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How to Cook Black Beans from Scratch

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Since we love Mexican and Tex-Mex food at my house, (probably more so than eating Italian), I came up with this recipe. While both are easy to make, it seems that the former two are our go-to foods. Also, some foods are just staples. Like black beans. You can use them in soups or salads. And of course, they’re great simply as a side. Granted there are many brands of canned black beans, including refried. But DIY tastes so much better. So for today’s post I’m going to go over how to cook black beans from scratch.

I used 2 lbs of dry black beans this time. And that’s because I wanted to have leftovers. Because the last time I cooked black beans from scratch I only used 1 lb of dry beans. So it wasn’t enough for my family of 4. But you might want to split the recipe. Or you can freeze half of it. Here’s how you do that.

black beans in a blue strainer

Ingredients for Black Beans from Scratch:

  • 2 lbs dry black beans
  • ~2 – 2 1/2 qts water
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro or 1/8 cup dry cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • ~2 1/2 – 3 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

How to Cook Black Beans from Scratch:

  • If you didn’t rinse and soak the beans overnight, then you can rinse and quick soak them now. Plan on at least an extra hour to your cooking time.

There’s a lot of disagreement on this point: to soak or not to soak? Well, I personally soak our beans. There have been times when I didn’t. And those times I noticed a significant difference in my comfort level. So now I do. Every time.

  • After soaking the beans, rinse them in a colander.

You can either reserve the soaking liquid, or dump it, and start with fresh.

  • Put the drained and rinsed beans back into the dutch oven. And cover with water. Or cover with the soaking liquid, adding enough water to be sure to cover the beans. But don’t add as much water as when soaking them.
  • Place the dutch oven on the stove. And turn the burner on med-hi.
  • Stir in your seasonings.
  • Lower the burner setting to a simmer when the water starts to boil. Then cover, cooking till the beans are soft, ~ 1 1/2 hrs to 2 hrs.
Cooked black beans in a pot

Be sure to check the water level, so the beans don’t get burned. And add more water if needed.

The beans are finished when they’re soft. You might have more liquid in it than you want. I typically cook our beans until most of the liquid is gone, but not till the beans are dry. Also, add more salt and pepper to taste.

You can serve these black beans from scratch as a side or as the main course, adding a different side. Like Mexican rice.

Thanks for stopping by!


I breed pure Black Ameraucana chickens and Easter Eggers that are Black Ameraucana mixed with either Cuckoo Maran or Barred Rock. And I donate eggs to people or organizations in need.

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