Here's a quick easy Cuban Black Beans recipe using canned black beans, aromatic vegetables and smokey bacon. For when you want delicious black beans fast!
Cuban Black Beans (Frijoles negros) are central to Cuban cuisine, served as a side dish with almost every meal and as a main course, scooped onto steaming rice with toppings like sliced avocado and lime wedges.
Black beans from scratch are great, but the fact is many of us don't always have time for an overnight soak and hours of cooking. When you want your black beans fast this recipe will give you delicious Cuban black beans in 35 minutes.
I was back home in Boston recently, where my slow cooker lives. I've been missing it in London and couldn't wait to pull it out for slow cooker ropa vieja (Cuban shredded beef stew).
The combo of being back in my home kitchen and having a delicious meaty stew simmering away that needed a side of black beans, inspired me to do some recipe testing.
I developed this quick Cuban black beans recipe using canned beans instead of dried and I have to say it is muy delicioso - rich and creamy, infused with flavors of cumin, garlic and smoky bacon. It's the perfect side dish with Ropa Vieja. Also delicious the next day as a main dish, scooped onto rice and topped with sliced avocado and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
How to make quick and easy Cuban black beans
Canned black beans is the main ingredient in this easy recipe.
A key component of authentic Cuban black beans is the sofrito which consists of onions, garlic and green or red bell pepper. These aromatic vegetables are used in this easy recipe - sautéed to create the flavor base for the beans. Pork is a popular ingredient in Cuban cuisine. A small amount of bacon adds a wonderful smokiness to this dish. Vegetarians can substitute vegetarian bacon. It's amazing how much flavor is created by sautéing aromatic vegetables and a little bacon!
- Start by sautéing the bacon in a bit of olive oil.
- Once the bacon is nicely browned in spots and has rendered some fat, add the aromatic vegetables: red bell pepper, onion and garlic. When the sofrito has cooked for a few minutes add the first can of beans to the pot and smash them with the back of a fork. This will give the beans a creamy texture.
- Add the rest of the canned beans with their liquid, along with vinegar and spices. Cumin and oregano are predominant spices in traditional Cuban black beans. I love cumin and I wanted its flavor to dominate so I decided not to include oregano in this recipe. If you're a big fan of oregano, feel free to add a teaspoon. I'm sure it will be delicious.
- After 15 minutes of simmering, the Cuban Black Beans are ready to enjoy.
How nutritious are black beans?
Black beans are extremely healthy. They're a good source of protein and a rich source of soluble fiber, the kind that lowers cholesterol. They also provide a good amount of calcium, iron, folic acid, and potassium.
Are canned black beans as healthy as dried?
If you're wondering about the relative health benefits of canned vs dried beans, here's the scoop: they're about the same except that some brands add lots of salt to the can. You can reduce the amount of salt by draining and rinsing the beans but then you lose other nutrients as well as salt. So if you're concerned about too much salt I suggest you look for low salt or salt free black beans.
Wondering what to serve with Cuban Black Beans?
Black beans and rice is a classic combo in Latin America and beyond, and makes a tasty, affordable, nutritious meal. Jazz it up with garnishes such as sliced avocado, chopped cilantro and lime wedges.
If you're making these Cuban black beans as a side dish, here are a few delicious main dishes that pair well:
- Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja: Cuban Shredded Beef Stew with Peppers and Tomatoes
- Cuban Picadillo: Ground Beef Stew with Tomatoes and Olives
- Chicken Enchiladas Verdes with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
You might also like:
- Spicy Black Bean Soup from Scratch
- Gallo Pinto: Costa Rican Rice and Beans Breakfast
- Slow Cooker Brazilian Feijoada: Meat and Black Bean Stew
- Red Beans and Rice, New Orleans Style
Be sure to follow Panning The Globe on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for daily cooking inspiration.
Here's the Quick Easy Cuban Black Beans Recipe. If you try this recipe I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think!
