Instant Pot Cuban Black Beans

Bowl of Instant Pot Cuban Black Beans

These Instant Pot Cuban Black Beans are the perfect side dish. They’re warm, comforting, homey, healthy, and hands-off. Seriously, does a recipe get more perfect than that? The black beans cook in the Instant Pot alongside cumin, oregano, and more delightful spices. Soon enough you’ll have a bowl of delicious black beans, a staple in any Cuban cuisine! 

I’ll admit– I’ve never been to Cuba, but it’s on my list! I have, though, been to Miami… and though it is certainly not the same thing, I tried to make my Miami experience as full of authentic Cuban food as I could possibly get. 

I spent hours researching the true, authentic Cuban restaurants in the Miami area. When I finally settled on one that looked like it would allow me some true tastes of Cuban cuisine, I dove right in. 

Of course, I tried all of the Cuban specialties on the menu. But there was something about the Cuban black beans that really drew me in. They’re so humble, yet so…. Exciting. 

Cuban black beans are a treat… A delicious, comforting, healthy treat. And in the Instant Pot, they’re as easy as can be! 

I’m excited to take you through the steps of cooking authentic Cuban Black Beans, but with a twist…. A quick 35-minutes in the Instant Pot should do the trick. No hovering, no stirring– just open the lid and they’re perfect every time. You’re going to love them! 

What Ingredients are in Cuban Black Beans? 

Olive oil 
Onion
Red pepper
Dry black beans
Chicken broth
Bay leaves
Oregano
Cumin 
Salt
Fresh cilantro 
Lime juice

close of up instant pot cuban black beans

How to Make Cuban Black Beans 

Turn your Instant Pot to the SAUTE function. Add the olive oil. Once the olive oil is heated, add the chopped red pepper and onion. Saute, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables soften. 

Turn the SAUTE function off. Add the black beans into the pot, and add chicken broth. Then add bay leaves, oregano, cumin, and salt. 

Put the lid onto the Instant Pot and turn the dial to MANUAL or HIGH. Cook for 35 minutes-45 minutes, depending on how soft you like your black beans (I like mine at 35 minutes). 

When the cooking cycle is complete, allow for a 15 minute Natural Pressure Release. Then Quick Release whatever pressure is left over. Open the lid of the Instant Pot and stir the beans. Add the cilantro into the beans. Serve, and drizzle servings with lime juice to taste. Enjoy! 

How Long Do Cuban Black Beans Take to Cook? 

I recommend cooking your Cuban Black beans between 35 and 45 minutes, depending on how well done you like your beans. Cooking for 35 minutes will thoroughly cook the beans but will leave them a little on the tougher side. If they were pasta, they’d be considered “al dente”. 

Cooking the beans for 45 minutes will make them more thoroughly cooked and softer. It is up to you to decide which way you’d like! 

If you open your Instant Pot and realize you wish you would have cooked your beans for longer, add a bit more chicken broth. Then, simply re-secure the lid and add a few more minutes of cook time.

zoomed out version of cuban food

What Can I Serve with Cuban Black Beans? 

Cuban black beans are very frequently served with white rice, and some kind of meat. That’s how I enjoyed my meal! You can also use them for tacos, burrito bowls, garnaches or more! You can even use them as the black bean component in this Gallo Pinto from Costa Rica! 

My favorite site for other Cuban inspirations is A Sassy Spoon. Jamie has fantastic recipes that would be great to pair with your Cuban black beans!

Did you like this recipe for Instant Pot Cuban Black Beans? If so, leave a comment on this post letting me know! When you make this recipe, post a photo on Facebook or Instagram and tag @TheForeignFork and hashtag #TheForeignFork.

If you liked this recipe, you might also like these other Instant Pot Pasta dishes I picked out just for you:

Instant Pot Cuban Black Beans

These Instant Pot Cuban Black Beans are the perfect side dish. They’re warm, comforting, homey, healthy, and hands-off. Seriously, does a recipe get more perfect than that? The black beans cook in the Instant Pot alongside cumin, oregano, and more delightful spices. Soon enough you’ll have a bowl of delicious black beans, a staple in any Cuban cuisine!

