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How To Cook Black Beans

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!

A bowl of cooked beans topped with parsley

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!

Half a bowl of dried beans next to half a bowl of cooked beans

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.

Dried beans spread out on the counter

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.
Dried beans, water, and onions in a large cooking pot

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
A wooden spoon scooping a spoonful of cooked beans from a large cooking pot

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!

A wooden spoon placed inside a bowl filled with cooked beans

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.

A white bowl filled with cooked beans and topped with pieces of parsley

How to Cook Black Beans

For a flavorful meal, learn how to cook black beans from scratch! No soaking required + flavor options to customize to your taste!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizers, Main Dishes
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: how to cook beans, how to cook black beans, no soak black beans, stovetop black beans
Diet: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Occasion: Cinco de Mayo
Time: 60 minutes or more
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 1 hr 30 mins
Total: 1 hr 35 mins
Servings: 5 cups of black beans
Calories: 114kcal
Author: Sarah Bond
4.5 from 2 votes

INGREDIENTS

Core Ingredients
  • 1 lb black beans 453 g
  • 8 cups water 1.9 L
  • 1 tsp salt
Optional Flavors
  • 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

INSTRUCTIONS

  • 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.

NOTES

Store cooked beans in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for a few months.

NUTRITION

Serving: 0.5cups | Calories: 114kcal | Carbohydrates: 20.4g | Protein: 7.6g | Fat: 0.5g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 204mg | Potassium: 305mg | Fiber: 7.5g | Sugar: 0g | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 2mg
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Hi, I’m Sarah!

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  1. K G G in Illinois says:

    Black Beans Rule! I’ve cooked with black beans for a long time. I cook for only two and at this point I’ve decided that it makes more sense to just open a can of black beans when I need it rather than to prepare a whole bag and then figure out how to store the extra in the refrigerator until I can use them.

    But if you are cooking beans (or a lot of other simmer projects) why put on the stove top instead of the less energy demanding microwave. the key is to set the “time cook” to 120 minutes, and the “power level” to 6. A flat casserole container is less likely to boil over than a rounded bowl. Of course you can add onions or whatever. And of course you still have to check on it to be sure it hasn’t gone dry. If it boils over, reset the power level to 6 instead of 7 (different microwaves have different strength). It takes about as long as stove top and uses a lot less energy – a value that a lot of us vegans consider important

    1. Sarah says:

      So smart! I had never thought of this before, now I want to try it. Thanks so much for the eco-friendly tip! 😀

  2. Lisa says:

    I learned from a nutritiinist years ago that sifting off the foam from the top of the boiling water when cooking the beans makes them less gassy. I’ve found that to be true.4 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks for the tip, Lisa! 😀

  3. Michael Sisario says:

    Any tips on where you can buy organic black beans in bulk?

    1. Sarah says:

      I think most health food stores would have them in bulk, otherwise I would try online!

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