Creamy and flavorful, Cuban-style black beans are easy to make on the stove or in the Instant Pot. Serve them in burritos, atop nachos or tacos, and more!
Soft, creamy Cuban black beans, just like the beans at your favorite restaurant, are easy to make with a few ingredients you probably have around the kitchen.
Flavorful black beans are perfect simply served over white rice with a squeeze of lime. They are also a great side dish for any Mexican meal. I serve them with tacos, in burritos, and over my nachos for a crowd.
They're saucy with a hint of heat from the jalapeño, and super flavorful. The seasonings make these authentic black beans extra special.
I made this recipe with dry black beans, but I've also given instructions on how to save a step and make them with canned beans.
To make these Cuban black beans from scratch, you'll first cook the dry black beans with aromatics like onion, garlic, and jalapeño.
Then, it's time to assembled the finished beans. Additional onion, garlic, and jalapeño are added to amp up the flavor.
I also add a variety of spices to the pot, including dried oregano, ground cumin and coriander, and chili powder. Cuban-style black beans aren't spicy, just flavorful!
Tip: Jalapeño peppers are notorious for adding that extra Mexican zing to dishes. They are hot, but fairly moderate in relation to other peppers. This makes them perfect for adding spice and a little heat to contrast with the creamy black beans.
How to Make Cuban Black Beans
Whether or not you've made black beans from scratch before, rest assured that this recipe is very easy! It just takes time to cook the beans until creamy.
Here's a look at how the Cuban-style black beans are made:
- Cook the dry black beans: Soak the beans overnight, then drain and rinse.
- In a large pot, cover the beans with 2 inches of water. Add the onion, jalapeño, garlic, and bay leaf.
- Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender.
- Assemble the Cuban black beans: In a pot, heat a little olive oil over medium high heat.
- Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño and reduce heat to medium. Saute until onion is soft and translucent.
- Stir in the salt, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and coriander.
- Add the drained cooked beans and broth. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
How Long to Cook Dried Black Beans?
The black beans cooking time will vary depending on whether you make them in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop. I've given instructions for both methods in the recipe card below.
- Instant Pot: Cooking dried beans in an Instant pot saves about an hour to an hour and a half on cook time, plus no stirring required! Throw in the dry beans, add water and the flavorings, and your beans will be ready in 25 minutes.
- Stovetop: While a more intensive process, cooking beans on the stove is just as effective. It's important to keep watching the temperature of the beans. The cook time should be roughly 90 minutes to 2 hours.
Can I Use Canned Beans Instead?
Even though dried beans are a cinch to make in the instant pot, you may want to make these with canned black beans in a rush. You skip the soaking step and are that much closer to enjoying your creamy black beans!
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you're using canned black beans instead of dry:
- Canned beans can be very high in sodium: You'll want to cut down on the salt called for in the recipe and adjust the seasoning to taste at the end. You can also purchase canned beans with a lower sodium content.
- Canned bean liquid is just fine to eat! Most recipes call for draining and rinsing canned beans. For this recipe you can drain the beans, but save ½ cup of the can liquid to add to the recipe with the broth. This thick, flavorful liquid helps make the final dish creamy and tasty.
- Canned beans are cooked just perfectly: And for these authentic, creamy black beans, you'll want your beans just a bit softer. This simply means that the simmering time is crucial. Softening the beans just right helps this dish taste great whether you're taking a shortcut or not.
Tips for Making Cuban-Style Back Beans
- Clean the dry beans: Before cooking the beans, you need to pick out any small stones or other debris. You must also wash the beans under running tap water (they'll be quite dusty!).
- Season to taste: Dry black beans don't contain any salt. As such, you'll need to season them to taste.
- Make ahead: Prepare this homemade Cuban black beans recipe up to a week before you plan on reheating and serving them.
What to Serve with Cuban Black Beans
Authentic black beans are delicious in tacos or served on the side. Try one of the following recipes:
Let me know how it went!
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Authentic Creamy Black Beans
Cook the black beans
- 1 pound dry black beans picked and rinsed
- 1 small jalapeño (optional) quartered and seeded
- 1 small yellow onion peeled and quartered
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 7 cups water
Assemble Authentic Black Beans
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small jalapeño finely diced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
For the black beans
- Pick through dry beans for any pebbles and rinse beans. Place in an instant pot. For spicier black beans add the jalapeño, for less spicy leave it out. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaf and water.
- Seal and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Let the instant pot do a natural release. Drain beans and remove any jalapeño pieces you see. Use or keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Assemble Authentic Black Beans
- In a pot or high-sided skillet heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeño and reduce heat to medium. Saute until onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the salt, oregano, chili powder, cumin and coriander and cook 30 seconds. Add drained cooked beans and broth. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Serve beans immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.