Course beans, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine cuba
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Natural Pressure Release 15 minutes
Servings 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • 1 lb dry black beans
  • 3 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • Lime juice to drizzle on individual servings to taste

Instructions

  1. Turn your Instant Pot to the SAUTE function. Add the olive oil. Once the olive oil is heated, add the chopped red pepper and onion. Saute, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables soften.
  2. Turn the SAUTE function off. Add the black beans into the pot, and add chicken broth. Then add bay leaves, oregano, cumin, and salt.
  3. Put the lid onto the Instant Pot and turn the dial to MANUAL or HIGH. Cook for 35 minutes-45 minutes, depending on how soft you like your black beans (I like mine at 35 minutes).
  4. When the cooking cycle is complete, allow for a 15 minute Natural Pressure Release. Then Quick Release whatever pressure is left over. Open the lid of the Instant Pot and stir the beans. Add the cilantro into the beans. Serve, and drizzle servings with lime juice to taste. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational and personal use only.

Gallo Pinto Recipe from Costa Rica

Gallo Pinto on a plate

This recipe from Costa Rica was probably my favorite recipe to come out of the country! Gallo Pinto is a rice and beans dish from Costa Rica. It’s made with white rice, black beans, some peppers, and then the special ingredient, Lizano. 

What is Gallo Pinto? 

Gallo Pinto is a rice and beans dish normally eaten in Costa Rica for breakfast, but it can be enjoyed any time! To make this dish, you mix white rice with black beans, and some of the liquid remaining from cooking the black beans. You then flavor it with Lizano salsa (if you have it, and Worcestershire sauce, if you don’t).

This hearty dish boasts a mild flavor (aka no spiciness, aka the perfect amount of spiciness for me) and will fill you right up. Plus, it’s so easy to make it will become a new staple in your house!

3 bowl of gallo pinto

Why is Gallo Pinto Called Gallo Pinto?

Directly translated, Gallo Pinto means “Spotted Rooster” in English. Nobody truly knows how the dish got its name. However, some speculate that that dish received its name because of its appearance. 

The rice with the beans gives a “speckled” appearance that some would liken to the feathers of a spotted rooster! 

Is This Rice and Beans Recipe Vegetarian? 

If you’re a vegetarian and want to enjoy this famous dish from Costa Rica, you are in luck! This dish is 100% vegetarian (and vegan) friendly!

The main ingredients in this dish are rice, beans, peppers, and seasonings, which means that this can be enjoyed by almost anybody with dietary restrictions (gluten free, dairy free, meat free, etc). 

onions and red pepper and yellow pepper in a cast iron skillet
added black beans to the skillet

What Ingredients are In This Recipe

Black beans (in a can is fine)
Salt
Cumin
Lizano (can substitute Worcestershire sauce) 
White Rice
Red pepper
Yellow pepper
Onion
Olive oil

For full recipe measurements and instructions, visit the recipe card at the bottom of this page! 

Added rice to the skillet

How to Make Gallo Pinto

Cook the rice according to package instructions (or you can cook it in a pressure cooker if you have one). 

Drain the beans, but reserve the liquid in a small bowl. 

Add the oil to a large pan and heat it over medium high heat. 

Add the onion, red pepper, and yellow pepper and heat until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. 

Pour the beans into the pan and stir until heated.
Add the rice, and stir with the beans. 

Add the salt, cumin, pepper to taste, and Lizano (or worcestershire). Pour in half of the reserved bean liquid from the canned beans. Stir until everything becomes warm.

Enjoy! Leave a comment on this page letting me know what you thought of the recipe. 

Complete gallo pinto in the skillet

How to Eat Gallo Pinto? How Often do Ticos Eat It

In Costa Rica, Gallo Pinto is most commonly made from the rice and beans from dinner the night before. Costa Ricans often throw the ingredients in a pan in the morning, and serve it alongside eggs for a complete breakfast. 

Though Ticos most commonly eat this dish for breakfast, they also eat it during other times of day as well. Gallo Pinto can also be enjoyed for lunch or dinner! Feel free to serve it with meat or vegetables for a balanced meal. I might recommend this Rum-Soaked Pork Tenderloin from Belize as a good choice! 

Did you like this Rice and Beans Recipe? Maybe you want to try more Rice and Bean dishes from around the world. Check out these options! 

