Drunken Black Beans

Black Beans With Queso
Drunken Black Beans FreezeFrameStudio/Getty Images
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 75 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
240 Calories
3g Fat
38g Carbs
11g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 240
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 42mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 9g 34%
Protein 11g
Calcium 112mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Drunken Black Beans are cooked in beer and flavored with onion, garlic, and cilantro stems. I came up with cooking beans this way when I had an entire bunch of cilantro stems sitting on the counter - the leaves used in a relish - and figured I'd throw them in the pot. Easy, delicious.

Spice these beans up by adding a chopped chile or two in with the garlic or simply top the final dish with a kicky green pepper relish, grilled tomatillo salsa, or keep it simple with chile onion relish or salsa fresca. In any case, a sprinkle of queso fresco (as pictured) smooths everything out beautifully. 

Which beer should you use? Whatever you happen to have around (because presumably, you like the taste of it) is a good choice. That said, super hoppy or bitter beers can get a bit intense when cooked. So a pilsner or a lager might be a better choice than an IPA. 


  • 1 pound black beans (a.k.a. turtle beans)
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 bottles of beer (12 ounces each)
  • 2 bunches of cilantro (stems only, reserve leaves for another use)
  • Salt to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Put the beans in a large bowl, cover with cold water, and let sit overnight to soak (or use the quick soak method: put the beans in a pot, cover them with water, bring to a boil, cover, take off the heat, let sit for an hour, drain, and voila! You have "soaked" beans ready to cook!).

  2. Peel and chop the onions and garlic.

  3. In a large pot over high heat, heat the oil. When the oil is hot (it will shimmer slightly), add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Slowly pour in the beer to minimize foaming. Add 4 cups of water, too.

  4. Drain the beans and add them to the pot with the beer. Bring the beans and beer to a boil.

  5. While the beans come to a boil, rinse the cilantro stems and use kitchen string to tie them into 2 bundles. Add these to the pot.

  6. When the beans and beer start to boil, reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cook, stirring once in a while until the beans start to swell like cooked beans and are almost tender to the bite, about 30 minutes. Add salt so the cooking liquid is properly seasoned--add enough salt so the flavor of the cooking water jumps up a bit but not so much that it tastes salty). Continue to simmer the beans until fully tender to the bite, about 15 more minutes. Serve the beans hot or warm, garnished, if you like, as described above.

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