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how to tell when boiled frijoles are ready | Family Cuisine

There are many different ways to tell when boiled frijoles are ready, but the most important is that they smell like cooked beans.

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How to tell when boiled frijoles are ready

A pot of freshly made frijoles or Frijoles de la Olla is my absolute favorite way to eat frijoles. Learn how to make Frijoles de la Olla on the stovetop in a cast iron pot or in an Instant Pot.

frijoles de la olla in a wooden bowl made on stovetop or Instant Pot

Reading: how to tell when boiled frijoles are ready

Growing up the three food staples were homemade flour tortillas, salsa casera, and our simple pot of frijoles.

pinto beans in a paper bag to make frijole de la olla

I love how pure and fresh they taste fresh from the olla. As soon as they were ready to eat I would fill a large bowl of frijoles, add some fresh salsa and scoop them up with a homemade tortilla.

Read more: Easy Home Fries | Family Cuisine

frijoles raw pinto beans on a wooden surface frijoles de la olla

My mom always said, “If there are frijoles in the house then you have something to eat.” These little nuggets can be eaten fresh, refried, or mixed in with chorizo.

pinto beans frijoles de la olla

One pot of frijoles can evolve into so many other dishes, for example: refried beans, chili beans, over a tostada, and so many others. Frijoles were the side dish of choice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in our home.

Eaten fresh or refried, these little morsels can create a slew of other recipes. The sky is the limit but don’t forget, the secret is starting off with that fresh pot of frijoles de la olla.

Can you cook beans in an instant pot?

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Absolutely! Scroll down for detailed recipe.


No, not necessarily, but I like to soak for at least one hour to ensure beans are clean and plump when cooked. Put the beans in a pot, cover with water by two inches and let them soak for an hour or overnight. Drain, rinse and proceed with your recipe.


  • Large Pot or Instant Pot
  • Colander

HOW TO STORE Cooked Beans

Beans can be refrigerated for up to 5 days and also freeze well in these plastic containers, which comes in very handy for later use.


If you love these easy and delicious Frijoles de la Olla, be sure to check out some of my other favorite pinto bean recipes below.

  • Frijoles Charros (Cowboy Beans)
  • Slow Cooker Borracho Beans

Photography by Jeanine Thurston

Originally published: March 2011. This recipe is also published in the Muy Bueno cookbook.

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