Quick Cuban Black Beans

These quick Cuban black beans and rice use canned beans as a shortcut: but they’re full of big flavor! Here’s how to make Cuban black beans at home.

How to make Cuban black beans | Cuban style black beans

Ever had Cuban black beans? Our friend Dan (who Larson calls “Tio”, Spanish for uncle) has some Cuban heritage and recently visited Cuba. The other day we set about to create a Cuban black beans recipe with him. Our goals: to make it quick enough for a weeknight dinner, but bring in as much of the Cuban back beans flavor as possible. And since we eat a mostly plant based diet, make it vegetarian too. Hence, our quick Cuban black beans was born! We’ve used canned beans as a shortcut to cooking dried beans, but kept that Cuban style black beans essence. Keep reading for the recipe we created together, and how to make Cuban black beans.

Cuban style black beans

How to make Cuban black beans

There is lots of contention over how to make Cuban black beans in the most “authentic” and “best” way. While this recipe is not authentic, it takes cues from traditional Cuban black beans recipes. Our friend Dan who helped us with the recipe has Cuban heritage, but he also grew up in Texas. His family’s style of Cuban black beans included jalapeño pepper and garlic, so we’ve added that in for a little fusion flavor as well. (If you’re looking for a straight up authentic, try these Cuban Black Beans from the New York Times; they’re more involved but more true to the authentic methods.)

Cuban black beans and rice is a very humble, straightforward dish. Many authentic recipes use a ham hock for flavor; since Alex and I cook mainly vegetarian and vegan meals on a regular basis we’ve made this recipe vegetarian. To mimic the richness of meat, we’ve used some butter to sauté the veggies and beans. (If you eat a vegan diet, you can use olive oil.) Also most authentic Cuban black beans cook the beans from dried. To save a bit of time and convert this recipe into a “quick” weeknight meal, we’ve opted for canned beans here. (Plus, that’s what Dan’s family does!)

Cuban black beans recipe

To make our quick Cuban style black beans, it’s pretty simple. Just mince onion and green pepper (chop them into a small dice) and mince a bit of jalapeño and garlic. Saute them all up, add the beans, and cook it down for a while until it becomes thick and saucy. The flavor that results is super savory, silky, and addictingly good. Serve it up with some rice (white or brown), and it’s a humble meal that tastes like a million bucks.

After taste testing against black beans from our local Cuban restaurant, Dan even preferred this Cuban black beans and rice recipe! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did; let us know in the comments below.

Cuban black beans and rice

Looking for vegetarian dinner recipes?

Outside of this Cuban black beans recipe, here are a few of our favorite vegetarian dinner recipes:

Cuban black beans and rice

This recipe is…

This quick Cuban black beans recipe is vegetarian and gluten free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, substitute olive oil for the butter.



These quick Cuban black beans and rice use canned beans as a shortcut: but they’re full of big flavor! Here’s how to make Cuban black beans at home.


  • 1 1/2 cups minced sweet yellow onion (about 1 large onion)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 jalapeño pepper
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter (substitute additional olive oil for vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Fresh cilantro, for a garnish
  • 1 cup dry white or brown long grain rice, to serve*


  1. Start the rice, according to the package instructions or use our Instant Pot rice method.
  2. Mince the onion and green pepper (chop them into a small dice). Mince the garlic.
  3. Remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapeño pepper and mince it.
  4. Use a strainer to drain the black beans over a glass measuring cup, reserving the can liquid. (No need to rinse.)
  5. In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Once melted, add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent and lightly browned. Add the beans, cumin, oregano, and kosher salt and stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the liquid from the black beans. Simmer 15 minutes until beans are tender.
  6. Chop the cilantro for the garnish. Serve the black beans warm with rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.


*Note: The garnish we used was not traditional but added a little color: we diced a tomato and mixed it with some kosher salt and chopped cilantro.

Keywords: Cuban black beans, Cuban black beans and rice, Cuban style black beans, How to make cuban black beans, Vegan Dinner Ideas, Vegetarian Dinner Ideas, Gluten-Free Dinner Ideas