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I love, love, love the little community we’ve grown on our Facebook fan page. A week or two ago, I posted a question asking fans what their favorite Mexican recipes are that they’ve adapted for crock-pot cooking. Overwhelmed with the number of delicious suggestions, I decided to whip up a batch of slow-cooked frijoles as my final tribute to National Slow-Cooking Month. (Thanks to Tortilla fan Annette for giving us the basic cooking instructions she uses.)

The results were tremendous, so I recorded a video recipe to show you just how I did it. As we’re preparing for a blizzard here in Chicago this week, I’m glad to have leftovers of this hearty, warm bean dish that is great as a snack, a side dish, or a main dish.


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

No-fuss recipe for frijoles de la olla made in a slow-cooker with pinto beans.


  • 2 cups frijoles pintos (pinto beans)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (substitute with vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 of a white onion, sliced 1/4 inch-thick
  • 1 chile guajillo
  • 1/2 of a small head of garlic (about 4-6 cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • a few pork neck bones (leave these out for a vegetarian version)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (to be added in last 45 minutes of cooking)


  1. First, rinse your beans under cool water to remove any dirt or debris and get rid of any broken beans. There’s no need to soak the beans overnight!
  2. Layer the onion slices along the bottom of the crock-pot. Place the beans directly over the top of the onions. Tear off the stem of the chile and tuck it into the beans and nestle the pork neck bones in the beans, too. Add the chicken broth. Remove the papery skin from the garlic cloves and place in the crock-pot whole. Add the ground cumin.
  3. You’ll notice the chicken broth isn’t enough to cover the beans and keep all the ingredients moist while cooking. Add 4 cups of boiling water over the top, making sure all the ingredients are under the broth and water and then put the cover on the slow-cooker.
  4. Turn the heat on to high for 5-6 hours (individual slow-cookers can vary slightly in temperature). If the beans start to get dry during cooking, add 1-2 extra cups of boiling water. I only had to add about one cup in the last hour. You can substitute boiling chicken broth in place of the extra boiling water if you like. Add the salt in the last 45 minutes of cooking and stir it in gently to incorporate.
  5. The beans should be soft to bite and have a nice broth when they’re finished, but shouldn’t be watery.

A few notes: if you don’t have a guajillo chile at home but you have other dried chiles, any other red chile you like and have is a fine substitute. If you have frijoles bayos instead of pintos, that’s a fine substitute as well. To prep this dish the night before, add everything to the crock-pot except the liquids, pork neck bones and salt. The next day, add the liquid and pork neck bones and turn on high. If you’re planning to let this cook while you’re at work all day, use a slow-cooker that has a timer that will turn the heat off or to a very low “keep warm” setting after the cooking time. You can then add the salt, reheat them for 30-60 minutes in the slow-cooker and enjoy!

  • Let us know how you cook frijoles in your slow-cooker!

If you like crock-pot cooking, check out our crock-pot cochinita pibil recipe that was featured on the Tiki Tiki Blog’s curated post on Slow-Cooking Latin-Style.


  1. says

    i will most definately be making these, I live in Aurora and I have no idea if I will be leaving my house on wednesday, tomorrow yes but Wednesday I dont know.

    • says

      Vanessa, we only got about two inches in the city last night. I’ve got all the groceries I need (and have plenty of crock-pot and pressure-cooker recipes planned) but I feel like I should leave the house for a little bit before it starts snowing again! Let me know how your frijoles turn out :)

  2. Acacia says

    oh wow, i love this recipe so much! i did however change a few things and it made it even better!!!

    Frijoles de olla
    • 2 cups frijoles pintos (pinto beans)
    • 4 cups chicken broth (substitute with vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
    • white onion, sliced 1/4 inch-thick
    • ¼-1 habanero chili (depending on spice tolerance)
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • A couple dashes of dried ground cayenne pepper (depending on spice tolerance)
    • a few pork neck bones (leave these out for a vegetarian version)
    • kosher salt to taste (to be added in last 45 minutes of cooking)

    The first thing you need to do is rinse your beans under cool water getting rid of any broken beans, dirt and debris. You don’t need to soak the beans overnight. Layer the bottom of the crock pot with the sliced onions, placing the beans directly on top. Remove the steam and seeds (optional) of the habanero chili, slice in strips, and add desired amount. Next, take the pork neck bones and nestle them into the beans. Add the chicken broth. Peel and chop the garlic roughly (do not dice!!) Add the dried cayenne pepper. The liquid, at this point, should not be covering the beans. Add enough hot water to completely cover the beans. After the beans are covered put the lid on the slow-cooker, and turn it to high. Cook for 5-7 hours, or until liquid has simmered down and has become thick. Add salt (in the last 45 minutes of cooking) Beans should be soft to bite.


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