Guide to Preparing Rice and Beans

Rice and beans is one of the most commonly served dishes worldwide. And for a very valid reason. What is it?

It’s an incredible food: nutritious, delicious, versatile, practical, and economical. In many countries, you can find traditional versions of it.

In some places, it’s combined sumptuously with grains of different kinds and colors, spiced up with herbs.

For example, made with long-grain white rice, jasmine, basmati, or brown rice. And canned red, black, or white beans.

It’s eaten either as the main course, a side dish, or as a filling for certain recipes. Would you like to enjoy the flavor of this dish?

Learn to cook it quickly with this guide and why it’s so important to consume it. Take a look.

Benefits of eating rice and beans

Rice and beans are the perfect combo for maintaining health, as they provide a great deal of nutrients.

Starting with fiber and proteins containing all the essential amino acids to ensure optimal body function.

According to CR Consumer Report, a cup of rice and beans contains 10 grams of fiber, mostly from the beans.

The most commonly used beans for this dish are black, red, pinto, and small red beans, which are packed with antioxidants.

White rice contains carbohydrates, vitamin B, and some iron. Half a cup of cooked rice equals 2 grams of proteins.

These combined foods provide the same basic protein compounds as dairy, fish, meat, and poultry.

Tips for making a tastier dish

The combination of rice and beans is a very tasty, healthy, and easy-to-make recipe, even for those who have never prepared it.

There are certain tricks to make this dish even better and give it a unique touch. Keep reading to discover them.

Adapt the recipe

Traditionally, rice and beans are cooked with pork or bacon to add more flavor. But these add a lot of fat and salt.

The same goes for artificial ham-flavored seasonings used as pork substitutes.

You don’t necessarily need to prepare this dish that way to enjoy it. Add a sauté of garlic, onion, and peppers, along with fresh herbs.

Use the Right Rice

From the varieties of rice available, preferably choose long-grain white rice. It’s the best option for this recipe.

The reason is its smooth texture and mild flavor that complements any type of bean perfectly.

Additionally, it has less arsenic content than brown rice, which is beneficial for health. Rinse off excess starch with cold water.

Try Other Whole Grains

If you don’t want to use white or brown rice, accompany the beans with other types of grains. For example, barley, farro, or wheat berries.

These foods are very healthy and add texture to the mix. Another alternative is quinoa combined with rice to increase fiber content.

For a healthier option, include vegetables like carrots, which aid in digestion.

Soak the Beans

Soak the beans for several hours before cooking to reduce cooking time and ensure even cooking.

Then, discard the soaking water. Rinse several times to remove any residue or impurities.

Soaking also helps reduce components or substances in the beans that cause flatulence.

Use Exact Proportions

The secret to cooking a healthier dish is measuring portions. It helps control the amount of food and nutrients.

Follow the basic rule of using two cups of water for every cup of rice and three cups of water for every cup of beans.

In terms of ingredient fractions, a third of rice and two-thirds of beans are recommended.

Add Flavor

Although rice and beans are tasty on their own, adding some spices will give it an extra touch you won’t want to miss.

Consider enhancing the flavor with spices like cumin, garlic, smoked paprika, and bay leaves.

You can also flavor it with fresh thyme, curry, ginger, or onions for a sweet or spicy aroma.

Cook Thoroughly

When cooking the rice, beans, and other ingredients in the pot, make sure to cover and reduce heat. Boil for 20 minutes or until the grains are well-cooked. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Turn off the heat and let it rest for a few minutes for the flavors to meld before serving.

How to Store the Dish

If you have leftover rice and beans and don’t want to waste them, you can store them to keep them fresh.

Put them in a sealed container and freeze for later use.

This way, they maintain their smooth texture for several days and don’t lose their flavor. It’s also convenient for not having to cook daily.

When reheating, add a little water to retain moisture and heat in the microwave in a suitable container.

Or, if you prefer, heat in a pot over medium-low heat until it reaches your desired consistency.

Additional Recommendations

To ensure your preparation is perfect and healthy, we recommend selecting and cleaning the grains before cooking them.

Sometimes, they come dirty with small stones that can chip your teeth when bitten, or with pesticide residues.

You’ll notice this when the cooking water turns dark. In these cases, it’s advisable to drain it and replace it.

Rice should also be washed until the water runs clear. If using parboiled grains, it takes longer to fluff up but stays more intact.

Butter and peanut or coconut oil prevent rice and beans from sticking, so they come out separate and well-cooked.

Recipe for Rice with Black Beans


  • 1 cup of rice
  • 2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 onion, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Cilantro leaves


Sauté the chopped onion in a pot or saucepan with hot oil, preferably olive oil, for about 3 minutes.

When it’s transparent, add the broth, cover, and cook over low heat until it boils. Once boiling, add the salt.

Also, add the rice and beans with the liquid from the canned beans. Stir and cover again.

Leave it on the stove for 20 minutes, on low heat, to complete the cooking. Once ready, let it rest for about 4 minutes.

Separate the rice grains without crushing them by stirring with a fork. Serve and enhance the presentation of your dish with a little cilantro on top.

Nigerian Rice and Beans


  • 3 cups of rice
  • 2 cups of beans
  • 300 ml of fresh tomatoes
  • 700 ml of canned tomatoes
  • 1 chicken
  • 1 cup of sliced onion
  • 5 peppers
  • 2 seasoning cubes
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of curry
  • Oil
  • Salt


Cook the rice in boiling water for a few minutes and separately boil the beans. When they are done, set them aside separately.

Blend the 300 grams of fresh tomatoes and peppers together. Make a broth with the chicken, half a cup of onions, one seasoning cube, and salt.

Meanwhile, fry the tomatoes, add the remaining onions, and sauté for a minute. Then, add the canned tomatoes.

Stir for 15 minutes, and when they are well fried, remove half of the mixture. Incorporate two cups of broth plus two cups of water.

Season with salt, the seasoning cube, curry, and ground ginger. Let it boil and then pour in the precooked rice and beans.

Add half of the fried tomatoes we set aside and cook for 35 to 40 minutes. Check to see if it’s ready.

Jamaican Rice and Beans


  • 2 cups of basmati rice
  • 1 cup of beans
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 Scotch bonnet peppers
  • 5 allspice berries or Jamaican pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of butter

Step by Step

Place the soaked beans in a pot with the chicken broth and cook for 45 minutes or until they are tender.

Add salt, seasonings, herbs, and spices while stirring to combine all the ingredients. Add the previously washed rice.

Then, add the coconut milk and when it boils, reduce the heat, cover, and continue cooking over low heat for 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf, thyme, and peppers. Add the butter and stir with a fork to separate the grains.

If you are using canned beans, sauté the onion, peppers, and garlic first. Add bay leaf, thyme, ginger, and then the peas.

Enjoy the rice and beans dish accompanied with soups, stews, or your favorite salads.