Plate of gallo pinto next to the skillet
Gallo Pinto on a plate
5 from 1 vote
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Gallo Pinto

This recipe from Costa Rica was probably my favorite recipe to come out of the country! Gallo Pinto is a rice and beans dish from Costa Rica. It’s made with white rice, black beans, some peppers, and then the special ingredient, Lizano. 

Course Breakfast, Main Course, rice
Cuisine Costa Rican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked rice cooked according to package
  • 1 15 oz can black beans drained, not rinsed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • ½ red pepper chopped
  • ½ yellow pepper chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp Lizano can substitute Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ cup Reserved black bean juice

Instructions

  1. Cook the rice according to package instructions (or you can cook it in a pressure cooker if you have one).
  2. Drain the beans, but reserve the liquid from the can in a small bowl.
  3. Add the oil to a large pan and heat it over medium high heat.
  4. Add the onion, red pepper, and yellow pepper and heat until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the beans into the pan and stir until heated.
  6. Add the rice, and stir with the beans.
  7. Add the salt, cumin, pepper to taste, and Lizano (or Worcestershire sauce). Pour in half of the reserved bean liquid from the canned beans. Stir until everything is heated through.
  8. Enjoy! Leave a comment on this page letting me know what you thought of the recipe.

Recipe Notes

Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational and personal use only. 

How to Make Chifrijo from Costa Rica

Chifrijo in a bowl

What is Chifrijo? 

Chifrijo is a very popular dish in Costa Rica. A bed of rice forms the base of the dish (duh, we’ve already learned about Costa Rica’s love for rice), and then kidney beans, pico de gallo, and chicharrones top it off.

This dish is served a lot as a form of street food, but you can also order chifrijo in bars or restaurants across the country. Restaurants and street vendors across the country sell this hearty and delicious dish! It’s pretty cheap to buy as street food in Costa Rica, costing usually around $3 USD. In restaurants, of course, you can expect the price of the dish to increase. 

Chifrijo with rice base

What is Chifrijo Made Of? 

For the Chicharrones

Olive oil
Pork belly 
Smoked paprika
Cumin
Chili powder 

For the Red Beans

Olive oil 
Red kidney
Sweet onion
Garlic
Salt 
Pepper  
Lizano (You can sub Worcestershire sauce if need be) 

For the Rice

Rice 

For the Pico de Gallo 

Follow these instructions 

For full measurements and instructions, visit the recipe card at the bottom of the page! 

chifrijo with rice and beans
Rice bowl with chicharrones added

How to Make Chifrijo 

How to Make Chicharrones

In a small bowl, combine the uncooked, cubed pork belly with all of the spices. Mix until the spices coat all of the pieces. 

In a medium cast iron skillet, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Once heated, add the pork belly. Stir to cook, about 10 minutes. Chicharrones should be slightly crispy.
When cooked, remove from pan and leave to rest on a paper towel-lined plate. 

Rice bowl with beans, chicharrones, and gallo pinto

How to Make Red Beans

Drain and rinse red kidney beans

In a medium pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, and saute for about 5 minutes, until translucent. 

Add the kidney beans into the pot. Stir until warm. 

Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and Lizano (or Worcestershire sauce). Remove and set aside. 

Cook the rice according to package or follow these instructions for How to Cook Rice in an Instant Pot

Assemble the Pico de Gallo according to instructions

Assemble the bowl with rice on the bottom, then beans, then chicharrones, then the Pico de Gallo on top.

Finished chifrijo bowl

What are Chicharrones? 

Chicharrones are a really popular snack food in Costa Rica (and other countries in Central America and South America, like Colombia, where they eat Chicharrones in Bandeja Paisa). 

Chicharrones are made with pork belly. In Costa Rica, the pork belly is cut into cubes and then fried. You can coat them in spices before frying (in this case, smoked paprika, cumin, and chili powder) to give them even more flavor. 

Pork belly really is just uncured, unsliced bacon, which means that making chicharrones means that you’re just frying up thick cubes of bacon for crunching! Hey, sounds pretty good to me 😉 

Ticos LOVE chicharrones and eat them across the country. Though they’re mixed into this dish, quite often they’re bought alone and eaten as a solo snack. Costa Ricans often cook them up in accompaniment with a celebration, like a birthday or a festival! The city of Puriscal in Costa Rica even hosts a Feria del Chicharrón (Chicharrón Festival) every year.

