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    Cuban Black Beans Recipe

    Published January 2, 2024. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This tasty Cuban black beans recipe is slow-cooked with spices, onions, and peppers for the ultimate bean side dish. You will love the simple flavors in this rich dish of beans.

    We adore many side dishes because we love variety when eating big holiday meals. If you want to take your side dish recipe game to the next level, then absolutely try my macaroni and cheese or homemade dinner rolls.

    cuban black beans in a bowl


     

    Cuban Black Beans

    Cuban black beans consist of slow-cooked back beans with onions, bell peppers, and spices until tender. They are easy to prepare and a staple in the Caribbean and all Spanish-speaking countries. Better known as frijoles negros, this comforting dish is commonly served on top of white rice.

    This traditional recipe will have some slight variations of spices and peppers depending on who is making it. In addition, there are classical recipes that use pork in the beans while slow-cooking them. Feel free to get a little creative when making these.

    Ingredients and Substitutions

    cuban black beans ingredients
    • Beans – You can use dried or drained canned black beans. I used dried.
    • Onions – I used yellow onions and garlic cloves. However, you can substitute the yellow onion with a red, white, yellow, or sweet one.
    • Peppers – I used a green and red bell pepper. You can use either or both or swap for a yellow or orange bell pepper.
    • FatRendered pork lard is the best to use. However, feel free to use olive or avocado oil as well.
    • Spices – I used ground cumin, dry oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes. You can substitute the crushed red pepper flakes for a half-pitched and seeded serrano, Fresno, or jalapeño pepper.
    • Herbs – You will need some bay leaves for these beans.
    • Sugar – Regular granulated sugar is what is needed. You can use light or dark brown sugar as well.
    • Stock – While not classic, I used chicken stock for more flavor. Feel free to use brodo, vegetable stock, or traditional water.
    • Vinegar – White, apple cider, or red wine vinegar can be used.

    How to Make Cuban Black Beans

    Add the beans to a container completely covered with water by about 4 to 6 inches, and set overnight.

    soaking beans

    Place the beans into a medium-sized pot along with the chicken stock and cook covered over medium heat for 60-90 minutes or until soft and tender. You may need to add 1 more cup of stock throughout the cooking process to ensure they remain covered. Set them aside.

    cooking beans

    In a separate medium-sized sauce pot, add the lard or oil and heat over medium heat.

    cooking onions

    Add in the onions and cook while occasionally stirring for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

    cooking onions and garlic

    Stir in the garlic and cook just until fragrant, which takes about 30 to 45 seconds.

    sautéing peppers

    Next, add the peppers and sauté for 4 to 6 minutes over medium-high heat or until lightly browned.

    adding herbs to peppers

    Stir in the cumin, oregano, bay leaves, sugar, white vinegar, and pepper flakes.

    adding beans to peppers

    Add the beans to the liquid and bring to a boil over high heat.

    seasoning cuban beans

    Turn the heat down to low-medium, cover, and cook for 20 minutes to infuse the flavors.

    boiling black beans and peppers

    Season with salt and pepper. The liquid should be thick, but the beans overall should not be runny.

    cooked black beans

    Serves in a bowl with an optional garnish of chopped fresh cilantro.

    spoonful of cuban black beans

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: You can make this recipe up to 1 day ahead of time for freshness; reheat before serving.

    How to Store: Store the Cuban black beans covered in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. You can freeze them covered for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

    How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of refried beans to a saucepot with a few tablespoons of water or chicken stock and heat over low heat while stirring until warm.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    Chef Notes + Tips

    • A half cup of dried black beans is equal to 1 15-ounce can.
    • Cover the dried beans with boiling water if you are in a pinch and let them stand for 1 hour before cooking them.
    • Feel free to add 1 smoked ham hock with the beans while they are boiling in the stock for more flavor.

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    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Cuban Black Beans Recipe

    5 from 2 votes
    This tasty Cuban black beans recipe is slow-cooked with spices, onions, and peppers for the ultimate bean side dish.
    Servings: 8
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 2 hours

    Ingredients 

    • 1 pound dry black beans
    • 6 cups chicken stock
    • 2 tablespoons pork lard or olive oil
    • 1 peeled small diced yellow onion
    • 6 finely minced garlic cloves
    • 1 seeded small diced green bell pepper
    • 1 seeded small diced red bell pepper
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 2 teaspoons dry oregano
    • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
    • coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

    Instructions

    • Add the beans to a container and completely cover with water by about 4 to 6 inches. Set overnight.
    • Place the beans into a medium-sized pot with the chicken stock and cook covered over medium heat for 60-90 minutes or until soft and tender. You may need to add 1 more cup of stock throughout the cooking process to ensure they remain covered. Set them aside.
    • In a separate mediums-sized sauce pot, add in the lard or oil and heat over medium heat.
    • Add onions and cook while occasionally stirring for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
    • Stir in the garlic and cook just until fragrant, which takes about 30 to 45 seconds.
    • Next, add the peppers and sauté for 4 to 6 minutes over medium to medium-high heat or until lightly browned.
    • Stir in the cumin, oregano, bay leaves, sugar, white vinegar, and pepper flakes.
    • Add the beans in the liquid and bring to a boil over high heat.
    • Turn the heat down to low-medium, cover, and cook for 20 minutes to infuse the flavors.
    • Season with salt and pepper. The liquid should be thick, but the beans overall should not be runny.
    • Serves in a bowl with an optional garnish of chopped fresh cilantro.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead: You can make this recipe up to 1 day ahead of time for freshness; reheat before serving.
    How to Store: Store the Cuban black beans covered in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. You can freeze them covered for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
    How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of refried beans to a saucepot with a few tablespoons of water or chicken stock and heat over low heat while stirring until warm.
    A half cup of dried black beans is equal to 1 15-ounce can.
    Cover the dried beans with boiling water if you are in a pinch and let them stand for 1 hour before cooking them.
    Feel free to add 1 smoked ham hock with the beans while they are boiling in the stock for more flavor.
    Course: Side Dish
    Cuisine: cuban