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Mexican black beans are a perfect, easy side dish for any Mexican cuisine. Flavorful, and packed with good-for-you nutrients, these restaurant-style black beans are a treat worth making.

Mexican Black Beans in a cast-iron skillet with a wooden spoon in it.

Mexican black beans are a perfect side dish for any Mexican, Jamaican or Latin American meal. They pair well with tacos, enchiladas, Carne Asada and burritos. They are simple to make and bring added flavors and texture to the table. Bonus–they are full of nutrition! A staple in many countries, but often and sadly absent from our dinner tables, the humble bean is full of fiber, iron, protein and even calcium! Black beans have become increasingly popular in restaurants over the past several years. That is because they are authentic to most Latin-American and Jamaican cuisines. They are easy to make, inexpensive and extremely healthy. Served alongside some Cilantro Lime Rice Pilaf–Oh. So. Good!

This recipe calls for a can of black beans to be mixed with sautéed onions and spices. These beans taste like a secret recipe from your favorite restaurant. Double the recipe and invite friends for a fiesta that’s packed with delicious flavor!

Can the beans be smashed like refried beans?

Yes. To make these black beans like refried beans, use a potato masher and mash them directly in the skillet to a course, pureed consistency. You can add a little water, a tablespoon at a time, if the beans become too thick.

Would this recipe work for pinto beans as well?

Certainly. Pinto beans would blend well with all of the spices in this recipe. You can swap them in, can for can.

Can I use dry beans in this recipe?

Yes. Dry beans require a soaking period, so remember to get them ready the day before you plan to actually make them. You will want to soak about ¾ cup of dry black beans overnight with at least 4 inches of water over the beans, as the beans will absorb some of that water. The next day, drain the beans and lightly rinse them. Place the beans in a large pot and cover them with another 4 inches of water. Bring this to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. These will need to simmer for about an hour. Check on them periodically and make sure they still have enough water. When they become tender, you can add them to the skillet and follow the instructions for preparing the canned beans.

If you enjoyed these beans, check out these other great side dishes and Mexican main courses:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Bird's eye view of Mexican Black Beans in a cast-iron skillet.
Bird's eye view of Mexican Black Beans in a cast-iron skillet with a wooden spoon in it.
Mexican black beans are a perfect, easy side dish for any Mexican cuisine. Flavorful, and packed with good-for-you nutrients, these restaurant-style black beans are a treat worth making.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
  • 2 (15 ounce cans) black beans undrained
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves chopped
  • Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the oil and let heat briefly.
  • Add in onions and saute for 5 to 7 minutes until soft.
  • Add in minced garlic, cumin, and cayenne pepper and saute another 60 seconds.
  • Add in un-drained black beans and juices from can. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Serve hot topped with fresh cilantro.
For true restaurant style, add in 1/4 cup of lard, shortening, or butter to the bean mixture and let it melt and flavor the beans. 


Calories: 215kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 100mg | Potassium: 526mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 90IU | Vitamin C: 1.5mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 3.1mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Mexican Black Beans
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Justine Bautista(Tina)
May 6, 2018 7:23 pm

I really love your recipes. Just can’t get enough of them. Thank you so, so much. Grateful always,

June 24, 2020 7:56 am

5 stars
Made it but swapped a little chipotle instead of Cayenne. Delicious, creamy, and our 2yo scarfed them as well! Keeping this recipe.

May 14, 2020 3:00 pm

5 stars
These beans are really good. We love black beans and this recipe kicks them up a little.

Michelle Barfuss
May 8, 2020 2:11 pm

5 stars
These turned out DELICIOUS!! I added 2 Tbsp of butter (saw the tip).

October 1, 2019 8:57 am

5 stars
Made these this weekend and they are just as good or better than On The Border beans. I used 1/8 tsp cayenne and cooked for probably about 1-12 minutes to make sure not too watery. Perfect! Thanks for another tried and true recipe!

October 1, 2019 8:58 am
Reply to  Tina

5 stars
I meant cooked for “10-12” minutes

Emily Robarts
September 1, 2019 7:36 pm

5 stars
These beans are delicious. Family loves them.

October 2, 2020 11:39 am

5 stars
Oh, this is the first time I heard black beans Mexican style. I don’t have cayenne pepper, so I’ll try to add black peppers instead.

Christina Russell
August 7, 2020 10:58 am

4 stars
Add a little apple cider vinegar to the recipe to add dimension and two or three tablespoons of butter at end for creaminess.

July 26, 2020 6:47 pm

5 stars
Wonderful recipe! Thank you!

June 28, 2020 8:04 pm

5 stars
I love really easy recipes especially bean recipes. I’ll keep this in mind for Cinco de Mayo, we’ll be having tacos and black beans. Yum!

June 25, 2020 8:11 pm

5 stars
Simple and really good. Adjust liquid to the occasion. With less, it’s a luncheon main dish.

March 24, 2020 11:51 am

Made these beans today to go in burritos and they were absolutely delicious. Any ideas on what to do with leftovers? I halved the recipe and still had too much

April 7, 2020 11:48 am
Reply to  Beth

Freeze them.

April 24, 2020 10:33 am
Reply to  Beth

Eat them.

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