Spoonful of Chifrjijo

The Importance of Lizano 

Lizano, the most common condiment used in Costa Rica, makes a special appearance on our recipe for Gallo Pinto! Lizano is a smoky, tangy dressing that I could liken to Worcestershire sauce. The difference between Worcestershire sauce and Lizano is the smokiness-factor present in Lizano. It gives the entire dish a different flavor. 

Lizano can be found in most South American grocery stores, if you can find one. If not, you can also order it off of Amazon! If you either can’t afford that or need a quick substitute, you can use Worcestershire sauce and add a little cumin as well. This will be the best replacement!

Did you like this recipe for Chifrijo? Leave a comment on this post letting me know what you thought. And post a photo of your creation on Facebook and Instagram and tag @TheForeignFork and hashtag #TheForeignFork! 

If you liked this recipe, check out these other recipes on my site too. I think you’ll like them: 

Chifrijo

Chifrijo is a very popular dish in Costa Rica. The base of the dish is rice (duh, we’ve already learned about Costa Rica’s love for rice), and it is topped with red kidney beans, chicharrones, and pico de gallo.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Costa Rica, Costa Rican
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

Chicharrones

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 oz pork belly cut into cubes about 1 inch in diameter
  • tsp smoked paprika
  • tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp chili powder or more to taste

Red Kidney Beans

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 15 oz can red kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • ½ sweet onion chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp Lizano or Worcestershire sauce if you don’t have Lizano
  • ¼ tsp salt or more to taste

Rice

  • 1 cup long grain white rice dry

Pico de Gallo or Salsa, your favorite recipe (mine is linked below)

Instructions

How to Make Chicharrones

  1. In a small bowl, combine the uncooked, cubed pork belly with all of the spices. Mix until all pieces are fully coated.
  2. In a medium cast iron skillet, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Once heated, add the pork belly. Stir to cook, about 10 minutes. Chicharrones should be slightly crispy.
  3. When cooked, remove from pan and leave to rest on a paper towel-lined plate.

How to Make Red Beans

  1. Drain and rinse red kidney beans
  2. In a medium pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, and saute for about 5 minutes, until translucent.
  3. Add the kidney beans into the pot. Stir until warm.
  4. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and Lizano (or Worcestershire sauce). Remove and set aside.
  5. Cook the rice according to package or follow these instructions for How to Cook Rice in an Instant Pot

Assembly

  1. Assemble the bowl with rice on the bottom, then beans, then chicharrones, then the Pico de Gallo on top.

Recipe Notes

Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational or personal use only. 

Follow these instructions for my recipe for Pico de Gallo. 

Coconut Milk Rice with Red Beans from Belize

Red Beans and Coconut Rice from Belize

Coconut Milk Rice with Red Beans from Belize is a great way to change up your rice and beans recipe! The rice is cooked with coconut milk to give the dish a rich, coconutty flavor.

It’s no secret that rice and beans are a staple in MANY diets across the world. Rice is universal, and I’ve already released a few rice and beans recipes on the blog to date.

It’s true that rice and beans never get old, but still, it’s necessary to keep things interesting. That’s why I was excited for this Coconut Milk Rice with Red Beans from Belize. This recipe is perfect because it’s cooked with one of my very favorite ingredients… coconut milk!

The coconut milk gives the rice and beans a very unique taste…. They have a slight hint of coconutty flavor, which is what makes them so interesting.

Belizean Red Beans and Coconut Rice

The Beans in Your Red Beans and Coconut Milk Rice

The rice in this dish is delicious because it’s cooked with the coconut milk, but it’s made even more tasty by the addition of Red Beans! The red beans add some protein and fiber to the dish, making it more filling and healthy to eat.

This recipe calls for dried red beans, and the instructions walk you through the steps of softening up the beans to add into the rice dish.

If you want to use canned beans, you can definitely do so! Simply skip the soaking/boiling steps and add the canned red beans into the water about 10 minutes before the rice is done.

This will boil them enough to give them some flavor but not so much that they become too tender and fall apart.

