Cuban Black Beans Recipe

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

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


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (90 votes, average: 4.03 out of 5)

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

Description

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.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 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 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Fresh cilantro, for a garnish
  • 1 cup dry white or brown long grain rice, to serve*

Instructions

  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 1/2 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.

Notes

*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

Keywords: Cuban black beans, Cuban black beans and rice, Cuban style black beans, How to make cuban black beans, Vegan Dinner Ideas, Vegetarian Dinner Ideas, Gluten-Free Dinner Ideas

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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.

22 Comments

  • Reply
    Kara O.
    February 21, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Your recipes are our favorite time and time again. This was no different. It seems like every time my husband really enjoys a recipe – I find myself saying “it’s an A Couple Cooks recipe” ☺️ Thank you guys for creating the best, simple recipes!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      February 21, 2019 at 8:05 pm

      Thank you for the nicest comment EVER! This means the world to Alex and me. Thank you for cooking our recipes!!!

  • Reply
    Kirsti
    April 2, 2019 at 7:58 am

    I have to comment as the fiancé and I made this for dinner last night, and it was de-licious! These beans were as good if not better than what you’d get in a restaurant! For anyone who is wondering, I halved the recipe but followed it to a tee. This will definitely be on repeat ;)

    • Reply
      Sonja
      April 7, 2019 at 9:46 pm

      Oh we’re SO glad to hear this! We’re really glad to hear it was a success for you and your fiance- — thank you for trying it!

  • Reply
    thelittlemomma
    April 15, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    Great recipe! Super simple inexpensive meal with great flavor. Will be making this recipe again soon!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      April 22, 2019 at 10:58 am

      Yes, it’s crazy how much flavor can come from humble ingredients, right? Thank you so much for trying it out!

  • Reply
    Joey G.
    February 5, 2020 at 7:45 pm

    Great recipe, but I did find it odd that you added Jalapeño pepper to it. That’s the one non-Cuban ingredient since traditionally Cuban cuisine isn’t spicy.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      February 5, 2020 at 8:01 pm

      Yes, this recipe was inspired by our friend’s family recipe (which has a fusion of Cuban and Tex-Mex heritage).

    • Reply
      Jeannie
      April 11, 2020 at 10:42 pm

      Thank you, because I was about to say Cubans do not cook with jalapeño. These are not cuban black beans they should be displayed as something else. My grandma just rolled over in her grave.

  • Reply
    Melanie Kipp
    April 10, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    Made it this evening, wish I could post a photo. It was delicious.

  • Reply
    Sheila
    May 2, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    I am half Cuban and your recipe is very similar to the one handed down to me from by Cuban Grandmother. But she didn’t use cumin or jalapeno. Sometimes she used dry beans and sometimes she went the short cut with canned beans. When I was in college, she would send me back to school with a container of black beans and rice, in case I got hungry. I think I’ll stick with my grandmother’s recipe but maybe I’ll try a little cumin and a dash of cayenne next time. See how I like it.

  • Reply
    Amy Moyer
    May 21, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight. AMAZING!!!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      May 21, 2020 at 4:32 pm

      So glad you enjoyed!

  • Reply
    Sandra
    June 21, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    I made these to accompany a Cuban pork roast and they stole the show. So flavorful and easy. Will definitely make again. Shredding the pork over the beans and white rice made a delicious combination.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      June 22, 2020 at 10:15 am

      Sounds amazing! Thanks for making it!

  • Reply
    Samantha Russell
    June 27, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    Oh my GOSH. This is the first time I have ever (ever!) commented on a recipe but this deserves the title. I used the cuban black beans in a vegetarian burrito with homemade guac and lime rice and WOW. Wow. So much flavor, this burrito single-handedly wanted to take over the world to share the yum with everyone. All thanks to the show-stopping Cuban Black Beans. Thank you so much for your recipes.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      June 27, 2020 at 8:01 pm

      Haha! So glad you enjoyed! We’ll have to try the burrito version :)

  • Reply
    WaunaKing
    July 19, 2020 at 9:56 pm

    What a fantastic recipe – can’t wait to make this again. I combined it with some carnitas, Mexican rice and some melted pepper jack cheese and made a dip. Everyone who tried it raved about the combination.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      July 20, 2020 at 2:23 pm

      Sounds wonderful!

  • Reply
    Andy
    September 29, 2020 at 7:05 pm

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

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      September 29, 2020 at 8:22 pm

      Awesome! Glad you enjoyed.

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