Pot of Black Beans

Black beans (and other beans for that matter) are a mom’s kitchen workhorse. With just a bit of planning and very little effort, you can turn this dirt cheap ingredient into a multitude of meals. They are also enormously nourishing, loaded with fiber, iron, protein and folate, along with the highest level of antioxidants of any other bean (thanks to its dark skin).
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 servings
Author Katie Morford


  • 1 pound black beans
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 6 ½ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon


  1. Pick over the beans, removing any pebbles. Put into a Dutch oven or soup pot and fill with water until it is about 2 inches over the beans. Leave overnight (see note).
  2. Drain the beans and rinse with fresh water. Set aside.
  3. Into your soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium and add the onion. Saute for a few minutes until tender.
  4. Add the beans back to the pot along with the garlic, cumin, bay leaves, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the beans are nearly tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

  5. Add the jalapeno and salt and continue to cook until tender but not mushy, another 15 minutes or so.
  6. Remove from heat, add the lemon juice and stir.

Recipe Notes

If you haven’t planned ahead enough to soak beans overnight, you can “quick soak” them by putting them in a soup pot and covering them with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, drain the water, and rinse with fresh water. Continue with the instructions above as if you’d soaked them overnight. This method produces a tasty bean, although the thin skin is more likely to break in the process.