Authentic Mexican Black Beans Recipe (frijoles negros)

Learn how to cook Mexican black beans from scratch with 3 different methods. Also tips and suggestions on how to serve and store!

Mexican black beans in a bowl.

About the Recipe

This easy and authentic recipe for Mexican black beans features an easy way to cook beans so you can eat them with various toppings and sides, or use them in other preparations.

Black beans are a dish that I make often at home. Sure, many times I rely on canned beans for convenience, but nothing compares to homemade cooked beans.

They always come out packed with earthy flavors thanks to the spices, and they freeze wonderfully, which is perfect if you like to have homemade prep ingredients for busy days.

This recipe includes instructions to cook black beans using an Instant pot, a regular pot on the stovetop, or a Slowcooker.

Mexican black beans, aka frijoles negros, in a ceramic bowl.

What Are Mexican Black Beans?

Black beans (known in Spanish as frijoles negros) are a staple in traditional Mexican cuisine and they are used in many dishes like tlacoyos and oaxacan tetelas.

In the Mayan regions, this type of bean is known as espelón, from the Yucatec Maya language x’pelon. While in the northern region they are known as muní among the Rarámuri people.

In the southern regions of Mexico, black beans are traditionally cooked in a clay pot called olla de barro, along with local herbs like epazote, hoja santa, or hoja de aguacate (avocado leaves).

Ingredients Needed

  • Dried black beans. The fresher your beans are, the faster they will cook and the better they will taste.
  • Onion. I added it whole, but feel free to chop it.
  • Bay leaves. Or feel free to swap with other spices or herbs like epazote, cilantro, garlic, or oregano.
  • Salt. To taste, I usually add 1 teaspoon of fine salt.

How To Cook Mexican Black Beans

Spread the beans on your kitchen countertop or your table.

Pick out and discard any broken beans, small stones, leaves, or any foreign objects.

Dried Mexican black beans spread on a kitchen countertop.

Place the cleaned dried beans on a colander and wash them thoroughly under cold water.

Transfer beans to a large bowl and cover with 2 inches of water. Cover the bowl and leave them soaking overnight (read notes).

Mexican black beans soaking in water in a bowl.

Discard the soaking water, give the beans a quick rinse with cold water, and place them into the pot where you’ll cook them.

I am using an Instant Pot to cook them but you can also use other methods, see below.

Cover the beans with about 2 inches of water, add the onion, any fresh herb you’d like to add (see notes), and salt.

Mexican black beans and spices inside an Instant Pot.

Seal the lid and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes. Once done, manually release pressure and enjoy.

Taking cooked black beans from the pot with a wooden spoon.

How To Cook Black Beans On The Slowcooker

  • Follow the steps to clean the black beans. Soaking beans is not necessary.
  • Add beans to a slow cooker with onion, bay leaves, and salt.
  • Cover the ingredients with about 1 inch of water.
  • Place the lid and cook on low for 6-7 hours or 4-5 hours on high.

How To Cook Black Beans On The Stove

  • Follow the steps to clean and soak black beans.
  • Add them to a large stock pot along with onion, bay leaves, and salt.
  • Cover with about 2 inches of water.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for anything between 1 and 2 hours, or until beans are nicely tender.
  • Make sure to occasionally check, stir, and add enough water if needed.
Mexican black beans in a pot.

Recipe Notes And Tips

  • For me, soaking beans is a necessary step if they will be cooked in a regular pot on the stovetop, or in an Instant Pot. Soaking the beans will make them creamier, which are great for making spreads or soups.
  • Unsoaked beans will maintain their shape most of the time (if you don’t overcook them), and they will be perfect for salads or burrito bowls.
  • If you want to cook black beans on the stovetop, a Dutch oven is one of the most efficient pots you can use, as the heavy lid will retain moisture and the beans will cook faster.
  • If cooking on the stove, check the pot from time to time to make sure the beans are always covered with their juices, and add hot water whenever needed.
  • Check up this post on cullyskitchen.com to know if your dried beans are still fresh and how to recognize if they are not.
  • Old beans tend to take longer to cook and that can be a bit frustrating if you use an Instant Pot to cook them, you will need to re-pressurize the pot and cook the beans longer.

