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Cuban Rice and Beans Recipe

This One-Pot Cuban Rice and Beans Recipe is easy and delectable! It’s a healthy, flexible side dish for any night of the week.

Cuban Rice and Beans in a White Dish
This rice and beans dish is fluffy, tender, and hearty.

One-Pot Cuban Rice and Beans

For some reason, my mom still often recalls how my little brother used every ounce of his 5-year-old strength to keep up with me on roller skates at our childhood park.

I kind of get it. Now a mom of 3 big boys myself, I’ll forever have a mental image of my own Littlest frantically peddling his short legs on his tiny bike to keep up with his older brothers.

Families share roots that go deep and thread us together no matter how far apart we are. Food is one of those roots. My parents were hyper-busy and we had a lot going on in our household. But we always sat down for dinner. And we almost always had rice.

My brother had a white rice habit. My dad is partial to sticky rice. My mom enjoyed Mexican rice at restaurants. And I’m into brown rice, cooked perfectly in the Instant Pot.

My own kids don’t see rice on their dinner plates every night, but when tender coconut rice or flavorful fried rice shows up, they devour it like nobody’s business. Same goes for this Cuban Rice and Beans recipe, which is healthy and full of flavor.

Key Ingredients and Substitutions
for delicious Rice and Beans

  • Plenty of fresh garlic gives this dish depth of flavor and great aromatics.
  • Fresh bacon is chopped and browned, for maximum aroma and flavor
  • Freshly chopped onion works best, but you can substitute with 1 tablespoon onion powder or dried minced onion if you’ve run out of fresh onions.
  • A freshly chopped green pepper provides zest and vegetable goodness. Feel free to add more if you love your veggies. Alternatively, frozen chopped bell peppers are often available at grocery stores and can be used as well.
  • Chicken bouillon powder is a key seasoning in this dish
  • A single bay leaf will provide earthy aromatics to the dish. However, don’t run to the store if your panty is out of bay leaves. Your dish will still be tasty without it.
  • Ground cumin is an essential seasoning here; we highly recommend keeping one or two small jars of ground cumin always available, as it comes in handy for so many dishes.
  • Dried oregano is called upon in for this rice and beans recipe, but if your herb garden contains fresh oregano, go for a 1-1 substitution.
  • Long grain white rice is classic in Cuban rice and beans recipes. That said, you can experiment with basmati rice or even brown rice; you’ll need to use a bit more liquid for both those alternatives.
  • It may seem strange to utilize the juices within your cans of black beans, but those juices provide much of the flavor and liquid in this recipe. Keep the juices.
  • This recipe calls for red wine vinegar for classic flavoring. Substitution: apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar can work here, since you’ll only be using 1 tablespoon.
Cuban rice and beans in a white dish
This easy version of Cuban-style rice and beans is wonderfully flavorful.

Cuban Rice and Beans is Extremely Versatile

This Cuban Rice and Beans Recipe is easy, quick, and busting at the seams with flavor. This is not your store box variety in any shape or form. It’s not like any other rice dish at all.

This rice is both rich and tender and sooo delicious it might as well be the main dish. Toss in toasted chopped walnuts or sliced almonds for extra protein and texture.

For a meal-in-one, feel free to mix in a protein like sautéed shrimp or cooked, shredded chicken to make it into a hearty main dish. Cooked ground turkey or beef would work well, too.

Personally, I love serving this mouthwatering Cuban Rice and Beans alongside this Cuban Braised Pork with Mojo. It’s the bomb dinner. Definitely good enough to serve even your pickiest dinner guests.

Cuban Rice and Beans can be made ahead

Can I just say that the biggest bonus of all is that this rice can be prepared completely the night before? It’s true. Unlike many cooked rice recipes, this particular Cuban rice and beans dish stays tender upon reheating, without becoming stale or dried out,

How awesome is food that can be made fully the night before, without sacrificing taste and texture the next day? Simply reheat in the microwave with a little sprinkle of water and you’re ready to serve.

Try this One-Pan Thai Style Fried Rice, too

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

Cuban rice and beans in a white dish

Cuban Rice and Beans Recipe

4.75 from 85 ratings
This Cuban Rice and Beans Recipe is chock full of delicious flavors! It's tender, savory, and goes well with any meal. This dish can be prepared in its entirety the night before.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 10
Author: Amy Dong

Ingredients  

  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped, about 1 cup
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 medium green pepper, seeded and finely chopped, about 3/4 cup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 ½ tsp Better than Bouillon, or chicken bouillon powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 ½ cups long grain white rice, uncooked
  • 2 cans black beans, with liquids, (15.5 oz each can)
  • 1 TB red wine vinegar
  • 1 ⅔ cups water
  • Optional garnish: chopped cilantro or sliced green onions

Instructions

  • Place chopped bacon in a large heavy pan with a tight fitting lid. Stir over medium high heat until bacon is nicely browned, about 6 minutes.
    bacon being cooked in a skillet.
  • Add onion, garlic, green pepper, and salt to the pan and stir until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
    Cuban Rice and Beans Vegetables
  • Add chicken bouillon, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and rice. Stir for 1 minute until well mixed and all the rice is coated in oil.
    Cuban Rice and Beans Ingredients in a Pan
  • Add the beans with their liquids, red wine vinegar, and water. Mix to combine. Bring to a boil, watching carefully; once it boils, immediately reduce to a simmer. Cover tightly and continue to simmer for 45 minutes. Do not peek.
    Cuban rice and beans simmering in a pan
  • Keeping pot covered, let it rest off heat another 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and serve. Garnish with chopped cilantro or green onions if desired.
    Cuban rice and beans in a white dish

