Chipotle Black Beans Recipe (Copycat)

These copycat Chipotle Black Beans are easy to make, inexpensive, and healthy! Add to burritos and salads or serve with rice for a tasty vegetarian meal.

These copycat Chipotle Black Beans are easy to make, inexpensive, and healthy! Add to burritos and salads or serve with rice for a tasty vegetarian meal.
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I love the complex, smoky flavor or Chipotle's black beans. Unlike my first black beans recipe, this version has no bacon and no bell peppers, but it's just as hearty and delicious.

Do I need to soak the beans first?

No, you don’t have to soak the beans first.

I created this recipe assuming you would NOT pre-soak the beans. I assumed you would wake up one day and decide to make Chipotle black beans.

Un-soaked beans take about 30 minutes longer to cook and require more liquid than soaked beans. This recipe accounts for that.

Warning: If you substitute dried kidney beans, you MUST pre-soak them and boil them for at least 10 minutes. Please see "Kidney Beans are Toxic if Not Cooked Correctly" below.

If you want to soak the beans first, there are two methods to do it: Overnight-soak and Quick-soak.

Overnight-Soaking Method for beans:

  1. Pick through and rinse 1 pound beans.
  2. Cover the beans with 5 cups over water and soak overnight.
  3. Drain and discard soaking liquid (see below “Should I discard soaking liquid?”).

Quick-Soaking Method for beans:

  1. Pick through and rinse 1 pound beans.
  2. To a large saucepan, add beans and enough liquid to cover them by 1 inch.
  3. Bring beans to boil and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove saucepan from heat, cover, and let beans sit for 1 hour.
  5. Drain and discard soaking liquid (see below “Should I discard soaking liquid?”).

Should I discard the soaking liquid?

Yes.

But not everyone agrees on this:

  • Some people say it’s a waste of water to throw away the soaking water.
  • Some people say if you keep the soaking water, it adds a sour taste.

I have learned from cooks in Mexico that they don’t usually soak beans at all. But if they do, they toss the cooking liquid. So that's what I do too.

These copycat Chipotle Black Beans are easy to make, inexpensive, and healthy! Add to burritos and salads or serve with rice for a tasty vegetarian meal.

Cooking Dried Beans:

You can pre-cook beans to keep on hand or freeze for later.

For 1 pound of pinto beans, navy beans, Great Northern beans, red kidney beans, Cannellini beans, or black-eyed peas:

  1. To a large saucepan, add 1 pound beans, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, and water (4 quarts for soaked beans, 5 quarts for un-soaked beans).
  2. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to gentle simmer and cook until beans are tender (about 1 to 1 1/4 hours for soaked beans and 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours for un-soaked beans).
  3. Stir the beans occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan and adjust heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Drain.

For 1 pound of black beans or chickpeas (garbanzo beans):

  1. To a large saucepan, add 1 pound beans, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, and water (4 quarts for soaked beans, 5 quarts for un-soaked beans).
  2. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to gentle simmer and cook until beans are tender (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours for soaked beans and 2 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours for un-soaked beans).
  3. Stir the beans occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan and adjust heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Drain.

Wait – you add salt to the beans before they are cooked?

Yes.

You may have heard somewhere that the universe will implode if you add salt to beans before they are completely cooked.

However, if you read Kenji López-Alt’s information in his book, The Food Lab, he did some side-by-side testing and determined that salting beans before they are cooked is fine. In fact, doing so helps prevent the beans from exploding (see page 256 in his book).

Kidney Beans are Toxic if Not Cooked Correctly

Kidney beans contain phytohemagglutinin, a type of lectin that is very toxic at high levels.

You MUST pre-soak dried kidney beans and hold them at boiling point (212 degrees Fahrenheit) for at LEAST 10 minutes.

This means you should never cook kidney beans in a slow cooker. You won't know for sure if the slow cooker reached boiling temps and held it for 10 minutes. Better to be safe than sorry!

These copycat Chipotle Black Beans are easy to make, inexpensive, and healthy! Add to burritos and salads or serve with rice for a tasty vegetarian meal.

