Cuban Frijoles Negros (Authentic Cuban Black Beans Recipe)

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My abuela's cuban frijoles negros recipe is simple, easy, and delish. It's full of flavor but only made with a handful of pantry ingredients. Use canned beans and simmer on the stovetop for 20 minutes and serve as a side dish with white rice!

Love Latino food? Try this churrasco skirt steak recipemojo marinated chicken, and arroz con pollo!

overhead view of a bowl of frijoles negros con arroz blanco with lime wedges

My Abuela's Authentic Frijoles Negros Cubanos Recipe

Whether you live in South Florida, have Hispanic heritage, or just enjoy Cuban cuisine, chances are you eat frijoles negros on a regular basis. This savory comfort food is such a mainstay! It's a fundamental part of the culture, a timeless classic, and a delightful reminder of my childhood.

The sentimental value of this recipe for classic Cuban black beans is more than immeasurable to me. This isn't a Latin-inspired recipe; it's authentic to the core with a special place in my heart. It's Abuela's cooking.

The bond I share with my Abuela through her cooking is truly priceless. And there's nothing like cooking up her food that brings me back to plastic over the table cloth and those plastic fruits in a bowl in the 1990's.

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Why You'll Love these Authentic Cuban Black Beans

  • Fast and Easy Beans - It's a cinch with no fancy techniques or in-depth knowhow needed to make Cuban black beans and rice. It's simple and quick, done in less than 30 minutes.
  • Authentic Recipe - this recipe came directly from an abuelita;  one taste and it'll take you to a Cuban mom's dinner table or one of your favorite Cuban restaurants in no time.
  • Inexpensive - beans are still one of the most affordable ingredients out there, dried or canned.
  • Flavor packed - when you smell the sofrito sizzling as you make frijoles negros for the first time, you'll understand just how flavorful this is. This seasoning is what makes this dish so special.
  • Vegan - yes, y'all. This recipe is vegan!


ingredients for cuban frijoles negros recipe labeled
  • Yellow Onion, Green Bell Pepper, and a few Garlic Cloves - the green pepper is an unripened bell pepper and taste more savory and vegetal instead of sweet tasting like red bell peppers.
  • Black Beans - we're using canned black beans in this recipe. Canned beans are already cooked so we have a quicker cooking recipe. Make sure you buy a brand that does not add salt to the beans and don't drain the beans. That bean juice is going to be our cooking liquid! Using dried? Don't worry, I go over how to soak beans down below.
  • Ground Cumin - the earthy flavor of cumin is a must have here. It just won't taste the same at all.
  • Oregano - use dried or fresh oregano, but use double the amount of fresh than dried.
  • Bay Leaf - bay leaves have a subtle herbal flavor, and boost the flavors in a dish you're using. So consider it a helper herb for your oregano, cumin, and bell pepper.
  • Lime Juice - classic ingredient that cuts through all those flavors with acidity and brightness. 
  • Olive Oil - olive oil has good flavor that goes well with the sofrito, but any oil will work.
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper - we're actually going to season near the end of our cooking time, instead of in the beginning. Trust me, this is important. We don't want to oversalt this.

How to Make Frijoles Negros

cuban sofrito being sautéed in a pot

Step 1 | Sauté the onion and bell pepper in the olive oil in your saucepan over medium heat. Once it gains some color, add the pressed cloves of garlic. This is our sofrito, the base of many Cuban dishes! And it smells like heaven, so be prepared for everyone to come and ask 'what are you cooking?'. 

cuban black beans recipe simmering in pot

Step 2 | Dump in the canned beans with the beans juice, the cumin, oregano, and bay leaf. Give it a good stir, cover the pot with the lid and simmer over medium-low heat for about 15-20 minutes. Before serving, season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the lime juice for that much needed acidity. 

a green bowl of cuban black beans and white rice

Step 3 | And that's it! Serve the cooked beans with white rice or cilantro lime rice.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Vino Seco - some old recipes call for a dry red wine called vino seco, which isn't commonly found throughout the U.S. You can add that flavor with white wine or red wine vinegar, just don't use the lime since the vinegar will add that acidity.
  • Not Vegan - sizzle up some bacon and use the bacon fat in lieu of the olive oil (and keep the bacon for the beans!) for more flavor!
  • Add a little mojo de ajo to your beans and rice, it's a classic garlic butter sauce that amps up even more flavor.
  • If you're using dried black beans, use chicken stock in lieu of the 'bean juice', about ½ cup to 1 cup's worth and simmer until the beans are tender. Keep
  • Moros y Cristianos - for this traditional Cuban recipe, you'll want to cook the rice with the beans in chicken stock until everything is cooked through.
a close up view of a spoonful of cuban black beans

How to Prepare Dried Black Beans 

Dried beans are going to change this side dish from being a quick dish to being an overnight idea. As long as you have planned ahead, dry beans are a great idea since you can buy more of them at a cheaper price than canned beans. 

