Canary beans, also called Peruvian beans, are mild beans that cook up with a smooth, buttery taste you can eat as a simple bowl of beans and rice or use in recipes to create delicious tasting meals. In this easy Peruvian beans recipe, the beans are cooked with onions, garlic, and aji amarillo paste which give the beans a bit of spicy, fruity flavor.
UPDATED: This recipe was originally published in February 2020. It has been updated for photos and content.
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I first discovered canary beans on a trip to Peru where I saw these brilliantly colored beans in the markets. After cooking them the first time, I was in love with creamy canary beans. They really have an amazing texture and I love the mild flavor which easily takes on any flavors you add while they’re cooking.
In Peruvian cuisine, canary beans are often cooked in lard or with bits of meat and served as a side dish for meals. Canary beans are also used to make tacu tacu, a recipe of patties of mashed Peruvian beans and rice that are fried and served with a variety of different toppings.
In this recipe, I add some of my favorite Peruvian flavors, including onion, garlic and aji amarillo, Peru’s favorite chile, to cook the beans and serve up salsa criolla, the classic Peruvian salad, to top the beans for serving.
You can also make Instant Pot Mayocoba Beans which is a more simple preparation that’s perfect for bean meal prep to use in recipes throughout the week.
If you like the flavors in Peruvian food, you might also like this Vegan Ceviche recipe made with mushroom, zucchini and artichokes or another one of my favorites, Potatoes with Huancaina Sauce.
Recipes and content on CookEatLiveLove are created for all levels of cooks. I want to make sure that everyone who visits this recipe has all the information and tools they need to make it with excellent results.
If you are a seasoned cook, feel free to jump straight to the recipe using the button at the top of the page, or scroll through the Table of Contents below to jump around to the information you desire.
- Why You Will Love This Recipe
- What You Need to Make This Recipe
- How to Make Perfect Canary Beans
- How to Serve Canary Beans
- Expert Tips and FAQs
- More Peruvian Recipes To Explore
- More Easy Vegan Recipes
- 📖 Recipe
Why You Will Love This Recipe
This Peruvian beans recipe is a simple preparation with delicious flavor and a yummy buttery texture in the beans.
The recipe is naturally vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free.
An easy recipe that cooks up tender Peruvian beans with very little effort and is mostly hands-free.
The mild taste of canary beans means they easily absorb the flavors you add to the pot.
What You Need to Make This Recipe
You can make a batch of Peruvian beans easily with basic ingredients that you can find in most grocery stores or Latin American markets.
What are Peruvian Beans?
Peruvian beans go by many different names. Canary or canario in Spanish and mayocoba beans are the more “official” names given to this type of bean, but they are colloquially called Peruano beans or Peruvian beans.
These beans are native to Peru but are a popular, common ingredient in Mexican food so they will also sometimes be called a Mexican yellow bean. In Jalisco, Mexico they are commonly used to make ultra-creamy refried beans. You will find yellow beans in a variety of Latin American cooking.
These beans have a yellowish color before cooking, which fades to a beige-white when the beans are cooked. The beans have a buttery, creamy texture with a mild flavor that easily absorbs whatever flavors you add when cooking them.
You can swap out canary beans for pinto beans, northern beans and cannellini beans in just about any recipe.
Dried canary beans: Many large grocery store chains carry canary beans these days, but that may vary depending on where you live. If you can’t find them you can order them online or look for a Latin American market that carries a variety of foods from Central and South America.
Vegetable broth: I prefer cooking vegan and vegetarian beans with vegetable broth as I find it adds more flavor than cooking them in water.
Aji amarillo paste: Aji amarillo paste is made from the popular Peruvian aji, or chile of the same name. It brings a unique flavor to the beans as this moderately spicy aji also has a profile of fruity flavors. You can find the paste in Latin American markets or online from sources such as Amazon.
Red onion: Red onion is the onion of choice in Peruvian cooking. It’s essential to make an authentic salsa criolla and is also used in cooking too.
Chile pepper: Salsa criolla is often made with aji limo, a hot Peruvian chile. You can swap it out with any chile such as jalapeno or red chile pepper. You just need a touch of it and can leave it out if you prefer a less spicy onion salad.
Lime juice: Fresh lime juice gives the salad the best flavor.
