This is an easy, simple, and quick Mexican black beans recipe using pantry staples, and ready in under 30 minutes. It’s my go-to recipe if I’ve had a long day and want something nutritious, tasty, and quick – and makes for a perfect versatile weeknight dinner with a huge range of sides and accompaniments.
If I’ve had a long day, you’ll inevitably find me cooking up a quick dinner involving something with black beans. These Mexican black beans, with just a handful of pantry staples, are always up there in my very-frequent rotation.
These Mexican black beans make a great quick, nutritious weeknight dinner. You could simply pair them with rice, or you could add them on top of a baked potato (or sweet potato, yum!), with homemade guacamole. In fact, these black beans are so versatile that they can even be used for black bean tacos, black bean burritos, or an easy burrito bowl with a range of other accompaniments.
Basically, these black beans go with anything and everything.
They’re so simple that I actually laughed when I took this ingredient shot:
But that’s genuinely all the ingredients you’ll need!
Here’s everything you need to make these Mexican black beans (I’ve included full quantities and instructions within the recipe card at the bottom of this page):
- Black beans: I use tinned black beans – it’s easy and the most convenient option for me. If you want to use dried beans, go for it! Just make sure you allow for that extra time.
- Tinned tomatoes: I use tinned chopped tomatoes, again for convenience. If you have fresh tomatoes, they will definitely work for this recipe – just dice them or blitz them in a food processor before adding to the pan.
- Chipotle chili paste: You should be able to buy chipotle chili paste from most major supermarkets. It adds a wonderful depth of flavor, color, and smokiness to these Mexican beans and is an essential ingredient. I would highly advise against omitting this element!
- Apple cider vinegar: I love an element of acidity/tanginess to my beans, and while the lime juice may add this, the apple cider vinegar complements the other ingredients perfectly.
- Cumin powder: Cumin again helps add to the smoky flavor of these Mexican black beans.
- Oregano, Salt & Pepper
- Olive oil: You could also use vegetable oil or whatever cooking oil you prefer.
- Lime: A squeeze of fresh lime juice at the end just finishes off this dish perfectly!
This is a one-pan recipe, hallelujah! You’ll need a saucepan and a wooden spoon for stirring, plus a garlic mincer to mince the garlic. That’s about it!
Yay for recipes that save on washing up!
How To Make These Easy Mexican Black Beans
Okay, so here’s how to make these easy Mexican black beans – make sure you scroll down to the recipe card for follow-along steps and the exact quantities used.
Step 1: Saute Garlic
So, heat your saucepan and oil over medium heat, then add minced garlic. I used two large cloves of garlic for this recipe – but I do love garlic! Adjust the quantity you use based on your preferences.
A note on onions: I feel like it’s important to note that many Mexican black bean recipes include diced onions. For this recipe, I’ve added pickled red onions as a topping for the beans, so omitted onions for the main body of the recipe. If you don’t have pickled red onions or don’t want them, then I’d recommend finely dicing a red onion and adding it to the pan at this point, too.
Step 2: Add the chipotle paste and seasonings
After sauteing the garlic for 1-2 minutes, add the chipotle paste, oregano, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Cook for a further minute or two.
Step 3: Tip in the chopped tomatoes and black beans
Tip in the chopped tomatoes followed by the black beans (including the water they’re in) and stir. Leave the beans to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes as the sauce thickens.
Note: If you really prefer to drain and rinse your black beans before using, you can. Be aware, however, that your Mexican black beans won’t have the same depth of color without the water. Just top the sauce up with more fresh water to make up for draining the beans first.
Step 4: Add lime and toppings
Just before serving, squeeze over the juice of about half a lime. Add your toppings of choice – in the photographs used for this post, I used cubed avocado, lots of chopped cilantro, and pickled red onions.
Other Good Toppings & Pairings:
Other toppings, pairings, and complementary dishes that would pair perfectly with these simple black beans include:
- Homemade guacamole
- Paprika roasted potatoes with avocado crema
- Popping them in a black bean taco
- Use them in your favorite burrito recipe
- Adding them on top of loaded dirty fries!
- Using them in a burrito bowl
- Making a vegan cashew crema or nacho cheese sauce to drizzle on top
- Using them in vegetarian fajitas
- Pairing with a baked sweet potato and cheese for a simple dinner!
Storing Your Black Beans
These black beans are perfect for meal prepping, so I love to make a big batch and save them for adding to different meals throughout the week. Allow the dish to cool fully before adding to an airtight container and keeping in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
You could also freeze the black beans in an airtight container for up to 4-5 months. Defrost fully before reheating.
Variations/Substitutions for This Recipe
I love how versatile this recipe is – if you don’t have something in your pantry, you can usually find something else to substitute for it. Here are a few options:
- Use pinto beans instead of black beans: If you don’t have black beans in, consider using pinto beans instead (I actually have a dedicated Mexican pinto beans recipe for this!)
- Use fresh tomatoes or passata: If you don’t have tinned tomatoes, fresh diced tomatoes or passata will also work.
- Use chipotle chili peppers instead of the paste: If you have access to chipotle chili peppers, feel free to use them instead of the paste. Dice finely, almost into a paste before using.
- Omit the chipotle paste for less heat: If you’re cooking for children or someone who can’t handle the slightest bit of heat, you could consider omitting the chipotle paste – although it won’t taste quite the same!
Can I use dried black beans?
Yes, absolutely. I just prefer not to because of the convenience tinned black beans offer me. Feel free to use dried beans if you prefer, but just take care to plan ahead so you have time to soak and pre-cook the beans before making this black beans recipe.
Is this recipe vegan and gluten-free?
Yes, this recipe is vegan and gluten-free! No need to make any changes for either (or both) of these dietary requirements.
Should I mash the black beans?
If you’re using these Mexican black beans for tacos, quesadillas, burritos, etc, you might like to mash the beans slightly. You can see how I do that in my black bean taco recipe.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp chipotle chilli paste
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1.5 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes
- 1 tin (400g) black beans (water included)
- 1 lime, halved
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 1 handful chopped cilantro
- 3-4 tbsp pickled red onions
- Heat your oil in a pan and then add the minced garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the chipotle chilli paste, cumin, oregano, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper and saute for another 1-2 minutes.
- Tip in the chopped tomatoes, followed by the black beans (including the water from the itn).
- Stir everything together and leave to simmer for 10 - 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and the liquid has reduced.
- Add half the lime juice and then taste, adjusting any seasonings to your preferences.
- If using, top with the avocado (cubed), chopped cilantro, and pickled red onions and serve!
If you’re making these black beans ahead of time, I’d recommend not adding the toppings until you are ready to serve.
A little sprinkled feta goes amazing with these beans, as does a cashew crema sauce for a vegan alternative.
To store, allow the black beans to fully cool before storing in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container. You can also freeze these beans, just make sure to fully defrost them before reheating.
These Mexican black beans are great for meal prepping, so I like to make a big batch to enjoy in multiple different meals throughout the week!