Can You Substitute Coconut Milk for Water in Rice?

Yes, 100%! In fact, that’s what we do in this recipe. The water to rice ratio is normally 1:2. 1 cup rice to 2 cups of liquid.

Instead of substituting all 2 cups of water with coconut milk, I did a half and half split. This thins out the coconut milk to boil the rice in, but still gives a nice hint of coconut flavor!

I have also seen recipes that boil the rice as normal (with water) and then add the coconut milk in at the end. You can do this if you’d like, but it tends to make the rice a bit wetter. Instead, I like to add the coconut milk right into the cooking process.

What Ingredients are In This Dish?

Dry kidney beans
Garlic
Onion
Red bell pepper
Olive oil
Salt
White rice
Coconut milk
Water

How to Make Coconut Milk Rice with Red Beans

Place kidney beans in container and cover with water. Let sit for 8 hours overnight to soften.

Drain the beans. Put beans in a pot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil. Add garlic.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour until beans are tender.

Remove from heat. Mix onion, red bell pepper, vegetable oil, salt and black pepper into the beans.

In a separate pot, melt the better. Toast the rice in the butter for about 3 minutes. 

Add the water and the coconut milk into the rice, and also dump in the kidney bean mixture. 

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until rice is tender, about 25-30 minutes.

Red Beans and Coconut Rice from Belize

Tips for Boiling Your Beans

The first time that I tried making this recipe, I boiled my beans until they were perfectly tender and ready to eat. I failed to realize that I still needed to cook them for a half an hour longer with the rice.

By the time I finished the last step of the recipe, I realized I had overcooked the beans so badly that they had become dry and crumbly.

I recommend that you cook the beans until they’re almost ready, but not quite. You want to be able to bite through them easily, but you don’t want them completely soft on this first step.

What Goes Best with Coconut Rice?

This dish has enough protein in it that it can act entirely as a main course if you need it to. This would be a great way to get a healthy and cheap meal to last you a really long time.

If you want to add some protein with your Coconut Milk Rice and Red Beans, I have a few ideas for you:

Red Beans and Coconut Rice from Belize

What To Do with Leftover Coconut Milk Rice

This dish was DELICIOUS and became my packed lunch for work for 2 whole weeks (yes, I cooked this recipe two weekends in a row). Towards the end of the rice and beans’ life, I really wanted to switch up the flavor a little bit, so I turned my Coconut Milk Rice and Red Beans into FRIED Coconut Milk Rice and Red Beans.

Put a tablespoon of sesame oil in a pan. Once it heats up, add about one serving of your Coconut Milk Rice and Red Beans. Then, scramble an egg in a separate bowl and add it to the pan to cook with the rice.

When the rice warms up and the egg is almost cooked through, add about a tablespoon of coconut aminos or soy sauce to the pan. This adjustment to the rice and beans makes them taste like an entirely different, but still incredibly delicious, meal. I would highly recommend!

If you try making this Coconut Milk Rice and Red Beans from Belize, make sure to take a photo and post it on facebook or instagram with the hashtag #TheForeignFork and tag @TheForeignFork. Leave a comment on this post and let me know what you think!

If you liked this recipe, make sure to also check out these recipes that I chose just for you!:

Red Beans and Coconut Rice from Belize
4 from 2 votes
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Coconut Milk Rice and Red Beans

Coconut Milk Rice and Red Beans from Belize is a great way to change up your rice and beans recipe! The rice is cooked with coconut milk to give the dish a rich, coconutty flavor.

Course dinner
Cuisine Belize
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Soaking Time for Beans 12 hours
Servings 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dry kidney beans
  • ½ tbsp chopped garlic
  • ½ onion chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  1. Place kidney beans in container and cover with water. Let sit for 8 hours overnight to soften.
  2. Drain the beans. Put beans in a pot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil. Add garlic.

  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour until beans are tender.
  4. Remove from heat. Mix onion, red bell pepper, vegetable oil, salt and black pepper into the beans.

  5. In a separate pot, melt the better. Toast the rice in the butter for about 3 minutes. 

  6. Add the water and the coconut milk into the rice, and also dump in the kidney bean mixture. 

  7. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until rice is tender, about 25-30 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For personal or educational use only.