These Instant Pot Cuban Black Beans are full of flavor and real food goodness. They make real food realistic on so many levels. Naturally vegetarian, gluten free and dairy-free.Jump to Recipe
UPDATED June 3, 2019
I remember the first time a coworker of mine gave me a batch of her *amazing* homemade Cuban black beans. It was the dead of summer and I was VERY pregnant with Alice. It was hot, I was very preggo and had zero interest in standing in a sweltering kitchen to cook dinner.
“I always keep some in the freezer,” she said, handing over a giant of her container of perfectly cooked Cuban black beans, “They are a favorite in our house and make a really great easy meal to reheat. Enjoy!”
When I got home that night, I quickly reheated the beans on the stove. I threw them over some rice with avocados and whatever greens we had on hand and dug in.
These beans were out. of. this. world. AMAZING!
The flavors danced on my taste buds. The beans melted in my mouth. They were so good. So so so good. And while I might not have been motivated to cook, I NEED that recipe in my life and belly on a regular basis.
Why is soaking your beans so important?
Soaking helps to reduces the phytic acid (enzyme inhibitors naturally present in beans, grains, nuts, and seeds) that makes certain foods hard to digest.
I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommended soaking your beans for at least 8 hours before cooking. This makes them so much easier on the digestive system and really cuts down on the whole “beans beans the magical fruit” situation that have most people running away from beans of all kinds.
How to soak your beans.
My preferred method for soaking my beans in to do it overnight. But If you only have 8 hours, that will do the trick as well.
Before you soak your beans, give them a good rinse. You want to get all the dirt and stuff off. And while you’re at it, pick through your dry beans to make sure there aren’t any little rocks trying to hang out in your dinner. Black beans are a bit notorious for having little rocks in them.
Once all that rinsing and picking through is done, simply throw your beans into a bowl. Cover them with 2-3 inches of clean water. Throw a clean dishtowel over the bowl to keep random debris and insects from ending up in the bowl. And let the bowl hang out at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.
You can also add a tablespoon or two of an acidic medium (apple cider vinegar, lemon juice) to the soaking water to help make the beans more digestible.
Do I have to soak my black beans?
Running low on time and want to skip the soaking process all together? You can and cook them right from dry if you want.
The cooking time will change, though.
Cook UNSOAKED beans for 30 minutes on HIGH pressure and let the pressure naturally release for 20 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure.
How do to cook black beans in the slow cooker.
Not everyone is as in love with the Instant Pot as me, so if slow cookers are more your jam…you can still enjoy this recipe!
Combine everything but the salt in your slow cooker and cook the beans on high for 3-4 hours (checking after 3 hours to see if the beans are done) or on low for 7-8 hours (checking after 7 hours to see if beans are done).
Should I use salt when cooking black beans?
I think salt really enhances the flavor of beans, so I say yes to the salt.
However, WHEN you add the salt is key to their success.
I have made black beans from dry more times than I can count, adding salt before cooking and other times after. I have found that adding the salt AFTER the cooking process ensures that the black beans are consistently tender and perfect.
Why are my beans still hard after cooking?
While this recipe is almost always successful….there are a few factors to keep in mind if you beans are still hard after cooking and may result in you needing to give them a bit more time.
If your beans are still hard after cooking, some reasons why this might be are:
- The size of the beans. Black beans are usually pretty consistent in size but they are a plant and sizes can vary. If your beans seem larger than normal, you might need to cook them for a few extra minute. If your beans are on the small side, shave off a few minutes.
- How old your beans are. Old beans tend to take longer to cook and may also require a few bonus minutes cooking to soften up.
Instant Pot Cuban Black Beans
- Instant Pot
- 1 1/2 cup dried black beans picked over, rinsed, soaked, and rinsed again.
- 1 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup coconut oil avocado oil or ghee
- 1 1/2 cups minced yellow onion
- 2 cups diced bell pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dry oregano
- 5 cloves garlic minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder), or to taste
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 5 cups broth
- cayenne to taste optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients EXECPT FOR SALT in your Instant Pot. Stir a few times to mix.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot, lock in place and turn the valve to sealing.
- Select the MANUAL setting and use the +/- buttons to set cook time for 9 minutes on HIGH pressure. It will take your pressure cooker about 10 minutes to get up to pressure. This is normal.
- Once the beans are done cooking, allow the pressure to naturally release for 15 minutes before quick releasing the remaining pressure.
- Remove bay leaves. Stir in salt to taste.
- Drain some (or alof the cooking liquid off of beans. How much you drain off is up to you. If you plan on enjoying all of the beans right away, feel free to remove as much of the liquid as you like. However, if you plan to store these beans, I recommend saving some to help the beans from becoming to dry in the fridge. Or keep all the cooking liquid in and enjoy the beans as a soup!
- Store leftovers in fridge from up to a week or in freezer for months to come!