For a delicious and flavorful meal, learn how to cook black beans from scratch using your favorite brand of dried beans. This recipe is made without soaking and is a simple vegetarian option for any day of the week!
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in the past few months, it’s the benefit of having some easy pantry staples tucked away. When dinner time rolls around, it’s nice to not have to run to the store, get takeout, or find yourself missing a staple recipe item. For this reason, I always keep a bag of black beans tucked into the corner of my pantry!
For this black bean recipe, I’m showing you how to cook beans from scratch so that you can nix the canned versions and simply make your own! Cooking your own beans is more sustainable (less waste), more cost effective, and allows you to customize the flavor to fit your preference. Feeling garlic beans? Perfect. Want to add some onions? Great! Making your own allows you to do just that… make your own!
I always find that my homemade beans turn out better than any store-bought can. Whip up a batch of your own for adding to recipes or eating alone!
To soak or not to soak?
Surprisingly, soaking dried black beans prior to cooking does not make them cook better or faster. In fact, it actually only marginally reduces cooking time while also making them less flavorful. I recommend skipping the overnight soak and boiling directly from the package (after rinsing, of course)!
However, if you struggle with digestibility, you may want to keep the soaking step. It’s thought that this step helps improve the digestibility of the beans, which may make it a necessary step for some.
Ingredients used to cook beans
You’ll need a few core ingredients, regardless of what flavor you might decide to add.
- Black Beans: First, we’ll need our black beans! I’m using 1 pound of dried black beans (otherwise known as turtle beans) to create this recipe.
- Water: We will be boiling the beans in 8 cups of water.
- Salt: Finally, a dash of salt will brings out the natural flavor.
Feeling adventurous? Add some optional flavors to kick your beans up a notch.
- Garlic: Everyone loves garlic! If you plan to go this route, 6 peeled and lightly smashed cloves will do.
- Onion: Add onion to your beans by removing the skin and placing a halved white or yellow onion in the pot.
- Bay Leaves: For a sharp bay leaf flavor, stick two leaves in the pot.
- Orange: Or go citrusy by adding a rinsed and halved orange.
How to cook black beans fast
This 3-step process couldn’t be simpler. Begin by checking out your beans, and then throw ’em in a pot with the water and seasonings to boil for a few hours. In total, this recipe will take only 5 minutes of prep time!
- Prep the beans: Spread the dry beans onto a clean counter or baking sheet. Pick out any stones or bad looking beans. Transfer the beans to a colander and rinse.
- Cook the ingredients: Combine the beans, water, and optional flavorings in a large pot. The water should cover the beans by about 3 inches. If it doesn’t, add more water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Let simmer uncovered for 1 to 2 hours, or until the beans are tender. If they run out of water before tenderizing, add more as needed.
- Add the finishing touches: When the beans are tender, mix in the salt. If they’re still too liquidy for your liking, spoon out some of the juice and then increase the heat for a few minuets to evaporate the excess moisture, stirring often.
Black bean nutrition
Black beans are like little mini powerhouses. They’re filled with so many nutrients, vitamins, and minerals! In each serving, you’ll find protein, fiber, fat, carbohydrates, iron, and calcium.
The fiber and protein levels are particularly high, making this a great meal for vegetarians. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines actually recommend that all people (vegetarian are not) eat at least 3 cups of beans or legumes weekly. Whip this recipe together, and you’ve got enough to last for days!
How to use black beans
When this recipe is all said and done, you’ll find yourself with 5 heaping cups of perfectly seasoned black beans. Here are some delicious ways that you can use your beans to add fiber, protein, and flavor to any meal.
- Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos: Add ’em to your veggie tacos!
- Easy Black Bean Dip: Mash your beans into a delicious dip.
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili: Mix some beans with sweet potatoes and create chili.
- Black Bean Boo-Dle Soup: Make homemade boo-dle soup!
- 1 lb black beans 453 g
- 8 cups water 1.9 L
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 cloves garlic peeled and lightly smashes
- 1 white or yellow onion skin removed and halved, roots intact
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 orange rinsed and halved
- Prep: Spread dry beans onto a clean counter or baking sheet. Pick out any stones or bad looking beans. Transfer beans to a colander and rinse.
- Cook: Combine beans, water, and optional flavors in a large pot (water should cover beans by about 3 inches, if not add more water). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Let simmer uncovered for 1 to 2 hours, or until beans are tender. If they run out of water before tenderizing, add more as needed.
- Finish: When beans are tender, mix in salt. If they are still too liquidy for your liking, spoon out some of the juice then increase the heat for a few minutes to evaporate out excess moisture, stirring often.