How To Cook Black Beans

Written By: Sofia Layarda, MPH

Title: Master of Public Health

Alumni: University of California, Berkeley

Last Updated on:

Black Beans Whole Grains

If you want to try cooking beans from scratch, black beans are a good choice because of their mild taste, velvety texture, and relatively small size. They also hold their shape well after cooking. Black beans are a staple in Latin American cuisine, the Caribbean, and the southern parts of the United States.

How to Cook Black Beans

How To Cook Black Beans

Starting Amount: 1/2 cup raw

​Pre-Rinsing: ​Yes. Pick over the dried beans to remove any damaged beans or stones, then rinse under running water.

Pre-Soaking: Yes. Choose ONE of the following two different ways to pre-soak:

  1. Simply let them sit in cold water (the amount of water is triple the amount of beans you have) for a few hours – most sites recommend 2 to 4 hours, or overnight.
  2. Bring to a boil quickly on the stove, let boil for three minutes, then turn off the water and let the beans sit in the heat for an hour before proceeding to cook further.

Cooking: Once pre-soaked, regardless of the method chosen, drain off the soaking water and replace with fresh water (3 times the original volume of dried beans). Bring water to a boil, then turn down to a simmer, leave the lid on, and let simmer until tender. This takes approximately 60 minutes.

One note about cooking – never add salt to the cooking liquid or soaking liquid, as the beans will not cook properly and will stay hard. You can add other seasonings such as onion or garlic, herbs such as oregano, or spices like cumin or chili powder, but not salt. Salt can be added after the beans are fully cooked.

​Resulting Amount: ~1.5 cups


Nutritional Information (1/2 cup cooked black beans):

  • Calories: 114  kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 20.4 g
  • Protein: 7.6 g
  • Fat: 0.5 g
  • Fiber: 7.5 g
  • Glycemic Index (GI): ​Low
  • Gluten-free: Yes

How to Add More Black Beans to Your Diet

  • Add cooked black beans to salads, stews, soups, salsas, or casseroles.
  • Mash them up and add to burgers or meatballs such as these Black Bean Burgers.
  • Black beans for dessert? How about Black Bean Brownies.


beans, gluten free, home cooking, how to cook, vegetarian, whole grains


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