El Pollo Loco BBQ Black Beans (Copycat)

8 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

El Pollo Loco BBQ Black Beans are a classic side option that are sweet and a bit of heat from scratch. The cult favorite no longer on the menu!

El Pollo Loco BBQ Black Beans are a classic side option that are sweet and a bit of heat from scratch. The cult favorite no longer on the menu!

El Pollo Loco BBQ Black Beans are the perfect summer side dish to your favorite grilled foods!  As a lifelong Californian I grew up eating El Pollo Loco all the time. It was the healthier fast food option  with grilled chicken, salads, spanish rice and baked beans you had no reason to feel any guilt after the fact.

Even when I moved away for college I would come home and immediately crave theEl Pollo Loco BBQ Black Beans and chicken. My local location got to know my order. Then they did the unthinkable and took it off the menu. I searched for months until I came up with the right copycat recipe for them before I forgot the distinct flavor they have. El Pollo Loco BBQ Black Beans are sweet with a bit of a kick. You'll love these bbq beans!

If you are a fan of El Pollo Loco BBQ Black Beans you are going to love this recipe and the ones coming up next week for the classic chicken and spicy green avocado sauce! I’m recreating my favorite meal and I’m guessing if you’re looking at this post you’ll be thrilled to see those too!

Looking for more summer side dish options?

We loved these El Pollo Loco BBQ Black Beans and make them all the time!

Tools used in the making of these El Pollo Loco BBQ Black Beans:
Dutch Oven: A good dutch oven that heats evenly will keep these beans from burning on the stove top. This one is my go to (I have THREE of them because of work, any kind of soup or frying is done in this pot.
Better Than Bouillon: I almost never buy boxes of broth because I keep the beef, chicken and vegetable version of this Better Than Bouillon.
Louisiana Hot Sauce: I LOVE this stuff and it won’t add too much heat like Tabasco can.
Canned Green Chiles: I use this brand for all my Mexican cooking, the flavors are the most balanced.

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El Pollo Loco BBQ Black Beans

El Pollo Loco BBQ Black Beans are a classic side option that are sweet and a bit of heat from scratch. The cult favorite no longer on the menu!
Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 32 ounces black beans , not drained
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced canned green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce


  • Add all the ingredients to a dutch oven and mix until well combined.
  • Cook on a simmer for 60 minutes, or until thick and the beans are tender.


Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 326mg | Potassium: 491mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 45IU | Vitamin C: 6.1mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 2.7mg
Keyword: El Pollo Loco BBQ Black Beans (Copycat)

El Pollo Loco BBQ Black Beans are the perfect summer side dish!

We went crazy for these El Pollo Loco BBQ Black Beans!
Loved these El Pollo Loco BBQ Black Beans, so easy and a perfect copycat!
El Pollo Loco BBQ Black Beans are so easy to make and the perfect copycat!

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. what amazing flavor! I was concerned about the reviews complaining aboot too much liquid, but Since I am a dinosaur in the kitchen, I pressed forward. I don’t know why so many had an issue, but I did not. They reduced with No issue. I have never eaten at El Pollo Loco, but I Love these beans! well done Sabrina

  2. While this recipe is tasty there is something missing . Too much liquid, took forever to reduce, added more seasonings. Tasted better but still not the same

    1. Oh no. Did you leave the lid on the dutch oven while simmering? Thank you for trying the recipe and I’m glad it tasted ok.

  3. Very delicious. I started in the crock pot but the liquid can’t reduce so I did the stovetop for 2 hours and they turned out amazing and delicious! All the liquid reduced, I just had to turn the heat up about 30 minutes before dinner.

  4. Thank you for this amazing recipe! I grew up in Southern California and ate at El Pollo Loco all the time. I loved their BBQ Black Beans and was so disappointed when the stopped serving them. I cannot figure out why they did that as they were so delicious and popular. Your recipe comes very, very close to what I remember. I cut the liquid down though. I used 1/2 cup water, 1 cup of chicken broth. I added 1/2 a diced shallot and upped the hot sauce by an extra 1/2 teaspoon. Cooked everything in a Crock Pot on low for 6 hours with the lid on, then removed the lid and cooked on high for 2.5 hours more to reduce the liquid down to a thicker sauce. OMG, I’m in heaven!!! Thank you so much : )

  5. you didnt add any chipotle pepper or sauce for that original taste pollo loco had and they did not use hot sauce in the original too much liquids

  6. Way too much liquid!!! I finished mine off in the oven at 350. Great taste but the liquid need to be reduced! Maybe a cup of chicken broth & no water.

  7. These are just yummy my whole family loves them,instant pot for 30 minutes then,I thicken the bean broth abit
    With cornstarch,works great. Thanks

  8. I’m so happy to have found this recipe I’m going to make these today, I loved el Pollo loco bbq black beans and was disappointed when they took them off the menu. Thank you!

  9. I love these black beans! The flavor mix is so good. I don’t use canned beans. I use a pressure cooker first to cook dry beans. These are the perfect compliment to summer grilling!

