Cuban Black Beans and Rice

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?



Your fork is waiting.

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 hours
COOK: 2 hours
TOTAL: 10 hours
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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143 thoughts on “Cuban Black Beans and Rice”

  1. I’ve made this now 3 times and it is a crowd pleaser! Paired with a Cuban pork loin I got off the internet.. the only change I made to the recipe was to cook the beans quite a bit less than the recipe says. I do soak my beans in the frig over night tho. I like that it has different measurements for a crowd I add some sour cream, tortilla chips and avacado along with the cilantro and lime squeeze. This is the real deal! Lov it! A meal by itself or just add some left over chicken.

  2. My mother didn’t use this specific recipe, but she would on occasions make black beans and rice as a whole meal, which we’d eat on tortillas.

    I love this recipe and it’s my go-to. I generally add pork stew meat or cut up sausage to bulk it up a little to be a full meal. This time I did just smoked sausage, though I would’ve used Andouille if they’d had it. Chicken would also be a good addition. I also generally add a diced jalapeno instead of cayenne for some spice.

    Amazing, and makes a ton of food. Usually I end up eating it for my lunches for the next few days. For two people I could easily half the recipe and have enough, but I love having the leftovers.

  3. This is a delicious and easy recipe for Cuban black beans and rice. The beans are cooked with onions, garlic, and spices, and the rice is flavored with lime juice and cilantro. Serve this dish with a side of avocado and a

  4. I made this using chicken “juice” leftover from 2 cans of canned chicken, I used the dry beans soaked overnight as instructed and I added corn to mine at the end which was fresh corn and wow! So delicious- lots of flavor and so so good. I am printing this to make again and again.

  5. No matter how many servings I choose, it always says use 4 cans of beans. The amount of dried beans changes, but the amount of canned beans does not. Just saying…


  6. hi all!! i am a 7th grader and decided to make this for my class project on cuba. i found this recipe to be pretty simple and my end results were amazing! it has a great amount of spice and a good rice to beans ratio! will defiantly use this recipe again to make for dinner!!!

  7. Delicious!! I used canned beans and also drained/rinsed them before letting simmer in water/bay leaf and garlic. Let boil and then simmered while I sauted the onions/pepper and rice. I added the beans right in and let it cook at the recommended time. Came out perfect. Ate with a yummy Cuban lechon asado and tostones! This is my favorite beans and rice recipe EVER!! I ended up leaving the leftover rice and beans in warmer drawer by accident and it made the top crispy!! Even better…thank you.

  8. Nina Sharon Goins

    I made this today NO Salt. I use the lime skin and lime juice. So this meal using brown rice and home made chicken bone broth rocks!

  9. For 5 servings, can I half the recipe? (all ingredients from list in half?)

    thanks… (10 servings is too much for my small family)

        1. Ashley @ The Lemon Bowl

          Hi Theresa, yes, it’s best to drain the liquid out of the cooked beans first. Let us know how this turns out for you!

  10. Hello, I already have some leftover cooked rice, what step should I integrate the rice in if the rice is already cooked?

  11. Please forgive this ridiculous question!!! If we use long grain brown rice instead of white, approximately how much longer do you think we need to cook it after adding the rice? Also should we still add the beans at the same time we add the brown rice or wait until closerto the end (since the rice will take much longer to cook)? Thanks so much for your help!!!

  12. First it was delicious and we jazzed it up with roasted vegetables and peas for a main course but … Maybe ‘salt to taste’ as one tablespoon is a lot of salt. I used about one teaspoon and that was plenty for our sodium loving family.

    1. Hey Andy! Did you use 1 pound dried beans and 2 cups uncooked white rice? If so one teaspoon of salt would not be enough in my personal opinion. Just clarifying!! (I also love salt but don’t want to overpower anyone either so I appreciate your note!!) :)

          1. Hi Liz !
            I tried this recipe yesterday and there didn’t seem to be enough liquid…rice wasn’t cooked completely….I added broth but probably too much, as it became mush.I used basmati rice. Is there a better type to use ?
            Thanks !

          2. Liz DellaCroce

            I used long grain white rice; I know different types of rice require different amounts of liquid and cook times, which could easily be why you had issues with basmati!

  13. Do you drain the beans before you add them to the rice/chicken broth mixture? The first time I made this it was perfect. The second time there was too much liquid and the rice was mushy. I can’t remember if I drained the beans the first time but I know I didn’t the second.

  14. Would have been delicious but it was WAY too salty, and I love salt. I used dried beans and low sodium broth and everything. Will make again but with half the salt. Disappointed :(

    1. Hi Eva,

      I’m so sorry to hear this – I’ve made this many times and so many thousands of others and I haven’t heard this feedback. For one pound of dried beans and 2 cups of rice, 1 tablespoon of salt is the perfect amount. Were you by chance using canned beans? I’d love to help you troubleshoot!

      1. What size tablespoon are you using? I had a disaster when I used what I call a “tablespoon” before i discovered a cultural misunderstanding and that the recipe author meant something much smaller.

  15. I made this a few nights ago for my husband and some of the guys he hangs out with for dinner. They all loved it and one asked for the recipe later!

  16. Somehow there wasn’t enough liquid and I had to add water and cook longer. Also, it would help to clarify what red pepper means. Lots of peppers are red. I went with bell pepper. Mine came out quite spicey though I was using foreign-sourced cayenne and foreign spices tend to be much better quality so that could be it. This is the first time I’ve made rice and beans from a recipe instead of throwing it together and the flavor was good, but the proportions were off a bit.

  17. The flavor was great, and I will definitely make it again. I will cut the salt in half next time I make it, though—it was even too salty for my salt-loving husband, and I used reduced-sodium broth.

      1. Made this yesterday and it was FANTASTIC! Hubby raved about it. I did add meat though, a small smoked ham butt. Added it to the beans for the first 2 hours of simmering. Then let the butt cool and picked the meat off. The shredded ham was added back into the pot for the last half hour of cooking. Knowing the ham would be salty, I didn’t add any extra salt and used low salt chicken broth.
        This recipe is a keeper.

      2. Esto no es para nada …ni remotamente la forma correcta de hacer ese arroz cubano. Error total. Sera una variante hecha por el cocinero que da la receta aqui pero para nada real ni corrects
        Totally wrong thos recipe

  18. Hi, I made this for the first time and the flavors are wonderful! I am wondering however, is it supposed to have so much heat? I’m thinking maybe I got the pepper and cayenne pepper measurements wrong. I have never had black beans and rice be so hot.

      1. I followed the recipe, 1/2 tsp. Cayenne, 1 tsp reg pepper. I must have made a mistake because its like I put hot sauce in it. My son who likes hot stuff , just loves it! Do you think freezing it for a few days will take away some heat, or will it make it worse?

  19. This is absolutely delicious! I halved the recipe but adjusted the spices a little more generously- used 2t. rather than 1 1/2 for example. Because I’m using what’s in the pantry and freezer, I had short grain rice rather than long. I used some yellow and red pepper, and I had a little bit of roasted, seasoned cherry tomatoes I froze in the fall- tossed those in too. Used a fairly large onion and 4 cloves garlic. I used 2 cans of Goya black beans, rinsed and drained. Really, it’s very forgiving, you just need to be sure to spice it up. It comes together quickly and the flavor is amazing! Will definitely be making this again and again!

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