Frijoles de la Olla (Easy Slow Cooker Recipe)

Frijoles de la olla, or Mexican beans that are cooked slowly in a large clay pot, are just the beginning of so many wonderful dishes. Traditionally, they are cooked with water, onions, garlic, and other seasonings until tender and flavorful. I’ve simplified the recipe so that you can easily make foolproof frijoles in the crockpot.


Frijoles de la olla are Mexican beans made in a pot. They’re cooked slowly with onions, garlic, and seasonings until tender. They’re a staple in Mexican cuisine, versatile, hearty, and comforting.

I’ve mastered “frijoles de la crockpot” when cooking beans on the stovetop at high altitude was simply not working for me. You can make these beans at any altitude and they’ll come out perfect every time – no soaking required!

While traditional Mexican beans are made in clay pots, or ollas, this recipe can easily be replicated in a heavy stainless steel stock pot or cooked overnight in a slow cooker.

frijoles de la olla


  • Super easy to make: Literally, this recipe takes a whopping 5 minutes to prepare. Then you set the crockpot for 10 hours on low and forget about it until your beans are ready.
  • Nutritious and delicious: Frijoles de la olla are an excellent source of plant-based protein, making them a valuable component of vegetarian and vegan diets. They also contain a variety of vitamins, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • Enjoy as a side or make it a meal: Enjoy these beans on their own as a satisfying main dish (I like mine topped with a little onion and cilantro and served with warm corn tortillas), or served as a side dish. Mash them up and use them as a filling for tacos and burritos!
frijoles de la olla


  • Ancient staple: Dry beans have been cultivated for over 10,000 years in Mexico.
  • Colorful variety: There are thousands of varieties of beans grown worldwide, ranging in size, shape, color, and taste.
  • Long shelf life: Dried beans have an exceptionally long shelf life when stored properly, often lasting for several years. Although fresher beans are easier to digest.
  • Versatile: Beans can be served in countless ways. They are used in soups, stews, salads, dips, spreads, and even desserts, showcasing their incredible versatility in the kitchen.

Which beans should I use to make frijoles de la olla?

Honestly, most dry beans work very well in this recipe. A few of my favorites include:

  • PInto beans
  • Chitano black beans
  • Peruvian beans
  • Mantequilla beans
  • Amarillo beans
  • Bayo beans
  • Chivo blanco beans
  • Anasazi beans
  • Cranberry beans

All of them result in delicious beans straight from the slow cooker and are perfect to transform into refried beans as well.


  • Dry beans: Use your favorite variety of dried beans or see the section above titled, “Which beans should I use to make frijoles de la olla?,” for a list of some of my favorite frijoles.
  • Onion: A large white or yellow onion will work in this recipe.
  • Garlic: Add more cloves if you like your beans extra garlicky.
  • Salt: I use Crystal Diamond Kosher Salt when cooking, which is less salty than other salts, so be sure to adjust this recipe based on the type of salt you use.
  • Olive oil: while not a traditional ingredient in frijoles de la olla, I add a little olive oil to enhance the flavor of my beans. My aunt Teresa taught me this trick.
  • Water: 10 cups may seem like a lot, but trust me – I’ve tried this recipe a million times with all different types of beans! The 2 cups of beans to 10 cups of water ratio works every time.
frijoles de la olla



1. Clean and rinse beans

  • Cleaning the beans is usually a job reserved for the kids, where they get to pick out the rocks and “ugly” beans.
  • Rinse to remove any dust or dirt
frijoles de la olla

2. Add ingredients to the crockpot

  • Add beans, onion, garlic, oil, salt, and water to slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on low for 10 hours.
frijoles de la olla

3. Enjoy!

  • Enjoy hot as a main dish serve with warm corn tortillas or quesadillas, or as a side dish.
frijoles de la olla


  • There’s no need to soak beans because they cook so long in the crockpot, they’re sure to be soft after 10 hours.
  • To check if the beans are cooked, take a few out and mash them between your fingers. They should be tender and creamy but not mushy.
  • While in most instances adding salt too early can toughen the beans and prolong the cooking time, this isn’t the case when cooking them in the slow cooker. I add my salt at the very beginning and they come out nice and soft every time.


  • While I typically only use epazote in my black beans, you can definitely add fresh or dried epazote to this recipe. Epazote is a traditional Mexican herb that adds a unique flavor and helps reduce gas and bloating associated with bean consumption. It adds a subtle earthy flavor to beans.
  • For a hint of spice, feel free to add a serrano, jalapeño, or a canned chipotle pepper when cooking. I’d start with half of a chipotle and be sure to slice the fresh serrano or jalapeño down the middle so that it releases its flavor while cooking.
  • If you’re low on fresh onion or garlic, you can substitute with garlic powder or onion powder. Although fresh always provides the richest flavor, without overwhelming the dish. I find that garlic powder can be a little too potent.


  • To store frijoles de la olla, let them cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container. For easy storage and freezing, I store my beans in a large, wide-mouth mason jar.
  • Refrigerate for up to 4-5 days or freeze for longer storage. Reheat in a small pot or microwave-safe dish before serving.

