This Cuban Instant Pot Black Bean Soup is Mami’s recipe, and it’s eaten at her house every week. Cubans love their black beans and serve it over rice with most meals. In fact, Cuban restaurants have black beans and rice as the typical side with any entrée.
You could say that black beans are the staple of the Cuban diet, at least it was for me growing up. Old-time Cubans think that eating rice without beans is too dry and forget about eating any entrée without rice! You’d think in a tropical climate like Cuba they would not be eating bean soups so often, but it’s their go to, no matter the temperature outside.
I don’t eat Cuban black beans as often as I used to growing up, but you can bet I have a few servings stashed in my freezer for quick black beans whenever the comfort food mood strikes. Mami (aka Bean Train) usually makes it for me and freezes it in little one-cup care packages.
Authentic Cuban Black Beans Are Simple And Easy To Make
Traditional Cuban black bean soup is a basic dish with just a few ingredients. I know many recipes call for tomatoes and such, but that’s not very traditional. An authentic Cuban black beans recipe has the traditional sofrito made with onions, peppers, and garlic. Seasonings include bay leaves, cumin, and oregano. Some Cuban recipes also use salt pork, but it’s optional. You can easily make vegan black bean soup by omitting the pork.
While you can cook the beans on the stovetop, my mom always used a pressure cooker. Now I use an Instant Pot , but either method cuts down the cooking time significantly.
Soaking and Cooking The Beans
Most Cuban recipes call for soaking the beans for a few hours or overnight. This makes the beans cook faster, breaks down complex sugars that make beans hard to digest, and removes harmful lectins. To learn more about how to cook beans, check out this New York Times article.
The Best Way to Eat Cuban Black Beans
You can enjoy a bowl of black beans as a soup. They are healthy and delicious. But most Cubans eat their beans over rice, as I mentioned earlier. It’s paired with just about any entrée, but it’s the best with picadillo or ropa vieja. A bowl of white rice, black beans, and picadillo is Cuban comfort food for me!
These beans freeze well, and you can keep them in the freezer for six months if they last that long. That way, you can always make it a part of any meal. My son likes to turn it into refried beans for nachos or enchiladas.
You can also top the beans with avocado, cilantro, or a little pico de gallo and make your simple bean soup into a meal. I hope you enjoy making my Cuban Instant Pot Black Bean Soup ?
Cuban black bean soup is the quintessential Cuban dish! This authentic recipe is super easy to make, with just a few simple ingredients. We usually serve it with rice as a side dish, but it’s hearty enough to be a meal on its own.
14 oz package dried black beans
2 bay leaves
1 green bell pepper
½ white onion (1 cup chopped)
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 ounce salt pork (about ½ cup chopped)
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon cumin
Soaking: Soak black beans in water and a pinch of salt for 4 hours or overnight.
Instant Pot: Rinse the beans and add to the Instant Pot along 8 cups of water, 2 bay leaves ½ green pepper, seeds, and ribs removed. Set the Instant Pot to pressure for 25 minutes. Make sure the steam valve is sealed. It will take about 20 minutes for the Instant Pot to build pressure, and then it will cook for 25 minutes. Once it’s done, allow the steam to release naturally, which should take about 10 minutes or so.
Prep: While the steam is releasing. Chop half a white onion, crush the garlic, chop the salt pork, and cut the remaining half green pepper into 6 large pieces (I remove these later, but if you want to leave in, you can chop the pepper finely).
- Set a saute pan on medium heat and add a few tablespoons of water and salt pork once heated.
- Let it cook until the fat is rendered and the pork is browned for about 5 minutes.
- Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add one tablespoon olive oil and let it heat up for 30 seconds.
- Add the onions, garlic, and pepper and sauté until onions are softened about 5 minutes.
Black Beans: Once the steam has been released, open the Instant Pot and add the salt pork, sauteed vegetables, and seasonings. Set the Instant Pot to sauté and cook for 30 minutes if you like your beans brothy or 45 minutes for thicker beans.
Finishing: Once the beans are cooked to your desired thickness, add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Adjust seasoning as desired.
Serve with white rice.
Makes 10 one-cup servings.
These beans freeze well and can be stored in the freezer for up to six months.
Stovetop Directions: If you’re not using an Instant Pot, you can simmer the beans on the stove top for an hour. Then add the sofrito, salt pork and seasonings and cook on low-medium heat until desired consistency.
- Serving Size: 10
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