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.

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 soaking 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 ½ 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 ¼ hours for soaked beans and 1 ½ to 1 ¾ 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 ½ 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 ½ to 2 hours for soaked beans and 2 ¼ to 1 ½ 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:

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.

Chipotle Black Beans (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.
5 from 22 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Servings 16 servings
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 123

Ingredients 

  • 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 ground 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

Instructions 

  • 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 Video

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 in step 2, adding enough water to cover (you may only need 1 to 2 cups), and cook until heated through, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 123kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 6gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 8mgPotassium: 447mgFiber: 5gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 5IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 46mgIron: 2mg
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Comments

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I followed the canned directions (drained and heated) and then followed the directions for the recipe, including adding 6 cups of water. It didn’t look right, so I looked through the comments and see that wasn’t the right step. Would you mind clarifying the directions so the next person doesn’t make my mistake? Thanks!

    Also, I subbed one of the Tbsp of oil for bacon fat and it was delish!

    1. Hi Claire, thank you so much for your comment! I definitely see where it was confusing, sorry about that! I’ve updated the recipe card notes to clarify it. Thank you again! – Meggan

    1. Hi Brenda, these Chiptole recipes are created as copycats with no specific diet in mind but feel free to adjust as needed! – Meggan

  2. i’m giving this 5 stars without having tried it or even reading it in its entirety partly because this looks and sounds really good, especially ths photo of all the ingredients in the pot, and it’s refreshing to see a recipe that doesn’t incorporate meat for a change.
    i arrived here as the result of a Google search for “how to prevent chipotle from breaking during cooking”.
    this usually happens to us when we cook pinto beans in the pressure cooker for our tacos.
    although i haven’t done it yet, i’ve considered putting the pepper in a tea bell.
    i wonder how many other people have this problem when cooking with chipotle.5 stars

    1. Hi Carl, I haven’t run into this specific issue but I would recommend you put it in a cheesecloth sachet tied with twine. Hope this helps, thank you for the kind words! – Meggan

  3. I have to admit that as much as I eat Chipotle I’m not really sure what their black beans taste like on their own, so I can’t attest to these tasting like the original, but these came out delicious regardless! I made a half batch using canned beans, used an additional diced up chipotle pepper in lieu of adding the teaspoon of adobo sauce, and because I couldn’t find any firm answer on how long a bay leaf needs to simmer to effectively release its flavor I simmered them for about an hour to be safe. 10/10, will make again!

  4. Hi, I’m making this recipe in a slow cooker on a low setting. Should I soak the beans before cooking?

    1. Hi Lark, No, you don’t have to soak the beans first. I created this recipe assuming you would not pre-soak the beans and the recipe accounts for the extra cooking time because of that! Hope this helps! -Meggan

  5. I have a question on both of your bean recipes using cans. Why do you rinse and drain the cans and add them to boiling water? If they’re already cooked, won’t they just fall apart? I’m taking the easy way out this time because I have too much to do tomorrow and I’m making many chipotle recipes for my daughter in laws birthday. I’m doing this tomorrow so I hope I hear something before that or I’m winging it and keeping the juice in and just adding the spices to it. Fingers crossed everything comes out swimmingly. That or I’m ordering the real thing! hahaha

    1. Hi Monica, the beans don’t turn into mush. They do break down a little more than dried beans. I hope everything goes well with the birthday party! – Meggan

  6. I literally make this recipe about every two weeks because these beans are the bomb. They taste just like chipotle beans but also go with basically anything and are a wonderful meal prep bulk ingredient. Thank you!!5 stars

  7. Silly question, you mention cooking the beans TWICE in the description. If you soak dried beans overnight, do you need to cook them for the two hours first, THEN cook them with all the ingredients. Or are we just cooking them once with the ingredients? Thank you for the feedback I plan on trying this tomorrow.

    1. Hi Gregory, NOT a silly question. I’m sorry that I wrote it in a confusing manner; I was trying to be helpful but I think I ended up just making it worse! Basically, you don’t need to soak or cook the beans or do anything at all – you can just make the recipe. You can soak the beans if you want to. If you do, you still just make the recipe as written. This entire post looks confusing so I’m going to fix it up. I’m sorry again. -Meggan

  8. 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. 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

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