For the full list of ingredients and the quantities, you will need, check the recipe card further down on the page.
Peruvian beans: If you can’t find canary beans, you can make this recipe with giant lima beans, cannellini beans, or northern beans. You may need to adjust the cooking time for these other beans.
Vegetable broth: You can swap it out for equal cups of water if you want.
There’s no need for anything special to make a pot of Peruvian beans, just a few simple kitchen tools:
- Large pot
- Knife and cutting board
- Wooden spoon
- Small mixing bowl
Preparing recipes like these yummy beans is so much easier when you have the right tools on hand. Learn more about my favorite Essential Kitchen Cutting Tools that I believe help save time in the kitchen and simplify cooking.
You can watch the Peruvian Beans Recipe Web Story and see a slideshow of the instructions for making the recipe.
How to Make Perfect Canary Beans
When making a batch of canary beans, most of the cooking is hands off.
Start by placing the soaked beans in a large pot and add 5 cups vegetable broth to the beans. Heat the pot over medium-high heat to a boil.
When the liquid begins boiling, cover with a lid, reduce heat to low and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.
When the beans are just about ready, you can start to make the onion mixture.
Start by heating 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Add onions and garlic sauté until softened, stirring frequently so they don’t burn or get too brown, about 5-8 minutes.
Add aji amarillo paste then cook for an additional 2 minutes.
When the beans are fully cooked, they will be tender and some may be split up.
Add the onion mixture from the skillet to the pot.
Taste, add salt and black pepper as needed. Let the beans cook with the added ingredients for about 10 minutes to absorb the flavors.
While the beans are cooking make the salsa criolla. Combine the onions, chile, cilantro and lime juice in a small bowl and mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
When the beans are ready, serve them up with the onions on top along with chopped cilantro and a lime wedge if desired.
HINT: There’s a special way to cut onions into julienne slices for salsa criolla. All you need is a sharp knife along with these instructions for How to Cut Red Onion Feathers to make perfect onions for your salads.
How to Meal Prep
If time is short, consider adding this Peruvian beans recipe to your meal prep routine on the weekend and cooking them ahead. You can freeze the extras to use for meals later on.
Peruvian beans are perfect for repurposing for other uses such as adding them to a burrito bowl, tacos, or quesadillas or turning them into refried beans for a side dish.
Another option if time is tight is to consider using your slow cooker to cook Peruvian beans. Set it up before you leave the house with the canary beans and broth and let them cook while you are gone for the day.
Another option is using a pressure cooker to make Peruvian beans. Get the timing here in this recipe for Instant Pot Mayocoba Beans.
For either alternate cooking method, when the beans are ready, cook the onions, garlic and aji amarillo. Add them to the pot of beans and give them a stir.
How to Store This Recipe
Refrigerator: You can store cooked beans in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Be sure to allow them to cool fully before covering them with a lid and use an airtight container for best results.
Freezer: Store cooked canary beans in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheat: To reheat beans, return them to a pot and cook until heated through. Add water or vegetable broth if they seem a little dry.
How to Serve Canary Beans
This recipe can be eaten on its own similar to a soup or stew but it’s also great served over rice or even some Instant Pot Barley.
Swap in Peruvian beans to your favorite refried beans recipe to make delicious creamy beans.
Use leftovers to make Vegetarian Tacu Tacu or you can even mash them up and use them as a filling for Vegan Quesadillas or swap out the black beans in this Vegan Taquitos recipe.
For a refreshing beverage, serve up a Peruvian Chilcano or mocktail such as this Sparkling Lime Cucumber Drink.
Expert Tips and FAQs
Soak your beans in advance to make this Peruvian beans recipe. They cook up a buttery, creamy texture when soaked in advance in less time.
Cook the onions and garlic on medium-low heat, stir frequently, and keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn. Burning these ingredients will give them a bitter, off-flavor.
For creamier beans, remove a small portion of beans from the pot and mash them with a potato masher. Then return the mashed beans to the pot and stir them in.
More Peruvian Recipes To Explore
More Easy Vegan Recipes
Looking for some new ideas for vegan recipes to add to your weekly meals? Here are my top favorites I think everyone should try at least once!
- Spicy Vegetable Stir Fry
- Tofu Ground Beef Substitute
- Easy Tofu Fajitas
- Lentil Curry
- Taco Lentil Soup
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