store in the fridge or freezer and use as a side dish, in soups, tacos, burritos, with rice, to make refried beans, and more.

The Ingredients

ingredients for Frijoles de la Olla measured out against a white surface
  • Beans: It’s best to use dried pinto beans for this Mexican frijoles recipe. Avoid using old beans, as they can remain tough no matter how long they’re cooked.

Other beans like peruano, flor de junio, or black beans may also work. However, the cooking time varies.

  • Onion: Use white or yellow onion to infuse the pinto beans with aromatic flavor.
  • Spices: We use a simple but flavor-packed combination of ground cumin, dried Mexican oregano, and red chile pepper flakes (cayenne pepper would also work).
  • Water: Use low-sodium (or salt-free) vegetable stock for even more flavor.

What Else Could I Add?

We think this frijoles recipe is plenty flavorful enough. However, there are several ways to build even more flavor in this frijoles de olla recipe.

  • Garlic cloves: Like onion, roughly chopped or sliced garlic infuses the beans with extra depth and delicious flavor.
  • Bay leaves: Add 1-2 bay leaves for more flavor.
  • Other chilies: You can use them instead of alongside the pepper flakes. This includes ancho chile, dried guajillo chili, a finely chopped jalapeño (seeds removed), or even a chipotle in adobo sauce (+1 tbsp of the sauce for smoky flavor).
  • Smoked paprika: To add smoky depth to the pinto beans.
  • Cilantro: To garnish the pot beans for fresh flavor.
  • Tomatoes: You could replace some water/broth with canned diced tomatoes (optionally with green chile peppers, like ROTEL) or use 1-2 tbsp tomato paste.
  • Epazote: Just a little (fresh or dried) added in the last 30 minutes of cooking.
  • Lime juice: Add a small amount when serving for brightness.

How to Make Frijoles de la Olla?

Making frijoles de la olla on the stovetop requires minimal prep and around two hours of cooking time.

  • 1) First, slice the onion. Also, sort and rinse the beans to remove any debris and dirt.
  • 2) Then combine all the ingredients (apart from the salt) in a large saucepan, cover, and bring it to a boil over high heat.
process shot of mixing ingredients together for Frijoles de la Olla in a container
  • 3) Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 2 hours or until the beans are soft.

The time will vary based on the beans. For example, black beans take longer than other varieties to cook.

  • 4) Stir in the salt and allow them to cook for a further 30 minutes.

You can then serve the beans and broth together or strain the beans to enjoy separately, using the broth as a soup base.

Instant Pot Mexican Beans

Cut these beans’ cooking time further by making Instant Pot frijoles. Plus, you still don’t have to soak the beans when making Instant Pot pinto beans!

  1. Complete step one above, then transfer everything (apart from the salt) to your Instant Pot, seal it, and cook on manual HIGH pressure for 35 minutes.
  2. Leave the pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes, then carefully switch the valve to venting to release the remaining pressure.
  3. Open the lid, stir, season with salt (to taste), and enjoy.

When cooking Instant Pot Mexican beans, use a 2:1 ratio of water (or stock) to beans.

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

  1. Complete step 1, then transfer everything (except the salt) to a slow cooker. Ensure the beans are covered by at least 2 inches of water/broth.
  2. Cover and cook over HIGH for 4-6 hours (or LOW for 8-10 hours). Then season with salt, and enjoy!

Leaving the beans to soak overnight will allow them to cook in as little as 4 hours. Unsoaked beans will take longer.

Top Recipe Notes

  • Adjust the consistency: If you prefer a thicker, stew or soup-like consistency, you can mash or blend a portion of the beans.
  • Season to taste: Tweak the amount of salt and any of the spices.
  • For enhanced flavor: Sauté the onion (and fresh chilies or garlic, if using) until lightly browned before adding the remaining ingredients.
  • Use fresh beans: They can remain tough if they’re too old.
  • If you’d prefer to soak the beans: You don’t have to soak the beans for any of these cooking methods, though doing so can help them become plumper, silkier, and removes some phytic acid. Just note that if you soak the beans (for 8 hours+), their cooking time can reduce up to 25%, so monitor them accordingly.
completed Frijoles de la Olla in a bowl against a white background

What to Serve with Mexican Beans?

Let’s get one thing straight—there’s absolutely nothing wrong with eating frijoles de la olla straight from the pot. Optionally top them with fresh salsa like Pico de Gallo or chopped tomatoes, serve with warm tortillas, and enjoy.

However, these versatile Mexican pinto beans are also great for enjoying in or alongside :

Storage Instructions

Once cooked, store the frijoles de la olla in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

You can also freeze them (with or without the broth) in Ziplock/Stasher bags or freezer-safe containers for up to 4 months (6 months when storing just the beans).

You can leave them to thaw in the fridge overnight before adding them to dishes or reheating them on the stovetop or in the microwave until warm.

More Vegan Bean Recipes

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

Frijoles de la Olla [NO SOAK| Stove, Crockpot, IP]

4.96 from 89 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total: 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
If you’re looking for a new bean recipe, you’ve found it! This Pot Beans recipe is so simple and delicious, that it will be your new staple go-to beans dish. Enjoy!


  • 1 cup of dried beans rinsed
  • ½ of a yellow onion roughly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of red chile pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of dried Mexican oregano
  • 4 cups of hot water
  • Salt to taste


  • Put everything but the salt in a large pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and let cook for around 2 hours, or until the beans are soft. (If you're using black beans, this may take longer than with other varieties.)
  • Stir in the salt and let cook for another ½ hour.
  • Serve the beans and their broth in individual bowls. Or strain out the beans, serve those, and use the broth as a soup base.


  • Adjust the consistency: If you prefer a thicker, stew or soup-like consistency, you can mash or blend a portion of the beans.
  • Season to taste: Tweak the amount of salt and any of the spices.
  • For enhanced flavor: Sauté the onion (and fresh chilies or garlic, if using) until lightly browned before adding the remaining ingredients.
  • Use fresh beans: They can remain tough if they’re too old.


Calories: 165kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 11gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 37mgPotassium: 670mgFiber: 8gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 163IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 63mgIron: 4mg

Disclaimer: Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Stefan
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Mexican
Method: Stove
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    These beans were like the ones I like to get at our favorite mexican restaurant – only BETTER!! Super easy and delicious. I made these on the stovetop and added a sliced jalapeno with the seeds and it added just the right amount of heat.

  2. 5 stars
    I came here for something else, but the pic of these beans caught my eye. These beans remind me of the ones my mother used to make, cooking on the stove all day. She was a little skimpy on spices so I am making this exactly as written and using the beans in Mission-style burritos.

  3. 3 stars
    I love making beans from scratch in my IP. Am I missing it? I only see instructions for stovetop, not crockpot or IP.

    1. Hi Jessica! The IP instructions are in the middle of the web page. You can always search for it 🙂 Let me know if you need any help finding it!

  4. 5 stars
    We enjoyed with hearty frijoles de olla dish! I had not worked with dried beans before so the instructions were quite helpful – I don’t think I’ll go back to canned beans again :). Thanks for yet another tasty plant-based meal from this site!