Recipe Variations

  • Garlic. Add 2 or 3 unpeeled garlic cloves, you can discard them after the beans are cooked or smash them and stir them for more flavor.
  • Oregano or thyme. Adds a comforting and herbal flavor.
  • Oil. My favorite is extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Cumin. Not so traditional for cooking beans but it surely adds an earthy flavor that many people love.
  • Fresh herbs. Epazote, hoja santa, fresh cilantro, or avocado leaves.
  • Spicy. Make them spicy with some chopped serrano or jalapeño chilies, or add a pinch of chili powder.
  • Smoky. 1 or 2 chipotle peppers, or a pinch of smoky paprika adds a nice smoky kick to these Mexican beans.

How To Serve

Mexican black beans are delicious on their own or as a side dish, but they also make a perfect ingredient for tacos, nachos, tostadas, or burritos. Here are our recommendations for serving them:

Mexican black beans tacos with pico de gallo salsa, queso fresco, and roasted salsa. Served in a plate.

How To Store And Reheat

Since Mexican black beans are a basic recipe that can be used to make other dishes, you might want to make a big batch and store it for later, here’s how you should do it:

  • FRIDGE: Allow to cool down and transfer in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • FREEZER: Distribute black beans in various containers or resealable bags, label them with the cooking date, and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • THAW: Transfer the beans from the freezer to the fridge and thaw overnight, or use the defrost option in your microwave for convenience.
  • REHEAT: If eating black beans on their own or as a side, place beans in a saucepan and reheat on the stove top stirring from time to time.
  • TIP: You can drain the Mexican beans or store them in their cooking broth. It works in both ways.
Mexican black beans recipe.

Mexican Black Beans (frijoles negros)

author Maricruz
6 cups
Make Mexican black beans from scratch with our easy step-by-step recipe. Cooked beans are perfect on their own with some toppings or as an ingredient for many other Mexican dishes.
prep 10 minutes
cook 20 minutes
Soaking time 8 hours
total 8 hours 30 minutes

Equipment

  • Instant Pot optional
  • Slow cooker optional

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb dried black beans
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ tsp salt

Instructions
 

  • Spread the beans on your kitchen countertop or table.
  • Pick out and discard any broken beans, small stones, leaves, or any foreign objects.
  • Place the cleaned beans on a colander and wash them thoroughly under cold water.
  • Transfer beans to a large bowl and cover with 3 inches of water. Cover the bowl and leave the beans soaking overnight.
  • Discard the soaking water, give the beans a quick rinse and place them into your Instant Pot (see notes below).
  • Cover the beans with about 1 inch of water, and add onion, bay leaves, and salt.
  • Seal the lid and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. Once done, manually release pressure.
  • Discard bay leaves and serve.

Notes

How To Cook Black Beans On The Stove

  • Follow the steps to clean and soak black beans.
  • Add them to a large stock pot along with onion, bay leaves, and salt.
  • Cover with about 2 inches of water.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for anything between 1 and 2 hours, or until beans are nicely tender.
  • Make sure to occasionally check, stir, and add enough water if needed.

How To Cook Black Beans On The Slowcooker

  • Follow the steps to clean the black beans. Soaking beans is not necessary.
  • Add beans to a slow cooker with onion, bay leaves, and salt.
  • Cover the ingredients with about 1 inch of water.
  • Place the lid and cook on low for 6-7 hours or 4-5 hours on high.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 263kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 586mg | Potassium: 1138mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 4mg
Don’t miss any recipe.Subscribe for free to our Newsletter!

What do you think about this Mexican black beans recipe? Are there changes you’d make or something you’d prefer to add?

Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear what you think! Also, if you make this recipe, tag me over on Instagram so I can see how it turned out!

FAQ

Are black beans popular in Mexico?

Yes, especially in central and south Mexico.

What are black beans called in Mexico?

Frijoles negros is the way black beans are called in Mexico.

What spices do you put in Mexican black beans?

Depending on the recipe, the ones that work nicely are garlic, onion, cumin, oregano, thyme, dried epazote, and chili peppers.

How many calories are in Mexican black beans?

This recipe yields about 6 cups of cooked beans which contains about 263 kcal each.

Similar Recipes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




3 Comments