Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cuban Black Beans from Scratch

In my book, there are two things that you can’t skimp out on in cooking:

1. Shredding your own cheese: I’m sorry but the preshredded stuff you buy at the store is NOT the same… it’s grainy and doesn’t melt the way it should. FACT. Do yourself a favor, buy the block of cheese and grate it yourself. It takes a few extra minutes but the difference it makes is HUGE!

2. Homemade Salad Dressing: Store bought is NEVER as good. I think it’s a common misconception that salad dressings are complicated & take a lot of time/ingredients to make. Most of mine only actually require a few ingredients and are a CINCH to throw together. I wish people realized how easy it is to whip up a quick dressing! It makes all the difference.

3. Making beans from scratch using dried beans: Using canned beans when in a pinch is okay… however, once you’ve enjoyed a beautiful bowl of beans from scratch… there is just NO comparison! It’s blows the canned stuff out of the water!

So let’s talk beans. Black Beans to be precise. When it comes to black beans… no one does it better than the Cubans (Also a FACT)!

Growing up in South Florida (aka Northern Cuba) I’ve grown to love Cuban Cuisine. I know I’ve told you about my friend Nancita who I go to for all things Cuban… well this was another recipe that I went to her for. I gathered all my tidbits of info on how to make the best Cuban black beans and off I went!

Ya’ll these are IN.SANE. I made then this week for a group of 22 and got BIG TIME compliments on them (“These are THE best black beans I’ve ever had in my life” etc…). 😉

NOTE: I used a pressure cooker to cut the cooking time down (I’m OBSESSED! i think I’ll do a video tutorial soon to show ya’ll that pressure cooking isn’t all that scary.).  These could also be cooked according to the instructions on the bag of beans or using the Crockpot method. Just wait until the last hour of cooking to add all the salt and seasonings and you should be good to go!

I can’t wait to tackle other types of beans from scratch! Be on the lookout! 🙂

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Cuban Black Beans from Scratch

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 45-50 minutes

Cuban Black beans from scratch in 45 minutes using the Pressure Cooker!


1 lb bag dried black beans
1 green pepper, cored and diced
2 tbs olive oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
5 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 packet of Goya Sazon seasoning
2 dried bay leaves
1 can Rotel, undrained (may substitute diced tomatoes)
1 TBS vinegar


Place the beans in a strainer and pick over them removing broken pieces and pebbles (I've rarely found them but you always gotta check!). Rinse beans well under running water and place into a large pressure cooker. Add half of the diced green pepper and fill with water (about 1 1/2- 2 inches above the top of the black beans).


Place lid on pressure cooker, lock, and bring up to pressure over high heat (Note: follow manufacturers instructions). The saftey lock will pop up and it'll start to hiss. Once the hissing begins, reduce heat slightly (to medium-medium high) and cook for 20-22 minutes.

While this is going, make your Sofrito. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and the remaining peppers and saute until softened (4-6 minutes). Add the garlic, oregano, salt, cumin, Sazzon, and bay leaves. Stir for 30-45 seconds then remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

After 20-22 minutes, remove beans from burner and use the pressure release. Open once pressure is completely released, open pot and add the sofrito and rotel. If the bean look like they need a little more liquid add it at this time.

Place lid back on, lock, and bring back up to pressure. Once it's up to pressure, reduce the heat to medium-high and set your timer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove beans from burner and use the pressure release. Open once pressure is completely released, open beans and taste to see if any additional seasoning is needed. Stir in red wine vinegar and serve over steamed rice.

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70 Responses to “Cuban Black Beans from Scratch”

  1. 1

    Dawn — December 27, 2015 @ 9:19 pm

    I was wondering if I could get some suggestions on the type of vinegar to use. Mina said she used red wine vinegar. Anyone else use something different?

  2. 2

    Christina — January 31, 2016 @ 5:29 pm

    I remember there being a homemade adobo spice recipe on this page. Am I crazy? Or was it removed? I just ran out and need the recipe. It was the best one I’ve ever found. Please help!!!!

  3. 3

    Mrs. D. — April 1, 2016 @ 7:43 pm

    Best beans I ever made! Have made this dish for decades the slow method on the stove. Got over my fear of the pressure cooker and what an improvement in flavor and texture of the beans. Used the slow release method and had very few blow outs. I’m thrilled! Goodbye, soaking! Thank you!

  4. 4

    Jenny — April 11, 2016 @ 10:54 am

    This is such a great recipe! The sofrito really makes a difference. I just use diced tomatoes because I don’t always remember to pick up Rotel. I made this for some Costa Rican friends that were visiting awhile back. One of my friends commented that my madre sure taught me how to make some good beans. I had to laugh because my mom hasn’t made black beans once in her life, let alone taught me how to cook any. So I shared this recipe with them. That’s high praise coming from my friend Nidia as she’s an excellent cook and knows a thing or two about beans. They’re great with dried avocado leaves instead of bay leaves if you can find them. It’s subtle, but a nice flavor. I will add that my mother in law has been to Cuba many times over the past 10 years and hasn’t once seen black beans. Maybe that’s a pre-Castro thing or more of a Cuban-American thing. Not sure.

  5. 5

    Andres Cardonas — April 24, 2016 @ 8:17 pm

    You’re missing an extremely important ingredient that no Cuban cooks black beans without – a ham hock! Do it exactly the same and add this.. You will taste the difference!

  6. 6

    Anna — June 19, 2016 @ 6:09 pm

    Sorry but traditional Cuban black beans are not made with rotel tomatoes . Jalapeño peppers weren’t even known in Cuba. Please don’t call these Cuban black beans.

  7. 7

    Alex — September 26, 2016 @ 8:19 pm

    Ok…. my mom and grandmother taught me how to make black beans in a pressure cooker when I was 10 years old… Yes it does shorten the time… the black beans themselves… No Jalapeno peppers.. wrong country….. No Rotel/chile peppers and tomatoes.. No>>> Not Cuban…. Goya Sazon seasoning… quick way… but flavors will be inconsistent…
    Now South Florida being Northern Cuba… No.. I live here… South Florida is a mixture of Latin Culture… Mexico.. Puerto Rico… South and Central America.

    You made Black Beans But not Cuban Frijoles Negroes.


  8. 8

    Terry — December 30, 2016 @ 1:13 pm

    Great concept of “Cuban” black beans but this is far from original CUBAN. Cubans never add jalapeños to any beans. (Not a bad idea but not cuban) and rotel. PLEASE. That’s an insult. Thanks though for showing everyone how easy it is to use a pressure cooker though. HAPPY 2017.

  9. 9

    Alexandra — February 8, 2017 @ 12:26 pm

    Had to say that I’ve been trying many recipes for Cuban black beans and this is by far the best. Thanks so much!

  10. 10

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