"Master the Art of Cooking Delicious Black Beans from Scratch: A Step-by-Step Guide"

My Trusted Recipe for Delicious Black Beans!

best black beans recipe

Looking to learn how to cook the perfect black beans from scratch? Look no further! This recipe promises to yield rich, creamy, and flavorful black beans that will transport you to the sunny beaches of Costa Rica, Belize, and Mexico!

Canned beans cannot hold a candle to home-cooked beans seasoned to perfection. They are not only bursting with flavors but also much cheaper than canned beans and eco-friendly, as you won't be throwing away any cans.

The Incredible Nutritional Benefits of Black Beans:

These magical legumes pack a punch of fiber and plant-based proteins that are crucial to your diet. They are also a great source of essential nutrients like phosphorus, manganese, folate, thiamin (vitamin B1), and magnesium.

black bean recipe ingredients

But it's not just their nutritional value that's impressive; black beans are so blue that they look black! This is due to their high anthocyanin content, which also makes blueberries, purple cabbage, and red onions so good for you. You can learn more about black beans' incredible nutritional benefits here.

However, there is a catch! Lectins, naturally present in many plant foods, can affect the proper absorption of nutrients. Cooking beans is the key to eliminate lectins successfully. So, ensure that you follow the cooking instructions below so that you can benefit fully from their nutrients.

Seasoning the Perfect Black Beans:

If you're learning to cook dried beans, be sure to give yourself plenty of time. You never know exactly when they will finish cooking! Let's get started on making our perfect black beans.

black beans before and after cooking

Watch How to Cook Black Beans:

Here are the seasonings that give this recipe its unique and rich flavor:

    Raw red onion and garlic: These ingredients give the beans a savory undertone and are added raw. Garlic is peeled whole, and once the beans are done, just smash them against the side of the pot and stir them in - easy!

    Bay Leaves: Offer an herbal aroma similar to thyme and oregano, which amplify the savoriness of the beans.

    Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Splash a little oil to make the beans extra creamy.

    Ground Cumin: This spice is the perfect match for black beans.

    Orange Zest: Add the finishing touch of flavor by adding a small strip of peeled orange zest for a subtle, unique twist! A recipe from Serious Eats for Cuban style black beans inspired this addition, and trust us; it's amazing!

    This recipe is vegetarian and vegan-friendly and omits meat products like bacon and lard. The seasonings will elevate the flavors, and we recommend including them all for the best result.

    So, don't wait! Try this recipe today and savor incredibly delicious, nutritious, and eco-friendly black beans.

    If you’re looking for a spicy kick in your black beans, consider adding some red pepper flakes. On the other hand, if you prefer a milder flavor, feel free to reduce or omit the flakes altogether.

    Once your beans are fully cooked, I highly recommend stirring in some fresh cilantro and giving the whole pot a squeeze of lime juice. This will add a refreshing boost of flavor to your dish. Of course, if you’re not a fan of cilantro, skip it.

    When it comes to cooking black beans, keep in mind that a one-pound bag of dried beans will yield approximately six cups of cooked beans. If you don’t think you’ll be able to consume all six cups within five days, you can easily halve the recipe or freeze the leftovers for later.

    For your convenience, here are some measurements and conversions to keep in mind:

    • - One pound of dried black beans equals approximately 16 ounces or scant 2 1/2 cups.
    • - One pound of dried black beans yields approximately six cups of cooked black beans, which is equivalent to four 15-ounce cans of cooked black beans.
    • - Half a cup of dried beans will yield slightly over one cup of cooked beans.
    how to season black beans

    When it comes to soaking black beans before cooking, there are differing opinions. While some argue that soaking is unnecessary, others find it beneficial for larger beans such as chickpeas. Ultimately, the choice is yours.

    As for salting your beans, sprinkling the salt before cooking may result in beans that cook more evenly and have a richer flavor.

    Although a pressure cooker like the Instant Pot may seem like a convenient way to cook your beans, stovetop cooking is recommended. Cooking beans in a pressure cooker can be unpredictable, and they may end up unevenly cooked or mushy. Stovetop cooking also creates a delicious, condensed broth that cannot be replicated with a pressure cooker.

    It's important to note that cooking times can vary when it comes to old beans or those cooked with hard water. Unfortunately, there's no surefire way to determine exactly how long they'll take to cook.

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    Your recently purchased beans from a store with good turnover may only need an hour’s-long simmer. However, most likely, they will cook within an hour and a half to two hours.

