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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

4.73 from 80 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


  • 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


  • 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.
    Cuban Rice and Beans Bacon
  • 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


  • 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


    • 5 stars

    This is absolutely delicious. You won’t believe the kind of flavor, nutrients, and satiety you will get for your money with this recipe. Thank you for sharing’

      • Amy Dong

      You’re so welcome 🙂

    • Kandace
    • 5 stars

    Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!!!! This recipe is on a regular rotation in our house. So good, either by itself, with an egg (my favorite for post-run meals!), or Mojo pork!!! I always sub in a poblanos for bell peppers in recipes, so that was the only change I made. Delicious!!!

      • Amy Dong

      Yes, we love this with mojo pork…the best meal!

    • Mikel
    • 5 stars

    I was very sceptical about the recipe, especially the cooking time. But OMG, amazing! Definitely going to be a regular. Thank you.

      • Amy Dong

      Yay Mikel!

    • Amy Dong

    Be sure to use long grain white rice, without rinsing it. Accurate measuring of water to rice ratio is super important. Feel free to email me with questions, and I’ll help!

    • Sally
    • 5 stars

    As a Type 1 diabetic, I don’t ever eat white rice since it really spikes blood sugar. I can eat brown rice (the fiber makes the difference) and used long grain brown rice in this. It may not be so authentically Cuban but it was great! My husband loves it too. One of my new favorite recipes. Thanks so much!

      • Amy Dong

      That’s helpful to know! Thank you, and glad you enjoyed this, Sally!

    • Sha
    • 5 stars

    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
    • 5 stars

    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
    • 5 stars

    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
    • 5 stars

    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?

      • Roxana Munoz
      • 5 stars

      This recipe is (chef’s kiss) incredible! So flavorful, fluffy and moist. No one ever knew this uses canned beans (even my Latino family that enjoys beans on the regular).

      To try to lighten this recipe (for my family with cholesterol), would we be able to use olive oil (rather than bacon)? Or would that compromise the taste too much?

      Loved this recipe! I served it alongside Jerk chicken and a side of baked plantains.

        • Amy Dong

        Yay, Roxana, so happy you guys loved it! And yes, olive oil will work 🙂

    • Liz P
    • 5 stars

    This was absolutely delicious! Thank you for sharing!

      • chewoutloud

      You’re so welcome, Liz!

    • Sophie
    • 5 stars

    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
    • 5 stars

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

    • Brianna
    • 5 stars

    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
    • 5 stars

    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
    • 5 stars

    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
    • 5 stars

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

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