Now, to address a few questions I’ve been asked about how to cook beans . . .


Will my beans get tough if I add the salt too soon?

One question I’m frequently asked with this recipe is when I add my salt. Some people believe that adding salt too early can result in tough beans. While this may be the case when cooking them on the stovetop, I add all of my ingredients – including salt – at the very beginning, and my beans always come out very tender in the slow cooker.

Do you chop up the garlic and onion that you add to the pot? Put them in whole?

I simply peel and cut the onion into fourths and toss in the whole (peeled) garlic cloves.

Do you really use 10 cups of water in this recipe?

Yes! It may result in extra brothy beans, but that’s better than dry beans. And since they cook slowly in the crockpot, there’s no need to soak them.

What are de la olla beans?

De la olla translates to “cooked in a pot,” and in Mexico, this usually means that dried beans are cooked in a clay pot or pressure cooker.

Are frijoles de la olla healthy?

For most people, Mexican beans are a healthful source of protein. They’re also rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They promote heart health, aid digestion, and provide sustained energy.

What’s the difference between cooking my beans in a slow-cooker (crockpot), pressure cooker, or on the stove?

I use a crockpot because my beans come out perfect every time. It‘s simple to set it and forget it. I’ve never cooked with an instant pot or pressure cooker, but a friend told me she used a crockpot and pressure cooker for this recipe and that the beans came out a lot more flavorful in the crockpot. My guess is that the slow cooking process allows all of the flavors to meld together over time, resulting in more flavor.

Cooking your beans on the stove is also an option, but you do have to keep an eye on them. I’d recommend bringing them to a boil, covering, and then cooking them on the lowest setting for about 4 hours or until they are tender, making sure that there is plenty of water at all times. If you cook them too high, the water will evaporate and adding water mid-process results in less flavorful beans, so it’s best to start off with plenty of water (like in my recipe).

What do I do with all the broth if I want to make refried beans?

I actually use most (usually all!) of my broth when refrying beans and just let it reduce as they cook. Keep in mind that refried beans tend to dry as they cool (this is especially true with black and pinto beans), so I like to reserve a cup or two of broth just in case they dry out too much.

How long do frijoles de la olla last in the fridge?

I keep my beans covered and refrigerated for up to one week. If you simply have too many to eat, consider making refried beans (they’re wonderful in breakfast burritos, alongside papas con chorizo and papas con carne, and atop molletes) or freeze them!

To freeze: Simply pour your beans and broth into large zip top freezer bags, place them on a baking sheet, and pop them in the freezer. Once frozen, you can stack them neatly on top or alongside of one another since they’ve been frozen flat.

Hope all of these bean tips help!


frijoles de la olla

Frijoles de la Olla (Easy Slow Cooker Recipe)

by Lola Dweck
Frijoles de la olla is a traditional Mexican dish where beans are cooked slowly in a large pot (typically clay) with water, onions, garlic, and other seasonings until they're tender and flavorful. I've simplified the recipe so that you can make foolproof frijoles in the crockpot.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Slow Cooker Cook Time 10 hours
Total Time 10 hours 5 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 10
Calories 189 kcal


  • 16 oz dry beans about 2 cups
  • 1 onion peeled and halved
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons salt or to taste
  • 10 cups water


  • Clean and rinse beans.
  • Add beans, onion, garlic, oil, salt, and 10 (yes 10!) cups of water to slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on low for 10 hours.
  • Enjoy hot with plenty of broth, a sprinkle of queso fresco, and cilantro if desired.

A Note from Lola

Transform your leftovers into delicious refried beans! I like to sauté chopped onion and garlic before mashing my beans for extra flavor. Mash them for more texture or blend them for extra creamy beans – both are delicious.


Calories: 189kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 10gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 1413mgPotassium: 654mgFiber: 7gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 0.4IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 64mgIron: 2mg
LOVE THIS RECIPE?Leave a comment below or tag me on social media @lolascoina

Photography + Styling (image 1 only): Cacey McReavy

Lola Wiarco Dweck

Lola is a Mexican-American recipe developer, writer, and cooking instructor who loves sharing her culture with the world. Growing up in California and spending summers in Mexico, Lola celebrates her family’s Mexican recipes and vibrant culture through Lola’s Cocina.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I’m going to try it, but I’d like to do 2 lbs of beans. I have the same 6qt crock pot! Do you think 20 cups of water would be too much for 2 lbs? Maybe 15? We need a big batch of beans!

    1. Hi, Toni – I don’t think 20 cups of water would fit in my crockpot but I think you’d be okay using 15-18 cups of water. Just reduce the amount of salt because you don’t want them to be overly salty. You can always check the salt halfway through and add more if necessary.

  2. 5 stars
    Making frijoles in the slow cooker is my preferred way of making them. It’s just so easy and they cook so perfectly. Great tip about using lots of water, it is so necessary!

  3. 5 stars
    Sometimes I don’t know how much salt to add when making quantities like this especially if I’m not stirring and tasting on the stove so I love that this recipe includes the perfect amount of salt to cook with.