Peruvian Beans

Peruvian Beans (aka Peruano beans, mayocoba beans, canary or canario beans) are indigenous to Peru. This Peruvian beans recipe actually features Peruvian flavors unlike most recipes I’ve come across. With simple ingredients like ají panca, bacon, onion, and tomato paste, and served with salsa criolla, avocado, and rice, this healthy beans recipe evokes memories of chilly nights in the Peruvian Andes. I think you’re going to love them!

Two white bowls of Peruvian Beans prepared with Peruvian ingredients and accompanied by avocado, rice, and salsa criolla.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – About Peruvian Beans

I often shop at a local Latino foods market. It was at Ruben’s that I discover Mayocoba beans. I knew nothing about them, but I loved their tender, buttery texture and flavor. I had to know more.

After 3 trips to the Peruvian Andes in 2017, 2018, and 2019, I had experienced these Peruvian beans a few times. It was then that I decided I needed to include them in the recipes on Beyond Mere Sustenance. It’s been awhile, but here we are finally.

In researching “Peruvian beans,” I discovered most available recipes are Mexican rather than Peruvian. Obviously, I love Mexican recipes, but I wanted to represent the Peruvian flavors I’ve come to love. As I’ve often said, I am not attempting to recreate abuelita’s recipes, rather I want to bring Peruvian flavors to non-native home cooks!

While this recipe for Peruvian beans is simple, it does require ají panca paste. If you have a Latino foods market, or a grocery with a large international foods section, you may find it locally. I can get it locally in McAllen, Texas. When we lived in Las Cruces, New Mexico, we could get it in El Paso. If not, order ají panca paste online.

The other somewhat obscure ingredient is harina de camote (sweet potato flour). Again, you can often find it locally in the international foods section or at a Latino foods market. You can substitute potato flour, masa de harina, or even cornstarch. I use it to make a slurry to thicken the broth in the beans.

🥔 What are Peruvian/Peruano/Mayocoba/Canary Beans?

Peruvian beans are smooth yellow beans indigenous to Peru. These lovely beans are also know as mayocoba, canary, and Peruano beans. At some point, the Peruvian beans were cross-pollinated by Mexican agronomists, and the mayocoba beans were named for Mayocoba in Sinaloa state.

Rice and beans are an important part of the Central and South American diet. You’ll find a version of rice and beans in almost every region. El Salvador has Casamiento, Nicaragua has Gallopinto, Brazil has Feijoada, Peru has tacu tacu, I’ve done shrimp, black beans, and rice

More than just an inexpensive and nutritious food source, these rice and beans dishes often provide the flavor that helps define a cuisine like Creole red beans and rice. It is my aim to put Peruvian beans and rice “on the map!”

Peruvian Beans Nutrition

1 cup of cooked Peruvian beans provides:

  • 180 calories
  • 11 grams of protein
  • 31 grams of carbohydrates
  • 1.5 grams of fat
  • 13 grams of fiber
  • 530 mg potassium
  • 85 mg calcium

🥘 What I Love About This Peruvian Beans Recipe

  • The Peruvian-flavored beans taste delicious!
  • I can make a large batch and freeze for future meals.
  • Beans and rice are easy on the budget.
  • Beans and rice are nutritious!

📋 Ingredients Notes

Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.