How to Cook Chipotle Black Beans on the stove:

  1. Heat oil until shimmering and cook onions until softened.
  2. Stir in garlic until fragrant, then add beans, spices, and enough water to cover.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until beans are tender, about 2 hours.
  4. Remove bay leaves and chipotle chilies if desired. Add lemon juice, lime juice, and s&p to taste.

How to Cook Chipotle Black Beans in a Slow Cooker:

  1. Heat oil until shimmering and cook onions until softened.
  2. Stir in garlic until fragrant, then add beans, spices, and enough water to cover.
  3. Bring to a boil, then transfer to a slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
  4. Remove bay leaves and chipotle chilies if desired. Add lemon juice, lime juice, and s&p to taste.

Can I substitute canned beans?

To substitute canned beans use 3 or 4 cans of black beans. Rinse and drain before adding to the saucepan and bringing to boil.

  • 1 pound of dried black beans is approximately 7 cups of cooked beans
  • 7 cups of beans is approximately 56 ounces
  • 3 (15.5 ounce) cans = 45 ounces beans
  • 4 (15.5 ounce) cans = 62 ounces beans

What can I do with my leftover Chipotle peppers and/or adobo sauce?

Transfer to a bag and freeze for future use, or use in:

5 from 2 votes

Chipotle Black Beans Recipe (Copycat)

These copycat Chipotle Black Beans are easy to make, inexpensive, and healthy! Add to burritos and salads or serve with rice for a tasty vegetarian meal.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword beans
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Calories 136kcal
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or rice bran oil
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound dried black beans rinsed and sorted
  • 2 chipotle chilies plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (see notes)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups water (enough to cover beans)
  • fresh lemon juice to taste
  • fresh lime juice to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • In a Dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat, heat oil until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add beans, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, cumin, oregano, and bay leaf. Add enough water to cover and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, about 2 hours. 
  • Remove from heat. Remove chipotle chilies if desired and bay leaf. Stir in lemon and lime juices, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe Notes

You can use either Italian or Mexican oregano. They have different flavors (Mexican oregano tastes more like marjoram) but both taste great in this recipe. Feel free to use whatever you have.
Pre-soaking the beans:
Soaking the beans before cooking is not required. However, you can cut about 30 minutes off the cooking time if you pre-soak the beans. WARNING: If you substitute dried kidney beans, you MUST pre-soak them and boil them for at least 10 minutes.
Overnight-Soaking Method for beans:
  1. Pick through and rinse 1 pound beans.
  2. Cover the beans with 5 cups over water and soak overnight.
  3. Drain and discard soaking liquid.
Quick-Soaking Method for beans:
  1. Pick through and rinse 1 pound beans.
  2. To a large saucepan, add beans and enough liquid to cover them by 1 inch.
  3. Bring beans to boil and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove saucepan from heat, cover, and let beans sit for 1 hour.
  5. Drain and discard soaking liquid.
To substitute canned beans:
  1. Use 3 or 4 cans of black beans.
  2. Rinse and drain before adding to the pot and cook until heated through, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 136kcal

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  1. Francesca

    Hi! If I used canned beans, do I use all the same ingredients just cut the cook time? Even the 6 cups of water? Thanks!

    1. meggan

      Hi Francesca, no, you don’t need 6 cups of water! You probably only need 1 or 2 cups, basically just stir in some water until the beans are the consistency you like. You just need enough to heat the beans evenly. So that might even be none if you don’t drain the beans. Thanks! -Meggan

  2. Brenda

    Hi! We don’t have a Chipotle where I am in Canada but recently went on a trip and ate there several times. We love our Tex Mex!
    I’d like to make all of these elements and wondered if you can advice on how to make the black bean recipe in the Instant Pot. I’ve done retried beans before and they’re terrific and a FRACTION of the time and I’m hoping that may be the case for the black beans. Fingers crossed!

    1. Brenda

      Your directions were perfect and the beans tasted great. I did an entire Chipotle chicken bowl inspired by your copycat recipes. Best supper ever!

