This one pot black beans and rice is flavored with pantry staples like onions, broth, and lime juice. It’s simple, inexpensive, and filling for all.

Black Bean & Rice in a pan with spoon.

What is Black Beans & Rice?

Black beans and rice is a classic dish in Latin American cuisine featuring simple ingredients such as black beans (most often canned) and white rice. It often has a citrus taste from the lime juice and cilantro. It is crazy easy to prepare, inexpensive, and a perfect side dish for a variety of meals.

Black Bean & Rice Recipe Video

How to Make Black Beans & Rice

It’s so easy to make black beans and rice that you’ll have no trouble remembering the instructions after your first time.

  • Preheat the pan: Preheat a heavy bottom pan with oil, then add diced onions and cook until translucent.
  • Cook the rice: Add the rice to the pan and cook until lightly browned.
  • Boil the broth mixture: Add broth and beans to the pan, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. Turn it down to simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Season: Remove from the heat, then add in lime juice. Garnish with cilantro. Season to taste.


Black beans and rice is a phenomenal “base” dish. However, build it up with these variations.

  • Make it Spicy: For a spicy kick, add diced jalapeños with the onions. Alternatively, add cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes when adding the broth. For the extreme heat lovers, add Tabasco sauce at the very end.
  • Herbs: If you are not a fan of cilantro, use parsley instead.
  • Veggies: Add more veggies such as canned corn, garlic, other beans, and diced bell peppers.
  • Spices: For a bit more flavor, add more seasoning such as cumin, oregano, or black pepper.

Tips from the Kitchen

Ensure your dish comes out tasting its best with these simple tips.

  • Switch up the broth: Use any broth you have on hand or get creative with your own unique flavors. We like to use our homemade bone broth and chicken broth. Beef or vegetable broth will work too. Or, use a mixture of water and better than bouillon chicken base.
  • Use cooked beans: To make it crazy easy, use cooked/canned beans. Rinse them well to get rid of the dark starchy canning liquid before adding into the pan.
  • Choose long-grain rice: We love to use jasmine rice, but any long grain, such as basmati rice, will work. Brown rice is also a great alternative, but it will need to be cooked longer.
  • Stir the rice: To evenly brown the rice, stir it in the pan. Stir again after adding the broth and beans to equally mix all ingredients.
  • Season to taste: Depending on the broth, additional salt may be needed to flavor the dish. Season at the very end to taste.
  • Use fresh squeezed lime juice: Bottled lime juice works in a pinch but fresh squeezed citrus tastes best!

Ways to Serve

Serve black beans and rice alongside or inside many other Latin American or Mexican cuisine foods. Prepare the dish ahead of time and you’ve got dinner half-finished!

Stuff the rice into ground beef tacos, stuffed bell peppers, enchiladas, or chicken burritos. Or, layer the beans and rice in a chipotle-style burrito bowl with Mexican crock pot chicken. If you want to serve the beans and rice as a side, prepare a protein-filled main dish such as ribeye steak, baked chicken legs, shrimp fajitas, or steak fajitas.

Storage Tips + Reheating

Beans and rice are two staples that store well before and after cooking. Follow these tips to best store this dish and enjoy leftovers.

  • Refrigerator: To store for up to five days, place leftovers into an airtight container and refrigerate.
  • Freezer: To freeze for up to three months, place leftovers in an airtight container. Freeze individual portions in small containers or ziploc bags. Thaw the beans and rice in the fridge when ready to eat again.
  • Reheating: To reheat from the fridge, place rice and beans into a pan and heat over the stovetop on medium heat, stirring until warmed through. Or, for a quick reheat, put it in the microwave. When heating in the microwave, cover the rice with a damp paper towel to avoid it from drying out.


Are black beans and rice healthy?

Black beans and rice contain a large amount of protein and iron. To make it even healthier, opt for brown rice instead of white rice.

Should I use canned or raw beans to make black beans and rice?

Both canned and raw beans are perfect to use to make black beans and rice. However, canned beans make for the simplest and fastest preparation. When using raw beans, cook before adding to the dish. When using canned beans, thoroughly rinse them first.

Can I use other canned beans instead of black beans?

Yes, other canned beans can be used instead of black beans. The best substitute is canned kidney beans, but pinto beans and other beans are tasty, too.

More Mexican/Latin-American Inspired Dishes

About Author

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Natalya Drozhzhin

Natalya founded Momsdish to demonstrate that placing a homemade meal on the table is not hard at all. Natalya makes cooking easier and approachable, by simplifying the ingredients, while still producing the same great taste.