Healthy Easy Black Beans Recipe

How to cook black beans so they don't fall apart, but are soft inside

Black Beans

Black beans are a little finicky to cook, because they tend to fall apart. It's good if they stay intact, but of course we want them to be cooked inside but not mushy.

The secret is to add salt to the soaking and cooking water, a tip we found in Cooks Illustrated, a treasure trove of tips & ideas for both veg & non-veg.

The basic cooking method for all types of dried beans is the same, although soaking and cooking times vary.

More Bean Cooking Info:

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Total Prep And Cook Time: 4 Hours

6 Servings, 1 cup per serving

Nutrition Data Per 1 cup Serving, 172g: 225 calories, 41g carb, 1g fat, 50mg sodium, 15g fiber, 15g protein, no Saturated Fat or Cholesterol, good source Thiamin, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Manganese, Folate. Estimated glycemic load 14


  • 2 cups dried black beans
  • 4 cups water or as needed for cooking
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Bean Cooking Directions

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  1. Sort and clean the dried beans
  2. Soak the beans for 12 hours in cold water with 1/2 tsp salt, until they're doubled in size and wrinkle free. This ensures that the beans will cook evenly and thoroughly.
  3. Drain and rinse the soaked beans
  4. Place in medium saucepan, with cold water to just cover (approx 4 cups) + 1/2 tsp salt
  5. Bring to boil uncovered. Skim any foam off the beans with a large flat spoon
  6. Cover and simmer the beans for 1 - 2 hours, adding more water as needed to keep the beans covered
  7. Black beans are cooked when they are still intact but will mash easily with a spoon, and are chewy but soft in your mouth

Pressure Cooker Directions:

  1. I recommend soaking the beans 12 hours for best results in pressure cooking
  2. Drain and rinse the soaked beans. Add to the cooker with cold water to just cover + 1/2 tsp salt
  3. Bring to boil and skim the foam, then lock the lid and bring up to high pressure
  4. Reduce heat and cook for 8 minutes. Use natural pressure release.
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Slow Cooker or Crockpot Directions:

  1. For this method, you do not need to soak the beans, although that will shorten the cooking time
  2. Add the beans, cover with cold water + salt, cover and turn the heat to low
  3. Cooking time will vary, but six hours in the crockpot on low is about right for soaked black beans. Cook 8 - 12 hours for unsoaked black beans.

What to Do with Cooked Black Beans

Cooked black beans, as is, are awesome added to any salad, or to soups and stews, or casseroles, or wraps. Save the cooking liquid to add to soups and stews.

To spice cooked black beans to use for any purpose: heat 1 tsp of oil on low in a small fry pan, add whatever spices you like + optional salt and pepper and heat for one minute. Cumin, coriander, ginger, cayenne, paprika all go well with black beans and improve their color too!

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Tomato sauce, hot sauce, bbq sauce, liquid smoke, Braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce are also nice additions. Start with a small amount of the hot spices and flavorings and work up from there according to your taste. Cilantro and lime are wonderful with black beans.

Stir fry garlic, onions, peppers and tomatoes in a little oil, or water, until soft, then add to cooked black beans.

We enjoy classic Black Bean Soup and Black Bean Corn Salad - wonderful in black bean burritos. We add black beans to Zoë's Vegetarian Chili, and use them in many quinoa recipes - they go so well together!

We make Refried Beans with black beans for Black Bean Quesadillas, or mash them up for Black Bean Veggie Burgers.

Black beans are so delicious, and it's always worthwhile to double the recipe, and freeze in small containers or freezer bags for future black bean recipes

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