Get your biggest pot out. Dream up your wildest dreams of homemade burrito bowls and black bean burgers. Put some Santana on. We are making black beans!
This might not seem like the most exciting recipe on first pass, but let me tell you – it’s a winner.
Why so much excitement about the humble black bean?
Because it turns out homemade black beans are the very best. The canned variety does not even hold a candle to the homemade ones. Homemade black beans are the most perfect texture, and are so, so flavorful.
This is a throw-everything-in-a-pot-and-forget-about-it kind of recipe, and can also be made in a crockpot if that’s more in line with your schedule! (See printable for slow cooker directions.)
Start by picking through your beans. Remove any stones. One of my greatest culinary fears is that someone will chip their tooth on a stone because I didn’t carefully pick through my beans. Any time I’m tempted to skip this step, I imagine the horror of speed-dialing my dentist and explaining that IT WAS ALL MY FAULT, and the stone-bean victim saying, why, why couldn’t you just sort your beans? So, I don’t skip this step. Some people will take out not-whole beans, too. I like to think a broken bean is still a bean, so I leave them with their bean buds.
Then add some good aromatics (onion! garlic! bay leaf!) and water to the pot with your beans. Get ready for your house to smell really good. Simmer away until your beans are tender and the skins are splitting. Once you’ve sampled some beans and are satisfied with the texture, fish out the onion halves and garlic and bay leaves.
The last step is to add the salt. All of my bean-cooking sources tell me this is something you SHOULD NOT DO before your beans are fully cooked. Why? I have no idea. But I am not one to challenge what is probably century-old bean wisdom, and I definitely don’t want to risk a ruined batch of black beans. If you are a rebel and are brave enough to try adding salt before cooking, please give me a detailed review!
I should also tell you that we never (never!) ate beans in my house growing up, so they’ve always felt sort of exciting to me. The forbidden fruit, if you will.
Call it delayed teenage rebellion, CALL IT WHATEVER YOU WANT. I just love my black beans.
Stovetop Black Beans
- 1 pound dried black beans, picked through and rinsed
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cups water
- 1 tablespoon salt
Combine beans, onion, garlic, bay leaf, and water in a large lidded pot. Cover and bring to simmer over medium-low heat. Continue simmering for 2-3 hours, until beans begin to split and are the desired softness.
Stir in salt, and adjust seasoning to taste.
These can also be made in a slow cooker! The method is the same – add all ingredients except the salt to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 3-4 hours, or on LOW for 6-8. Stir in salt when beans are fully cooked.