Cuban Black Beans

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
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Simmered with a traditional onion-pepper sofrito, this smokey Cuban black beans recipe with a splash of vino seco will have you serving up hot bowls like the ones in Havana. Paired with rice and creamy avocado, they’re a hearty protein-packed meal.

Why You’ll Love This Cuban Black Beans Recipe

This Cuban black beans recipe might become your new favorite of all time.

  • Authentic. Made with traditional Cuban ingredients like vino seco, cumin, and oregano, this simple recipe is as authentic as it gets.
  • Convenient. When you just don’t have time to cook beans from scratch, use canned ones. No one will tell the difference.
  • Freezer-friendly. Pop them out of the freezer for an easy meal throughout the week. Just reheat it and serve.
  • Plant-based. Swap the chicken bouillon for a veggie one and you’ve got a completely vegan and/or vegetarian meal!
Ingredients for Cuban beans.

Recipe Ingredients

Hints of vino seco, tomato paste, oregano, and cumin really give these Cuban black beans their authenticity. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact ingredient amounts.

To Make the Beans

  • Dried Black Beans
  • Water
  • White Onion: You can also use yellow onion, but they are sweeter.
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Bay Leaves

For the Seasoning

  • Vegetable Oil: Corn and canola oil are great swaps.
  • White Onion
  • Green Bell Pepper – Any color of bell pepper is perfect, but green is more traditionally used.
  • Vino Seco: You can find it in a Latino supermarket. Feel free to swap it for a dry white wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. White vinegar or apple cider vinegar work too.
  • Chicken Bouillon: I prefer the loose granules of chicken bouillon, but you can also use bouillon squares.
  • Salt
  • Tomato Paste
  • Oregano
  • Ground Cumin
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic: Please don’t use garlic powder.
  • Sugar: I use granulated sugar, however light and dark brown sugar work too. It’s just enough sugar to help cut the acidity and round out the flavors. The beans will not be sweet!

Topping Ideas

  • White Onion
  • Cilantro
  • Lime Wedges

Are Black Beans Good For You?

Yes! Black beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein. They’re also full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These help support heart health, decrease the risk of diabetes, protect you against cancer, and aid the digestive system. They’re also gluten-free, so load up on them!

Spoonful of Cuban black beans.

How to Make Cuban Black Beans

Sofrito is just a fancy word for a combination of ingredients that are often cooked together in a cuisine and provide a flavor-base for most dishes. Cuban sofrito consists of onions and green bell peppers.

  • Cook the beans. Place all of the ingredients for the beans in a large pot. Cook until the beans are tender.
  • Make the sofrito. Heat the oil in a small pan. Cook the onions and bell pepper until they begin to soften. Add them to the beans.
  • Add the spices. Pour the vino seco into the pot. Add the chicken bouillon, salt, tomato paste, oregano, cumin, and black pepper. Stir and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Add the garlic. Place the garlic and brown sugar. Stir and simmer for another 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.
Clay pot full of Cuban style black beans.

Tips & Variations

Whether you want to spice them up or cut a few corners, here are all the tips you need to make this Cuban black beans recipe:

  • Sort them. Before cooking the beans, spread them out on a baking tray and pick out any rocks, debris, or broken beans. After that, always rinse the beans to get rid of any dirt.
  • Soak overnight. Places the beans in a bowl and cover them with cold water. Let them soak overnight to speed up the cooking process the next day.
  • Use canned. For a quick, convenient meal, use 3 cans (15 oz each) of canned beans. Skip the first 6 ingredients in the recipe and only cook the beans for 30 minutes.
  • Make it smokey. Add a ham hock to your beans as the simmer for great flavor. Or, you can cook 3-4 diced bacon strips until crispy. Use the rendered fat to cook the onions and bell pepper in. You can also add 1/2 cup of Chorizo and cook it until browned, while not traditional in Cuban dishes, chorizo gives great flavor! All of these options will add lots more smokiness to the dish.
  • Keep it local. Swap the bell pepper for a Cubanelle pepper. Cubans love to cook with it! Don’t worry about the heat, it’s considered a sweet pepper.
Two bowls of Cuban black beans recipe with avocado and rice.

