How to Cook Black Beans like a Boss

Black beans have a rich earthiness that pairs beautifully with onions, garlic, spices, and smoked meats. You can learn how to cook black beans like a pro.

Black beans have many different names, they are known as fijoles negro or even as turtle beans. The beans are thin-skinned, and you will find that they cook fairly quickly.

The following are questions that you may have about preparing black beans. We are here to help you in your quest for preparing more nutritious foods starting with the highly nutritious black beans. Or course you can use canned beans, but dry beans are economical and many think dried beans make the best pot of beans. So let’s get started with learning how to cook dry black beans.

Why to buy black beans

You can purchase a bag of beans at the grocery store, I have been known to buy beans in bulk in the produce section of my local grocer, or sometimes some stores like Wholefoods or Sprouts have large bins you can purchase beans for less money. I have even found a larger bags of organic black beans at Costco.

How do you know if black beans are too old to use or too stale.

Before you start to cook, check and see if your beans are fresh. Every kind of food you buy in the store is required to have an expiration date. Black beans are no exceptions. However, black beans keep for years if you store them properly. If the beans smell strange, the beans are cracked, or you notice mold on the beans you need to toss them.

How do I prepare black beans for any black beans recipe?

It’s important to sort through beans you purchase in bulk. You must dump the bag of dried beans out, such as on a cookie sheet. Remove the beans that are cracked, broken or shriveled. Do not be surprised to find a bit of debris such as small pebbles. Remove any of this you find and rinse the beans in cold running water.

How to soak black beans

There are two different ways to soak any type of bean. Soaking black beans removes the natural sugar that causes those who eat these to develop pesky and embarrassing intestinal gas. Soaking beans prior to cooking means your beans will cook more quickly. The overnight soaking results in beans that do not break up as much during cooking. So the overnight soaking is ideal for salads, and whenever you want to beans left whole. The quick soak method is great for soups!

  • Soak Overnight – an overnight soaking is the easiest way to soak beans. After the beans have been sorted and rinsed, place them into a large bowl, and cover with water for at least six hours or overnight. Discard any beans that float. Beans that float may have been eaten by mites, so it is best to discard those beans.
  • Quick Soak Method – place the sorted and rinsed beans in a large pot. Cover with water, boil for two minutes. Place a lid on the pot, and let the beans rest two hours before cooking.

Is there alternative to soaking beans?

Some cooks claim that the oven method is better than soaking because the beans become very creamy and tasty and these cooks say they would never boil black beans again after using the oven method. Baking does not risk removing some valuable nutrients that boiling likely does.

Black beans – the oven method

  • Rinse off the beans well in cold running water.
  • Transfer the beans to a dutch oven or large pot. Run enough water in the pot to cover the beans.
  • Cover the pot and bake in the oven for two hours at 375 degrees.
  • Do a taste test for tenderness and if they are still crunchy bake a bit longer.
  • Season as desire

Which Seasonings are Good to Use on Black Beans?

Any seasonings that you have a taste for, is good on black beans. The more popular seasonings are chile peppers, garlic, ginger, oregano, thyme, bay leaf (do not eat the leaves,) cumin, parsley, and whatever you enjoy eating will no doubt go well.

Love black beans? Try these recipes for canned black beans

Chili’s Black Beans
Easy Cuban-Style black beans
Panera Bread Black Bean Soup
Corn and Black Bean Salad

If you have never tried cooking black beans before, I hope you learn how to cook black beans perfectly. These are so versatile, and go well with so many dishes!

How to Cook Black Beans

Learn how to cook a delicious pot of black beans.


  • 1 pound black beans (2 1/2 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper (cored and seeded )
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 avocado sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • Sort, rinse and soak black beans the night before. Discard any beans that float. Drain beans.

  • Add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add onion to the pot and brown onion until it turns brown.

  • Add water and drained beans. Bring the beans to a boil, and then reduce the temperature to medium. Cook the beans partially covered for about 1 hour.

  • Stir the beans occasionally, make sure there is at least 1/2 inch of water covering the beans at all times.

  • Season with salt, and pepper. Cook for another 15 minutes so the seasonings absorb into the beans.

  • Serve by placing the beans in a bowl, and top with cilantro, avocado, and red onion slices.