Easy Mexican Black Beans

These Mexican black beans make a perfect side dish to any of your favorite Mexican and Southwestern style dishes. They are quick and easy to make and packed with flavor. 

One of my favorite sides when I am making some of my favorite Mexican dishes are black beans. This is one of those recipes that are easy to make, taste amazing, and don’t require a lot of work. Which makes these such a great dish whenever you are in a pinch. Just throw these in a pot and let them simmer while you get the rest of the meal ready and they will be good to go once everything else is ready.

In this recipe

This is a very simple side dish. Almost all of them can be found in your kitchen already and the rest are very cheaply found in the store. They make a great vegan side dish if you don’t include the option topping of cotija. 

Black beans: you want to use canned beans that have not been drained. This is an important step in making for a flavorful side. 

Cumin: will add an earthy and rich flavor to the beans. 

Paprika: adds a nice smokey flavor to the beans.

Ingredients for Mexican black beans on a wooden cutting board
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Blooming the spices first

One of the best ways to enhance the flavor of this dish, and any other for that matter, is to bloom the spices. This is done by cooking the spices in a fat like olive oil until they become fragrant. The heat causes the flavor compounds within the spices to be released into the oil. You need a high heat to do this which is why you want to do this before other ingredients as the high heat will cause the others to burn. You don’t want to bloom seasonings like onion and garlic powder as they will burn.

Blooming spices in a saucepan
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Onions in a saucepan
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Black beans and spices added to the saucepan
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Mexican black beans cooking in a saucepan
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Undrained beans for the win

There are a few reasons why you want to use the liquid in the cans with the beans. The first one is that it already comes with a lot of flavor as the beans have been marinating in it since canning. The alternative is to either add water or a vegetable stock which will dilute the bean flavor in the dish.

Secondly, the liquid has all of the starch from the beans in it. This is similar to pasta water which will make the beans more creamy. To get the same texture you would need to smash at least a quarter of beans to recreate the same starchy consistency if you were to drain and rinse the beans before cooking. 

Mexican black beans in a blue bowl
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An unexpected twist

One of the special things about this recipe is the lime juice that is added. This will add a nice little bit of acidity which helps sharpen the flavors in the bloomed spices at the beginning and provides a nice “bright” flavor as well. One of the important things is to not add the lime juice at the beginning as cooking it can cause the dish to become bitter. Adding the juice at the end of cooking will make all the difference in the final product and you will be glad you did. 

Close up of Mexican black beans
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Looking for other bean recipes?

Close up of Mexican black beans
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Easy Mexican Black Beans

A quick and easy to make side dish that makes for the perfect accompaniment to tacos, fajitas, or any of your other favorite dishes.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 servings
Calories 14 kcal


  • Saucepan
  • Spoon


  • 2 15 ounce canned black beans do not drain
  • 1 cup onion diced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • ½ tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Optional toppings

  • cilantro chopped
  • ¼ cup cotija cheese optional


  • In a saucepan heat the oil on medium high heat and add the cumin and paprika. Cook until the spices become fragrant, about 1 minute, and add the onions. Continue to cook until the onions until they turn translucent.
  • Add the black beans with their liquid, garlic powder, salt, and cilantro. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium low. Cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir in the lime juice once cooking has completed.
  • Top with additional cilantro and cotija cheese if desired.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 14kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 0.5gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.02gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.03gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 92mgPotassium: 58mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 65IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclaimer*
Keyword Black Beans, Frijoles, Healthy
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Mexican black beans Pinterest pin
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