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Cuban Black Beans and Rice

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Cuban Black Beans and Rice is a simple, satisfying side dish packed with protein and bursting with Latin flavors like garlic, oregano, and cumin.

cuban black beans and rice

One of the many reasons I love to travel is because it exposes me to cuisines from around the world. After recent visits to Miami and Puerto Vallarta, I was inspired to get in my home kitchen to recreate one of my favorite Cuban recipes: black beans and rice.

Black beans and rice is a common dish all over the Caribbean. Don’t let the humble nature of this dish fool you: the combination of black beans and rice is one of the most nutritious, well-rounded dishes you can serve and always have plenty of flavors.

traditional cuban black beans and rice in a dish

Dried vs canned beans in a rice dish:

Canned black beans will work if you’re short on time but I highly suggest dried black beans for added texture, flavor and fewer additives. For this Cuban recipe, I like to start with dried black beans and soak them overnight. Of course, if you don’t have time to do that just use canned beans but be sure to drain and rinse them to remove any excess starchy liquid. This will also allow you to control the salt content better.

black beans and rice in a bowl

Frequently Asked Questions:

What foods pair well with black beans and rice?

While you can certainly enjoy these black beans and rice as is, I love to top it with grilled shrimp, roasted salmon or pork tenderloin.

Can you reheat black beans and rice?

Yes. This dish can easily be reheated in the microwave.

Do beans need to be soaked prior to eating?

Yes. Beans need to be soaked prior to making this dish to soften them up. This also allows you the opportunity to remove any hard stones that may remain.

Do you need to drain the liquid out of the cooked beans before you add it to the rice?

Yes, it is best to drain the liquid first.

Do you use prefer dried or canned beans?

Dried. Canned black beans will work if you’re short on time but I highly suggest dried black beans for added texture, flavor and less additives.
If you decide to use canned beans but be sure to drain and rinse them to remove any excess starchy liquid. This will also allow you to control the salt content better.

Do canned beans need to be boiled?



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Cuban Black Beans nad Rice

Cuban Black Beans and Rice

4.29 stars average
Cuban Black Beans and Rice is a simple, satisfying side dish bursting with Latin flavors like garlic, oregano, and cumin.
PREP: 8 hrs
COOK: 2 hrs
TOTAL: 10 hrs
Servings: 10


  • 1 pound black beans – dried (to use canned beans: use 4 (15-ounce cans of rinsed and drained black beans for every pound of dried black beans. )
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 bay leaves (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (seeded and diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cups long grain white rice (rinsed)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
  • minced cilantro and lime wedges (to serve)


Preparing and cooking the beans

  • Soak beans overnight to soften and remove any small hard stones. The next day, strain and rinse soaked beans with fresh water.
  • To cook beans, place in a large pot and add enough water to cover the beans by two inches. Carefully smash whole garlic cloves with the back of a knife and add to the pot of beans along with 2 of the bay leaves.
  • Bring the pot to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer until tender (90 minutes or up to two hours.) Set aside once cooked.

Preparing the rice and vegetables

  • Next, in a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté onions, peppers, and garlic. Add spices (salt through cayenne) and continue stirring until vegetables have softened, 4-6 minutes.
  • Rince rice in a strainer until the water comes out clear
    rinsing rice in a strainer
  • Stir in rinsed (uncooked) rice and sauté for 2 minutes so that the rice starts to toast and lightly brown.
  • Pour in chicken broth and add reserved, cooked black beans along with bay leaves. Stir once then bring to a boil. Stir a second time then reduce heat to low and place a tightly fitting lid on the pot. Cook until liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  • Use a fork to loosen the rice and bean mixture then serve with fresh cilantro and lime wedges.


Calories: 220kcalCarbohydrates: 51.3gProtein: 10.7gFat: 1.6gSaturated Fat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1.4gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 724mgFiber: 13.1gSugar: 2g

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Liz DellaCroce

Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been sharing delicious recipes that just so happen to be healthy. By using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality, Liz has built a growing audience of loyal readers who crave good food for their families. Click Here To Subscribe to my newsletter:


    1. 2 different people asked if the beans needed to be drained after cooking them before adding to the rice. You answered one with “no and the other with yes. Which is it?

  1. I love this dish so much! This is about my 5th time making it! I’ve used canned black beans each time, drained and rinsed well (someday I must take the time to try it with cooking my own beans), and it is foolproof, delicious, flavorful, healthy, satisfying, and did I say delicous?? The only thing I did differently was use roasted red pepper from a jar, just because the first time I made the recipe, that was what I had on hand, and it turned out so well, that I have continued to use roasted red pepper instead of fresh. But either way I know would be amazing! Thank you so much for this recipe! It is amazing just like it is, or I have also topped with shrimp like you suggested, and served as a side dish for pork steaks. Saved to my favorites on my computer!

  2. My wife hates rice apart from this one ,
    After a trip to Cuba I wanted to do the black bean rice once I returned home .
    I prefer this to any rice I had in Cuba

  3. I just made it and OMG!!!!! It’s so good???????? came out perfect and I highly highly recommend! In my new top 5 favorite dishes!!!!

  4. Is a shame You Didn’t mention in the actual recipe that the beans need to be drained. I didn’t read all the Connex comments until after I mixed it together. Absolute waste of all the ingredients. Think I’ll find someone else’s recipes to follow.

    1. Hi Pat,

      It says in the recipe to drain and rinse the beans. I just checked again – can you please take another look? This is one of my most popular recipes of all time, I’d hate for you to miss out because you didnt read the recipe correctly.


  5. Can you make this recipe early in the day and then reheat it.? I want to serve it for a dinner party tonight and would like to get the cooking done ahead. Thanks!

  6. Tonight I am making this recipe for the 3rd time! It is so good! Very flavorful, satisfying and filling -and cheap to make as well – makes a huge batch that my husband and I can eat all week and not have to worry about cooking. The first time I made it I did not have fresh red pepper, but had a jar of roasted red peppers, so that is what I used that time – and it was delicious as well! We eat it as is – and also have eaten it as a side dish with chicken or fish. Any way, it is the best! And so healthy for you and again – cheap i.e. cost effective. Thank you so much!

  7. I made this tonight for my family. Everyone really liked it except for my preschooler. She picked at it. It reminds me of a south of the border restaurant from my home town! A perfect burrito bowl! Yummy! I think I’ll add sour cream and some avocado next time to add some more flavor though.

  8. I made this for dinner today as a side to instant pot Al Pastor tacos!! This recipe is a Gem!! It’s so authentic and delicious! We ended up ditching the corn tortillas and made burrito bowls with this..I didn’t have a red bell pepper or bay leaves and used cans of beans but it still turned out super yum….This is definitely a keeper!! Thank you so much!

  9. I really love your Cuban Rice recipe! I stumbled into your web page when I was looking for a Spanish Rice recipe, but when I found your recipe I just had to try it. I make a few small modifications such as; 2 cans of low sodium black beans drained and rinsed (which cuts down the prep time), 1/2 red onion and 1/2 sweet vidalia onion, 1/2 red and 1/2 green pepper, 1 chopped celery stalk, 1 chopped carrot stick, and 2 or 3 sliced sausages (use your favorite!). I loved the recipe just as it is, but I had to doctor it up a little with a few of my favorite extras. Everyone that tries it instantly loves it, and keeps wanting more. So far I have made the Cuban Rice 12 times since March, and I’m working on my Lucky Thirteenth pot as I write this comment! ThanQ! ThanQ! ThanQ!

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