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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69 Responses to “Cuban Black Beans from Scratch”

  1. 1

    Ali @ Gimme Some Oven — June 27, 2012 @ 9:14 am

    Ooooh – these sound amazing!!! I adore good black beans! Will have to track down some Goya Sazon… 🙂

  2. 2

    Rachel Cooks — June 27, 2012 @ 9:15 am

    I agree with #1 and #2 on your list and probably should stop slacking on #3. These look wonderful!

  3. 3

    Claire @ Live and Love to Eat — June 27, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    I used to work at Bahama Breeze and they made some delicious Cuban black beans – these look amazing!

  4. 4

    Mom — June 27, 2012 @ 9:47 am

    These were amazing! So yummy…Loved them!

  5. 5

    Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — June 27, 2012 @ 10:02 am

    I’m with Rachel, I need to stop slacking on the bean thing too. I’ve (gasp) never made beans from scratch. It’s like a food blogger sin or something!

    • Tina replied: — June 27th, 2012 @ 10:09 am

      oh girl… once you do it’s hard to go back (especially if you have a pressure cooker which gets the job done FAST!)

  6. 6

    Bev @ Bev Cooks — June 27, 2012 @ 10:08 am

    SOOO doing this. Holy crap.

  7. 7

    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — June 27, 2012 @ 11:29 am

    I wish I liked beans. I am trying to work them in more. Maybe if I do them from scratch, I will actually like them!

  8. 8

    Katie @ Blonde Ambition — June 27, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

    Totally agree on the first two, but I’m still nervous about making my own beans! If you say they can be done in the Crockpot though, I’m all about that. I do looove my Crockpot.

  9. 9

    Kathryn — June 27, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

    I’m another one who is completely slacking on the bean thing. I don’t know why because I love eating them and recipes like this make me just want to eat them even more!

  10. 10

    Jessica — June 27, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

    MMM Love!!

  11. 11

    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — June 27, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

    I love a good pot of black beans! Your recipe is fab!

  12. 12

    Megan {Country Cleaver} — June 28, 2012 @ 9:32 am

    I think I need more Cuban food in my life. No, I don’t think – I do need. I require.

  13. 13

    Kirstie — June 28, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

    How would you recommend cooking these if one does not have a pressure cooker?

  14. 14

    Anna Davidoff — June 28, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

    yummm I have a slight obsession with black beans and rice but have never made my own. You may have convinced me to try it! Please do share the pressure cooker tutorial though; it’s always intrigued me but definitely one of those scary appliances that seems intimidating. Thanks!

  15. 15

    Erin — June 29, 2012 @ 7:54 am

    omnomnom! These look great! Now, how the heck do I make the perfect rice?? You’d think I would have mastered rice by now.

  16. 16

    Leila — June 29, 2012 @ 10:24 am

    Totally agree on #1 and #2!! And aside from just being tastier and easier, it’s way cheaper to make your own dressing and shred your own cheese! (I’m a young professional…I’m all about frugality). 🙂

    I have to admit though, the only dried beans I’ve ever made are lentils. I need to conquer this!! This recipe looks awesome. Can’t beat the simple flavor of cuban beans and rice! YUM!

  17. 17

    Lauren — June 29, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

    Your posts all just load at once on my bloglovin’! Maybe it hasn’t been updating?! I’m so glad they did, I love your recipes! And this one looks great! Thanks!

  18. 18

    CPallesen — June 30, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

    Tina: This recipe is out of control delicious! The directions for using the crockpot were perfect- and, even though I was incredibly nervous to break out that scary kitchen device…. it was easy and well worth it! YUM

  19. 19

    Kim — July 2, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

    Making these now- and I have Sazon Goya con azafran, Sazon Goya sin achiote and Sazon Goya con culantro y achiote. WHICH one do I use???

    • Tina replied: — July 2nd, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

      either one would work but I used the culantro one… very good! 🙂

  20. 20

    Anna — July 4, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

    what would you substitute for the packet of GOYA SAZON???

  21. 21

    Milan Lopez — July 4, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

    Oh boy…another Cuban food I love….but never come out good 🙁
    I have to try this one,too…it looks really good…So embarrassed to learn how to cook Cuban Food from an American girl…that can (almost)be my daughter! 🙁

  22. 22

    Jen @ — July 5, 2012 @ 11:00 am

    I completely agree about shredding your own cheese – so worth the effort. I’ve made your crockpot black beans and they were amazing. I’ll have to try this recipe too.

  23. 23

    Danni — July 9, 2012 @ 12:33 am

    I just found this post through CakeWrecks – I agree with the above question from Kristie – I don’t own a pressure cooker – how would I make this in either a slow cooker or stovetop?

