How to Cook Black Beans from Scratch?

Black Beans
Black Beans

Cooking black beans from scratch is a simple process. While it’s true that it requires a lot of time, very little is actual hands-on cooking time. Dry black beans are available in the bulk section of many supermarkets or in a variety of sized bags at most supermarkets.

Black beans are an excellent source of fiber, folate, and the mineral molybdenum. A pot of freshly cooked black beans can be used in a variety of recipes and will keep for five to seven days in the refrigerator. Cooked black beans can also be frozen in an airtight container and kept for up to six months.

Sorting Beans

The first step to cooking the dry black beans from scratch is to measure out the beans and sort them. Measure one cup of dry black beans and pour them into a shallow bowl or tray. Sort out any abnormalities, stones, or withered, discolored beans. Discard these and continue.

Soaking Beans

Next, measure out three times as much water as beans, in this case, three cups. Place the sorted black beans in a large container and cover with the water. Allow the beans to soak for six to eight hours. Allowing them to sit overnight will work well. The beans can soak either covered or uncovered, results will be the same.

Drain and rinse the black beans. At the end of the soaking time, the water will be very dark, but won’t stain your hands the container, or the colander.

Cooking Beans

Beans that have been soaked will require about three cups of water for each cup of beans. Still, it is always best to add more water and drain at the end. Be sure to routinely check the water level during cooking, if you run out of water, the black beans will start to burn and acquire a burnt, smoky taste.

Next, you will need to decide if you will be seasoning your beans during cooking. Garlic, onion, chili powder, and cumin are all great options. Bring the water, beans, and any seasonings to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and let simmer. Pre-soaked black beans will take approximately 45 minutes to one hour to cook. Beans are done when they are tender. Drain and the black beans are now ready to be used in a variety of recipes.

Try serving black beans topped with sliced avocado and sour cream, in vegetarian tacos, or as the base for a delicious chili. They also make a great addition to salads.

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Author: Allan

Allan Thomes has been a professional writer for 1 &1/2 years. He joined the THF Team in May, 2011. Along with the numerous other hobbies he enjoys, Allan spends many hours doing home remodeling projects, entertaining family and friends, and gardening.

39 thoughts on “How to Cook Black Beans from Scratch?”

    1. Pemanentbliss, thanks for bringing the issue of BPA toxicity to my attention.  Although it seems to be mostly harmful to unborn children and young infants, there does seem to be concern for what it might do to adults as well.

      1. You shouldn’t take any chances. Better to be safe then sorry. I don’t trust food companies. Avoid BPA at all costs. Studies have found that it mimics estrogen.

  1. has anyone ever done anything with the bean “Stock” that gets made? It seems such a waste to toss it out.

    1. I don’t use it for consumption, but when I make any dried beans I a couple meals worth extra (small family sized meals) and add extra water to cook it in for freezing. The beans freeze really well when just covered with the extra liquid. It’s a really great way to save time & energy later. 

      1. Guest, it’s a good idea to cook and freeze extra beans each time you make them.  That really does help to cut down on the time & energy spent preparing meals.  But considering a person normally would cover the beans with water when cooking them, why do you add extra water when cooking them?

    2. Nyguy, the bean stock can be used as a substitute for the water called for in some recipes.  It’ll add flavor and thicken up chili, stews and tomato sauces.

    1. Seatonke, the time varies depending on how well-cooked you prefer your beans to be.  However, beans that aren’t soaked do take longer than soaked beans do.  Usually it takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours to cooked  soaked beans and and additional 1/2 hour to 2 hours for beans that haven’t been soaked. The amount of time depends on personal preference for the bean’s firmness, the level of heat used, and the type of pan used.

    1. This sounds like a good meal, Tony! Would you please share with us what method you use for making the re-fried black beans? Do you use instant rice or the longer cooking rice? Do you make the tortillas yourself or buy the prepackaged ones? Do you make your own pico too?

  2. Thanks for this, I learned some good stuff to try out on my husband! And you have a funny, dry sense of humor. Why couldn’t my mom have cooked stuff like this?

    1. LOL! Someday you’ll be walking along the same path your mother has been walking on, and then you’ll know why she didn’t cook stuff like this! Most mothers don’t have the time to cook gourmet-styled food for a family that mostly wouldn’t appreciate her efforts at cooking like this.

      1. Cooked beans are not gourmet. Not as is. They’re delicious but there’s no time suck (they soak on their own, they cook on their own, you don’t do anything to them) or gourmet aspect.

        1. BBB, I agree with you that cooking beans like this cannot be considered true gourmet-styled cooking. I was thinking of another article that Allan wrote that’s here on the THF site, in which he recommended a web site that gives hundreds of delicious recipes for black beans, some of which are fairly gourmet-styled. Here’s the site he recommended in his other article: For me, any beans with seasonings is pretty gourmet, compared to the completely bland beans my mother used to cook. We couldn’t even have anything besides salt and sugar in the house most of the time because of my dad’s allergies.

  3. Thank yo!. This makes cooking beans so simple! I have been eating canned beans for lunch almost every day and love them, but I really want to start making my own.

  4. Getting rid of the initial soak water gets rid of the oligosaccharides which are the indigestible sugars in beans that cause gas and stomach upset.

    1. Brian, although the oligosaccharides in beans are basically indigestible to humans, there are a few ways to avoid the flatulence and bloated feeling they can cause. Soaking the beans overnight removes about 80% of the oligosaccharides. However, that method also causes a loss of nutrients and beneficial minerals.

      The other ways to reduce the flatulence, which is caused by bacteria in the large intestine eating the oligosaccharides, is to cook the beans for a very long time, making sure the beans are easily mashed with a fork. According to some folk traditions, which seem to work well, you can also cook the beans with a bay leaf, cumin, epazote, fennel seeds, a slice of ginger, or a piece of kombu seaweed to help reduce the gasiness. Some people recommend using baking soda, but that actually increases is work against the effort to reduce flatulence by decreasing the cooking time.

  5. Hi! I did this recipe but I am not sure if I did it right. My black beans feel kinda like dirt in my mouth now that I am eating them. Where could I have gone wrong?

    1. You may have gone wrong by not rinsing and sorting them out well before cooking the beans. You could have failed to pre-soak the beans long enough. Or you may have failed to change out the water and thoroughly rinse the beans off during the cooking process. You could also have added the seasonings too early. There are many things that you can do wrong, which will lead to the beans tasting like they are burnt or like dirt.

  6. To avoid the flatulence and bloated feeling also placed a peeled raw potato in at the beginning of the cook of any beans. It works like a charm! I live in the South. Preparing dried beans is common practice around here. The potato will cut out any and all gas! You can also flavor your beans by preparing them in chicken broth as well. Just add water and chicken broth. Hope this helps.

  7. Also, to use your black beans. You can making some chicken in a crock put with some selected spices. Take your drained black beans top it with chicken mixture and cheese…roll up in a tortilla! You can put anything on the mix by the way! Make awesome chicken, cheese, & black bean burritos.

  8. You are very welcome everyone 🙂 Glad I could pass on some of my Great- Great & Grandmother tips. 🙂 God Bless

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