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Cowboy Pinto Bean Soup from The Food Charlatan
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5 from 10 votes

Cowboy Pinto Bean Soup (Slow Cooker)

This hearty Cowboy Pinto Bean Soup (Frijoles Charros) is an old family favorite. Fill the slow cooker with pinto beans, roasted chiles, tomatoes, and, wait for it...BACON. Perfect cozy dinner!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 Servings
Calories: 142kcal
Author: Karen


  • 5-8 slices thick-cut bacon cut into eighths
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups pinto beans dry, rinsed
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 Anaheim peppers or a can of fire-roasted green chilies
  • 3 medium tomatoes cut into chunks*
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shredded cheese sour cream, avocados, cilantro, limes, etc. to garnish


  • In a large soup pot, cook bacon over medium heat until it is crisp.
  • Add onion and saute until it's soft, 5 minutes or so.
  • Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute or so.
  • Add rinsed beans and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer (there should be some amount of movement). Cover and simmer just until the skins begin to split on the beans, a little over 2 hours.
  • Meanwhile roast the chiles. There are lots of ways to do this: you can broil them in the oven or char them over a gas stove. (Here's a resource) I grilled mine outside over medium heat. It took 12-15 minutes total, turning the chiles every 5 minutes or so. However you choose to do it, just make sure that the skins get nice and black. Afterward make sure you steam them for at least 20 minutes. You can do this by placing a bowl over a plate of hot chilies (with no escape for steam), closing them in a bag, or putting plastic over the bowl they are in.
  • Once steamed, the skins should be very easy to remove. Slit the pepper open once it is skinned and remove the stem and seeds.
  • Chop the peppers into bite-sized pieces.
  • Once the beans have split, add the roasted chilies, chopped tomatoes, salt, and bouillon.
  • Continue cooking until the beans are very tender and fully cooked (they should not taste at all chalky), about 30 minutes.
  • Add more salt and pepper to taste. Happy souping!

Slow Cooker Instructions:

  • After adding the garlic in step 3 above, transfer to a crock pot. Add the water and beans. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  • One hour before you want to eat, add the remaining ingredients.


*Original recipe calls for peeling the tomatoes but I was too lazy.


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 142kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 655mg | Potassium: 297mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 314IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg