How to Cook Black Beans like a Boss

Black beans have a rich earthiness that pairs beautifully with onions, garlic, spices, and smoked meats. You can learn how to cook black beans like a pro.

a bowl of cooked black beans with cilantro, lime, red onion and avocado.

Black beans have many different names, they are known as fijoles negro or even as turtle beans. The beans are thin-skinned, and you will find that they cook fairly quickly.

The following are questions that you may have about preparing black beans. We are here to help you in your quest for preparing more nutritious foods starting with the highly nutritious black beans. Or course you can use canned beans, but dry beans are economical and many think dried beans make the best pot of beans. So let’s get started with learning how to cook dry black beans.

Where to buy black beans

You can purchase a bag of beans at the grocery store, I have been known to buy beans in bulk in the produce section of my local grocer, or sometimes some stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts have large bins you can purchase beans for less money. I have even found a larger bags of organic black beans at Costco.

How do you know if black beans are too old to use or too stale.

Before you start to cook, check and see if your beans are fresh. Every kind of food you buy in the store is required to have an expiration date. Black beans are no exceptions. However, black beans keep for years if you store them properly. If the beans smell strange, the beans are cracked, or you notice mold on the beans you need to toss them.

How do I prepare black beans for any black beans recipe?

It’s important to sort through beans you purchase in bulk. You must dump the bag of dried beans out, such as on a cookie sheet. Remove the beans that are cracked, broken or shriveled. Do not be surprised to find a bit of debris such as small pebbles. Remove any of this you find and rinse the beans in cold running water.

sorting black beans

How to soak black beans

There are two different ways to soak any type of bean. Soaking black beans removes the natural sugar that causes those who eat these to develop pesky and embarrassing intestinal gas. Soaking beans prior to cooking means your beans will cook more quickly. The overnight soaking results in beans that do not break up as much during cooking. So the overnight soaking is ideal for salads, and whenever you want to beans left whole. The quick soak method is great for soups!

  • Soak Overnight – an overnight soaking is the easiest way to soak beans. After the beans have been sorted and rinsed, place them into a large bowl, and cover with water for at least six hours or overnight. Discard any beans that float. Beans that float may have been eaten by mites, so it is best to discard those beans.
  • Quick Soak Method – place the sorted and rinsed beans in a large pot. Cover with water, boil for two minutes. Place a lid on the pot, and let the beans rest two hours before cooking.

Is there alternative to soaking beans?

Some cooks claim that the oven method is better than soaking because the beans become very creamy and tasty and these cooks say they would never boil black beans again after using the oven method. Baking does not risk removing some valuable nutrients that boiling likely does.

Black beans – the oven method

  • Rinse off the beans well in cold running water.
  • Transfer the beans to a dutch oven or large pot. Run enough water in the pot to cover the beans.
  • Cover the pot and bake in the oven for two hours at 375 degrees.
  • Do a taste test for tenderness and if they are still crunchy bake a bit longer.
  • Season as desire

how to cook black beans in an instant Pot

It’s very easy to cook black beans in an Instant Pot. Start by sorting the dry black beans, and then rinsing them.   You can put the beans and water into the Instant Pot, and cook them on high, with a 20 minute natural release.  If you need the beans to be whole if you are going to use them in salads, I would suggest soaking the beans ahead of time, and if you don’t care that the beans are left whole, you can skip the soaking.

Which Seasonings are Good to Use on Black Beans?

Any seasonings that you have a taste for, is good on black beans. The more popular seasonings are chile peppers, garlic, ginger, oregano, thyme, bay leaf (do not eat the leaves,) cumin, parsley, and whatever you enjoy eating will no doubt go well.

Love black beans? Try these recipes for canned black beans

Chili’s Black Beans
Easy Cuban-Style black beans
Panera Bread Black Bean Soup
Corn and Black Bean Salad

If you have never tried cooking black beans before, I hope you learn how to cook black beans perfectly. These are so versatile, and go well with so many dishes!

Love black beans?  Try making lentils! Learn how to cook lentils!

a bowl of cooked black beans

a bowl of cooked black beans with cilantro, lime, red onion and avocado.

How to Cook Black Beans

Learn how to cook a delicious pot of black beans.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Cuban
Keyword: black beans
Servings: 8
Calories: 172kcal

Ingredients

Beans

  • 1 pound black beans 2 1/2 cups
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper cored and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Garnish

  • 1 avocado sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

Instructions

Stove Top Directions

  • Sort, rinse and soak black beans the night before. Discard any beans that float. Drain beans.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add onion to the pot and brown onion until it turns brown.
  • Add water and drained beans. Bring the beans to a boil, and then reduce the temperature to medium. Cook the beans partially covered for about 1 hour.
  • Stir the beans occasionally, make sure there is at least 1/2 inch of water covering the beans at all times.
  • Season with salt, and pepper. Cook for another 15 minutes so the seasonings absorb into the beans.
  • Serve by placing the beans in a bowl, and top with cilantro, avocado, and red onion slices.

Instant Pot directions

  • Sort, rinse and soak black beans the night before. Discard any beans that float. Drain beans.
  • Select the saute function add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pot. Add onion, stirring frequently, until the onion browns. Select the cancel function.
  • Add water and drained beans. Put the lid on the pot, and make sure the vent is closed. Cook for 30 minutes on high pressure.
  • When the beans are done the cooking, allow them to release naturally for 10 minutes, and then perform a quick release. Season the beans with salt and pepper.
  • Select saute and stir occasionally so the beans can soak in the flavor, cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Adding salt in with the beans can make the skins a bit tough.
  • Serve by placing the beans in a bowl, and top with cilantro, avocado, and red onion slices.

Recipe Tips for the Cook

  • After you season the beans, add a chopped up piece of sausage for flavor 
  • After you season the beans, add some left over ham in the beans 
  • Do not salt the beans until after the main cooking process, it can make the skins tough
  • Taco seasoning is a great flavor to add to the beans 
  • Consider using chicken or beef stock to cook the beans in for enhanced flavor

Nutrition

Calories: 172kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 294mg | Potassium: 369mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 111IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @CopyKatRecipes or tag #CopyKatRecipes!

About Stephanie

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Dawn

    5 stars
    I love to eat black beans. The recipe is so simple to follow. Thank you for sharing it! These tasted better than beans out of a can.

  2. baltisraul

    5 stars
    Will make this for sure very soon because we love black beans and ham. Do you use an immersion blender on a portion of the cooked beans to thicken?

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