Peruanos Are The Creamy Beans That Are Not Just Popular In Peru

Beans are one of the most important staples in Mexico, whether they're brothy, bacon-infused charro beans to enjoy with sizzling steak fajitas or refried black beans to spread over molletes. While we're usually given a choice between more popular types of beans such as pinto and black beans at Mexican restaurants in the U.S., in Mexico, creamy light-colored beans known as Peruanos are another great option.

As their name implies, Peruanos are native to Peru, where they're widely used in local cuisine. However, they're equally popular in central Mexico — especially Mexico City. Peruanos are also known as mayocobas in Spanish-speaking countries and canary beans in English, a nod to their yellow hue. Known for their buttery, bean-y flavor and creamy consistency, Peruanos are enjoyed both whole, in soups, and mashed into refried beans. 

They're milder with a smoother, more velvety texture than pinto and black beans, which are the two main Mexican natives favored in the northern and southern regions, respectively. Dried Peruanos are sold in bulk or bags at Mexican markets and grocery stores. Common Mexican brands like Isadora, La Costeña, and La Sierra all offer refried Peruanos in cans or bags.

How to prepare traditional Peruanos

Peruanos are interchangeable with pinto and black beans in classic dishes like refried or whole frijoles de olla. You can thus prepare them the same way, by slowly simmering them from scratch with a few simple seasonings. You can use them in a Mexican frijoles de olla recipe, bringing them to a boil with halves of white onion, garlic cloves, salt, and pepper, then simmering them for a few hours until they're tender and creamy. You could add bacon, cilantro, and jalapeños to the pot for a complementary balance of spicy and savory.

You can also serve the beans right out of the olla, or pot, as a brothy side dish to garnish with Cotija cheese. Or, you can blend a portion of them for a delightful textural contrast and add shredded cheese, crushed tomatoes, and canned chipotles in adobo for an elevated bean dip to enjoy with chips or fresh corn tortillas. Add the drained beans with a bit of the cooking liquid and lard to a frying pan, mashing them with a potato masher or bean masher into refried beans.

You can also prepare them the Peruvian way, by frying an aromatic foundation of onion, garlic, aji paste, and savory spices with lard or bacon before adding cooked Peruanos and a bit of their simmering liquid. Peruvians call this dish frijoles a la criolla and it's often eaten alongside red meat, chicken, or pork with rice.