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Here’s how to make an easy rendition of black beans and rice! This classic Latin-style side dish is perfect with tacos or as a lunch idea.

Black beans and rice
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Black beans and rice are a classic Latin-style side dish: but there are so many different ways to make them! There are two main styles you may think of. First you’ve got Cuban black beans, saucy and savory, served over rice. Then you’ve got black beans, jumbled with rice and green bell pepper, and seasoned with cumin, lime and cilantro. That’s the style we’ve made for you in this recipe! It’s the perfect side to serve with tacos, or as a lunch idea (it saves well for eating throughout the week). Let’s get to it!

Black beans and rice

How to make the best black beans and rice

Turns out, there’s not one way to make black beans and rice. If you’re thinking of a saucy-style black beans you’d serve with rice, head to our Cuban black beans recipe. It’s one of our favorite recipes and often we serve it as a main dish. But this one is a mix of black beans and long-grain white rice combined together, which works as either a main or a side dish! Here are the features of the best black beans and rice:

  • White long-grain rice. Long-grain rice is traditional here and is the perfect contrast to the chewy black beans. Though we often use brown rice in our cooking, white rice is nice here for the color contrast (plus, it cooks faster). See below for tips on cooking rice!
  • Onion, green pepper and garlic. Using these aromatics brings big flavor to the simple dish.
  • A mix of butter and olive oil. Combining butter and olive oil brings big, rich flavor! If you eat vegan or plant-based, you can easily substitute more olive oil for the butter. But the butter adds a savory note that has a nice nuance.
  • Cumin and lime. Of course, like many Latin-style recipes, earthy cumin and tangy lime round out the flavors.

It sounds simple, but altogether these flavors truly pop! You can get it together in about 30 minutes if you phase it as follows: Start the white rice, chop the veggies, start the sauté, then add the cooked rice in at the end.

Black beans and rice

Tips on cooking rice

Rice is infamously easy to screw up! You’ll want it perfectly cooked for this black beans and rice recipe, because mushy rice plus mushy beans would be a disaster! For this recipe, follow our classic rice method using 1 ½ cups water for every 1 cup rice. Bring the rice and water to a boil, then simmer for 12 to 15 minutes until the water is completely absorbed. Then let it sit in the pot covered to steam for about 10 minutes after cooking.

How to Cook Basmatic Rice

How to cook black beans: two ways

You can easily use canned black beans for this black beans and rice recipe, and it comes out fantastic. However, if you’re looking for an excuse to cook beans from scratch, here are a few advantages to home-cooked beans:

  • Cooking beans from dry comes out more delicious. Canned beans are fine, but home cooked beans are great. They have a firmer texture and an elevated flavor.
  • Dry beans are cheaper! It can be about ⅓ the price to cook your beans at home.

There are two ways that we have cooked beans at home. Our favorite way is to use an Instant Pot (pressure cooker) if you have one. It’s seriously fast: it takes about 1 hour to cook dried beans! Our other favorite method is using a Dutch oven: this takes about 1.5 hours. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can also cook them on the stove: it takes 2 to 3 hours, and also requires a 14 hour soak. For that reason, we prefer the first two methods!

How to cook black beans
Want more with black beans? Head to our Best Black Beans Recipes.

Top ways to serve black beans and rice

There are so many ways to serve black beans and rice! Since they take about 30 minutes to make, they’re great for entertaining. Or, make them up ahead of time and reheat: just throw them into a skillet and reheat over medium heat until warmed through. The best ways to serve black beans and rice:

  1. Enchiladas. Try them with our Vegetarian Enchiladas or Chicken Enchiladas.
  2. Tacos! Of course. Pair with Epic 5 Minute Tacos, Jackfruit Tacos or Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Sauce.
  3. As a lunch. Make for your weekend meal prep, then refrigerate and bring to the office. It’s good room temp or cold too, served with salsa or hot sauce.
  4. On a salad. Throw it on greens, add some corn and Green Goddess dressing, and you’ve got a tasty salad.
  5. In lettuce wraps. Use up leftovers in lettuce wraps with mango salsa!
Black beans and rice

More black beans recipes

There are so many ways to use this versatile legume! Black beans are a versatile superfood that packs a powerful punch of protein, fiber, and essential vitamins! Here are a few more great ways to use black beans:

This black beans and rice recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Black beans and rice

Black Beans and Rice

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 12 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 1x
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Here’s how to make the best black beans and rice! This classic Latin-style side dish is perfect with tacos or as a lunch idea.


  • 3 cups cooked (1 cup dry) white long grain rice
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans or (or 3 cups cooked or Instant Pot black beans)
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter (substitute olive oil for vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (juice of 1 lime)
  • Fresh cilantro, for a garnish


  1. Start the rice: use How to Cook Rice or Instant Pot White Rice.
  2. Mince the onion. Chop the pepper into a small dice. Mince the garlic.
  3. Drain and rinse the beans.
  4. In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Once melted, add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent and lightly browned. Add the beans, cumin, oregano, and kosher salt and stir to combine. Cook for 3 minutes until warmed and fragrant, then stir in rice for 1 minute until heated through.
  5. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice. Serve garnished with fresh cilantro.
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Latin

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Christie Casey says:

    I am commenting after making this recipe regularly for several years for myself and for several friends. It’s easy, tasty, and hits the soul just right. I happen to chop most of the bunch of cilantro and fold it in.

    The technique for cooking rice like pasta has been amazing. I feel like I’m putting on a magic show when I make it for friends. They are so surprised!

    Thank you so much!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Haha! So glad you’ve loved it. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Eric Wiksten says:

    I love this recipe- first time making rice and beans from scratch, and it turned out delicious. I used a red pepper that was getting wrinkly, but it worked out perfectly. I doubled up on the cumin, lime and oregano bc I like spicy, and I added jalapeno rings from 2 jalapenos for a little more heat.

    Turned out perfect! Thanks! I can see just heating up a tortilla and putting a couple tablespoons of this in for a quick snack as well.

  3. Christine Carney says:

    Anyone looking for a side dish with the perfect amount of flavor, look no further. If you love black beans, cilantro and rice, give this bad boy a chance. Love it!

  4. Rosenthal says:

    I made this tonight and added a little red pepper flakes for heat and zested the lime in for a little more citrus flavor.

  5. Mike Pung says:

    Very simple and very good! Had some leftover cooked shrimp from New Year’s Eve that I needed to use. Made this as recipes says and added a sprinkle of cayenne. Added shrimp along with the beans and it was very good! Will make it again and possibly use sliced sausage.

  6. Janet Sedy says:

    I made these from the black coat runner beans I grew this past summer. Delicious and satisfying (especially knowing the beans came from our own garden!). Pure comfort food on a cold winter day—thanks for giving me another reason to grow black coat runners next summer! Btw, I left out the jalapeño pepper and the cilantro simply because I didn’t have them on hand.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I made this recipe today and included fresh homemade guacamole on the plate.

  8. MegZ says:

    I had to supplement the green pepper with red and yellow, as well as some jalapeño. And I didn’t have olive oil but I had plenty of vegan butter 😋.
    Tis dope picklez!

  9. Wendy says:

    Just made it for the first time it’s good!

    Is it still as good if I reheat it in the microwave? Or just eat the leftovers cold? Thanks!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      I would re-heat it in a skillet with just a few tablespoons of water to re-moisturize it. Thanks for making!

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