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This quick Cuban black beans recipe uses canned beans as a shortcut: but they’re full of big flavor! Here’s how to make Cuban black beans at home.

How to make Cuban black beans
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Ever had Cuban black beans? Our friend Dan (who Larson calls “Tio”, Spanish for uncle) has a bit of Cuban heritage and recently visited Cuba. The other day we set about to create a Cuban black beans recipe with him. Our goals: to make it quick enough for a weeknight dinner, but bring in as much of the Cuban back beans flavor as possible. And since we eat a mostly plant based diet, make it vegetarian too. Hence, our quick Cuban black beans recipe was born! We’ve used canned beans as a shortcut to cooking dried beans, but kept that Cuban style black beans essence. Keep reading for the recipe we created together, and how to make Cuban black beans.

Related: Best Healthy Dinner Recipes

Cuban style black beans

Making this Cuban black beans recipe

There is lots of contention over how to make Cuban black beans in the most “authentic” and “best” way. While this recipe is not authentic, it takes cues from traditional Cuban black beans recipes. Our friend Dan who helped us with the recipe has Cuban heritage, but he also grew up in Texas. His family’s Cuban black beans recipe includes jalapeño pepper and garlic, so we’ve added that in for a little fusion flavor as well. (If you’re looking for a straight up authentic, try these Cuban Black Beans from the New York Times; they’re more involved but more true to the authentic methods.)

Cuban black beans and rice is a very humble, straightforward dish. Many authentic recipes use a ham hock for flavor; since Alex and I cook mainly vegetarian and vegan meals on a regular basis we’ve made this recipe vegetarian. To mimic the richness of meat, we’ve used some butter to sauté the veggies and beans. (If you eat a vegan diet, you can use olive oil.) Also most authentic Cuban black bean recipes cook the beans from dried. To save a bit of time and convert this recipe into a “quick” weeknight meal, we’ve opted for canned beans here. (Plus, that’s what Dan’s family does!)

Cuban black beans recipe
Want more with black beans? Head to our Best Black Beans Recipes.

To make our quick Cuban style black beans recipe, it’s pretty simple. Just mince onion and green pepper (chop them into a small dice) and mince a bit of jalapeño and garlic. Saute them all up, add the beans, and cook it down for a while until it becomes thick and saucy. The flavor that results is super savory, silky, and addictingly good. Serve it up with some rice (white or brown), and it’s a humble meal that tastes like a million bucks.

After taste testing against black beans from our local Cuban restaurant, Dan even preferred this Cuban black beans recipe! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did; let us know in the comments below. And here are lots more bean recipes, if you love beans like we do!

Cuban black beans recipe

Looking for vegetarian dinner recipes?

Outside of this Cuban black beans recipe, here are a few of our favorite vegetarian dinner recipes:

Cuban black beans in metal skillet

This Cuban black beans recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, substitute olive oil for the butter.

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How to make Cuban black beans and rice

Cuban Black Beans Recipe

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4 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This quick Cuban black beans recipe uses canned beans as a shortcut: but they’re full of big flavor! Here’s how to make Cuban black beans at home.


  • 1 ½ cups minced sweet yellow onion (about 1 large onion)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 jalapeño pepper
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter (substitute additional olive oil for vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans (or 3 cups cooked or Instant Pot black beans)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • Fresh cilantro, for a garnish
  • 1 cup dry white or brown long grain rice, to serve*


  1. Start the rice, according to the package instructions or use our Instant Pot Rice method or How to Cook Rice on the Stove.
  2. Mince the onion and mince the pepper (chop them into a small dice). Mince the garlic.
  3. Remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapeño pepper and mince it.
  4. Use a strainer to drain the black beans over a glass measuring cup, reserving the can liquid. (No need to rinse.)
  5. In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Once melted, add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeño 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. Add ½ cup of the liquid from the black beans. Simmer 15 minutes until beans are tender.
  6. Chop the cilantro for the garnish. Serve the black beans warm with rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.


*Note: The garnish we used was not traditional but added a little color: we diced a tomato and mixed it with some kosher salt and chopped cilantro.

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

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 for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Kathleen McGinty says:

    Made this again today and it is wonderful!

  2. David Vitanovitz says:

    Nitpicking reviews really irk me! Sorta proves that ‘they’ just jumped to the recipe without reading the blog post. Sad!
    Anyway, a great recipe for Texuban black beans and rice! I halved the recipe but still used the six cloves of garlic. MMM-MMM-GOOD! Also used more jalapeño and added some ghost pepper…HOTTT!…but great flavor from the Ghosts. Just to scramble things up some more, made Mexican style rice! Overall, I was pleased with your recipe, and my “doctoring”! Thanks for posting it!

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Haha thank you for your kind note! We agree, Texuban is a good term there:) Sounds like your spin was very hot (wow!) but completely delicious. Thanks for trying it out and so glad you liked it!

  3. Cindy says:

    This recipe was super easy and delicious! Even my picky 5 and 9 year olds liked it with white rice. I think the key is saving the liquid from the beans and adding it back later to simmer. I ended up adding all the liquid back gradually as it simmered because I like it less dry. Next time I’d add a little less salt, I used unsalted black beans and it still tasted on the salty side. I’d cut it back to 1 tsp next time. Thank you so much for this keeper!

  4. Danielle says:

    made this for dinner and looooved it! Had to stop myself from going back for thirds!

  5. Milton Boudov says:

    I like the crossover angle. Maybe try a smatter of pico de gallo as a garnish. The salsa ties into the onions, garlic, and jalapeno. The cilantro, too. And the tomato brightens up a drab looking but delicious dish. Your simple and easy but delicious recipes make it possible to let imagination loose on any dish Thanks !.

  6. Andy says:

    This for this – it is now my favorite black bean recipe. It’s so simple, yet delicious. Even my famously fussy kids love it.

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Awesome! Glad you enjoyed.

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