These Puerto Rican style stewed black beans (habichuelas negras) served with white rice are a staple to island cuisine. Made with sofrito and adobo seasoning, they are infused with Puerto Rican flavor and make a fabulous meal. Keep reading for instructions on how to make this recipe with dried or canned black beans.

frijoles negros with rice on a plate

If you’ve ever had Puerto Rican cuisine, you know just how important rice and beans are to Caribbean culture.

My mom used to joke that all she ate growing up on the island was rice and beans.

Thankfully, there is plenty of variety from one rice & beans dish to another, like with these arroz con gandules and habichuelas guisadas.

Even in a seemingly simple recipe like this one for black beans, there is variety in the preparation and ingredients within Puerto Rico and across the Caribbean (hello, Cuba and frijoles negros!)

And if you’re looking for a pop of color to add to this dish, try these guineos en escabeche or this ensalada verde.

ingredients to make frijoles negros

Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make these Puerto Rican style black beans:

See recipe card for quantities.

Instructions

If using canned beans: add to the pot with their broth, along with everything else. Stew for 20-30 minutes.

(Optional) add ham hocks: add a smoked ham hock to the pot with everything and stew together for added flavor.

For a thicker consistency: continue to stew the beans over a slightly higher temperature for a thicker broth.

Substitutions

Here are some easy substitutes you can use if you’re missing any of the key ingredients:

  • Sofrito – don’t have time to make your own sofrito? You can subsitute this traditional Puerto Rican ingredient with a diced yellow onion, minced cilantro, garlic, and green bell pepper.
  • Adobo Seasoning – if you don’t have your own adobo seasoning, you can use a blend of cumin, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and a pinch of paprika.
  • Canned Black Beans – this recipe can be made in half the time using canned black beans. See recipe notes for directions!
black beans in a colander

Variations

There are variations of this dish across the Caribbean, South America, and in Spain.

Here are a few of the most popular names & variations:

  • Moros y Cristianos – this Cuban version of rice and black beans cooks both ingredients together, for a beautiful one pot meal.
  • Congri – congri is another Cuban variation of Moros y Cristianos, usually made with red beans.
  • Arroz con Frijoles – this version directly translates to rice with beans, and usually applies to any dish that includes both staple ingredients. When you hear this name, it could be any variation of the two!
  • Habichuelas Negras / Frijoles Negros – habichuelas is what I grew up calling any Puerto Rican style stewed beans, but habichuelas negras directly translates to “black beans”.

Many traditional Puerto Rican versions of habichuelas negras feature ham of some sort. If you want to include ham in your recipe, I recommend adding a smoked ham hock to your ingredient list. You can add it to the pot at the same time as the other ingredients and remove before serving.

frijoles negros with rice on a plate

What to Eat With Stewed Black Beans

Here are some of my favorite traditional Puerto Rican side dishes I enjoy with this recipe:

frijoles negros with rice on a plate

Leftovers

This recipe makes wonderful leftovers. Store the rice and beans separately, stored in air tight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Buen Provecho,

Salima written in cursive
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frijoles negros with rice on a plate

Puerto Rican Style Stewed Black Beans with Rice (Habichuelas Negras)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Entree, Dinner, Lunch, Main Dish
  • Method: Stewed
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican, Caribbean
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

These Puerto Rican style stewed black beans (habichuelas negras) served with white rice are a staple to island cuisine. Made with sofrito and adobo seasoning, they are infused with Puerto Rican flavor and make a fabulous meal.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 cups dried black beans *see note for instructions on how to use canned beans
  • 1/4 cup sofrito
  • 2 tsp adobo seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 cups water
  • rice to serve with
  • lime & cilantro to garnish

Instructions

  1. Rinse thoroughly and remove any rocks or scraps from the dry beans. *See note if using canned beans.
  2. In a large soup pot combine beans, sofrito, adobo seasoning, salt, bay leaves, oil, and water. Stir everything together and bring to a boil, before lowering the heat to a simmer.
  3. Stew the beans for an hour or until they are cooked through (can take up to 2 hours depending on how fresh your beans are), stirring every 20 minutes or so, to make sure they don’t stick.
  4. Remove the bay leaves and serve the beans with rice and garnish with a squeeze of lime juice and sprig of cilantro.

Notes

  • If using canned beans: add to the pot with their broth, along with everything else. Stew for 20-30 minutes.
  • For a thicker consistency: continue to stew the beans over a slightly higher temperature for a thicker broth.
  • Add ham hocks: add a smoked ham hock to the pot with everything and stew together for added flavor.