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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.

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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

    • Sha

    Deeee-freaking-licious! Instant Pot pressure cook (Jasmine rice) manual on high 5 minutes with a 10 minute natural release before releasing the valve. The only thing I added was a tsp of coriander. My son’s father was in the process of making a bowl of ice cream for himself but I asked him to taste the beans and rice to give me feedback; not only did he exclaim how full of flavor this was but he returned his ice cream back into the freezer so he could have a bowl of beans and rice first! HaHa!!

    • Angie

    Served this with Cuban Mojo Pork for company. This was DELICIOUS and a perfect accompaniment to the pork. Made it exactly as it’s written..soooooo yummy!

      • Amy Dong

      Awesome, Angie! So happy to hear it 🙂

    • Nikki Eugor

    Tried this recipe, pretty much did everything to a T, except for 2 cans of black beans and the bacon. I did have a little bit of bacon fat in the fridge that I added. Turned out great, with lots of flavors. Next time, on my veggie days, I’ll make this and utilize vegetarian stock. Thanks for the recipe!

      • chewoutloud

      So happy you guys loved it, Nikki!

    • Angela

    I’ve been making this for a while now and it always disappears instantly. Goes great with tacos!

    • Jessica

    Can you use kidney beans instead

      • chewoutloud

      Yes, you can, Jessica!

      • Pamela Dorn

      What can you use in place of red wine vinegar?

    • Liz P

    This was absolutely delicious! Thank you for sharing!

      • chewoutloud

      You’re so welcome, Liz!

    • Sophie

    Mmmm, deliciouso! Great recipe that cooked up perfectly. I served it with Mojo chicken.
    Thank you!

      • chewoutloud

      You’re so welcome!

    • Jane

    The recipe calls for green pepper. Do you mean like a serrano or a bell pepper?

      • chewoutloud

      Hi, Jane! It’s referring to green bell pepper. Thanks for trying this out! 🙂

    • Jeff

    I’m going to make your recipe. I love Cuban food as a whole. I have a question and a recommendation. 1st my question. I’m wanting to use 1 & 3/4 cups of chicken broth instead of 1 & 3/4 cups of water but, I don’t want to screw up the flavors that you have going on. What are your thoughts? My recommendation is that you put “uncooked” next to the rice on your recipe. Inexperienced people can be thrown off and worry if they are doing the recipe correctly.

      • chewoutloud

      Jeff, chicken broth would be great in the recipe. You can use unsalted broth and follow recipe as-is. Thanks for your ideas! 🙂

    • Albertina Geller

    I made this and invited my friends for dinner. Everyone loved it and one of my friends asked for the recipe!

    • Brianna

    Made this tonight for dinner and it was wonderful!!

    • Rosie Beckett

    It is good to know that when making Cuban style rice, long-grain white rice is what they typically use. I have been eating a lot of unhealthy microwave meals for the past few months because medical school has been so busy, and seeing a recipe like this makes my mouth water. I will have to find a Cuban restaurant in my area where I can try this dish since I won’t have time to make it myself.

    • L

    I made this with turkey bacon (we don’t eat pork) and it came out great. Very tasty. Next time, I will reduce the water a bit.

    • Rachel

    Tried this last night with Ropa Vieja and it was a hit. Sometimes rice and beans can be bland but these hold their own in the flavor department! I appreciated that once everything is chopped and sautéed in the pot, you just let it be so you can prep other things. Will definitely make again! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

      • chewoutloud

      Fantastic! So happy you enjoyed the flavors and cooking method, Rachel! 🙂 🙂

    • Jenn

    This was incredibly delicious. We gobbled it up! Thanks for the recipe!

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