I love black beans, and this recipe for how to cook dried black beans is the VERY BEST, in my opinion! I take dried black beans and we add a few aromatics to highlight their flavors. Then I use them on everything because YUM.

Bowl of freshly cooked black beans from scratch

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The Story Behind the Recipe

Readers say …
“WOW! This is the best pot of black beans I have ever cooked, can’t stop eating them, thank you.”


Black beans are one of the tastiest, most versatile plant-based proteins around. I love to make black beans from scratch, and I thought I should share here how to cook dried black beans too!

I fully admit, I’m not averse to cracking open a can of black beans now and then. But cooking dry black beans (from scratch) with a small handful of ingredients to maximize flavor is my absolute favorite way to enjoy them.

Spoonful of freshly cooked black beans

I’ve made black beans from scratch a gazillion ways in my search to create tender, flavorful – indeed supremely delicious – black beans. I wanted to be able to scoop the beans directly from their cooking pot onto my plate and be blown away, and this recipe does that for me.

I LOVE these beans – they’re my favorite dried black beans recipe.

In fact, I used to call this recipe “Supremely Delicious Black Beans from Scratch.” They’re that good!

Ingredients for Black Beans from Scratch

Ingredients for Black Beans from Scratch

These are ingredients that are carefully selected to add flavor to the beans without affecting the cooking process. We’ve got onion, garlic, a bay leaf, and my secret weapon: whole cloves. Not more garlic, but the spice! Awhile back I had a feeling that the subtly warm spiced aura that cloves impart would pair fabulously with black beans, and I humbly believe I was right.

So now, you’ll only find me cooking black beans with a little bundle of cloves thrown into the mix.

  • One pound dried black beans – Rinse them in a sieve and sort through them to look for any little sticks, rocks, clumps of dirt etc. (rare but it can happen!). I start out with one pound of dried black beans – the fresher the better. Did you know dried black beans that are more than a year old tend to have less flavor and can take much longer to cook? So, buy your beans from a place where you know turnover is fairly high so that you have the freshest dry black beans in your cupboard.
  • Onion & garlic – they infuse so much flavor into these black beans!
  • Cloves – whole cloves, the spice. Totally optional but highly recommended – they give just a little earthy, warm flavor that goes so well with black beans and the dishes we use them in!
  • Bay leaf – for more flavor!
  • Water – lots of it
  • Salt and pepper – added after they cook
  • Red wine vinegar – a kick of acid that takes these black beans over the top!

How to Cook Dried Black Beans

First, soak your beans. Some people don’t feel the need to soak their beans, but me? I believe in soaking. The threat of gastro-related side effects is enough to keep me firmly on “soak” side of the line – plus, soaking helps dried black beans cook a little faster. Win win.

Then, drain and rinse the beans. Return them to the pot with water, and simmer for 30-40 minutes until tender.

How Do I Know My Black Beans Are Done?

You can tell the beans are done when you pull one out and blow on it, and the skin peels back (I also bite into a couple just to be sure!)

And then we simmer.

After the beans have cooked (and only after, because salt can slow down the cooking!) I add a bunch of salt directly to the pot of beans, along with a splash of red wine vinegar to just accentuate and brighten the flavors.

And that’s it! Supremely Delicous Black Beans from Scratch. Use them in soups, in chili, in breakfast, and – perhaps best of all – just plain on their own. So so good.

I love to make a big pot of these beans on Sunday to enjoy all week long. They also freeze well – I like to freeze in 1 1/2 cup increments so I can just pull out a bag of cooked black beans and use them in place of one can.

Bowl of cooked black beans

Note: If you prefer to cook your black beans in a slow cooker, Lindsey’s how-to is terrific!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are black beans healthy?

“Healthy” can mean different things to different people, but the general consensus, I think, is that black beans are good for you. They are loaded with fiber and protein, and are a decent source of plant-based iron. Black beans are not considered low in carbs, so if you’re eating keto, you might want to look elsewhere.

Are black beans gluten-free?

Yes, black beans and other legumes are naturally gluten-free.

How long to soak black beans?

For the overnight method, add beans to a large soup pot and cover with water to about 4 inches above the top of the beans. Set in a safe place and let sit for 8 hours or overnight.

For the faster quick-soak method, add beans and water to a large pot and place on the stove over high heat. Bring to a boil. Boil for a couple of minutes, then remove the pot from heat and cover. Let soak for one hour.

How long to cook black beans?

This is a hard one to answer, because the cooking time can really vary depending on the age of your dried beans. Generally, it takes 30-60 minutes to cook up a pot of pre-soaked beans. To tell if the beans are done, scoop a few beans out of the pot and blow on the beans. If the skin peels and curls, your beans are cooked. Try one to be sure!

Favorite Black Bean Recipes

4.29 from 7 votes

How to Cook Dried Black Beans

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Author: Kare
Yield: 12
My favorite way to enjoy black beans is straight out of the pot after they've simmered with this simple list of heady aromatics. So easy and supremely delicious.


  • 1 pound dried black beans (rinsed and picked over)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (peeled and quartered)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic (peeled and halved)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 whole cloves (The spice, not more garlic! Inside a tea infuser or tied in a cheesecloth bundle)
  • About 10 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


  • Place the beans in a colander and rinse under water. Wash well to rinse out any dirt clumps and pick out any tiny rocks or twigs you might see. Pour into a large soup pot or Dutch oven and cover with water to about 4 inches above the top of the beans. Set in a safe place and let sit for 8 hours or overnight.
  • When it’s time to cook the beans, discard soaking water by draining the beans in a colander. Give them a quick rinse. Return soaked beans to the pot and add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, and cloves. Add about 10 cups water, filled to about 4 inches above the top of the beans.  Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are tender, 30-40 minutes (longer for higher altitudes). You can tell the beans are done when you blow on them and skins peel back (I also bite into a couple just to be sure!)
  • Remove from heat and stir in the salt and red wine vinegar. Remove the bay leaf, bundle of cloves, and any large bits of onion and garlic you can find.
  • Scoop them up with a slotted spoon to serve immediately or let then cool then spoon drained beans into airtight zipper bags to freeze for later. They also keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days.


Nutrition Facts

Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 135kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 584mg, Potassium: 578mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 6IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 50mg, Iron: 2mg

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