Pressure cooker, Side dish, Weeknight dinner
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Instant Pot Borracho Beans (Drunken Beans)

A blue bowl of borracho beans, pinto beans with bacon, tomato, and jalapeno, sprinkled with minced cilantro, with a bottle of beer and an Instant Pot in the background.
Instant Pot Borracho Beans

Instant Pot Borracho Beans. The Tex-Mex classic of drunken pinto beans with bacon and chili powder, using my bean cooking secret weapon – a pressure cooker.

I’ve been blogging so long that I’m wrapping around. I did a pressure cooker Tex-Mex pinto bean recipe ten years ago.1 It’s time to head back to the Norteño border between Texas and Mexico for another pot of beans.

Why am I revisiting that recipe? Because it was not a true borracho bean recipe. The key ingredient was missing – drunken beans need beer. (I mean, don’t we all? Why shouldn’t the beans have fun?)

Normally I don’t soak pinto beans, but the acidic ingredients in this recipe – tomatoes, chile powder, beer – make me worry about them toughening up. So, while I have a no-soak variation on the recipe in the notes, I strongly suggest making the time for at least a quick soak of the beans before cooking.

Recipe: Instant Pot Borracho Beans (Drunken Beans)

Adapted from Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook by Robb Walsh

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A blue bowl of borracho beans, pinto beans with bacon, tomato, and jalapeno, sprinkled with minced cilantro, with a bottle of beer and an Instant Pot in the background.

Instant Pot Borracho Beans (Drunken Beans)


  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups of soup 1x

Description

Instant Pot Borracho Beans. The Tex-Mex classic of drunken pinto beans with bacon and chili powder, using my bean cooking secret weapon – a pressure cooker.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried pinto beans, sorted and rinsed
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt (or 2 teaspoons table salt)
  • 4 ounces diced bacon
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground Ancho chile pepper (or a chili powder blend)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 15-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Minced cilantro for garnish

Instructions

  1. Sort and rinse the beans: Spread the beans out on a rimmed baking sheet and discard any stones, dirt, or broken beans. Rinse the beans, then do an overnight or a quick soak.
  2. Soak the beans overnight: Cover the beans with the 8 cups of water and add the 1 tablespoon of salt. Leave the beans to soak at least 8 hours, or overnight. Drain the beans and discard the soaking liquid.
  3. OR Pressure Quick Soak the beans for 1 minute with a 30 minute rest: Put the beans, 8 cups of water, and 1 tablespoon of salt in an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker. Pressure cook at high pressure for 1 minute (“Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot for 1 minute), then let the beans sit for 30 minutes. Drain the beans and discard the soaking liquid. Wipe out the pot before continuing.
  4. Sauté the bacon, aromatics, and spices: Spread the bacon in a single layer in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Set the pot to sauté mode adjusted to high (medium-high heat in a stovetop PC), and cook the bacon, stirring often, until it starts to crisp on the edges, about 5 minutes. Stir in the onions, garlic, and jalapeño to coat with the bacon grease, then sprinkle with the ground ancho and ½ teaspoon salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to soften around the edges, about 3 minutes. Pour in the beer, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 1 minute, scraping the bottom of the pot with a flat edged wooden spoon to release any browned bits of bacon or onion. 
  5. Beans in the pot: Add the drained beans to the pot, pour in the 4 cups of water, and stir in the diced tomatoes. Sprinkle with the ½ teaspoon salt.
  6. Pressure Cook for 18 minutes with a Quick Release: Lock the lid and pressure cook at high pressure for 18 minutes (Use “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot), or for 15 minutes if using a stovetop pressure cooker. Quick release the pressure.
  7. Serve: Carefully remove the lid – tilt it away from you to avoid the hot steam. Ladle into bowls, and sprinkle with minced cilantro. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Forgot to soak? Pressure cook for 40 minutes with a Natural Release. Check the beans; if they’re still tough, stir the pot, then lock the lid and pressure cook for another 5 minutes.

What kind of beer? Shiner is the Texas classic, and Negra Modelo is the choice south of the border. That said, any lager or ale will work; I prefer dark lagers or ales for the added flavor. I go with my hometown favorite, Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold. That’s right, I’m not from Texas…

Vegetarian version: Remove the bacon and add another diced onion.

Tools

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex

Keywords: Instant Pot Borracho Beans, Pressure Cooker Borracho Beans

Pinto beans and beer, ready to go

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts

Instant Pot Chipotle Beans
Pressure Cooker Santa Maria Pinquito Beans
Pressure Cooker Refried Pinto Beans
My other Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Recipes

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  1. It was so long ago that Instant Pots didn’t even exist yet, and it was years later that I found them.

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Filed under: Pressure cooker, Side dish, Weeknight dinner

by

Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.

14 Comments

  1. HLewis says

    I from Texas have been making beans for 20 years. This is the best bean recipe I have ever had. As an expat now, I share this link with all my fellow expats in the Middle East. Thank you!!

  2. Taryn oatley says

    I would like to 1/2 this recipe. Would it be safe to 1/2 the liquid amount as well?

    • Yes. In general, long as you don’t go below your cooker’s minimum liquid amount (usually 1 cup), you’re OK

  3. I’m 55, my husband is 60. I made these beans for Father’s Day. They are the best beans either of us has ever had. Not only am I printing the recipe out, I’m laminating it. I can’t wait to try additional recipes on your blog.

  4. Mike D says

    I have tried variations of type of dish and never got it right. This recipe was the exception and I’m glad I stumbled onto it.

    The taste was spot on and ratio of finished liquid to bean was “NASA” accurate.

    Looking forward to trying your other dishes.
    Thanks!

  5. Yo Adrienne says

    I can’t believe I made these and they are better than the Taco Truck’s borracho beans!

  6. Greybeard says

    Looks great. Thanks for explaining “sorting” the beans. I knew what it was, but clearly remember 40 years ago, seeing that on a bag of split peas and wondering how I was supposed to sort them: by size? color?

    • You don’t need it with the bacon…but if you want to use it instead of the bacon, go for it. (Or use them both – I won’t judge.)

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