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Traditional Tejano Beans from The Food Charlatan
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4.89 from 17 votes

Traditional Tejano Beans (Mexican Pinto Beans)

These Traditional Tejano Pinto Beans are the perfect blend of Southern and Mexican pinto beans styles. Tenderly slow cooked with a ham hock and jalapeños, the lime adds a little twist. Perfect for a burrito, these beans will make you feel like you are in Texas, and really, what more could you ask for?
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 15 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 10 Servings
Calories: 278kcal
Author: Karen


  • 4 cups dry pinto beans
  • 12 cups water 12 cups for stovetop version; see crock pot instructions for water amounts
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and smashed (or 1 tablespoon garlic powder)
  • 1 medium onion very roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon good quality
  • 1 jalapenos left whole, but with a slit cut on two sides
  • 1 ham bone or ham hock*
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • lime wedges fresh, to garnish


Stovetop Instructions:

  • Rinse the dry beans in a colander. Put them in a large stock pot and add 12 cups water.
  • Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a medium-low simmer.
  • Add the garlic, onion, sugar, chicken bouillon, jalapeno/s, and ham bone. Bring to a boil again and then reduce the heat to medium low.
  • Simmer on medium low with the lid on but vented. (Tilted so that it's not sealed) Stir occasionally.
  • Cook for 2-3 hours. After about an hour and a half, add salt so that it can absorb into the beans as they finish cooking. I added somewhere between 2-3 teaspoons, but taste as you go. The beans will continue to absorb the salt as they finish cooking, so be cautious.
  • Continue cooking until the beans are tender. Taste them ; if the beans are still hard or chalky, keep simmering. Don't wait until the liquid has cooked off so much that they look like refried beans--you want plenty of bean gravy.
  • Remove the ham bone and discard (if there is any meat on it, chop it and add it to the pot).
  • Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh limes.

Slow cooker instructions:

  • Rinse the dry beans in a colander.* Add to a crock pot, then fill the pot with water until it reaches 2 inches above the beans. Add all the other ingredients except the salt.
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Start checking at 6 hours and taste. Add the salt for the last hour of cooking.
  • Remove the ham bone and discard (if there is any meat on it, chop it and add it to the pot).
  • Garnish with limes.

Quick Slow Cooker Instructions:

  • Fill your crock pot about 1/3 of the way with water. Turn the crock pot to high and put on the lid. Set aside.
  • Put the rinsed beans in a large stock pot and add water 1 and 1/2 inches above the beans.
  • Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Pour the beans into a colander and strain well.
  • Add the beans to the crock pot with the heated water. Add the rest of the ingredients, excluding the salt. When all the ingredients are added, check the water level. The water should be about 1 and 1/2 inches above the beans. Add or remove water accordingly.
  • Cook on high for 4-5 hours, adding the salt for the last hour or so.
  • Remove the ham bone and discard (if there is any meat on it, chop it and add it to the pot).
  • Season with pepper to taste, garnish with limes.


If you are in a pinch you can use 6-8 slices of bacon (not chopped) instead of the ham bone/hock. Discard when the beans are done.
This makes a HUGE pot of beans, so 1 jalapeno does not make them very spicy, even left whole with the ribs and seeds. It just lends great flavor with enough spice to keep it interesting. 2 would definitely make it spicy.
*If you have had intestinal issues in the past from beans, then I recommend soaking them overnight (and discarding the soak water), OR boiling them and simmering for 30 minutes as described in the "Quick" slow cooker method.


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 26mg | Potassium: 1097mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 4mg