Homemade Mexican Black Beans are so easy to make, and you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry right now! Make them for a vegetarian side or entree, and use the leftovers for a fantastic quesadilla with Monterey Jack cheese and pickled onions.
For a quick tip, don't drain the cans of black beans (frijoles negros) for a better sauce!
by Susan PridmoreJump to Recipe
Want to make this recipe perfectly the first time? I want to help with that. So, check out this Table of Contents to see which sections of this post will help you the most.
- ❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- 🧅 Main Ingredients + Notes
- 🔪 Recommended Equipment
- 📝 Instructions Overview
- 🎯 Why This Recipe Works
- ⏰ Tips to Simplify and Save Time
- 👩🍳 Preparation Tips
- 💡Ideas for Possible Variations
- 🥬 Make it Vegan
- 🌾 Make it Gluten Free
- 🍽 Ways to Use Mexican Black Beans
- 📇 More Mexican Dishes You Might Like
- Easy Mexican Black Beans (Frijoles Negros)
It's so useful to have dishes like these Mexican black beans in the refrigerator, all made and ready to go. If we have last minute company, someone brings a friend home for dinner, or I just need a super quick vegetarian dinner during the week, this is the perfect dish to have on hand. And if I have some fluffy cooked rice tucked away in the refrigerator too, I have a meal.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- Super easy and fast side dish or main entree.
- So many ways to use leftovers - with nachos, in quesadillas, or make my first place winning huevos rancheros using these beans instead of plain black beans.
- Great protein dish for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.
- Flexible for using your favorite spices and herbs.
- Make ahead friendly.
🧅 Main Ingredients + Notes
The secret to faster and easier meals often lies in the ingredients. For example, store-bought items and ingredients you make ahead and store in the refrigerator (or freezer) can turn a 60-minute recipe into a 30-minutes meal or less.
For the all of the ingredients, measurements and directions, go to the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post.
- Black beans - either purchase them in cans or cook black beans from dried.
- Red onion - white onion is fine too, but red onion is best in this recipe.
- Hatch chiles - depending on how spicy you want these beans, use Anaheim, jalapeño or Serrano peppers. If you want to use Hatch chiles, but can't find them in your grocery, visit The Hatch Chile Store, or purchase them canned. Canned green chiles can also be used.
- Herbs and spices - dried oregano (dried Mexican oregano if you have it), dried red pepper flakes, chipotle pepper powder, kosher salt and ground black pepper)
- Chopped fire roasted tomatoes - I buy these in cans at my grocery. Use regular chopped tomatoes in cans are ones you cut up instead if that's your preference.
- Red bell pepper - or use jarred roasted red peppers.
- Lime juice
- Cilantro - optional garnish
- Cojita cheese - optional garnish
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🔪 Recommended Equipment
Having the right equipment for recipes makes prepping soooo much easier. If you want more fuss-free prepping and cooking, check out my updated list of favorite kitchen tools and equipment.
- Chef's knife
- Large skillet
📝 Instructions Overview
🎯 Why This Recipe Works
- By not draining the beans, more of a sauce is created from the liquid plus the liquid from the tomatoes. Even though the liquid is partially absorbed when stored in the refrigerator, the beans stay very moist.
- Sautéing the herbs and spices with the red onions and chiles before adding ingredients containing liquid makes the flavors pop.
⏰ Tips to Simplify and Save Time
- Use canned black beans, canned chopped tomatoes and jarred roasted red peppers.
- Purchase chopped Hatch chiles from The Hatch Store or use canned.
- Make the entire dish ahead of time, and serve warm or at room temperature.
👩🍳 Preparation Tips
- You can either roast the red bell pepper or sauté it with the red onion. If you roast it, which I recommend, roast it under the broiler while you make the rest of the beans dish. Peel and add it at the end.
- If you use black beans cooked from dried, you can make them ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container. The quickest way to cook them up is in the Instant Pot, or other electric pressure cooker.
- If using canned beans, you can drain the beans or not. If you don't drain them, the finished dish has more liquid in the sauce. If you store them in the refrigerator, this liquid is absorbed into the beans, but they're still very moist. But if you prefer a slightly dryer beans dish, go ahead and drain them.
💡Ideas for Possible Variations
Some of these variations are mentioned in other sections of this post.
- Use fresh, ripe tomatoes in place of canned. I recommend Roma tomatoes (plum tomatoes) as they're not overly juicy.
- Add cooked rice to the dish for a heartier main dish.
- Use pinto beans in place of black beans.
- Depending on how spicy you like your food, use Anaheim, jalapeño or Serrano peppers for the Hatch chiles. Anaheim chiles are the most mild and Serrano the hottest. Hatch chiles vary according to the soil they're grown in, and can be mild or spicy.
- For some smoky heat, swap out the chipotle pepper powder for a teaspoon minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
- Add corn to the beans mixture.
🥬 Make it Vegan
- Either skip the cojita cheese garnish, or use a plant-based cheese.
🌾 Make it Gluten Free
- This dish is already gluten-free!
🍽 Ways to Use Mexican Black Beans
- As a side dish or vegetarian entree, or top with tomatillo green-chili salsa verde.
- Make quesadillas with Monterey jack cheese, corn and pickled onions.
- Swap out plain black beans for these Mexican black beans (frijoles negros) in huevos rancheros.
- In a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs and plant-based chorizo.
- With tortillas, thinly sliced cabbage, cojita cheese, tomatoes and avocado crema for Tuesday night tacos.
- Breakfast burrito bowl with scrambled eggs and avocado slices. Serve with Jiffy Mexican Cornbread.
- Fold these black beans into the filling for these vegetarian enchiladas.
📇 More Mexican Dishes You Might Like
- Avocado Soup
- Mexican quinoa casserole
- Simple Mexican Tostada (Vegetarian)
- Vegetarian Enchiladas
- Mexican Stuffed Pepper Casserole (Vegetarian)
- Baked Chiles Rellenos Casserole Recipe with Eggs
Easy Mexican Black Beans (Frijoles Negros)
- Chef's knife
- 1 large red bell pepper or 2 jarred roasted red peppers
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups diced red onion (1 large red onion)
- 2 tablespoons diced Hatch chiles (see Ingredient Notes in post)
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced or Gourmet Garden garlic paste
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano or Mexican oregano, if you have it
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt or ¾ teaspoon table salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chipotle pepper powder or hot paprika
- ¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked coarse black pepper
- 1 can chopped fire-roasted tomatoes (see Ingredient Notes in post)
- 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, NOT drained
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, drizzles over the beans
- 4 slices lime, for freshly squeeze lime juice
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- ¼ cup grated cojita cheese
- Roast the bell pepper under the broiler for 10 minutes, and either wrap in foil or slide into a zippered baggie. Peel, seed and dice. Alternatively, use two jarred roasted red peppers, and dice.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and add the diced red onions and chiles. Sauté until the onion is softened, about 7 minutes. Add all of the herbs and spices (minced garlic, oregano, salt, cumin, chipotle pepper powder, red pepper flakes, and black pepper). Sauté until fragrant, about 2 - 3 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes and black beans, including the liquid for both. Cook on a low simmer for 10 minutes. If the sauce cooks off too much, add a little water.Adjust for seasoning, and serve with garnishes as desired.