Notes

  • This rice dish is meant to be moister and softer than plain cooked rice. It’s a hearty, satisfying side dish that can double as a main dish.
  • See original article for ingredient substitutions, meal options, and ways to serve.
  • If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating  ♡

Nutrition (per serving)

Serving: 1g | Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 32.6g | Protein: 7.3g | Fat: 9.9g | Saturated Fat: 2.7g | Cholesterol: 11.1mg | Sodium: 299.9mg | Fiber: 4.2g | Sugar: 1.4g
Course: rice
Cuisine: cuban
Diet: Vegetarian
Method: Stovetop

Here are a handful of our favorite, fail-proof rice dishes:

1. Best Easy Mexican Rice. We don’t call it the best for nothin’…it’s both easy and awesome.

Spanice Rice

2. Coconut Rice. Here’s your chance to try out some Asian coconut milk. Exotic, simple, and flavorful.

Coconut Milk Rice

3. Chinese Sticky Rice. Hubby, the boys, and my brother all love this dish. Thankfully, it’s easy to make.

Chinese Sticky Rice

4. Chinese Fried Rice. We grew up on this stuff. It’s easy, makes a generous batch, and will quickly be devoured. WAYYYY better than takeout, for reals.

Chinese Fried Rice 3

Add a comment

Recipe Rating




108 comments

    • Savanah
    • 5 stars

    Made this as a side dish for Cuban mojo pork and it was sooo good. Made it again the next night!

    • Jen
    • 5 stars

    I made this once and it was absolutely delicious paired with jerk chicken. Do you have any suggestions, though, for simmer time if I halve the recipe?

      • Amy Dong

      The simmer time will still be the same, as ratio of water:rice will still be the same. SO happy you loved it! 🙂

    • Terri Francisco
    • 5 stars

    Awesome flavor and simple and easy instructions. I squeezed fresh lime juice over it after it rested along with both sliced scallions and cilantro. So yummy

    • Nikki
    • 5 stars

    Thanks Queen!!! This dish was a hit with the entire family!

    • Shay
    • 5 stars

    This is the third time I’ve used this recipe I don’t use bacon I use butter with onion powder/ garlic powder instead and water and it always so tasty.. I also use canned kidney beans at the end without water

      • Amy Dong

      So happy to hear that, Shay!

    • Andrzej K
    • 5 stars

    Amazing dish whole family cleaned their plates!

    • Linda
    • 5 stars

    I don’t usually leave comments but, oh my this was soooo good. I did add some polish smoked sausage to make it a one pot meal. I will definitely make this again, so glad I found this recipe.

      • Amy Dong

      Thank you so much, Linda!

    • Jonathan Parton
    • 5 stars

    Getting ready to make this for the second time! I loved it so much the first time. I’m a creative recipe follower, so I’m doing extra bacon, Basmati rice and topping it with Carne Piccada cooked and marinated in Chimichurri!
    The one pot cooking is definitely a bonus, borrowed my mother in law’s Dutch oven for this version, since all my pots leak steam as they cook, which is bad for this recipe!
    Appreciate the recipe and looking forward to impressing everyone again thanks to this easy, amazing recipe!

      • Amy Dong

      I’m super happy to hear that, Jonathan! 🙂

    • MC
    • 5 stars

    This was SO good! I made it last night with a couple tweaks to my taste. I did 3 strips of bacon instead of 6 (the sugar free bacon from WF), almost doubled the cumin, added black pepper, and used the better than bouillon paste instead of power and just mixed it with the water before adding. I also drained a bit off the water off the beans before adding them because I wanted mine to be a bit more dry. Will definitely make again!

    • Pam C
    • 5 stars

    Amy, I absolutely love this recipe and you! Your rice recipes are fantastic – I need a basic recipe for long grain rice and really trust you! Do you have one?
    Pam

      • Amy Dong

      Please watch for our upcoming long grain rice post soon! Thank you so much for your trust, Pam ❤️

    • Sarah

    It was okay, not a huge fan with the green peppers in it. I felt like they overpowered the rest of the flavors. Felt like this was nice
    Hard to follow the recipe when multiple ads kept coming up and moved the page from ingredients and directions back up to the top of the page and had to scroll back down multiple times.

    • Pam C
    • 5 stars

    Hi, Amy! Can I reheat the rice in the oven? If so, can you tell me the best way to do that? Thank you!!!!
    Pam C

      • Amy Dong

      Yes, absolutely. Just cover with foil or lid and reheat at oven that’s been preheated to 300F. My guess is 10-15 minutes should do.

    • Lin

    I’m making the rice tonight, for tomorrow’s dinner. When finished tonight, do I fluff the rice and put it in a different serving dish so I can reheat it tomorrow. Should I reheat in microwave or oven. What temps?
    Thanks.

      • Amy Dong

      You can fluff the rice and let it come to room temp before covering and storing in fridge. Reheat the amount you’ll eat in microwave, just until warmed through. Enjoy!

    • Lin

    If I substitute unsalted chicken broth for the water – do I eliminate the chicken bouillon powder?

      • Amy Dong

      No, I would still use the bouillon if the broth is unsalted. Enjoy!

    • Pam C
    • 5 stars

    Hi, Amy! My family absolutely loves this dish! Can you freeze and reheat leftovers? Thank you!!
    Pam C

      • Amy Dong

      Yes, you can freeze in airtight container 🙂 SO happy they all love this!

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