Basic Black Beans

9 Nov

basic black beans

I know I already posted a recipe for cooking dried black beans (and quite recently too), but I couldn’t resist posting another one. My previous recipe has a long ingredient list and turns out a flavorful bowl of beans ready to be eaten plain, but this recipe is different. It’s much more basic, with a very short ingredient list (even shorter if you leave out the two optional ingredients, cumin and cilantro), meaning that you most likely have all the ingredients already on hand and can make these beans with almost no effort. I like this recipe for making black beans just to have on hand, to use in place of canned beans in recipes (a 15-ounce can is about 1 1/2 cups of beans, so this recipe makes the equivalent of about 4 cans). Onion and garlic give the basic backbone of savory flavors to these beans, and a little red wine vinegar stirred in at the end helps balance them, but it’s nothing fancy here, just a great building block for any black bean soup, black bean salad, or other black bean dish you might want to cook up.

Basic Black Beans (adapted from Eat Live Run)
Yield: 6 – 7 cups cooked beans


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves + 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (optional)*
  • 1 lb dried black beans, rinsed and soaked overnight in cold water, then drained**
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped (optional)*
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • salt, to taste

*Cumin and cilantro are not really necessary, but adding them means these beans are ready to serve as a side when finished but still basic enough to be used for other recipes.
**Alternatively, you can cover them with boiling water, and soak for an hour or two.


  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat, then sautee 1 onion, diced until softened and translucent, about 5 – 10 minutes.
  2. Add 3 cloves garlic, minced and 1 tsp ground cumin, if using, and sautee until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add 1 lb dried black beans, rinsed and soaked overnight in cold water, then drained and 6 cups water, and bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and let simmer until the beans are starting to soften, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Skim any white foam off the top, then stir occasionally, adding extra water if needed to keep the beans covered by about an inch.
  4. Stir in 3 cloves garlic, minced and 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped, if using, and return to a simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are fully cooked and the cooking liquid has thickened, another 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Stir in 1 tsp red wine vinegar, then add salt, to taste. Serve immediately, or keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks (or frozen for longer).

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