  24. 24

    Heidi — February 27, 2013 @ 9:45 pm

    All soupy…. 🙁

  25. 25

    Cynthia — April 21, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

    What do Cubans use instead of Rotel tomatoes? Im on a low sodium diet and am trying to avoid canned products. Thank you for your recipes?

  26. 26

    christina — May 21, 2013 @ 8:08 am

    LOVE THIS RECIPE. I make it at least once a week — but being Germany, I skip the sazon…. love it! thanks for sharing!

  27. 27

    Bryan — June 23, 2013 @ 10:14 am

    I made this recipe last night, and it was FANTASTIC. I’m married to a Cuban and have been trying for years to find a great frijoles negros recipe, and this one finally hit the mark. Thank you!

  28. 28

    Wanda — July 22, 2013 @ 7:30 am

    I loved these! And I used an “antique” pressure cooker my Mama bequeathed to me when I got married. I had to cook them a little longer than specified but I think that was because I didn’t know how high a could cook them. This was fun and delicious! I halved the recipe but next time, I won’t!

  29. 29

    Michelle Nunez — August 7, 2013 @ 4:01 pm

    Thanks for the recipe- I’m Cuban but I suck at cooking and unfortunately my mom passed away and I never asked her for her recipes. I made this tonight and it was delicious!!! Thanks again!

  30. 30

    Karen — August 25, 2013 @ 2:23 am

    Made these tonight with my husband in our Fagor pressure cooker. Absolutely delicious. Such a depth of flavor. Thank you for sharing! x

  31. 31

    Jaime — August 28, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

    Well, here goes nothing. I live with my pure-bred Cuban boyfriend, and for the past year we have tried every single type of canned black bean you could find on a shelf; however, he always comes back with the same response: “They’re just not like my mom’s.” Today is the day. I am going to make a 100% authentic Cuban meal, and I pray that these beans are better than his mom’s! (I’ve already got her beat on Flan). Wish me luck!

    • Tina replied: — August 28th, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

      Good luck! I learned from a Cuban woman who is an INCREDIBLE cook! Hope it wows your boyfriend 🙂

  32. 32

    Derry — September 23, 2013 @ 11:43 am

    There seem to be many “Sazon” combinations…….can you please tell me which one is your pick for this recipe ? Thanks…..just want to do it exactly so I get the real deal !!!

    • Tina replied: — September 23rd, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

      My Cuban friends says you can really use any of them but I typically buy the “culantro y achioto” one (coriander & annato)!

  33. 33

    Derry — October 3, 2013 @ 12:30 pm

    Bummers…..Goya brand has MSG in it…..any other brands that you know of ? If not, any recommendation on what amounts of coriander & annato to use ? Thanks so much !

  34. 34

    Paul Faber — October 4, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

    This is perfect. I’ve been looking for a pressure-cooker bean recipe that does it “Latin style” without any pre-soaking. Thanks for posting this! It will be a side dish for dinner tonight.

    It’s funny how almost all American-authored recipes say to pre-soak beans (and we don’t eat all that many beans); but every Latin-American person I’ve talked to say they (or their mother, or their grandmother) never soaks beans, they just pressure-cook them until done.

    Like you, I’m obsessed with pressure cookers. I’ve got Fagor 6 and 8 quart models, and a Futura 4.5-quart. Of them all, I actually prefer the Futura. Order one off Amazon if you feel like experimenting with something really cool.

  35. 35

    Courtney W — October 27, 2013 @ 10:52 pm

    I made this last night and it was phenomenal!! The family loved it and now it’s a favorite. THANK YOU!

  36. 36

    Brian D — November 4, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

    I am formulating Cuban black beans as I write this. I have some initial additions or modifications to your recipie, but they are just such likes of mine as salt pork and annato seeds. I have also chosen to cook them in a bean pot in the oven, the slow process. The mixture prior to putting it in the oven bordered on intoxicating … Hehe … I’ll let you know how it ends up. I am excited to share this with my wife tonight ….

  37. 37

    Oria — January 31, 2014 @ 4:45 pm

    This message is for Michelle Nunez.
    As we have cuban issues about cooking.
    Like her, I loved my mother’s black beans.
    She told me the recipe and i watched her as
    She cooked them. I immediately try to cooked
    them but they didn’t taste the same.
    I asked my aunt and she told that my mom
    had a secret ingridient~~~~ that she would
    never give it out
    Just like Michelle….. I couldnt ask her…..
    SHE HAD ALSO passed away

    I also asked Michelles brother who is a cook

    but the answer was the same, he was in
    NY in school when his mother passed away.
    I gess I wil never know the secret.

