Black Bean Burrito Bowl

Burrito Bowl! With black beans, rice, avocados, salsa, red cabbage, and lime.

Black Bean Burrito Bowl
Elise Bauer

What's a burrito bowl? A burrito without the tortilla wrapping. A bowl of steaming hot rice, topped with savory beans, and each and every taco topping you want—salsa, avocados, cilantro, guacamole, jicama, lettuce or cabbage.

Burrito Bowl - horizontal crop
Elise Bauer

Here's the thing with a burrito bowl, it can be made in 15 minutes with pantry items and toppings from the fridge. Canned beans, reheated frozen cooked rice, prepared salsa. It's fast, it's easy, it works.

Or you can take your burrito bowl to another level and cook your beans from scratch (on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker), or even make Spanish rice or cilantro rice.

For this burrito bowl pictured here I cooked up a bag of beautiful Rancho Gordo black beans from scratch, in a cumin, garlic, and bay leaf infused broth. We also experimented with canned beans, which if you use, you will want to reheat with a few extras.

canned black beans
Elise Bauer

Who Makes the Best Canned Black Beans?

If you go the canned bean route, I strongly recommend using a good quality canned bean.

We tested 5 different brands of canned black beans. The Whole Foods 365 brand was completely lacking in flavor; we don't recommend it. The other four are pictured here. Of these, we like S&W Premium Black Beans, as well as Bush's Black Beans. The Rosarita and the La Costeña were both like soupy pinto beans, nothing special, and not nearly as good as the S&W and Bush's.

Black Bean Burrito Bowl

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 8 servings

Cook time and prep time depends on if you are using canned beans and already prepared rice, or if you cooking dry beans and rice from scratch.

This recipe makes a lot, but the leftovers keep well. You can easily cut the recipe in half.


  • 4 15-ounce cans whole black beans (preferably S&W premium black beans, or Bush's best black beans)

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 3 cups uncooked rice, white or brown

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 4 1/2 to 6 cups water, depending on the type of rice (read package)

  • Sliced red cabbage

  • Ripe avocado, peeled and cut into chunks

  • Fresh tomato salsa

  • Chopped fresh cilantro

  • Queso fresco or cotija cheese (skip if cooking vegan)

  • Sour cream or crema fresca (skip if cooking vegan)


For Canned Beans

  1. Place the beans and the liquid from the can in a sauce pan:

    (Taste the liquid first; if it tastes good, use it, if not, drain the beans first, and add as much liquid to the pot with the beans as you strained out.)

  2. Add the cumin and garlic powder to the beans. Bring to a simmer:

    Simmer for a minute or two to heat the beans through. Stir in the cilantro and remove from heat.

For Dry Beans

  1. Soak the beans:

    Place 1 pound of dried black beans in a large bowl or pot. Cover with 2 inches of water, let soak overnight, then drain. You can skip overnight soaking, place black beans in bowl, and cover with 2 inches of boiling water. Let soak for one hour. Then drain.

  2. Bring beans to a simmer:

    Place soaked and drained beans in a large pot. Cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.

  3. Sauté spices and garlic, add to beans:

    While the beans are coming to a boil in step 2, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small pan on medium heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon ground cumin and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 3 cloves minced garlic, cook 1 minute more.

    Once the beans are boiling, add the cumin-garlic mixture to the pot with the beans. Add 2 bay leaves and 2 teaspoons kosher salt to the pot as well.

  4. Cook beans until tender:

    Cook the beans, uncovered, until tender, but not mushy, 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the size and age of the beans.

  5. Strain the beans:

    When the beans are done, place a strainer over a separate pot. Pour the beans into the strainer, to collect the cooking water into the pot. Set aside the beans, and boil down the cooking liquid until thickened and slightly syrupy. Return the cooking liquid to the beans and stir.

Preparing the Burrito Bowls

  1. Cook the rice:

    Place 3 cups of rice in a large saucepan. Depending on the type of rice you are using (short grain, long grain, white, brown) you will add any where from 4 1/2 cup of water to 6 cups of water to the pot. Check the rice package instructions.

    Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to low to maintain a very low simmer.

    Cover and cook from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on the type of rice (again, check the package instructions for the rice you are using).

    Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes, covered, before fluffing with a fork to serve.

  2. Construct the burrito bowl:

    Place a serving of cooked rice at the bottom of a serving bowl. Top with black beans. Top with assorted garnishes—thinly sliced cabbage, chopped avocados, chopped cilantro, queso fresco and sour cream.

Black Bean Burrito Bowl
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
529 Calories
18g Fat
81g Carbs
14g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 529
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 18mg 6%
Sodium 710mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 81g 29%
Dietary Fiber 10g 37%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 23mg 114%
Calcium 162mg 12%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 820mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.