  10. Love this recipe but I find that I need to cook it for 2-3 hrs. To make the sauce a little thicker and richer. I also add thicker cut bacon since I need the grease anyway.

  11. Couple questions…how to make healthier without bacon fat? How does this thicken with all the liquid? I want to make it, but I’m curious before I attempt. Thank you.

  12. TheSe are now our favorite way to fix black beans. Delicious!
    Wondering if the lid should be on the beans while simmering? They take a lot longer with the lid on.

  13. These were delicious! I added 2 more cans of black brands because there was so much liquid. And simmered for hours to reduce and thicken. But the flavor is so good!

  14. Any suggestions on adapting the recipe for an Instant Pot cooker with dry beans? 3 cups of fluid seems light for 2 lbs of beans. Any suggestions on the best fluid amount?

    1. I’ve not tested it using an instant pot so I don’t have a recommendation. You might be able to find a recipe online with similar ingredients using one and follow that as a guideline. Good luck.

  15. I made these in a crockpot. I used half the liquid in it took 17 hours for them to reduced to the consistency they should be. They were very tasty!

  16. This was amazing! I was researching baked beans because I didn’t feel like going to the store, lazy, but the hubby really wanted beans to go with his meal – shredded pork and slaw.

    I did sub the brown sugar with Sukrin Gold brown sugar and the Ketsup with Sugar-Free ketchup (cut carbs where I can). It cooked a lot longer than specified due to trying to reduce the liquid – could have been the pot I used because I didn’t feel like getting my Dutch Oven out of the camper, lazy. I was smoking the shredded pork on the grill, I took it off of the grill and there was a little more smoke happening. I decided to put the pot on to smoke a bit, love, love, loved it. Thank you for sharing this, although I am normally not lazy, bronchitis has surrendered me to that state, but for once being lazy paid off! It will be my go-to bean recipe, thanks again for sharing!

  17. Can you make this in the slow cooker? Would you reduce the liquids? How long would it cook? It would be nice to keep the house cool during the summer months.

    1. Yes, you can make this in a slow cooker. I would reduce the liquids and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Enjoy!!

  18. This recipe calls for black beans but they definitely don’t look like black beans (aka black turtle beans) could they be a different bean? I’m confused! The beans in the recipe don’t look black, they look more reddish.. please help!

    1. Yes, the beans in the recipe are canned black beans. It might be from the other ingredients (sauce, possibly) that is making it take on a reddish hue. Hope this clears up any confusion!

  19. Is there a substitute for bacon fat if you don’t use it?  Some people in my family cannot eat bacon due to religious reasons.   I loved this at EPL and was very upset when I found out it was off the menu!  Looking forward to making it, preferably bacon fat-free! 

    1. You can substitute with any fat that you’re comfortable with but I would add in a bit of liquid smoke. That will help give it that smokey type flavor without the bacon fat.

  20. I made this last night but unfortunately the beans cooked down way too much and it never thickened. I drained off the liquid after about an hour and 20 minutes and it was still tasty. I’ll try it again in the near future.

    What should I do differently? I have a gas stove, after getting to a boil I turned it down to low and it pretty much stayed at 211 degrees (with the lid ajar) for the remaining hour or so. Thanks!

    1. Hmm, so I might need a bit more clarification to try and figure out what might have been the issue. Were the beans cooked down way to much as in being mushy/breaking down or were they still in tact? I’m thinking it might have needed to be possibly be at a hotter temperature.

    1. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it. Can I ask why you thought it was a total waste of time and ingredients? I would love to troubleshoot the issues with you if you’re interested.

  21. 10/10 would fill my pool with these beans and dive right in. I mean seriously, they look that good. I cannot WAIT to try them!

  22. My family liked this recipe a lot but the liquid never thickened. I will make them again with less broth and water. I guess I’ll have to adjust the sugar, etc, too. They were even better 3 days later.

    1. So glad you all enjoyed them! If it never fully thickened, I might suggest cooking it longer or at a higher temperature. Do you have a gas top or electric stovetop? Sometimes the temperature will vary and may just need to be adjusted for next time.

  23. Can you clarify if you’re supposed to use canned or dry black beans? I’m currently making these and I doubled the recipe, they’ve been simmering for an hour and a half already and there’s still a ton of liquid.. they don’t look anything like yours. It’s probably just because I doubled it but I was expecting them to be nice and thick by the 2 hour mark.

    1. I’m so sorry I’m just now seeing your question. I used canned beans for this recipe. Hopefully it all turned out well with doubling.

      1. No worries, I turned up the heat and they thickened eventually. Loved the recipe and will make again!

  24. Hello, I would like to make this for a BBQ on Friday. I assume your recipe is using canned beans, but the instructions don’t specify. Would you please clarify?


  25. We are hosting a big BBQ next week and I think these will be a great side dish. However, I’m curious when your recipe states “32 ounces black beans , not drained” do you mean canned beans or dry/soaked?

  26. Oh my goodness! This is the perfect recipe to bring to all the potlucks and barbecues this summer!