Peruvian beans have a deliciously creamy texture and buttery taste, so with good reason they have become a new favorite here in our house. While black beans have been our go-to bean of choice, these Peruvian beans are starting to steal the show at our dinner table! Find out more about these beans and just how easy they are to make!
Peruvian beans are native to South America and come, well, from Peru! They were originally grown in the valleys of the Andes mountains, but are now cultivated in Mexico as well. These buttery beans often make an appearance at our Mexican dinner table, however, they are less likely associated with Mexican food outside of Mexico. That’s because black and pinto beans are more commonly served as side dishes to Mexican food.
In Mexico, these beans are known as frijoles peruanos (Peruvian or Peruano beans), frijoles mantequilla (butter beans), Mayocoba, frijoles canarios (canary beans), and frijoles amarillos Mexicanos (Mexican yellow beans).
These dried beans have a wonderful pale yellow color, but when cooked, they turn a light beige. The texture of these beans is soft and creamy. And the taste is slightly buttery, hence the name!
While there are several Peruvian recipes for these beans (like Tacu Tacu with salsa criolla and aji amarillo paste), I am sticking to a simple, straightforward recipe that we use here in my house in Mexico. Why? Because these beans are so delicious that they don’t need much and with a simple recipe, you can use these beans for a variety of dishes!
What’s in this simple Peruvian beans recipe?
I make most of my beans in Mexico the same way, and these are no exception!
- Peruvian beans: look for these in the Latin food aisle of major grocers or you can order them online. Note that these might go by names like Mayocoba, Mexican yellow bean, or canary bean.
- Water: You will need enough for soaking, plus more for cooking
- White onion
Be sure to check the recipe card for quantities!
Substitutions and variations
I love to keep this recipe simple because these Peruvian beans are so deliciously flavorful on their own. And if I keep these simple, I find it easier to use for a variety of meals that my kids are happy to eat! But, if you want to change things up, here are some suggestions:
- Add in garlic cloves for an extra flavor boost!
- Add in a dollop of lard or oil: This will make extra creamy beans and I have read that adding oil or lard helps keep the beans from foaming while cooking
- Add spices like cumin or chili powder for a deeper flavor
- Add in whole serrano peppers, chipotle peppers, or jalapeño peppers for an extra kick
Peruvian bean substitutes
If you can’t get your hands on Peruvian beans, you could use pinto beans, cannellini beans, or navy beans as a substitute. Just note that these substitute beans will have a bit of a stronger flavor, however, the cooked texture will be similar to that of a Peruvian bean.
How to make simple Peruvian beans step by step
Be sure to check the recipe card for the full instructions!
Clean and soak the beans
Start by removing any broken beans, debris, or rocks, and then rinse the beans with water to remove any dust. I like to cover these beans with water and soak them overnight.
Add onion and cook
Place the beans, the soaking water, and the onion in a large pot. I oftentimes cook my beans in a clay pot, which is traditional here in Mexico. But these will cook up just fine in a regular metal pot. I tested these in my Dutch oven and they were perfect! Add enough cups of water to cover the beans by at least 1 inch.
Heat the pot on high heat and cover with a lid. Bring the beans to a simmer. Reduce to medium heat to maintain a simmer, adding water as necessary to keep the beans covered. Stir occasionally and keep the pot partially covered. If any foam starts to develop on the surface of the water, scrape it off with a spoon and discard it.
Add salt to taste
Once the beans have softened, add salt to taste and stir to combine. When the beans are at your desired consistency, remove them from the heat. I also like to discard my cooking onion.
This batch of beans took about 1 1/2 hours to complete on the stove. Your beans may take less time or more time, depending on how old the beans are or whether or not you soaked them prior to cooking.
Serve these beans warm! They are perfect for accompanying any main Mexican meal or eating straight from the bowl with Mexican rice.
What are other names for Peruvian beans?
In Mexico, these beans sometimes go by the following names: frijoles Peruanos, frijoles mantequilla, Mayocoba, frijoles amarillos Mexicanos, or frijoles canarios.
In English, these beans can be called Mayocoba beans, canary beans, or Mexican yellow beans.
What do Peruvian beans taste like?
Peruvian beans are mild beans that cook up with a creamy, buttery texture.
Peruvian beans vs. pinto beans – what’s the difference?
