Mexican-Style Black Beans

5 from 6 votes

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Black Beans are a great addition to any Mexican-inspired meal! Serve them with rice as a side dish or inside of your favorite burritos and tacos.

Black beans in a bowl topped with cilantro

Round out your favorite main dishes with flavorful side dishes, like these black beans. Whether you are looking for a salad or potatoes or bread, we have you covered!

These Black Beans are a savory, vegan, high protein side dish that pairs perfectly with so many meals! I love how quickly they come together, and you probably already have most of the ingredients in your pantry right now. The tomato juice and spices make the perfect sauce to keep everything together. If you want to add a little bit of spice, feel free to add some chopped jalapeno or diced green chiles in with the garlic at the beginning.

Ingredients for Mexican Black Beans

The ingredients to make these black beans are easy to find at most grocery stores. Here’s what you need:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Cumin
  • A can of black beans
  • Tomato juice (not tomato sauce, sauce is too thick)
  • Salt
  • Fresh cilantro

Additional optional flavors:

  • chili powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • a squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • finely chopped onion
  • a dash of oregano

Step by Step Instructions

You will love how simple this recipe is. It is almost foolproof, but I can walk you through the steps just in case!

  • Start by heating the olive oil in a large, non-stick pan over medium heat.
  • Then, add the garlic and cumin. Don’t skip this step! It adds so much flavor when you cook the spices by themselves before adding the beans.
  • Once the garlic is soft and fragrant, rinse and drain the beans and add them to the skillet. Then add the tomato juice and salt.
  • Stir the mixture together and continue cooking over medium heat. You’ll know the dish is done when the beans are heated through and some of the liquid has cooked out making the sauce a little thicker.
  • Serve alongside rice or inside of your favorite taco, burrito, enchilada and more!

Making the Black Beans from Scratch

We use canned black beans in this recipe but if you want to make your own black beans from scratch you can follow these easy instructions:

  1. Rinse 2 cups black beans and remove debris. If you prefer to soak your black beans, submerge in water
  2. Add black beans and 2 quarts water to a pot (8 cups). Add salt to taste and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 1 hour. After one hour, check beans every 20 minutes for softness. Add more water if necessary. Beans should always be submerge by at least an inch of water.

What to Serve with Black Beans

Black beans are typically served, alongside white rice or flavored rice (our favorites are Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice or Cilantro Lime Rice), as a side dish for Mexican-inspired meals. They can also be served as a dip alongside your favorite salsa and guacamole. You can also serve them with your favorite Mexican-style main dish. Here are some of our favorite Mexican-inspired dishes:

Read Next: 33+ Easy Dinner Ideas for Busy Weeknights

Mexican side dish

Cafe Rio Inspired Recipe

This recipe originally came from our collection of Cafe Rio inspired dishes. Cafe Rio is a beloved Tex-Mex chain that serves burritos, tacos, salads, and more! We were obsessed but some of us didn’t have a location near our house. We started trying to recreate Cafe Rio recipes at home. Not to toot our own horn, but we totally nailed them! Those recipes helped us get on the map as recipe bloggers and they are some of our post popular posts to this day! Check out the collection here: Cafe Rio Copycat Recipes – All the Best in One Place.

Storing and Re-Heating Black Beans

Store leftover beans in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. To re-heat, place beans in a microwave safe container and reheat for 30 seconds at a time until heated through. Add a little water if necessary to get the right texture while heating.

More Recipes with Black Beans

FAQs About Black Beans

Are black beans healthy for weight loss?

Black beans are high in fiber and also high in protein which may be conducive to weight loss. Consult your physician to see if high fiber foods such as black beans are a good option for your personal nutrition plan.

Which is healthier black or pinto beans?

Both pinto beans and black beans are very healthy and have similar nutritional value. However, black beans are slightly lower in carbohydrates and calories.

What are the benefits of black beans?

Black beans are high in fiber, protein, potassium and Vitamin A. This means that black beans are good in aiding digestion, bone health, lowering blood pressure and managing diabetes.

Black beans in a bowl topped with cilantro

Black Beans

5 from 6 votes
Black Beans are a great addition to any Mexican-inspired meal! Serve them with rice as a side dish or inside of your favorite burritos and tacos.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican/Spanish
Servings 4



  • Heat oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add garlic and cumin and cook for a few minutes, until the garlic is fragrant.
    Garlic and spices in oil cooking in a pan
  • Add beans, tomato juice, and salt. Cook until heated through, stirring frequently.
    Black beans and spices in tomato juice cooking in a pot
  • Just before serving, stir in the cilantro.
    Black beans in sauce with cilantro cooking in a pan


  • If beans are looking too dry, add a little water or chicken broth to the mixture 
  • Be sure to use tomato juice, not tomato sauce in this recipe

Nutrition Information

Calories: 211kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 10gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 301mgPotassium: 554mgFiber: 9gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 390IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 3mg

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About the author

Kelsey Crist

Kelsey lives in Washington with her husband, Alex, and two cats, Diana and Nova. Her happy place is in the kitchen listening to an audiobook and trying new recipes. When she's not in the kitchen you can find her hiking, shopping at Trader Joe's, or playing Animal Crossing. Her favorite food is pasta and Alex loves when she makes Homemade Oreos.

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  1. I printed your black bean recipe out years ago and it called for 2 cans of black beans. Did you change the amount of beans or misprint this recipe?

    1. We updated this recipe in the last couple of years but it should still be the same ratios! You can double the recipe for two cans of beans.

  2. 5 stars
    This is really easy to follow, loved this black beans recipe! It’s really tasty and very flavorful! Will surely have this again! Highly recommended!

  3. 5 stars
    This is so easy to make! Thanks a bunch for this black beans recipe! Will surely make this again! Well done!

  4. 5 stars
    You totally nailed this! I have been trying to make delicious black beans for a long time! This was the best recipe I Have tried.

  5. 5 stars
    I loved this classic recipe. Where has it been?? I’ve grown tired of opening can after can of mushy black beans. These were so flavorful and had a perfect texture. So glad to have this recipe in my back pocket (figuratively lol) to be able to have perfect black beans every time! Thanks!!