Ingredients for Peruvian beans: Chicken stock, camote de harina, bacon, cumin, honey, aji panca, salt, vinegar, garlic, oregano, bell pepper, onion, tomato paste, mayocoba (Peruvian) beans.
  • mayocoba beans – Also known as Peruvian beans, Peruano beans, canary beans, they are a smooth creamy bean that is probably most like a pinto or cannelini bean. Either would work as a substitute.
  • bacon – Omit the bacon for a delicious plant-based meal with rice.
  • onion
  • bell pepper
  • garlic
  • ground cumin
  • ají panca paste – Ají panca is a dark red, mild chile pepper with a nice smoky but fruity flavor. I keep them in my pantry in dried form, but I love the paste for quick meals. A paste made from pasilla peppers would probably be the best substitute. You could also use ají amarillo paste. It will be a slightly different flavor, but will be delicious!
  • tomato paste
  • chicken broth
  • oregano – I have ridiculous amounts of fresh oregano in my garden, so I always use a couple of healthy sprigs. Substitute 2 teaspoon of dried Mediterranean oregano leaves if necessary.
  • harina de camote – Harina de camote or sweet potato flour is a typical Peruvian thickener. You can substitute sweet potato starch, rice flour, potato flour, or cornstarch. Remember to add a little slurry at a time to achieve desired thickness.
  • vinegar – Red wine vinegar would probably be the Peruvian choice, and that is what I use. White wine vinegar and sherry vinegar are fine as well.
  • honey
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • sides and garnishes – I serve these rice and beans with salsa criolla, avocado, lime wedges, cilantro, and a bit of crumbled cotija or queso fresco. Delicioso!
A close up bird's eye view of Peruvian-flavored mayocoba beans garnished with cilantro and avocado served with rice and salsa criolla.

🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions

Cook the Beans

  1. If you’re lucky enough to have cooked beans, you get to skip this step! Otherwise, you have a couple of options. Don’t forget to add about 1 tablespoon of salt to the bean water!
  2. Soak the beans. This step is optional. It removes some of the undigestible sugars and the gastric distress that accompanies them. You can either soak them overnight, or you can bring them to a boil in a large pot of water, then soak them for an hour (quick soak).
  3. Instant Pot – While this process doesn’t really save time, it does save trouble. Cook the beans under pressure for 30 minutes, then allow them to naturally de-pressurize (about 20 minutes). With the time it takes to bring the IP to pressure, this method requires about an hour.
  4. Stove top – Bring the beans to a boil in a pot with plenty of water. Reduce heat, and then simmer until tender but not mushy. The beans will cook further when the Peruvian Beans are finished.
  5. Drain the beans, reserving 1 cup of the bean liquid if possible, and measure out 4 cups of cooked beans before proceeding.

Make Peruvian-Style Peruvian Beans

Step 1 - Bacon pieces frying in a Dutch oven with a spider.
  • Fry the bacon – Chop the bacon into one inch pieces. Fry until crisp, then remove to a paper towel to absorb excess grease. Leave about 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in the pot.
Step 2 - Add onion garlic, cumin, ají panca, and bell pepper to the pot over medium-high heat.
  • Sauté the aromatics – To a heavy pot over medium-high heat, add the onions, cumin, garlic, ají panca and tomato paste, and bell pepper.
Step 3 - Sauté the aromatics and bell pepper.
  • Continue cooking the aromatics until the onions are softened and the mixture is fragrant (about 5-10 minutes).
Step 4 - Add the beans to the aromatics.
  • Stir the beans into the aromatics.
  • Add the broth and oregano. Bring to a simmer, and cover.
  • Cook until the beans are very tender and flavors are combined (about 15 minutes). Remove oregano sprigs.
Step 7 - Whisk the harina de camote (thickener with 1 cup of bean water). Add to the beans. Bring to a boil.
  • Make the thickener – Whisk the harina de camote (or other thickener) into the reserved bean water. If you forgot to save some bean water, or if you’re using already cooked beans, whisk the thickener into either water or broth. This is called a “slurry.”
  • Finish the pot of beans – Stir the slurry (a little at a time) into the pot of beans over fairly high heat. Allow the beans to boil before adding more. Continue adding until thickened to your preference. Stir in the cooked bacon. Lower the heat to a low simmer, and cover until ready to serve.
A Dutch oven with the completed pot of Mayocoba beans with bacon, ají chile paste, and bell pepper ready to be served up.

