Cuban Black Beans and Rice

Cuban black beans and rice is a simple vegan recipe that’s full of flavor and cheap to make. Dry beans are simmered until tender before adding a tasty spiced sofrito, vinegar and sugar for a delicious sweet and sour note. Serve with rice for a hearty plant-based meal!

Cuban black beans and rice with tostones, avocado and cilantro.

These Cuban black beans are made the right way, which is to say from scratch. If you think cooking dried beans is a hassle you’re partly correct. You do need to plan ahead and not want to eat within the next 30 minutes.

With a little foresight, however, you can put the beans on to soak the night before or in the morning before you go to work. Then sit on the couch with a glass of wine while the beans bubble away in the kitchen till they’re tender and much superior both in texture and flavour to canned beans.

Sofrito for Cuban black beans and rice.

The key to these delicious Cuban black beans and rice is the sofrito – a combination of sautéed bell pepper, onion and garlic infused with cumin, oregano and smoked paprika. The sofrito is stirred into the pot of beans midway through cooking in order to allow them to soak up all that aromatic seasoning.

While the beans are simmering you can cook a pot of rice according to the package directions. If you really want to go all out Caribbean style you can also make a side of patacones or tostones: fried green plantains.

Cuban black beans in a pot.

By the time the beans are soft you should be left with a stew-like consistency or tender beans in a sort of gravy. Some people like to transfer some of the beans to a blender in order to make it even thicker. I didn’t do it this time as mine were perfectly thick but you can if you want.

What you don’t want is for the beans to be soupy. If you find yours to be a bit to much like a bean soup then go ahead and blend a bit of the beans or leave the lid off the pot for a few minutes to simmer away some of the liquid.

Cuban black beans and rice in a bowl with tostones, avocado and cilantro.

To serve you Cuban black beans pile a bowl full of rice and ladle your beans overtop. A few slices of avocado, tostones and a sprinkling of cilantro and/or a wedge of lime are nice as a garnish but totally optional.


Cuban black beans and rice with tostones, avocado and cilantro.

Cuban Black Beans and Rice

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Cuban black beans and rice is a simple vegan recipe that’s full of flavor and cheap to make. A hearty and delicious plant-based meal!


  • ½ pound (225 grams) dried black beans, soaked overnight or all day
  • 1 litre (4 ¼ cups) water
  • ½ green pepper, finely diced, divided
  • ½ medium onion, finely diced, divided
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • Long-grain rice, to serve


  1. Drain and rinse the soaked beans and put them in a pot along with the water, half the diced green pepper, ¼ of the diced onion, 2 cloves of the minced garlic and the bay leaf.
  2. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover the pot with the lid. Simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. After about 35 minutes start preparing the sofrito. In a pan heat the oil over medium heat and add the remaining onion. Sautee until tender then add the remaining green pepper. When the green pepper is tender add the remaining garlic and sautee for about a minute more or until the garlic is cooked. Add the cumin, oregano and paprika and fry, stirring continuously, for 30 seconds or until the spices are fragrant.
  4. Add this sofrito to the beans along with the salt, cover and simmer for 30 more minutes.
  5. You can start boiling water to cook the rice at this point.
  6. Finally, add the vinegar and sugar to the beans and simmer for 15 more minutes. If the beans seem to have a lot of water you can simmer them uncovered this time, otherwise cover them again. You can optionally transfer a portion of the beans to a blender and stir the blended beans back into the pot (I didn’t).
  7. Taste and add salt as necessary (I added an additional ½ teaspoon). Serve the rice into bowls with the black beans on top.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 360Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 279mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 10gSugar: 10gProtein: 14g

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  • Reply
    April 2, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    Can’t wait to make the Cuban beans and rice

  • Reply
    June 18, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    If I used canned beans (it’s all I have) would this still turn out? How should I adjust the cooking time?

    • Reply
      June 27, 2019 at 12:37 pm

      Canned beans won’t work in this recipe since they’re already cooked they don’t need as much liquid or as long of a cooking time. I have seen other recipes for “quick” Cuban-style black beans and rice that use canned beans. You’d be better off following one of them as the ratios and cooking times will be adapted to canned beans specifically.

  • Reply
    January 21, 2020 at 1:00 am

    This was tasty but I had to cook it (uncovered) about an extra 30 minutes beyond the 15 minutes called for in the last step. Should I use less water next time?

  • Reply
    April 1, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    I expected this to be more like a stew than a soup but mine turned out very soupy. I simmered 1 hour more than the recipe instructed, then added a little cornstarch to try to thicken it….but it was still pretty watery. However, it does taste good! I will make again with 1 cup less water

  • Reply
    kamela glass
    June 30, 2020 at 9:14 pm

    definitely no more than 3-3.5 cups water. taste delish.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    I’m excited to try this…looks delish. I really wish you would’ve said an estimate at least on how much beans to soak…I don’t have a food scale….also I’m not sure if you are saying half a pound after it has been soaked or before it’s been soaked… either way I’m just going to go ahead and try it with a cup and a 1/2 of dry black beans. ‍♀️

  • Reply
    August 27, 2020 at 2:19 am

    Why in the world would u add sugar to something otherwise so healthy!

    • Reply
      September 4, 2020 at 8:19 am

      Because the flavour of the beans is sweet and sour. A little bit of sugar won’t kill you, but you can leave it out if it doesn’t fit with your idea of “healthy”.

    • Reply
      November 16, 2020 at 9:48 pm

      Because it’s good!

  • Reply
    Birtha Otey
    February 20, 2021 at 10:43 pm

    I made a mistake thinking it surely it called for a pound. The water was more like what is needed for the pound I cooked. I wish I had noticed and doubled everything else. It still tasted ok with half the seasoning. I don’t cook with oil, and it didn’t taste sweet with the sugar at all. But I had a whole pound of beans.

  • Reply
    April 4, 2021 at 12:24 pm

    I’m curious- why sauté only half of onion/pepper/garlic? Why not all?

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