  38. 38

    Char — May 26, 2014 @ 7:11 pm

    I add a Heineken beer to my beans once they are done for a little additional flavor. They are a hit with everyone. The alcohol cooks off and everyone loves them. My boyfriend tasted for the first time recently with fried green plantains, rice and fresh diced seasoned tomatoes. He was very pleased.

  39. 39

    Z — June 29, 2014 @ 6:27 pm

    For your black beans- which Goya Sazon? The one w/ cilantro and tomato or the one w/o azafran? I saw there are a bunch of different ones.

    • Tina replied: — June 30th, 2014 @ 1:47 pm

      You can really use any of them… i typically buy the one that says “culatro y annoto” 🙂

  40. 40

    Nat B — July 27, 2014 @ 12:07 am

    Hi, this recipe sounds amazing. Being from New Zealand I haven’t heard of Goya Sazon. I’ve since reading this recipe, found a recipe for Goya Sazon and was wondering how much you would add in?

    • Tina replied: — August 4th, 2014 @ 10:08 am

      1 packet only has about a teaspoon (2 tops!) in it.

  41. 41

    Natasha Barnett — July 28, 2014 @ 3:23 am

    I have just made these and they are so, so good. Thank you so much.

  42. 42

    Shay — August 18, 2014 @ 12:24 am

    These were perfect! I made up a Sazon substitute and they came out perfect. Doubled the recipe and I have a freezer full of dinners. I seriously never comment on internet recipes, but this one was fantastic. …and you had me at “store bought dressing is never as good” Preach!

  43. 43

    Michele — October 24, 2014 @ 10:49 am

    I’m excited to make these — but sure wish you also had directions for cooking without a pressure cooker. I don’t really know how to translate the time it takes to do something in a pressure cooker to the time it takes to cook in a pot, but will do my best. Looks great!

  44. 44

    Cornelia — November 21, 2014 @ 10:49 am

    Orio, would the secret ingredient be cinnamon or tequila? Sometimes the “secret” stuff is something really out in left field. Think outside the box. You may be surprised!

  45. 45

    Alexandra — November 29, 2014 @ 10:41 am

    I am Cuban, born and raised in the island and surounded by many aunts, my mother and grandmother cooking all kinds of beans daily. There are many “own” recipes for black beans and they all taste very good, but the original doesn’t include the following:
    1 packet of Goya Sazon seasoning
    1 can Rotel, undrained (may substitute diced tomatoes)
    On the other hand, it does include dry wine and 1 tbs of sugar. You may also add more olive oil at the end.
    Try it this way and you will notice the difference.

  46. 46

    Barie — February 8, 2015 @ 4:30 pm

    Hello, the garlic do you dice them or whole and I am guessing that you are not soaking the dry beans over-night? Thank you

  47. 47

    Michaela — March 21, 2015 @ 10:34 pm

    Could you help me out with the cooking time? The recipe advertises that unsoaked black beans can be cooked from scratch in 45 minutes, but in the recipe I only see cooking time for 20-22 minutes. From what I’m reading, the beans are cooked for 20-22 minutes, then the Sofrito and Rotel are added, then pressure cook for five minutes longer. Where does the other 20 minutes fit in? Thank you for your time.

    • Tina replied: — March 28th, 2015 @ 2:49 pm

      that total time includes prep time and also… you have to bring the pressure cooker up to pressure which takes time (the 20-22 minutes starts once it’s hissing)… then you add the sofrito (allowing it to depressurize before opening) and then seal again and pressure cook for another 5 minutes. Hope that makes sense!

  48. 48

    Mina — June 9, 2015 @ 5:39 pm

    Hello- this dish looks / sounds delishious – I am off to the market to gather some ingredients – I was surprised to see that cilantro is not on the list though – will it ruin the taste if I use it – have you ever used cilantro in this dish?
    Thank you

  49. 49

    Mina — June 9, 2015 @ 9:34 pm

    Made theese tonight ! delishiouso!
    my 6 year old son said he didn’t want rice and beans for dinner and that he wanted pasta and meatballs instead. He ate his pasta and meatballs and about 15 min later when the beans where done …. He said ” I wanna have some of that rice and beans too please” …. He ate an entire bowl and said yummmm these beans are sooo good about 10 times!
    The “Rotel” was perfect I got the original not the mild and it has just the right amount of kick to it. The red wine vinegar should NOT be excluded – it gives the dish a higher taste quality although not overpowering – great dish – the only thing I would do differently is double EVERYTHING ….. to have more leftovers!!

  50. 50

    Dawn — December 27, 2015 @ 9:17 pm


    It looks like you have the stove top pressure cooker. I have an electric one. Would I follow the instructions for cooking beans or do you think I could just follow the times for your cooking times?


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