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Cuban Black Beans

Recipe for Cuban Black Beans

Almost 9 years ago, when the Godfather and I were first married and living on our own, I decided to try and make the Godfather a Cuban meal to help with the homesickness we both felt leaving the familiar comfort of South Florida behind for the first time in either of our lives. One problem though, I had no clue how to make black beans and it would have been entirely unacceptable to just heat up a can of beans and call it good.


The Godfather called his mother and asked her how to make black beans. He wrote the recipe down on a little square of paper with yellow and red flowers. That little piece of paper, my mother-in-law’s recipe for black beans, has traveled across the country with us twice. It took me years to get it just right, mostly because I wasn’t ever very patient while the beans were cooking and usually pulled them off too early. So please have patience with this dish, it’s worth it.

Cuban Style Black Beans

Traditionally, black beans are either served on top of white rice as a substantial side dish, or as a soup. If you’d like to serve it as a soup you may feel the need to add a little more broth or water, but I never felt I had to because we like the soup on the thicker side. Just be sure to let the beans cook long enough that some split open and add a nice creaminess to to broth.

I hope you enjoy this recipe from our family to yours! <3

Cuban Black Beans Recipe

Cuban Black Beans
My mother-in-law's recipe for black beans
  • 8 oz dry black beans
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp vinegar (red wine, apple cider, or white all work)
  • 1½ tsp salt, divided (plus more to taste)
  • 1 dry bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • water or broth
  1. Two hours before cooking, preferably the night before, place the beans in a bowl and cover with water to soak (see note).
  2. When you are ready to cook, drain the beans, place them in a pot with new water (you may also use broth) and cover the beans by 1 inch. Add the vinegar, and bay leaf. Turn the heat to medium high to bring the water to a boil.
  3. While the water is coming to a boil, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the garlic, onions and bell peppers with ½ tsp salt until the onions are soft and slightly translucent. Pour all of the sofrito into the pot with the beans, which should have come to a boil by now.
  4. Cover the beans, reduce the heat to medium/medium-low, enough to maintain a simmer, and cook 30-40 minutes until the beans are soft and cooked through. Stir occasionally, add more water if necessary.
  5. When the beans are soft, add the cumin and adjust salt to taste. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
1. I have forgotten to soak the beans, they'll still cook just fine. Rinse them well to remove any possible debris, and then add a little extra water during the cooking process. It will take a little longer for them to cook.



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  • Reply
    Debbie Coombs
    August 6, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    This is a great recipe!

  • Reply
    October 29, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Tried this recipe and it’s super easy with great flavor [I forgot to pick up broth & even with just water the beans were so tasty]! This being my first time cooking beans I can’t say that I knew what to expect. So, my question is this: Should I have drained excess water? I let the beans cook for 40 mins & they were soft. However, there was still a lot of water, which I drained after cooking. I thought the water would soak up/simmer out [like wth rice]. But now looking at the beans they don’t look really moist like the beans served at restaurants hah! What should I do about the excess water next time? Thank you!

    • Reply
      Mary (The Goodie Godmother)
      October 31, 2016 at 11:43 am

      Wonderful! I’m glad you found it easy to follow. 🙂

      You don’t typically drain the excess water. In fact, at most Cuban restaurants/households, when they serve black beans, there’s the option of serving them like soup, or just ladling out the beans over rice. Sometimes I drain a bit of the excess water if there turned out to be a whole lot, but I usually just leave it.

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