Pinto beans are small, brown-speckled beans. They lose their speckles once they are cooked and turn a light brown color. Their flavor is often described as mildly earthy or nutty.
Peruvian beans are a pale yellow color which turns to a beige color when cooked. These beans have a mild flavor that is often described as buttery.
What is the cooking time for Peruvian beans?
The test method that I used for these beans clocked the simmer time at just about 1 1/2 hours. That was with beans that had been soaked overnight.
If you aren’t soaking your beans, they will likely take a bit longer, maybe 2-3 hours. Cook time depends on how old the beans are (the older the bean the longer they need to cook) and whether they were soaked prior to cooking.
Do I have to overnight soak Peruvian beans prior to cooking?
No. You don’t have to overnight soak Peruvian beans prior to cooking. In fact, you don’t have to soak them at all if you don’t want to! I don’t always have the foresight to soak these a day prior. And when I don’t and need to make beans for our daily comida, I simply follow the recipe without the soaking step. They take a bit longer to cook, but I haven’t had any trouble with these cooking up nice and soft!
Are Peruvian beans healthy?
Yes! According to Healthline, Peruvian beans are an excellent source of fiber, plant protein, and calcium. Fiber is a key component of your digestive health, so beans are an excellent choice as part of a balanced meal. They are also low in fat and calories. Studies have shown that including beans as part of a balanced diet may reduce heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol levels. There are even studies that have shown that women who eat beans daily decreased their body weight and waist circumference!
How can I use these beans?
There are so many delicious ways to eat Peruvian beans! We love to use these to make enfrijoladas! Make sure to keep a bit of the bean broth on hand for making a super smooth enfrijolada sauce.
These beans make a wonderfully quick and simple bean and cheese quesadilla. You could eat them for breakfast in your huevos rancheros or to accompany your chilaquiles. Use them to make your favorite refried beans recipe. Or add them to your burritos, Mexican bowls, or simply serve them as a side dish!
Can I freeze cooked beans?
We eat a LOT of beans in my house, so I have never been one to freeze the leftovers. I have read, however, that cooked beans can be stored in zip-tight bags and frozen for future use.
How many cups of beans should I make?
1 cup of uncooked beans typically triples in size when cooked. And a 1/2 cup of cooked beans is considered a standard serving size. This recipe calls for 3 cups of uncooked beans which yields a whopping 9 cups of cooked beans! Of course, you can adjust the amount of beans to make the quantity that you need!
Can I use another cooking method for these beans?
You sure can! I like to use a stove-top cooking method for beans. But these could be made in a pressure cooker, instant pot, or slow cooker. I used to make black beans in my slow cooker, set on low, and cooked for 8 hours. I haven’t tested this particular recipe with other cooking methods though.
Did you make this recipe? I would love for you to leave a comment and a star rating below!
Simple Peruvian Beans
- 3 cups dried Peruvian beans ~ 575g or 1.25lbs, see notes
- 6 cups water plus more for cooking
- 1/4 white onion
- Salt to taste
- Sort beans and remove any stones, debris, or cracked beans.3 cups dried Peruvian beans
- Rinse beans thoroughly
- Place beans in a large container and cover with water. Allow to soak overnight (~6-8 hours). See notes.6 cups water
- Place beans and soaking water in a large pot (I used a dutch oven). Add enough water to cover the beans by at least 1 inch and add in the onion. Cover the pot with a lid and heat on high until simmering.1/4 white onion
- Reduce heat to medium and partially cover the pot. Add water to the pot as necessary to keep beans completely covered.
- Continue cooking, maintaining a simmer, adding water as necessary, and stirring occasionally. Scrape any foam from the surface of the water and discard.
- Allow beans to cook until they have softened, ~1.5 hours.
- Once the beans have softened, add salt to taste and stir to combine. Remove from heat and serve warm.Salt to taste
- Peruvian beans go by many names, including canario (canary), mayocoba, and frijol amarillo Mexicano (Mexican yellow bean).
- You can skip the soaking step in this recipe, but the beans will take longer to fully cook. Unsoaked beans that I have made usually finish cooking between 2-3 hours, depending on how old the beans are.
(The below nutrition label is included as a courtesy. Our terms and conditions explain our nutrition policy.)