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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 recipe

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.

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Key Ingredients and Substitutions for delicious Rice and Beans

  • Fresh garlic is minced together with table salt to form a quick, simple paste that provides huge flavor in this humble dish. Substitution: 1 tablespoon garlic powder can be used in a pinch
  • 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.
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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 fluffy 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

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.

cuban-rice-5

Try this One-Pan Thai Style Fried Rice, too:

Print

Cuban Rice and Beans Recipe

5 from 24 reviews

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. Simply reheat in the microwaves with a sprinkle of water and serve!

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins

Yield: 10 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and finely chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 2 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain white rice 
  • 2 (15.5 oz each) cans black beans, with liquid
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 TB red wine vinegar
  • Optional garnish: chopped cilantro or sliced green onions

Instructions

  1. Place garlic clove on a cutting board and sprinkle with table salt. Let sit for 3 minutes and mince into a paste with knife. Set aside.
  2. Place bacon and olive oil in a large heavy pot. Constantly stir over medium high heat until bacon renders fat and turns golden brown, about 6 min. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic paste into the bacon and stir until vegetables are translucent, about 5 min. Add the chicken bouillon powder, the bay leaf, cumin, oregano, and rice. Stir for 1 minute until well mixed and all the rice is coated in oil.
  3. Add the beans with their liquid, the water, and vinegar. Mix to combine. Cover and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer, and simmer covered for 45 minutes. Do not peek. 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.

Notes

If desired, see original article for ingredient substitutions, meal options, and ways to serve.

If preparing the rice in its entirety the night before, just sprinkle about 1/4 cup water over rice, cover, and microwaves to reheat.

If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating  ♡

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 249
  • Sugar: 1.4 g
  • Sodium: 299.9 mg
  • Fat: 9.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 32.6 g
  • Protein: 7.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 11.1 mg
  • Author: Chew Out Loud, adapted from “Latin Grilling” by Lourdes Castro
  • Category: rice
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: cuban

Keywords: Cuban rice and beans recipe

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

Did you make this?

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Recipe rating

59 comments

    • Eli Williams

    Fabulous flavor! Water levels were a bit off, but may have been my use of jasmine rice. Either way, loved this dish. It made a boatload, so lots of leftovers!

      • chewoutloud

      Love it, Eli!

    • Katrina

    Made this last night as a side dish with Cubanos. Amazing! Got a “You can make this again! Actually, you can make it 6 days a week.” I have heavy Le Creuset Pot that I cooked it in (no peeking) while I made all the sandwiches. 45 min was perfect. I used low sodium chicken stock instead of water and bullion.

      • chewoutloud

      Awww, that’s awesome, Katrina!! So happy everyone loved this dish. 🙂

    • Lathiya

    Rice is our staple food and not one day goes without having rice. These Cuban rice and beans sounds easy and delicious.

    • Hani

    As an Indonesian who can’t spend a day without rice, this recipe is very useful to be cooked occasionally for variation! Thank you for sharing the recipe. 🙂

    • Ramona

    Looks like the perfect meal – rice and black beans – cannot get any better for me. I like the flavours in this dish and I will be giving a go in my pressure cooker – it will be ready in a flash – I do hope it will work out well.

    • Kacey Perez

    Such an amazing, tasty, easy recipe to make! Love how the ingredient list is short, but its packed with flavor!

      • chewoutloud

      So happy you liked this recipe, Kacey! 🙂

    • Jacque Hastert

    This sounds amazing! Rice and beans never get old and with the minimum availability of some foods this is perfect.

    • Sondra Barker

    This sounds so good! I would love to try this out and pair it with a protein- Yum!

    • Gail Montero

    I eat rice three times a day so this tasty rice and beans is right up my alley. Have to add this to our dinner rotation

    • Marta

    Fun fact: this rice, in Spanish, is called moros y cristianos (Moors and Christians). It’s a nod to the Moors having occupied Spain for close to 400 years!