    2. Meggan

      Hi Brenda, I haven’t personally tested the black beans in an instant pot, but I have done my Chipotle pinto beans, so it should work out the same! Here is the reply I wrote for the person wanting to to the pintos:

      “I actually had you and one other person ask about these beans in the instant pot, so I wanted to test them for you two before giving you an answer. I saw tons of conflicting information from different sources on how long to do the beans. Ultimately, I ended up trying the bean button, and that cooked them on high pressure for 30 minutes, and did the natural release (which took another 30 minutes). They were chewy! I ended up closing the instant pot back up and doing another 10 minutes manual high pressure, then quick release. They were perfect! Here is what I would recommend:

      -Follow recipe card above for all ingredients (use 6 cups of water for sure)
      -Manual, high pressure 40 minutes, natural release”

      Good luck, hope they turn out great for you Brenda! -Meggan

  3. Veronica

    Can this recipe be made in an instant pot?

  4. Lisa

    Hi, how many 15oz cans should I use?

  5. Janice Alexander

    Can these beans be cooked ahead and frozen to heat up at a later date or do they get mushy?

    1. meggan

      Hi Janice, I don’t have a lot of experience freezing cooked beans and I feel like there aren’t any comprehensive resources on the topic! I will definitely make a batch, freeze them, and figure it out. In the meantime, my gut reaction is that you’d be fine making and freezing the beans. Just cover them completely with the cooking liquid, thaw them before reheating, and reheat them over low heat. Again, these ideas are untested so far but they make sense to me. You could also try undercooking the beans slightly the first time, but that feels super risky to me and I don’t recommend it. I’ll report back after some R&D! Thanks! -Meggan

  6. Sara

    Can you make this recipe with canned cooked beans?

    1. Julie Haring

      I actually used canned black beans and Penzy’s adobo spice (plus garlic powder, onion powder and salt and maybe some lemon or lime juice and possibly some kind of chili powder: I don’t remember exactly what I threw in there. I am betting it was dried or bottled versions of things in the recipie above) and got a pretty good imitation of thier beans. I didn’t rinse the beans; I used the juices in the can. It was beginners luck that I actually got pretty close that first time. I didn’t write down what I did though and I have only tried two other times to do this again with unsatisfying results, but it can be done with canned beans, Penzy’s adobo spice, and some other dried spices…. you would just have to experiment… Now that I see her recipie, I might start trying canned beans and my dried spices again to try and get a quick and dirty imitation without all the fuss.

    2. meggan

      Hi Sara, yes definitely! But rather than simmering for 2 hours, you could simmer just for 20 or 30 minutes and you’d be good to go. Thanks for your question! -Meggan

  7. Tom Sev

    Be careful when dumping heated ingredients into a slow cooke vesselr. A few months ago, I wanted to jumpstart my slowcooker chickpeas. So I got them up and boiling in a large pot on the stove and then dumped them into my slow cooker so they would be ready when I got home from work. My 3-month-old slow cooker cracked and the liquid started draining out. The vessel did not split open. It just got a crack that makes it unusable.
    I am guessing it was the heat shock of 3 cups of chickpeas and all of its water hitting a vessel at room temperature. This was probably a larger volume than most folks would make, but I wanted to mention it, so others can avoid such a result.
    Ok. I look forward to trying this recipe. Thank you so much for writing.

    1. Sandra

      Can I use Mexican Oregano in place of Italian Oregano? What is the difference?
      Thank you.

    2. Meggan

      Hi Sandra, you definitely could, but I have not tested it this way, and it would most likely give quite a different flavor. Mexican oregano tastes more like marjoram and Italian oregano tastes like oregano. While it may be a good way to do this, I think it wouldn’t taste like a Chipotle copycat recipe. Hope this helps!

  8. Amanda

    Do you generally cover the beans for the stovetop method or is it treated like the Chipotle rice method? I know you mention “if the beans are not covered” but do you generally place a lid on or not?

  9. Dom

    I owe my life to you. Been looking for this. Thank you so much.

    1. meggan

      First you should confirm you like the recipe! LOL! But I hope you do, and you’re welcome. :D

  10. Kelly

    All of your recipes are delicious!  Thank you! I had a different experience with soaking/not soaking. When I soaked them overnight they cooked in half the time, 1 1/2 hours vs 3.  5 stars

  11. Peyton Adkins

    The slow cooker option is really cool, I’m all for prepping and dumping and letting it cook!5 stars

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