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.
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?
- Honey Bacon Baked Beans
- Tony Romas Inspired Coleslaw
- Easy Greek Pasta Salad
- Broccoli Raisin Salad
- Super Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
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.
- 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.
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 : )
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
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.
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
How come mine came out beyond watery?
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!
What size dutch oven? Will update review when done!
I used a 7 qt dutch oven. I hope you enjoy it!
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!
Thanks for the 5 stars, Anna.
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.
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.
You could use butter if you don’t want to use bacon fat. Enjoy!
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.
I didn’t place a lid over it.
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!
Thanks for the 5 stars, Marci.
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?
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.
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!
Glad you liked them! Love the time saving hack of a slow cooker!
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!
I’m so glad you guys enjoyed them! Hope you feel better soon.
Can you substitute black beans with kidney beans or black eyed peas?
It won’t be a copycat but you can use whatever beans you prefer.
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.
Yes, you can make this in a slow cooker. I would reduce the liquids and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Enjoy!!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
Total waste of time and ingredients….ugh. :(.
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.
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!
Haha! Love it!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
No worries, I turned up the heat and they thickened eventually. Loved the recipe and will make again!
So glad it all turned out and you enjoyed it!
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?
Yes, canned beans. I’ll update to clarify. Thanks!
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?
oooh I love the spicy kick in these!!
Those look so good, I want a big bowl of them right now!
We’re grilling chicken this weekend, so I’ve got to make these!
Sounds like a yummy weekend! Enjoy!
This looks so delicious and healthy! Need to try it soon!
Oh my goodness! This is the perfect recipe to bring to all the potlucks and barbecues this summer!
I’ve never tried the original but this looks amazing!!!