Easy Black Beans

Here’s the best trick: how to cook canned black beans in 5 minutes! This recipe transforms a bland can of beans into a flavor-packed dinner.

Black beans

How do you make dinner in 5 minutes? This is one of those down-and-dirty kitchen tricks that barely qualifies as a formal recipe. Except a recipe is really just an idea, and this idea saves us weekly. Try these Easy Black Beans, the way to take a can of bland beans and make it into a meal. It’s vegan and gluten free, full of plant based protein, and works as a main or a side. It’s just what you need on those nights where you open the pantry and give it a blank look. Got canned beans? Then let’s go.

The five ingredients for these easy black beans

This black beans recipe uses just a handful of ingredients to bring huge flavor. Typically we’ll cook these up without thinking about it. But we’ve realized: not everyone knows this trick! Once you’ve made it once, you won’t even need to measure. Here’s what to have on-hand to cook canned black beans in a flash (or jump to the recipe to get started):

  • Canned black beans: Black beans vary widely, so use trial and error to find a brand whose texture and flavor you love. Steer away from reduced sodium (those are typically very bland).
  • Fresh garlic: You must make this with fresh garlic! In a pinch you can use some garlic powder, but fresh garlic is the best way to instant flavor. Not a pro at peeling and mincing it? Go to How to Mince Garlic.
  • Cumin: A hint of cumin pairs with the garlic to add a savory complexity.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
Black beans

How to cook canned black beans

There’s not much to it, folks! To give you a little context, here’s the main concept behind this fast and easy canned black beans recipe:

  • Drain the beans, but no need to rinse. Why no rinse? First, so you don’t have to dirty a strainer! (We’re lazy.) Even better: the residual can liquid gives a little bit of instant saucy texture to the beans.
  • Saute minced garlic for 1 minute. Cook until you start to smell it and it’s sizzling beautifully, but before it browns. This should take 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Cook the canned beans, cumin, and salt for 2 minutes. Cook just until they’re just warmed through. Give it a taste and be amazed!

Double this recipe for 4 hearty servings

This recipe is for 1 can of black beans. How filling the recipe is depends on how you serve it. But if you’re serving it as a main protein source, it’s only 2 servings. It’s very easy to double, so mix up a double recipe if you’re trying to feed 4 hungry eaters!

Black beans recipe

Ways to serve this black beans recipe

Sure, you say: you can make these black beans in 5 minutes. But that’s not a meal! Good point. But! There are lots of easy ways you can make it into an easy, healthy meal. Here are some ideas for how to serve these black beans:

  • Taco filling. Add them to tortillas and top with crunchy fresh veggies, salsa and sour cream.
  • Rice bowl. Make rice or use leftovers. Add sliced cherry tomatoes and avocado.
  • With a scramble. Try alongside our Scrambled Eggs or Tofu Scramble.
  • Quesadilla filling. Pan fry it (or bake it!) between two tortillas and cheese. Add salsa or a spicy mayo drizzle.
  • Over a sweet potato. Make these quick baked sweet potatoes, then top with black beans and salsa.
  • On a salad. Throw them on greens. Top with cilantro dressing.
  • Burrito. Add it to a large tortilla with cheese, bell peppers, salsa, and greens.

Of course, there are lots more ideas. Let us know how you serve yours in the comments below!

Black beans

Black beans nutrition

Why eat your beans? There are so many reasons to eat more black beans! Here are a few of the highlights of this magical fruit (source):

  • Excellent source of protein. 1 cup has 15 grams of protein, about 30% of your daily protein needs.
  • Excellent source of fiber. 1 cup also has 15 grams of fiber, about 50% of your daily intake.
  • Black beans have a lower glycemic index compared to many other high-carbohydrate foods, meaning they cause a smaller rise in blood sugar after a meal.

This recipe is…

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

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Black beans

Easy Black Beans

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (21 votes, average: 4.43 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Here’s the best trick: how to cook canned black beans in 5 minutes! This recipe transforms a bland can of beans into a flavor-packed dinner.


  • 15-ounce can black beans*
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Drain the beans, but don’t rinse them. Mince the garlic.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute until fragrant but not yet browned.
  3. Add the beans (drained but not rinsed), cumin, kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Cook 2 minutes until warmed through. Taste and add additional salt if desired. Store leftovers refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.


*Double this recipe to make 4 servings: leftovers save well refrigerated! 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican Inspired

Keywords: Black Beans, Black Beans Recipe

More clutch bean recipes

Here are the top bean recipes we reach for when we need a fast meal:

  • Easy Cannellini Beans or Easy White Beans Make white beans into a tasty side dish with this easy recipe! It’s packed with Mediterranean flavor and plant-based protein.
  • Simple Chickpea Salad A 5-minute fast lunch idea! This simple chickpea salad is easy to throw together: the perfect healthy plant based desk lunch or quick fix dinner.
  • Borlotti Beans These unique beans are full of creamy, savory flavor: a total treat!
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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    March 29, 2021 at 7:24 pm

    Thanks so much for this super easy and yummy recipe! I realized at the last minute I needed something to go with my homemade meatloaf and this was perfect! It took a can of simple black beans to a new level!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      March 30, 2021 at 3:22 pm

      You’re welcome! So glad you enjoyed.

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