Basic Pot Beans – Frijoles de Olla Recipe

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Preparation time
5 mins
Cooking time
40 mins
6 people
Meal course
Posted by
Posted on
1 lbs
Dried beans
1 small
Bay leaf
1 tsp
dried oregano (Mexican variety preferred), crumbled
2 tsp
Basic Pot Beans – Frijoles de Olla Recipe

A simmering pot of beans, called frijoles de olla, is basic to Mexican cooking.  It’s easy to make, but does take a watchful eye to avoid scorching the beans.  The finished pot of soupy beans are delicious just as they are, or can be used as a base for other bean dishes.  Cook beans 1 day ahead for best flavor.  Presoaking is not required.  Mexican cooks rarely soak beans before cooking.  I don’t.

Making Beans Easier to Digest

Although its not the Mexican way, some people prefer to soak beans and discard the water before cooking  to make them easier to digest. To soak beans, cover 2 inches of water.  Boil gently about 5 to 8 minutes.  Cover and set aside to soak 2 to 4 hours.  Drain, and add fresh water to cover by 2 inches and cook as instructed above.

If you do throw out the soaking water, be aware that some nutrition contained in the beans will be lost.  Black beans in particular, will also lose some of their wonderful black color.

In some regions where epazote is used to cook black beans, it is said that the herb has properties that help reduce the “gassy” effects of beans.  There are also consumer products sold here in markets and drug stores, such as Beano, that may help make beans easier to digest.

  1. Pick over dried beans carefully and remove any pebbles or debris. Place in a large strainer or colander and rinse thoroughly under cold tap water.
  2. Place the beans in a large pan with water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to boil over medium high heat, then turn heat to medium low, add bay leaf and oregano. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until beans are tender and the liquid thickens. Check the water level during cooking. There should always be about 1/2 inch water above the surface of the beans. Add hot water, when needed, about 1/4 cup at a time.
  3. When the beans are tender, add salt, remove the bay leaf, and serve hot with the bean broth. To store, cool, then cover the beans and refrigerate up to 3 days, or freeze up to 3 months.