    Check your bags for a harvest or expiration date, and ideally, cook them within a year of harvest. To prevent premature spoilage, store your beans in an air-tight container in a dark, cool place in the pantry. If you can’t recall the length of time the beans have been sitting in your pantry, cooking from scratch is a risk.

    An unexpected factor that can affect cooking time is the mineral content in hard water. I discovered this after reading an article published by Melissa Clark. In my area, the use of hard water has contributed to consistently slower-cooking times. For this reason, if possible, it's better to use filtered or distilled water to cook your beans. Here's a map that highlights the hard water areas in the US. Additionally, this affordable water filter link seemed to improve my cooking time. At home, I also have a larger filter system installed, which is great.

    How to Serve Black Beans

    Black beans make the perfect side dish for Mexican, Cuban, or any other Latin American-inspired meals. Here are some of my favorite options:

    • Alternatively, you can replace the bean element in the following recipes with your home-cooked black beans:
    • Lastly, these beans are a fantastic component for burrito bowls. You can add any of the following to the bowl:

    Rice: Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice or Mexican Brown Rice

    Something saucy: Classic Pico de Gallo, Creamy Avocado Dip, Cilantro Hemp Pesto, Guacamole, Red Salsa or Salsa Verde

    black beans cooked from scratch

    Maybe some extra greens or veggies: Chunky Avocado Salsa, Fresh Corn Salsa, Quick Collard Greens or Marinated Kale

    Garnishes and Accompaniments: Elevate your black bean dish with some exciting add-ons such as quickly-pickled onions, toasted pepitas, crumbled Cotija or feta cheese, or sliced cherry tomatoes. Check out all the black bean recipes created by the author here.


    This recipe by Cookie and Kate is the ultimate black bean dish! Follow these easy steps to prepare a pot of perfectly tender and scrumptious black beans. Get ready to enjoy this dish all week long without any need to soak the beans beforehand. This recipe yields 6 cups of beans, which is equivalent to 4 cans. You can either freeze the leftover beans or halve the recipe for a smaller serving.

    Start by sifting through the black beans to remove any debris, including small rocks. Rinse the beans through a fine mesh colander and pour them into a Dutch oven or saucepan (make sure it has a capacity of 4 quarts or larger). Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, olive oil, salt, cumin, orange zest, and red pepper flakes (if you like it spicy) to the pot. Pour the water and cover the pot. Bring it to a boil on high heat and then reduce the heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer. Stir the beans and set the timer to 1 hour. Keep the pot uncovered and adjust the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer. Once the timer goes off, use a fork to test a couple of beans by pressing them against the side of the pot. If they're tender, plump, and delicious, taste them (careful! they're hot!). Otherwise, continue cooking and testing the beans every 15 to 30 minutes until they're done. If you need more liquid, add water in 1-cup increments to keep the beans covered. Very old beans may take several hours to cook, and you may need lots of water to keep them covered.

    black beans in burrito bowl

    Once the beans are very tender and delicious, increase the heat slightly to reduce the cooking liquid, creating a gravy-like consistency. This process should take around 5 to 15 minutes. The beans will continue to thicken as they cool. Remove the pot from heat and carefully take out the orange zest and bay leaves. Use a fork to crush the garlic and mix it with the cilantro (if you're using it), and lime juice. Add salt to taste. Serve the black beans and top them with your choice of garnishes for a heavenly meal.

    Leftover Beans: How to Store and Freeze Them

    If you have extra beans that you'd like to store for future use, it's best to let them cool down to room temperature before putting them in the refrigerator. You can keep them covered in the fridge for up to 4 to 5 days. Additionally, you can freeze leftover beans for several months.

    *Bean Tip: Freshness is key when cooking beans. Beans that are recently purchased from a store with a fast turnover can cook in as little as an hour. However, older beans may require hours of cooking (and additional cups of water) and very old beans may not soften completely and will therefore not be safe for consumption.

    **Water Tip: If you live in an area with hard water, the minerals in it can hinder the cooking process, making your beans take longer to cook. Using distilled or filtered water, if possible, will make the cooking process smoother.

    ***Freezing Tip: For storing leftover beans, I like to freeze them with their cooking juices in wide-mouth pint-sized mason jars. If you prefer, you can use small freezer bags and once they are frozen flat, you can stack them. Regardless of the container you use, make sure the beans have cooled down to room temperature before freezing. When using a rigid container, leave some room at the top to allow for expansion and wait until the beans are fully frozen before securing an air-tight lid. Before consuming, be sure to defrost them in the fridge for several hours.

    Please note that the nutritional information provided in this text is an estimate from an online calculator. It should not replace the advice of a professional nutritionist. For more information, see our full nutrition disclosure here.

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