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How to Cook Black Beans

rate this recipe:
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Serves 12
Learn how to cook black beans from scratch! Creamy and flavorful, they're a delicious side dish or component in black bean recipes like tacos and enchiladas.


  • 2 cups dried black beans
  • 8 cups water, more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (3-inch) piece of kombu, rinsed, optional (see note)
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated

Optional add-ins:

  • Chili powder
  • Mexican oregano
  • Lime juice and zest
  • Chopped cilantro


  • Place the beans in a large colander and sort through them to remove and discard any stones or debris.
  • Rinse the beans and transfer them to a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the water, cumin, olive oil, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the kombu, if using, and simmer, uncovered, until the beans are tender. I like to check mine starting at 1 hour, and every 15 minutes after that. Depending on your freshness of your beans, it could take up to 2½ hours. Add more liquid to the pot, as needed, to keep your beans submerged.
  • Remove the kombu and add the garlic during the last few minutes of cooking.
  • Season the beans as you like, adding chili powder, oregano, and more salt and pepper, if desired. Let the beans cool in the cooking liquid (I like how it gets nice and thick). Just before serving, stir in lime juice, zest, and cilantro, if desired.


Store the beans in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for several months. The beans can be stored in the cooking liquid or drained and stored.
The kombu is optional, but it helps the beans become more digestible. Kombu can get bitter if boiled, so be sure to keep your beans cooking at a gentle simmer after you add it.