Spicy Garlicky Beans

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These Spicy Garlicky Beans are loaded with garlic, red pepper, shallot, and chile flavors for an irresistible side dish the whole family will love! Whip them up to go with your favorite Mexican dish or entree. 

garlicky beans with seasoning, salt, and chilies in a white bowl
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Spicy Pinto Beans with Garlic

Don’t want to spend a lot of time on your side dishes? These spicy garlicky beans are super quick and easy to make. Not only are they a quick and easy side dish, but they are great in tacos, Huevos Rancheros, in stews, and more. 

These beans do have a spicy kick, but if you’re not into heat, you can simply leave the chilies out for a milder dish. Additionally, you can add chorizo, ham, or bacon to give them a meaty flavor. No matter what your family’s taste buds want, you can easily customize it to their liking. 

Check out my web story on these delicious beans!

This dish is inspired by one of my absolute favorite taco spots in California – Lola’s in Long Beach! Their garlicky beans inspired me to put my own spin on the crave-worthy side!

spicy garlic beans in a bowl on a table

How to Make Spicy Garlicky Beans

These beans are packed with delicious flavors that you’ll get from using all the ingredients. Before you start, make sure you have the following ingredients:

  • Beans: Beans are the main ingredient and provide a hearty, protein-rich base for the dish. They also absorb the flavors of the other ingredients, making them a great canvas for the garlicky and spicy elements.
  • Garlic: Garlic is a key flavor component, adding a strong and aromatic garlicky taste to the dish. It complements the other flavors and provides a rich depth of flavor.
  • Shallot: Shallots are often milder than regular onions and add a subtle, sweet onion flavor. They also contribute to the overall aroma of the dish.
  • Oil: Oil is used for sautéing the garlic, shallot, and other ingredients. It helps to distribute the flavors and promotes even cooking.
  • Sofrito: Sofrito is a flavorful blend of sautéed onions, peppers, and other aromatic ingredients. It’s commonly used as a base in Latin American and Spanish cuisines, adding complexity and depth to the dish.
  • Stock or Beer: Stock or beer is the liquid that helps to create a flavorful broth for the beans. Stock (vegetable or chicken) adds depth, while beer can add a unique malty note that enhances the overall taste.
  • Guajillo Peppers: Guajillo peppers are dried chilies with a moderately spicy and slightly fruity flavor. They bring a gentle heat and a depth of flavor to the dish.
  • Chiles de Árbol: Chiles de árbol are smaller dried chilies that are known for their fiery heat. They add a spicy kick to the dish and enhance the overall spiciness level.
  • Mexican Oregano: Mexican oregano has a slightly different flavor profile compared to Mediterranean oregano. It’s slightly citrusy and earthy, contributing a unique herbal note that complements the other flavors.
  • Bay Leaf: Bay leaves impart a subtle earthy and slightly floral aroma. They add depth to the broth and are often used to season slow-cooked dishes.

Once you’ve gathered all your ingredients, use this method

  1. Prep. First, heat your oil in a small pan over medium heat until shimmery.
  2. Simmer & mix. Add the shallot and cook until soft or about 5-minutes. Then, stir in the garlic and cook for about 40-seconds. Add the sofrito, bay leaf, peppers, chiles, oregano, and stock or beer. Stir to combine everything and season with salt and pepper. Finally, add your cans of beans and toss to mix well. Cook your beans for about 10-minutes stirring occasionally until the liquid is thickened and reduced. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Serve. Remove the bay leaf and chiles. Serve and enjoy!
spicy garlicky beans with a chile on top in a white bowl

Tips and Tricks to Perfect Spicy Garlicky Beans & FAQs

  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Start with fresh, high-quality ingredients, including your choice of beans (such as green beans, snap peas, or even cannellini beans), and fresh garlic cloves.
  • Prep Your Beans: If using fresh green beans or snap peas, trim the ends and remove any strings. If using dried beans, soak and cook them until tender before incorporating them into the recipe.
  • Properly Season: Season the beans generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. This enhances their natural flavor and complements the garlicky taste.
  • Quality Garlic: Use fresh garlic cloves for the best flavor. Mince or thinly slice the garlic to ensure it evenly distributes its flavor throughout the dish.
  • Sauté Garlic: Start by sautéing the minced or sliced garlic in a bit of olive oil or butter over medium heat. Be cautious not to let the garlic burn, as it can become bitter.
  • Add Beans: Add the prepared beans to the pan and toss them in the fragrant garlic-infused oil. This allows the beans to absorb the garlicky flavors while cooking.
  • Control Cooking Time: Cook the beans just until they are tender but still have a slight crunch. Overcooking can result in mushy beans with less appealing texture.
  • Enhance Flavor with Herbs: Consider adding herbs like thyme, rosemary, or parsley to complement the garlic. Fresh or dried herbs can elevate the overall taste.
  • Balance with Acid: A squeeze of lemon juice or a dash of vinegar can brighten up the dish and balance the rich garlic flavor.
  • Add a Dash of Heat (Optional): For a bit of heat, you can add red pepper flakes or chili flakes during the sautéing process.
  • Don’t Overcrowd the Pan: Ensure that the pan isn’t overcrowded with beans. If you’re cooking a large batch, it’s better to cook them in batches to ensure even cooking.
  • Taste and Adjust: Taste the beans before serving and adjust the seasoning if necessary. You can add more salt, pepper, or garlic if desired.
  • Garnish and Presentation: Sprinkle chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley or chives, over the beans just before serving. This adds a pop of color and a burst of freshness.
  • Experiment with Variations: Consider experimenting with different types of beans, seasonings, or additional ingredients like toasted nuts or grated cheese to customize the dish to your taste.
  • Enjoy Warm: Garlicky beans are best enjoyed warm and freshly cooked to fully savor their flavors and textures.
spicy beans in a bowl with chiles and cilantro


What temperature do I cook the beans at?

