How to Cook Black Beans

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Black bean recipe @ Recipes From A Pantry

I love beans. Especially black-eyed beans which are a common store cupboard staple in Sierra Leone.  And since variety is the spice of life I have recently begun cooking a lot more with other beans.

The super creamy black beans (also called turtle beans) are becoming one of my new favourites. They hold their shape during cooking and are a tasty way to add some protein to meals.

One of the main thing to remember about cooking black beans is that they can take between 1 – 3 hrs to cook depending on their age, size etc.  I let them simmer away on the cooker whilst I am busy doing other important stuff like watching Grey’s Anatomy and before I can say Dr McDreamy they are all done.  I tend to cook a rather large batch and keep them in the fridge and use them over the week in dishes such as salsa, rice and beans, salads, burgers, tacos, bean soups and chilli.

Black bean recipe @ Recipes From A Pantry

A tip moment here – adding salt to the beans at the start slows down the softening process so it is worth adding it in after about an hr of cooking. This is the first post in my pantry staple spotlight on black beans. The next two posts will be black bean recipes that a hopefully get you inspired to cooking with these full of taste little beans.

So here is my guide on how to cook black beans.

How to cook black-eyed beans on the cooker.

How to cook black eyed beans in the oven.

This is the first post in my pantry staple spotlight on black beans.

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Black bean recipe @ Recipes From A Pantry
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5 from 2 votes

How to Cook Black Beans

A quick easy guide on how to cook black beans.
Author: Bintu Hardy


  • Black beans turtle beans
  • Water or stock
  • Seasoning of your choice
  • Salt


  • Pick through the beans and discard all stones and broken beans.
  • Soak the beans in water over night - making sure that there is enough water to cover all which are going to swell. The longer you soak them the shorter the cooking time.
  • Then drain and wash them and transfer them into a pot.
  • Add enough water or stock so that the liquid is about 5cm above the beans and add in the seasoning (not salt). I generally add in garlic, bay leaves and sliced onions.
  • Bring to the boil, then simmer partially uncovered for between 1hr - 3hr depending on how firm or soft you want your beans.
  • Add in the salt after about 1h of simmering.
  • If the cooking liquid dries out before the beans finish cooking then add some more.
  • When cooked, drain the beans. You can reserve the cooking liquid and use it to cook rice or flavour soups and stews.
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Adding salt to the beans at the start slows down the softening process so it is worth adding it in after about an hr of cooking.

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  1. black beans are delicious ! I like them very vey much. Before I cook them I let them soak in water overnight and then boil them in the same water which now has a blac-violet tint. I like to add 1 medium – small clove of garlic, one big onion(chopped small), fresh parsley, red chili, a tiny bit of cumin and curry. Just before I finish I add in some more parsley, and salt. et voila ! delicious black beans !

  2. I used to cook dried beans all the time but got lazy – really must get back to cooking them again.

  3. Hah! you and I must be on the same wavelength:) Thanks for this, I think I’ll edit rice and beans post to include this handy guide on how to prepare the beans.

  4. Oh I do love black beans… Just a pity they are not more widely available in supermarkets here (or at least not the supermarkets around me!). I made some for a salad a couple of weeks ago when we had our big BBQ and it went down a storm!

    1. You have to go to ethic stores to be able to get the bigs bags of them but I have started finding the smaller packs in my local supermarket (labelled as Turtle beans)

  5. I haven only tried black beans once, I am sure it was in a Chilli and was really lovely, am American friend of mine cooked it x

  6. I’ve only ever tried black beans in a black bean sauce and I didn’t like it at all. However this actually looks pretty nice and I might have to give black beans another try!