Mexican Black Beans

5 from 8 votes

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Mexican black beans are a great addition to any Mexican-style meal! Serve them with rice as a side dish or inside of your favorite burritos and tacos. This recipe is inspired by the black beans side dish at Cafe Rio Restaurants.

Mexican-Style Black Beans in a bowl.
Featured with this recipe
  1. Ingredients for Mexican Black Beans
  2. Additional Optional Flavors
  3. Step by Step Instructions for Mexican Black Beans
  4. Steps to Making Mexican Black Beans
  5. What to Serve with Mexican Black Beans
  6. Cafe Rio Inspired Recipe
  7. Frequently Asked Questions
  8. Storing and Reheating Mexican Black Beans
  9. More Recipes with Black Beans
  10. How to Make Mexican Black Beans
  11. Mexican Black Beans Recipe

These Mexican 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 onions 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 with the garlic at the beginning.

Making Mexican black beans is an easy side dish that can go with any Mexican dish! They are the perfect way to complete any meal. The delicious flavor of the beans is great on enchiladas and tacos or as a side dish on its own with tortilla chips. These Mexican black beans are so quick and easy to make you will be having them weekly!

Ingredients for Mexican Black Beans

The ingredients to make these Mexican black beans are easy to find at most grocery stores! Each ingredient has a unique flavor and taste that makes it stand out. When combined they create the best Mexican black beans!

  • Oil – Extra-virgin olive oil coats and gives the black beans a smooth and silky coating while sautéing.
  • Yellow Onion – Onions add a savory flavor and enhance the other spices.
  • Garlic – Minced garlic cloves add flavor and help with the aroma of the Mexican black beans recipe.
  • Cumin – This is a slightly sweet and warming flavor that has a brown coloring to the seasoning.
  • Black beans – A can of black beans that is not drained. The liquid in the canned beans will help build on the base of the side dish.
  • Salt – A pinch of salt will help balance all the flavors.
  • Cilantro and Cotija Cheese- For some color and garnish!
Cans, Garlic, onion, cumin, salt, and cilantro on the counter.

Additional Optional Flavors

You are going to love these extra spices, fresh lime juice, onions, and herbs! Mix and match these optional flavors for more ways to enjoy Mexican black beans. The options are endless and the flavors are delicious!

  • Spice – Add in more spice with chili powder, cayenne pepper, or sriracha sauce to the canned beans mixture. Even a taco seasoning packet is always a great way to add in the Mexican flavors.
  • Lime – A squeeze of fresh lime juice over the Mexican black beans tastes refreshing and delicious!
  • Herbs – A dash of oregano gives this side dish just the right amount of green!
A scoop of black beans.

Step by Step Instructions for Mexican Black Beans

You will love how simple this recipe is. It is almost foolproof, but I can walk you through the steps just in case! Kids love these Mexican black beans. They are simple to make and come together quickly and easily!

  1. Heat – Start by heating the olive oil in a large, non-stick pan over medium heat.
  2. Sauté – Then, add the onions. Once the onions are soft, add the garlic and saute for another minute or two.
  3. Add – Add the undrained beans, cumin, and salt.
  4. Cook – Stir the mixture together and continue cooking over medium heat. You will 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.
  5. Serve – Garnish with cilantro and cotija cheese and serve alongside rice or inside your favorite taco, burrito, enchilada, and more!
Onions and garlic sautéing in a pan.

Steps to Making Mexican Black Beans

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

  1. Rinse and clean – Rinse two cups of black beans and remove debris. If you prefer to soak your black beans, submerge them in water
  2. Boil – Add black beans and 2 quarts of water to a pot (8 cups). Add salt to taste and bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer – 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 submerged in at least an inch of water.

What to Serve with Mexican 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

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. Craving Cafe Rio helped us create the complete meal right at home!

We started trying to recreate Cafe Rio recipes at home. Those recipes helped us get on the map as recipe bloggers and they are some of our most popular posts to this day! Check out the collection here: Cafe Rio Copycat Recipes – All the Best in One Place.

A homemade cafe rio sweet pork burrito with lettuce and pico de gallo.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Mexican 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 for aiding digestion, bone health, lowering blood pressure, and managing diabetes.

Are black beans used in authentic Mexican food?

Yes! Mexican black beans are the base of most Mexican meals. They can either be as a side dish or part of the Mexican dish. Black beans are used quite often in authentic Mexican food.

Are Mexican black beans the same as Chinese?

No, they are two different types of beans. A Mexican black bean are known as black turtle beans whereas Chinese black beans are a black soybean.

Storing and Reheating Mexican Black Beans

Store leftover beans in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. To reheat, 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

How to Make Mexican Black Beans

Mexican-Style Black Beans in a bowl

Mexican Black Beans

5 from 8 votes
Mexican black beans are a great addition to any Mexican-style meal! Serve them with rice as a side dish or inside of your favorite burritos and tacos. This recipe is inspired by the black beans side dish at Cafe Rio Restaurants.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican/Spanish
Servings 6



  • Heat oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add onion and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook for another minute or two until garlic is fragrant.
    onions and garlic sautéing in a pan
  • Add beans, cumin, and salt. Cook until heated through, stirring frequently.
    black beans in a skillet with onion and garlic
  • Just before serving, stir in the cilantro. Sprinkle the cotija cheese over the beans if using.
    Mexican-Style Black Beans in a bowl


  • If beans are looking too dry, add a little water or chicken broth to the mixture 
  • Add green chiles or jalapeno with the onion for a spicier dish.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Nutrition Information

Calories: 239kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 13gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 197mgPotassium: 543mgFiber: 13gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 22IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 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!!