Cuban Black Beans

Snack Ambassador: Slow Cooked Frijoles Negros (Cuban Black Beans)

This recipe for Cuban black beans might not be the prettiest thing I’ll ever post, but what it lacks in beauty it makes up for in flavor. Growing up in South Florida, I was surrounded by amazing Cuban food. Los Angeles, on the other hand, is lacking in that department. I’ve yet to find a Cuban restaurant that holds a candle to anywhere in Miami. So when my friend Vanessa suggested making her mom’s Cuban black beans for a blog post, I was ecstatic.

Now I’m assuming you remember Vanessa and her mom, Caridad from my mango guava cranberry sauce post. Well, they’re back! Ok, it’s possible that we made two recipes at once and I’ve just been withholding this one because I wanted to save it for Christmas. (Sorry!)

According to Vanessa, her mom makes these black beans for every holiday. And I can see why. They’re crazy good on their own, but they also pair perfectly with other Latin dishes, which are an integral part of holiday meals in Vanessa’s family. And for the record, they’re also great in a non-festive capacity. Vanessa sent me home with a huge container of these beans. I ended up eating them for dinner with rice, roasted sweet potatoes and chayote, and avocado, and my god was it good.

Cuban Black Beans

Now it’s important to note that this recipe requires a good chunk of time. The beans slow cook overnight, so while you don’t need to do much, you’ll definitely want to plan ahead. You’ll also want to be prepared for how insanely delicious the garlic, onion and Anaheim chile will smell as they’re cooking. (This is more me gushing than an essential recipe note.) From what I’ve been told, those three ingredients are essentially the base of all Cuban dishes, and it’s clear why. They’re healthy and they infuse immense flavor into everything they touch. What a dream.

Cuban Black Beans
Cuban Black Beans
Cuban Black Beans
Cuban Black Beans
Cuban Black Beans

Slow Cooked Frijoles Negros (Cuban Black Beans) – Serves about 8


  • 1 lb dried black beans
  • Enough water to cover the beans
  • 2 Anaheim chiles
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2/3 cups olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tsp salt to start – add more to taste
  • 2 tbsp dry white cooking wine
  • 2 tbsp sugar (optional)


  1.  (IMPORTANT: Make sure to start this step the night before you plan on serving these beans!) Put the dried black beans in the bowl of your slow cooker and cover with water. Add two of the bay leaves. Halve one of the Anaheim chiles lengthwise. Stem, de-seed, then throw both halves in. Set the slow cooker to low and leave it to cook overnight. The longer it cooks, the softer and more flavorful the beans will be. Be sure to check on this a couple times and add more water if necessary.
  2. Next day: roughly chop the onions and the remaining Anaheim chile, then add to a food processor or blender along with the garlic. Pulse until combined. (Caridad pulsed hers into a paste, meanwhile Vanessa says she likes hers a little chunkier, so it’s really up to you!)
  3. Put the olive oil in a pot or a pan over medium heat, then add the onion/garlic/pepper mixture, along with the black pepper, cumin and the remaining two bay leaves. Cook until fragrant, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t burn. This should only take a few minutes.
  4. Pluck the bay leaves and Anaheim chile chunks out of the beans. Then pour the onion/garlic/pepper mixture into the beans and stir until combined. Add 4 tsp salt, plus more to taste. At this point, you’re also good to mix in the the 2 tbsp of white wine and 2 tbsp of sugar. Let the beans simmer for about 10 minutes before serving!

Note: If you feel weird about adding sugar to this, you totally don’t have to. Caridad feels that it deepens the flavors of the dish, and I tend to agree, but it’ll be great either way. Enjoy!

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