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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.

A pot of Chipotle copycat black beans.

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.

Black beans are great on burritos and bowls, but they’re also a great side dish with Mexican rice and corn tortillas or even scrambled eggs. I love beans for breakfast!

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. Chipotle Black Beans (Copycat) Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for Chipotle Black Beans.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Olive oil: Chipotle uses rice bran oil, but olive oil is more widely available (and probably already in your pantry).
  • Black beans: To soak dried beans overnight, pick through and sort 1 pound of dried black beans. In a large bowl, add beans and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Soak at least 8 hours overnight. Drain and discard soaking liquid.
  • Oregano: Chipotle uses Mexican oregano, but you can use Italian oregano if that’s all that you have. They have different flavors (Mexican oregano tastes more like marjoram) but both taste great in this recipe.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. 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.
Cooking onion in a pot for black beans.
  1. 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.
A pot of Chipotle copycat black beans.
  1. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, about 1 ½ to 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.
A pot of Chipotle copycat black beans.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes about 8 cups Chipotle black beans, enough for 16 (½ cup) servings.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer: The beans can be cooled and packed in freezer-safe containers, labeled, and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Quick soak: If you forgot to soak your beans the night before, use this method to get a jump-start on cooking them.
    1. Pick through and rinse 1 pound beans. To a large saucepan, add beans and enough liquid to cover them by 1 inch.
    2. Bring beans to boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat, cover, and let beans sit for 1 hour. Drain and discard soaking liquid.
  • Slow cooker Chipotle black beans:
    1. Heat oil until shimmering and cook onions until softened. Stir in garlic until fragrant, then add beans, spices, and enough water to cover.
    2. 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. Remove bay leaves and chipotle chilies if desired. Add lemon juice, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Substituting kidney beans: Kidney beans contain phytohemagglutinin, a type of lectin that is very toxic at high levels. To substitute dried kidney beans in this recipe, 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 212 degrees and held it for 10 minutes. Better to be safe than sorry!
A bowl of Chipotle copycat Barbacoa beef with black beans, cilantro-lime rice, and pico de gallo salsa.

Recipe FAQs

Can I substitute canned beans?

To substitute canned beans for the dried beans, use 4 cans of black beans. 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.

Do I absolutely need to soak the beans before I cook them?

No, you don’t have to pre-soak your beans. Un-soaked beans take about 30 minutes longer to cook than soaked beans, so just keep an eye on your beans and be prepared to add more water and/or cook them longer if they go in un-soaked.

Should I discard the soaking liquid?

Yes, you should. If you keep and use the soaking liquid in your recipe, it might add a sour taste. But, some people think it’s wasteful to discard the soaking water, so ultimately the choice is yours.

Chipotle Burrito Bowl

Tonight, stay in and build your own Chipotle Burrito Bowl with the copycat recipes you know and love. Fluffy rice, black beans, tender chicken, sweet corn salsa, tomato salsa, and lots of guacamole. It’s great…

50 minutes
View Recipe

More Chipotle fan favorites

A pot of Chipotle copycat black beans.

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 52 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Servings 16 servings (½ cup each)
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 123

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or rice bran oil (see note 1)
  • 2 medium yellow onions chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound dried black beans rinsed, sorted, and soaked overnight (see note 2)
  • 2 chipotle chilies plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (see note 3)
  • 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 1 ½ to 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

  1. Olive oil: Chipotle uses rice bran oil, but olive oil is more widely available (and probably already in your pantry).
  2. Black beans: To soak dried beans overnight, pick through and sort 1 pound of dried black beans. In a large bowl, add beans and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Soak at least 8 hours overnight. Drain and discard soaking liquid.
  3. Oregano: Chipotle uses Mexican oregano, but you can use Italian oregano if that’s all that you have. They have different flavors (Mexican oregano tastes more like marjoram) but both taste great in this recipe.
  4. Yield: This recipe makes about 8 cups Chipotle black beans, enough for 16 (½ cup) servings.
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  6. Freezer: The beans can be cooled and packed in freezer-safe containers, labeled, and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  7. Quick soak: If you forgot to soak your beans the night before, use this method to get a jump-start on cooking them.
    1. Pick through and rinse 1 pound beans. To a large saucepan, add beans and enough liquid to cover them by 1 inch.
    2. Bring beans to boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat, cover, and let beans sit for 1 hour. Drain and discard soaking liquid.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 123kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 6gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 8mgPotassium: 447mgFiber: 5gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 5IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 46mgIron: 2mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

  1. This came out quite sweet.
    I am wondering if I mistakenly used sweet onions instead of yellow.
    Do you know anything I can do to try to tame the sweetness?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Peter, so sorry! It’s possible the onions were sweet, or maybe sugar was used instead of salt? (I’ve made that mistake!) I would drain some of the cooking liquid and add more water, or even add more lemon or lime juice to taste. I’m sorry again! – Meggan

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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!

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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. 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

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

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

    1. 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

    1. 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

    2. 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.

  12. 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. 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!

  13. 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?

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

  14. 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