how to make black beans from scratch

I’ve been making beans since I was a kid. At 12, I would forget to start them and then (30 minutes before my parents were due home) I would throw them on the stove top at the highest possible heat and… burn them. 28 years later, black beans are still a huge part of our diet and I still make them from scratch. I’ve gone from cooking them on the stove top, to the slow cooker, and have now landed on my favorite method – the pressure cooker – which gets me a cooked pots of beans in about 25-30 minutes. I needed this contraption when I was 12!

Their simple preparation makes them versatile and we have jars of both the beans and broth in the fridge at all times. We eat them whole with their yummy broth over a bowl of rice (and a squeeze of lime). They go on nachos. They get refried with a little coriander and oil for a quick taco base. They can do no wrong, these beans!

Black Beans (Frijoles Negros) with a Pressure Cooker
2 cups of dried black beans, picked over and thoroughly washed.
6 cups of water
a few sprigs of fresh epazote or 1 tsp dried
salt to taste

  1. Sort and rinse your beans.
  2. Cover your beans in water and soak overnight. Discard soaking water.*
  3. Place soaked beans, fresh 6 cups of water, and epazote in pressure cooker.
  4. Lock lid in place and bring to pressure over medium heat.
  5. Lower heat to medium low once pressure cooker is at full pressure and cook for 11 minutes (Refer to your pressure cooker’s manual for directions on how to operate).
  6. Pull pressure cooker off heat and allow pressure to drop using natural release method.
  7. Open pressure cooker once pressure has dropped and salt to taste immediately.

* Shortcut: Pour boiling water over your beans and let stand for 15 minutes. The skins will get a little crinkly and they will start to expand just a wee bit. Pour off water and rinse.

Slow cooker method: Cover soaked beans with 6 cups of fresh water in slow cooker. Secure lid and cook on low for 6 hours. Most pressure cookers have a “keep warm” setting these days, so they should be warm and ready of salting when you get home from work.


  1. Gwen

    I love beans; red beans, white beans, and black beans. My earliest memories are visiting my grandmother’s house. She always had a pot of beans cooking. I loved the aroma of her house.

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