When you have a bag of dried black beans, first check through them for beans that have rot, mottled skin, shriveled up, any mold, or any pebbles hiding in the mix. 

If there is mold, toss the whole thing out. But otherwise remove the offending bean or small stones and give the good beans a rinse under cold running water. 

Next, soak the beans overnight in a large bowl full of cool water. If you try to cook dry beans as is, you'll run the risk of them not cooking through and having hard middles (and the starches within will cause gas troubles).  

Soaking the beans will soften them before you cook the beans, they'll still cook for a longer time than cooking black beans from a can, though. Expect to simmer the beans for 2 hours or so.

overhead view of a bowl of cuban moros y cristianos

What to Serve with Cuban Frijoles Negros

You'll find that frijoles negros goes with so many mains, it doesn't just have to be Cuban food. Here's a few of my favorites:

  • With cilantro lime rice and chopped avocado - sprinkle on a little queso fresco if you'd like, beans and rice makes a meal in and of itself.
  • With or in tacos - take a cue from Chipotle Mexican Grill and eat your beans in a taco or burrito bowl. Try it with a platter of carnitas street tacos!
  • All types of pork - the Caribbean eats a ton of pork. We have lechon asado, pernil, carnitas, and chuletas fritas that go perfectly with beans and rice (and limon).
  • Topping with fresh ingredients - Garnish the black beans with chopped fresh cilantro, diced onions, or a squeeze of lime juice to add brightness and freshness.
  • Consider serving your black beans with traditional Cuban sides like maduros, yuca, or have crispy pork for a complete and authentic Cuban meal.

Storage and Reheating

  • Storing: Keep the beans in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days in the fridge. Rewarm in a microwave safe container until hot and serve with rice.
  • Freezing: Put the beans into a freezer safe zip-top bag, flatten it out, label with the date, and freeze as flat as possible. They'll keep for up to 6 months.
  • Thaw: Take the frozen beans out of the freezer and thaw overnight in the fridge or on the counter for a few hours, then reheat in a saucepan over medium-low heat until hot.
someone scooping a spoonful of spanish black beans with bell pepper

Equipment Needed

  • Saucepan - you can use a large pot if you're making a big batch, but a medium saucepan works perfectly with this recipe.
  • Can Opener - you don't need this if you're using dried beans, but if you got canned beans without a pull tab, you'll need it.
  • Wooden Spoon 


Is frijoles negros with white rice the same dish as moros y cristianos?

Moros y cristianos has the beans and rice cook together, and using soaked dried beans would be best so the beans and rice are cooked through at the same time.

This recipe is arroz con frijoles, or rice with beans, where they are cooked separately.

Can I make this recipe with dried beans?

Yes, you can! Follow the directions to cleaning and soaking beans that I have in post, then follow the recipe directions with a cup or two of chicken stock, cooking for 30-45 minutes or until the beans are softened.

Are Cuban black beans spicy?

Frijoles negros are not spicy, in fact, most Cuban food isn't hot and spicy. Though if you would like a little heat you can add some red pepper flakes, hot sauce, or diced fresh chiles.

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📖 Recipe

overhead view of a bowl of frijoles negros con arroz blanco with lime wedges

Cuban Frijoles Negros Recipe (Authentic Cuban Black Beans)

Eden Westbrook
Use canned beans for quick and easy authentic Cuban black beans with this delicious frijoles negros recipe! Serve with white rice and lime!
4.84 from 31 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Cuisine Hispanic
Servings 6 servings
Calories 228 kcal


  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ large yellow onion sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 (15.5 oz) cans unsalted black beans not drained
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 lime
  • Cooked white rice for serving


  • Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
    1 tablespoon light olive oil
  • Sauté the sliced bell pepper and onion until they begin to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes.
    1 green bell pepper, ½ large yellow onion
  • Stir in the minced garlic, cumin, oregano, and bay leaves until the garlic is very fragrant, for one minute. Then pour in the beans with their liquid.
    3 cloves garlic, ¼ teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 2 bay leaves, 2 (15.5 oz) cans unsalted black beans
  • Turn the heat down to medium low, cover the pot with the lid, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • After the beans have simmered, stir in about ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper and squeeze in some lime. Give it a taste, season with more salt and lime juice as needed.
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, 1 lime
  • Serve hot with cooked white rice.
    Cooked white rice


Storing, Freezing, and Reheating Cuban Black Beans

Storing: Keep the beans in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days in the fridge. Rewarm in a microwave safe container until hot and serve with rice.
Freezing: Put the beans into a freezer safe zip-top bag, flatten it out, label with the date, and freeze as flat as possible. They'll keep for up to 6 months.
Thaw: Take the frozen beans out of the freezer and thaw overnight in the fridge or on the counter for a few hours, then reheat in a saucepan over medium-low heat until hot.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 228kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 13gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 3mgPotassium: 587mgFiber: 14gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 91IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 51mgIron: 3mg
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