Classic Black Beans Recipe

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Esther Shelton Modified: March 23, 2022
Classic Black Beans Recipe

How To Make Classic Black Beans

This recipe will teach you an easy and foolproof way to prepare black beans. The dish is flavored with garlic, onion, orange zest, and various spices.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 25 minutes



  • 1lbdried black beans,(16 oz)
  • 1medium red onion,chopped
  • 4medium cloves garlic,peeled but left whole
  • 2bay leaves
  • 1tbspextra-virgin olive oil
  • 1tspfine sea salt
  • 1tspground cumin
  • 1striporange zest,(about 2 inches long by ½ inch wide)
  • ½tspred pepper flakes,omit or reduce if sensitive to spice
  • 8cupswater,more if needed
  • 2tbspcilantro,finely chopped, optional
  • 1tbsplime juice


  1. Pick through the black beans for debris. Place the beans in a fine mesh colander or sieve and rinse very well. Pour the beans into a large Dutch oven or saucepan (4 quarts or larger in capacity).

  2. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, olive oil, salt, cumin, orange zest and red pepper flakes (if using) to the pot. Pour in the water.

  3. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Remove the lid and reduce the heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer. Give the beans a stir to make sure none are stuck to the bottom of the pot, and set a timer for 1 hour. Leave the pot uncovered and adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.

  4. Once the timer goes off, test a couple of beans by using a fork to press them against the side of the pot. If they’re easy to press through, taste a few to see if they’re sufficiently plump, tender and delicious.

  5. Otherwise, continue cooking, testing in 15 to 30-minute intervals as needed, until they’re done. If needed, add water in 1-cup increments so the beans are covered at all time.

  6. Once the beans are very tender and tasty, increase the heat a little to reduce the cooking liquid into a more gravy-like consistency. This will take about 5 to 15 minutes (it will continue to thicken up as the beans cool).

  7. Remove the pot from the heat. Carefully remove the orange zest and both bay leaves. Use a fork to press the garlic against the side of the bowl to break it up. Add the cilantro, if using, and lime juice. Stir to combine. Season to taste with additional salt, if needed. Use as desired.

  8. Allow leftover beans to cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 to 5 days. Leftover beans can also be frozen for several months.


  • Calories: 291.18kcal
  • Fat: 3.45g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.61g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 1.79g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.72g
  • Carbohydrates: 50.18g
  • Fiber: 12.23g
  • Sugar: 2.48g
  • Protein: 16.77g
  • Sodium: 406.03mg
  • Calcium: 116.64mg
  • Potassium: 1169.98mg
  • Iron: 4.22mg
  • Vitamin A: 2.94µg
  • Vitamin C: 3.43mg
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