Easy Black Beans and Rice

Black beans and rice is such a classic combination, especially in Caribbean or Southern cooking. There are probably dozens of ways to make it; this one is an easy recipe that cooks up quick and tastes great. Now, if you are really serious about your beans you’ll soak dry black beans overnight and then cook them for an hour or two first, but then that wouldn’t be quick and easy. So we’ll save that approach for another recipe. This recipe is better for a “the chicken is on the grill, what am I going to serve it with?” side dish, and uses canned black beans. By the way, my pal David recommends mixing some chopped up canned green olives, the ones with pimentos in them, for giving an additional boost to basic black beans and rice.

Easy Black Beans and Rice Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced (for added flavor you can substitute roasted red bell peppers or some chopped pimentos)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 16-ounce cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar
  • A few dashes of Tabasco or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 heaping Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional Lime wedges and cilantro for garnish

Method

1 Cook rice according to package instructions. White rice usually takes 15 minutes to cook once the water is simmering, and 10 minutes to sit.

2 Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high. Sauté onions and bell peppers for 3-4 minutes, until just beginning to soften, then add garlic and sauté a minute more. Add the black beans, vinegar and Tabasco or cayenne. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

3 Stir in rice and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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31 Comments

  1. platy

    I’m loving the vegetarian friendly recipes from you, Elise!

    Hooray!

  2. Jerry

    What a fantastic quickie version! This one is definitely going in my “go to” file, though I’ll avoid the olives, we use those for my wife’s Puerto Rican Rice.

  3. itzpapalotl

    Mmm.. In Costa Rica we call this Gallo Pinto, it’s our typical breakfast dish. It needs special “Lizano” sauce added in the end, but the idea is the same! Also in the caribbean coast it is prepared with coconut milk and jalapeños. Always delicious!

  4. Preeta

    I make versions of this all the time with whatever I have on hand, and I love it! I make it extra spicy and I love to put lots of cilantro leaves on at the end. Alas I can’t make the quickie version because I live in a small town in France and there are no canned black beans here. But it’s really no trouble to soak and boil the dried ones — it only requires foresight, not work, so I don’t mind.

  5. me

    Silly cooking question: I recently purchased Cuban Flavored Black Beans from Trader Joe’s and think that they would be fantastic with this recipe, but I am a little uncertain as to how to use them. Do I still drain and rinse them? If so, does that make them loose all of their lovely flavor? Any thoughts? I fear that if I don’t rinse them, my rice will be blue and a little gross looking…
    Thanks!

  6. L

    Looks fantastic!

  7. A

    me – You can rinse the TJ Cuban black beans, and they’ll still have flavor. I use them to make quick black bean burgers – just rinse and drain, mash ‘em up, add some bread crumbs and an egg, and bake.

  8. c

    Thanks for the great recipes. A little cinnamon adds great flavor as well!

  9. Karen Hunter

    Being from the South, I love beans and rice in any form or fashion…however, my boyfriend, who is from Chicago, just does not get it! I am having the darndest time convincing him that beans and rice is not only a tasty meal, but healthy. However, the tips presented here, especially the olives, which he loves, perhaps will make them more palatable to him. Although, I am sure they will never replace Polish sausage, Italian beed, and Gino’s East pizza in his mind and heart!

  10. James

    Instead of using red bell peppers, try, if you can , to locate cachucha peppers. That is what the authentic cuban recipe calls for. My wife’s grandmother also uses plenty of lard AND tocino (salt pork). After the rice is cooked, the put it in with the beans and cook it until it’s lost most of the liquid. It’s called congris (cone-gree).

    Not the most healthy food for a white man, but delicious!

  11. Stephen

    Nothing beats some good black beans and rice. When cooked together us Cubans call it Moros y Christianos. It signifies the dark skinned Moors (the black beans) and the white Christians (white rice). Interesting I think. To the poster with the canned bean question, when you buy cans of Cuban black beans they just add cumin and vinegar to the sludge. You get less beans and more liquid in the can but I’d rinse them anyways and add my own seasonings.

  12. Fred Leal

    I’m from Brazil, and black beans and rice is a huge part of our everyday menu – specially in Rio de Janeiro (other states favour brown beans for everyday use, and black beans – feijoada – for special occasions).

    There’s no better way to cook black beans than soaking overnight, then cooking in high pressure for an hour or two. You can cook it with a fat slice of bacon, or some calabrese sausages. It goes great with roasted garlic and onions, too.