You want to simmer your beans for about 10-minutes. So keep the heat on medium to medium low the entire time you are cooking them. If it begins to boil, turn the heat down. 

How long does this recipe take to make?

It will take you about 5-minutes to prepare this recipe and 15-minutes of cooking time. So, you should have these delicious spicy garlicky beans on the table in about 20-minutes or less. 

How do I store leftovers?

Beans make great leftovers. In fact, the spices and seasonings make them even more delicious the next day. To store any leftovers, simply place them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. 

Are these spicy garlicky beans healthy?

Yes, these beans are healthy. In fact, pinto beans in themselves are a great source of protein, folate, zinc, iron, magnesium, and fiber. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, this dish can be combined with rice for a complete nutritious meal. 

Can I freeze these beans?

Yes, you can freeze these beans. Allow them to cool completely before transferring them to a freezer-safe container or bag. Make sure to leave some space for expansion. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Yes, you can make this recipe ahead of time. Cook the beans and spices as instructed, then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave when ready to serve.

What type of beans should I use for this recipe?

You can use any type of beans you prefer or have on hand, such as black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, or even chickpeas. Canned beans work well for convenience, but you can also cook dried beans if you prefer.

Can I use pre-cooked beans instead of canned beans?

Yes, you can definitely use pre-cooked beans. Just make sure they’re cooked until they’re tender. You can then proceed with the recipe as usual.

How do I prevent the garlic from burning?

To prevent the garlic from burning, it’s a good idea to sauté it over medium heat and keep an eye on it. Stir it frequently and don’t leave it unattended. If you notice the garlic starting to brown too quickly, lower the heat.

Should I use fresh or dried garlic?

Fresh garlic is usually recommended for better flavor. Minced or finely chopped fresh garlic cloves will infuse the dish with a rich garlicky taste. However, if you don’t have fresh garlic, you can use garlic powder as a substitute.

Can I adjust the garlic flavor?

Absolutely! If you want a milder garlic flavor, use fewer garlic cloves or reduce the amount of minced garlic. For a stronger garlic flavor, you can increase the garlic content.

How can I make these beans spicier?

To make the beans spicy, you can add ingredients like red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or diced chili peppers. Adjust the amount based on your heat preference.

spicy beans in a bowl with salt, cilantro, and chilies on top

What to Serve With Spicy Garlicky Beans

Spicy garlicky beans make an excellent side dish for Mexican dishes like One Pot Salsa Chicken Thighs, Cheesy Chicken Taquito and Bean Casserole, or my One Pot Cheesy Taco Skillet.

Additionally, you could add them to my One Pot Spicy Taco Rice Skillet for a hearty meal.

These beans are even great in tacos, stews, burritos, and on top of cheesy nachos.

The possibilities are endless! 

For more delicious side dishes, click here.

spicy garlic beans in a bowl

Spicy Garlicky Beans Recipe

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spicy beans in a bowl with salt, cilantro, and chilies on top

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picture of garlicky beans in a bowl

Spicy Garlicky Beans

Pinto and red beans with tons of garlic, red pepper, shallot, and chile flavor for an irresistible side dish everyone loves.
Course Side dishes
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword beans, garlic, mexican food, southwestern, spicy beans, tex mex, vegan, vegetarian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 242kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell


  • 6-8 cloves garlic minced finely
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons sofrito
  • 1 cup stock or beer
  • 2-3 dried guajillo peppers
  • 2-4 dried chiles de arbol omit if you’d like less spicy
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can pinto beans drained
  • 1 can pink beans drained


  • In a small pan, heat olive oil until shimmery.
  • Add shallot and cook to soft, stirring frequently to prevent burning, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic, and cook to fragrant – about 40 seconds.
  • Add sofrito, bay leaf, chiles, oregano, and stock or beer, stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, a pinch or two of each.
  • Add beans and toss to mix well.
  • Cook to reduce liquid, stirring occasionally to prevent beans from burning, about 10 minutes, until liquid is thickened and mostly reduced.
  • Add any salt and pepper, to taste, as needed.
  • Remove bay leaf and chiles before serving.


Can add chorizo, ham, bacon for a meaty flavor.
Great in tacos, Huevos Rancheros, stews, and more.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 428mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 5g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style. Courtney writes the popular creative lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs- a site devoted to delicious everyday recipes, home decor, crafts, DIY inspiration, and photography tips to help make your every day extraordinary.

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