💭 Tips

Cook the beans in quantity. Freeze in zip bags for future meals. 1 cup of dried beans yields about 4 cups of cooked beans. I cook the entire bag. Be sure to check out my Peruvian tacu tacu recipe for a healthy, flavorful, and frugal way to use leftover beans!

Season your beans when you cook them. A trusted source – Serious Eats answers Should I Salt My Bean-Cooking Water?. Your beans will be more consistently seasoned, and more beans will be intact.

❓ FAQ

Should I salt my bean-cooking water?

Yes. While you may have heard otherwise, salting the beans results in creamier beans that are more intact. See the article linked above for more interesting information!

How should I handle leftover beans?

The beans are excellent warmed up for lunch. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Make a double-batch, and freeze in zip bags for 1-2 months. You’ll have an easy meal when you don’t feel like cooking.

What should I serve with the beans?

Salsa criolla is a very typical salsa to serve with beans. Rice or quinoa, and avocado, some lime wedges and cilantro make a really tasty and healthy meal!

What is a slurry?

A slurry is a thickener made with a liquid (bean water, broth, or water in this recipe) and a thickening agent (harina de camote). You can substitute sweet potato starch, potato flour, rice flour, wheat flour, or cornstarch. Add a little at a time until desired thickness.

🫙Useful Stuff

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We stayed in the fifties in McAllen on November 4. I must admit I’ve loved the cool, grey weather (and the break from the heat). Cheers to soups, stews, and healthy, hearty beans and rice!

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.

A single bowl of Peruvian beans with rice, salsa criolla, and avocado.

Peruvian-Flavored Peruvian Beans

A simple, but flavorful Peruvian beans recipe with Peruvian flair! Bacon, ají panca, bell pepper, garlic, and spices with mayocoba or Peruvian beans, rice, and avocado make a healthy and flavorful meal your family will love!
4.93 from 14 votes

Click to rate!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cook the Beans 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Healthy Main Dish
Cuisine Peruvian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 330 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup dried Peruvian beans (aka mayocoba or canary beans) - or 4 cups cooked beans
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 6 slices bacon - cut in 1" pieces
  • 1 onion - chopped
  • 1 bell pepper - diced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 3 tablespoons ají panca paste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 2 teaspoons oregano leaves - or 2 generous sprigs of fresh oregano
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup harina de camote - (see Ingredients in post for substitutions)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook the beans according to your preferred method. Add the tablespoon of salt to a generous pot of water. See post Instructions for more information.
  • Fry the bacon. Drain bacon on paper towels. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the pot.
  • Cook the aromatics. Over medium-high heat, add the onion, cumin, bell pepper, garlic, ají panca and tomato paste. Sauté until onion is softened and mixture is very fragrant.
  • Add the beans, broth, and oregano to the pot. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer 15 minutes. Remove oregano sprigs if you used fresh.
  • Make the slurry. Whisk the camote de harina with reserved bean water (water or broth). Stir slurry into the beans mixture a little at a time over high heat until desired thickness is achieved.
  • Add salt as needed, honey, and vinegar. Stir in the cooked bacon. Bring mixture back up to a simmer for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

I deliberately try to keep the recipe card uncluttered. If you have questions about ingredients, check the “Ingredients” section in the post. If you need more instruction, see “Instructions” in the post. I include an FAQ section that attempts to anticipate questions. Email tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com if I’ve missed anything. I try to respond the same day or early the next.

Nutrition

Calories: 330kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 7g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

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27 Comments

  1. These really remind me of the beans my dad made back in the day. Very nostalgic and tasty! Would recommend and will make again.

  2. Just curious, is there a reason to only combine the aromatics with the beans at the end instead of cooking with the beans?

    1. Thanks for your question Eric. The beans do finish with the aromatics, but the beans need to be cooked prior to putting the dish together. I typically don’t cook my beans with all of the aromatics even when I’m doing something simple like navy beans and ham. The long cooking time required to get the beans tender, removes the flavor from the aromatics. I will cook dried beans with a ham hock, an onion cut in wedges, and a couple of bay leaves. The cooking liquid is mostly drained off, and the flavor of the aromatics would go with it. I hope that clarifies?