      • chewoutloud

      Super fun fact!! 🙂 Thanks, Marta!

    • Jacqui DeBono

    I love the texture of the beans in this! Rice and peas (though it’s actually beans!) is one of my favorite Guyanese/ West Indian dishes and this reminds me of it so much. I must try this!

    • Jere Cassidy

    Glad to have this recipe right now so I can serve a lot of people and it’s kinds of like that good comfort food.

    • Lesli Schwartz

    Having been born and raised in Miami, we ate a lot of black beans and rice! I’ve been missing this rice dish and can’t wait to make your recipe!

    • Stine Mari

    I’m definitely going to try this soon. Rice and beans were honestly the only thing I liked when visiting Cuba. However, I need to try your Cuban pork with mojo as well, to accompany this rice, they both sound delicious!

    • Ian

    Can you make this in a pressure cooker like an Instant Pot? I have made this before, it’s delicious, but I just cant get the trick of stovetop rice cooking. It always comes out too mushy yet somehow also undercooked. What modifications if any should be made for an instant pot?

    • vag

    tastes good but rice is overcooked

      • chewoutloud

      Sometimes I find that rice varieties/brands make a difference. SO happy you liked the flavor 🙂 Next round, try using just a bit less liquid to suit your rice. Thanks for being here and happy autumn!! 🙂

        • Michael

        As has been suggested above, I am also very skeptical about 45 minutes for long grain rice, and not sure how the brand would make any difference. I’ve been cooking all my life and I’ve never seen a bag of long grain rice that says anything longer than 20 minutes for cooking. I’m going to cook it your way but also keep an eye on it. I’ve made many similar dishes and if there is not enough water or liquid the rice will normally just burn in the bottom of the pan. I hope I’m wrong, will update later with results.

          • Ann

          Delicious ,took it to a school event .Everyone enjoyed it .I garnished it with green onions and served it with fried sliced ripe plantains.

            • chewoutloud

            That’s fantastic that you brought this to your event! So glad everyone enjoyed. Thanks, Ann! 🙂 🙂

              • Stephanie

              This sounds like such a fantastic recipe and I’m glad I stumbled across your blog, so many great recipes!!!!!

              I know you said you don’t have a rice cooker but would you happen to have any tips for trying to fix this in one?

        • Tanecia

        Can you make this with brown rice?

          • chewoutloud

          Yes, Tanecia, you can make this with brown rice, but the rice-to-liquid ratio should be modified, per instructions on your bag of rice. Brown rice also takes longer to cook, so I’d give it at least 1 hour of simmer time (covered at all times) and let it rest a bit longer after cooking before removing the lid. Enjoy! 🙂

        • Dana Studer

        Does Walmart carry long grain rice? And do you eat this as a main course or alongside meat? Thanks. Looks good.

          • chewoutloud

          Hi, Dana! I am guessing Walmart does, as most stores will carry long grain these days. If you’re having a meatless night, you can definitely eat this as a main course with some veggies. We typically have this as a side dish when we serve this goodie: https://www.chewoutloud.com/2015/03/18/cuban-braised-pork-with-mojo-sauce/ 🙂 Enjoy and hope you love it!

        • Lisa

        Great recipe, I cooked it exactly as shown except I halved it. Reminded us of Cuba!

          • chewoutloud

          Yay, Lisa! So glad you liked this 🙂 Thanks for coming over today to let us know! 🙂

        • Cat

        Isn’t 45 minutes too long to cook this recipe?

          • chewoutloud

          Cat, it takes a bit longer to cook long grain rice, and you want to be sure it’s nice and tender. In our experience, 45 min works perfectly for tender yet not mushy rice. The worst is rice that’s undercooked, because it’s tricky to salvage undercooked rice once the pot lid has been opened up. Hope that helps and hope you’ll try this recipe 🙂 Enjoy! Thanks so much for being here today!

            • scstahl

            This recipe looks delicious! Have you ever tried it with brown rice?

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