  13. Jenny

    I was a bit dubious about this as I’m not really into beans and definitely never heard of beans and rice (good Kiwi girl). Anyway, these were delicious and my little bub loved them too. Thanks

  14. Elena

    Uuummm!!! black beans and white rice ( arroz y caraotas in Venezuelan or Moros y Cristianos as in Cuba )are delicious in any combination, by themself or other dishes companion. There is not right or wrong, the best way to make them is the way how you like them.

  15. N

    I love this recipe! I did cilantro instead of oregano, and added a few dashes of cumin. I also topped it with fresh avocado!!! It finishes the dish off perfectly!

  16. Max

    I don’t understand the boiling part for the beans…there is no liquid to boil, the beans are drained…am I missing something?

    There is vinegar. You are heating the beans through and infusing them with the boiling vinegar and Tabasco. ~Elise

  17. Kristi

    Wow, these are amazing! I used one can of plain black beans and one seasoned and used Frank’s Hot Sauce (cayenne pepper sauce) and it turned out wonderful. The kids are gobbling it up too. Elise, thank you, I have yet to find a recipe on your site that we don’t absolutely love.

  18. Allison

    I loved the color in this dish. I used red, green and orange peppers. I was hoping for a little more umph in flavor, but I served it as a side to enchiladas and it was perfect. Thank you!

  19. john

    I thought this needed a little extra flavor, so I added feta cheese crumbles – worked well.

    Elise, I love your website. You do a nice job, and your passion for good food really comes through!

    Thanks John! Good suggestion on the feta crumbles too. :-) ~Elise

  20. Rachel

    I’ve been using this beans and rice recipe for a long time now. I was initially drawn in by the beautiful photo and I stick with it because it’s easy to make and easy to vary, but always draws loads of compliments from friends who try it. Thanks so much Elise and family!

  21. Catherine

    I have been making my own version of Black Beans and Rice for years. I always saute garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil first, sometimes adding chopped green onion, or any onion. Then I add the black beans, cumin, hot sauce or jalepenos, and some kind of citrus like fresh lime juice or orange juice. I have even used fresh grapefruit juice when in a bind! I also add a bit of brown sugar. Then with the fair amount of citrus juice that I have added, I slowly simmer the beans for a bit so they absorb flavor. I like to keep the dish fairly wet. At the end I add some thawed sweet corn and chopped carrots to give it some “health”, and cilantro if I have it around. Then I put some basmati rice in a bowl, top it with the beans, then top that with shredded Monteray Jack! It is a meal in itself and my kids love it.

  22. Theresa

    This was disappointing. Not much flavor. Needs lots of sprucing up. It’s healthy, but not much else.

    I suggest checking out the spicy citrusy black beans recipe if you are looking for more flavor. ~Elise

  23. Anna

    Thank you for so many great recipes. My friend is vegan and sometimes stays for dinner, which can pose a challenge for me. These recipes are so handy.

  24. Dan

    What a great dish! I added a serrano pepper for added spice. I also added a 14oz can of diced tomatoes, though I don’t know whether I’ll do that the next time. Following other comments, I also added a dash of cumin. And for health reasons, I used brown rice. An excellent combo! Thanks so much.

  25. Anna

    I loooooove this. It makes me miss Costa Rica so bad. I could live off of gallo pinto and ceviche (and margaritas).

  26. Elise Lafosse

    I have made this recipe alot, especially when for some reason we are low on money during a week and need to make a budget recipe. Just want to say that we often add some kielbasa to get some meet in the dish and it is quite good. Thanks for this recipe…Elise

  27. Sarah

    Yummy recipe….I’ve made something very similar in the past. I use Basmati rice almost exclusively with black beans…they compliment each other well, especially when mixed with cilantro and lime!

  28. Cassie

    Not sure how I feel about the oregano. Otherwise, absolutely delicious!! Even added some cumin, mmmmm

  29. Gloria Sumner

    Thanks for the great beans and rice recipes! I am German who is making rice and beans for 40 people for the first time. Our church has a welcome dinner for the migrants who come to a large local corn grower for harvest. Now I feel confident I will be able to make them feel like they are getting a “taste of home” and not some bland, unfamiliar dish!

  30. Latresha

    I also have dry black beans. Once I soak them overnight what is the next step. I dont have a pressure cooker. Do I boil them & then add them into the already cooked rice

  31. Max T

    Maybe I am a dummy, but in step 2, when it says: “Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes”, I don’t understand what there is to boil, other than 2 tbls of vinegar, after having washed and drained the beans.

    I added a bit of water so that there was something to boil.

    Also, what’s the function of the vinegar, for flavor only? I would probably try again without the vinegar, if it’s only purpose is to add flavor.

    Yes, simmer the vinegar, which heat the beans. The acid in the vinegar intensifies the flavor of the dish, so I would not omit it. ~Elise

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