Quick Cuban Black Beans
- Total Time: 35 mins
- Yield: 6 1x
A quick easy recipe for creamy, flavorful, highly nutritious Cuban Black Beans. Makes A fantastic side dish with Cuban, Mexican and Latin American cuisine. For a complete meal serve the beans with rice and assorted garnishes.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces slab bacon cut into 1-inch by ½-inch lardons
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 6 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 3 15-ounce cans of black beans with their liquid
- 1 tablespoon cider or white vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1½ teaspoons Kosher salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- ½ cup - 1 cup of water or broth (chicken or vegetable), if needed
- Lime Wedges
- Chopped cilantro
- Sour cream
- Cotija Cheese, grated
- Sliced Avocado
- Heat oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add bacon and sauté, stirring often, until it starts to brown, about 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and onion. Cook, stirring, for one minute. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes longer to soften the vegetables. Add cumin and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds to toast the cumin.
- Add 1 can of beans with their liquid to the pot. Use a potato masher or the back of a fork to gently mash the beans. Add the other two cans of beans with their liquid, vinegar, bay leaves, 1½ teaspoons salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Adjust taste and texture to your liking by adding additional water or broth and salt and pepper.
- Serve as a side dish with lime wedges and chopped cilantro or as a main dish scooped over steaming brown or white rice and topped with garnishes of chopped cilantro, lime wedges, grated cheese and/or sour cream.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Category: main dish or side dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Cuban
Keywords: Cuban black beans recipe, Quick cuban black beans recipe, easy Cuban black beans using canned beans
This recipe first appeared on Panning The Globe March 11, 2018. The post was updated on September 25, 2020 with clarifying details in the written post. Same delicious recipe!
These cuban black beans are really great. Everyone I've served them to has loved them. Since they freeze well, when its only two of us eating I freeze for another meal and they are just as good even having been frozen.
Hey Linda - I'm so glad you and your guests have enjoyed this dish. Also great to know they freeze well. Thanks so much for your rating and comment.
For a side dish to a main course, I skip the meat. Instead of green pepper I use finely chopped cubanelle peppers, plus the garlic, onions, cumin and oregano. Yum! If I want BB and yellow rice meal I’ll sauté kielbasa in garlic, onions and cubanelle peppers along with cumin and oregano. Yum! Thanks for the variation on a theme recipe!
This recipe is delicious, the bacon adds depth of flavor that is absolutely Beyond description. I followed the recipe and added lots of red bell pepper with the seeds removed, which added another layer of flavor. I could go on forever, but I will Sum it up by saying, just make it it will blow your mind!
We had spicy stewed black beans with bacon (and cotija cheese) at a restaurant last night and I wanted to find how to make an equivalent - because it was amazing. Yours was the one I settled on, and it did not disappoint. I added a bit of cayenne to add the slight bit of heat the restaurant version had, and the cheese of course. I like that your recipe includes vinegar because I use that all the time to add flavor and reduce the need for salt. Funny I have made refried beans that did not differ all that much from this except I had always rinsed the beans and did not realize how much flavor I had been losing. We use a low sodium organic variety, so did not feel guilty about keeping the liquid. Thanks for a real "keeper"!
Hi Ed - I know that feeling of having a great restaurant meal and wanting to reproduce it at home. That happens to me all the time. I'm so glad you achieved your goal with my recipe!
I rarely leave reviews, but this is the bomb. Must have made it 20 times now, and hubby requests it as one of his all time favourites. We wilt some baby spinach through at the very end to add some colour. Amazing!
I'm glad you left a review - thank you - it's great to get such wonderful feedback. I'm really happy you're enjoying the Cuban beans!
Just made this for lunch and it came out great! Delicious
This recipe sounds great! Love cooking with black beans and would like to try this out some time!
I love beans and rice and this recipe is so easy to make. Love the flavor. The only change I made was as follows. I did not have any bacon in the house so I used 6 ounces of diced smoked sausage.
Hi! I am Latin American, and your recipe is very good. We make black beans at home often. I never use red or green peppers since I am really sensitive to them, and they don't agree with me. I do use a bit of jalapeño to give them a bit of a kick. Nice recipe!
I'm glad you like the recipe Analida. I like your idea of adding jalapeño to the mix!
Hi, how come so many black beans recipes after the pandemic ?
I think many of us were stocking up on canned goods and pantry items because we were trying to limit our visits to the grocery store to reduce exposure to the virus. Black beans from a can are delicious and nutritious. Beans and rice is a great meal made from pantry items.
Yes, this recipe is indeed filling as a main dish with brown organic rice. Very tasty even without the recipe added salt. Thank you very much for the recipe post. It is a staple dish in my kitchen now.