  3. I’d like to pressure can this. Has anyone tried it? Would you cook the bean less so they don’t become mushy? Would you add a little citrus acid to the jar?

    1. Hi Martin! I really can’t help you with canning as it’s not something I’ve done since I was a teenager helping my mom. I would think you would cook them to al dente to keep them from becoming mushy, and the recipe includes a tablespoon of red wine vinegar. A squeeze of lime is usually added as a garnish, so I don’t think it would hurt to add it to the jar.

  4. Aja, any particular brand of aji panca that you recommend? A favorite? I’m craving for this recipe with all the garnishes!

    1. This is a great question! I haven’t had any quality issues with any of the brands I’ve used, but I do try to use Peruvian brands like Inca’s Food or Belmont. Goya is probably the most widely available, and is fine, but it is headquartered in the US.

  5. This recipe is so good, and I want to try this weekend. However I can’t find dried Peruvian beans in my local grocery store. What other beans that have similar taste as Peruvian beans, which I can use?

    1. Good question Hayley! Peruvian mayacoba beans have a buttery soft texture that is unique. However, you can still enjoy the flavor of this Peruvian beans dish by using another white bean like cannelini or navy.

  6. This looks seriously amazing and just the thing to have simmering on the stove in the winter. I think I can get the paste locally as we have some good international markets, but I already have a bag of navy beans in my pantry. Will navy beans work okay?

    1. Hi Sheryl! I’m sorry for not clarifying… The cooked bacon gets added in to the beans at the very end just before serving. I clearly missed this step in the instructions. Thanks for calling it to my attention!

  7. Bacon belongs to its own food group according to the boys! (smiling) Love all the delicious spices, aromatics and sauces in your Peruvian beans. Adding a few ingredients to my International store visit so we can make these this week.

  8. This dish is a magic trick—how do these humble ingredients turn into a special occasion dish? I loved it, my husband loved it, and we’re looking forward to the leftovers. I was worried about buying a whole jar of aji panca paste but now I am happy to have it.

    1. Hi Eileen! Peruvian ají pastes do wonderful things to simple ingredients. I also feature it in my sopa criolla (beef noodle soup). I’m so glad you and your husband loved it, and appreciate you taking the time to provide feedback!

  9. I made these yesterday and wow! These beans have so much flavor with the right amount of heat!!! These are definitely in my rotation. I had never heard of Mayocoba beans before seeing this recipe. I purchased some at our local international store. I love beans and these are no exception. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful dish!

  10. Tamara, I have a two pound bag of Mayocoba beans I’ve been wanting to try, but didn’t have a Peruvian recipe to use till I found yours. I’m a fellow Texan living in the Hill Country, and want to make this ASAP! Where did you find the Aji Panca paste and Harina de Camote? I love using authentic ingredients, and hope I can find this locally instead of paying more through Amazon. Thanks so much for sharing this amazing recipe; I can’t wait to try it!

    1. Hi Juli! It’s great to hear from a fellow Texan! We have a locally-owned Latino foods market in McAllen called Ruben’s, and he carries all the Peruvian pastes, the giant corn, the purple corn, and the harina de camote. I have also gotten things from Amazon, but I do prefer the local markets when possible (especially when in a hurry!). I hope you like it as much as we do. Our Peruvian guides (indigenous Quechua) cooked food for us on our treks that we didn’t have in restaurants. We love these beans, and hope you do too!

    2. This was amazing! I never leave comments, but I had to for this recipe. Having never tried a Peruvian dish, I was going out on a limb. This is a must for anyone that loves smoky, sweet heat. I had to order the aji panca online. I’m in KC and could have probably found somewhe, but I was being lazy. 🙂 Followed the recipe exactly, including salsa criolla and avocado for topping. Thank you for this!!