How to Serve Cuban Black Beans

This Cuban black beans recipe makes the perfect main dish when served over rice. Looking for some good rice options? Here are a few of our favorites: Authentic Mexican Rice, Arroz Blanco, or Cilantro Lime Rice. You can also top it with sliced avocado or Platanos Maduros for a truly authentic meal.

My Tostones or Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins also make a great side for the beans. If you’re serving them as a side dish, make sure to pair them with my Lechon Asado.

Close-up of Cuban black beans recipe.

Storing and Reheating Extras

Once fully cooled, refrigerate the beans in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Keep them away from heat and sunlight when on the counter for reheating or serving. To reheat them, microwave the beans for up to a minute or until warm. You can also heat them in a pot over medium heat for 6-8 minutes.

Can I Freeze This Recipe?

Absolutely! Transfer the cooled beans into a freezer-friendly bag or container in serving-size portions. This is so you don’t have to worry about thawing and eating a huge amount of beans later. Freeze for up to 3 months. Pop them into the fridge a night before serving and reheat as usual.

More Cuban Recipes to Try

A plate of cuban black beans with rice and avocado.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Recipe
Yield: 8 servings

Cuban Black Beans

This smokey Cuban black beans recipe with vino seco and garlic is perfect over white rice for a healthy protein-packed dinner. 
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time3 hours

Ingredients

For the Beans:

  • 1 pound dried black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4-5 cups water
  • 1 white onion, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 bay leaves

Seasoning:

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ cup chopped white onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons vino seco, (dry white wine), or vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic, or 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar

Optional Toppings:

  • White onion
  • Cilantro
  • Lime wedges

Instructions 

  • Place the beans, water, 4 large pieces of onion, 2 garlic cloves, salt and bay leaves in a heavy-bottomed pan. (You may wish to soak your beans for an hour or overnight before cooking.)
  • Simmer over medium heat for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the beans are tender. (This will go faster if you soak your beans before hand.)
  • In a small sauté pan, heat the oil and cook the onions and green pepper for 3 minutes, then add them to the beans.
  • Add the wine, chicken bouillon, salt, tomato paste, oregano, cumin and pepper to the beans and simmer over medium low heat for another 30 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and brown sugar and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Notes

Vino Seco: You can find it in a Latino supermarket. Feel free to swap it for a dry white wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. White vinegar or apple cider vinegar work too.
Sugar: I use granulated sugar, however light and dark brown sugar work too. It’s just enough sugar to help cut the acidity and round out the flavors. The beans will not be sweet!
Sort them. Before cooking the beans, spread them out on a baking tray and pick out any rocks, debris, or broken beans. After that, always rinse the beans to get rid of any dirt.
Soak overnight. Places the beans in a bowl and cover them with cold water. Let them soak overnight to speed up the cooking process the next day.
Use canned. For a quick, convenient meal, use 3 cans (15 oz each) of canned beans. Skip the first 6 ingredients in the recipe and only cook the beans for 30 minutes.
Make it smokey. Add a ham hock to your beans as the simmer for great flavor. Or, you can cook 3-4 diced bacon strips until crispy. Use the rendered fat to cook the onions and bell pepper in. You can also add 1/2 cup of Chorizo and cook it until browned, while not traditional in Cuban dishes, chorizo gives great flavor! All of these options will add lots more smokiness to the dish.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 238kcal, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 0.5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Sodium: 600mg, Potassium: 905mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 81IU, Vitamin C: 14mg, Calcium: 85mg, Iron: 3mg

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Printing this right now! I love, love, love black beans & rice from the Cuban place near my mom’s house!

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Jessica
For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.