Cuban Black Beans and Rice (Moros y Cristianos)

5 from 1 vote

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No dish is more versatile than black beans and rice, and these Cuban black beans have flavor in spades. Fluffy rice and beans are simmered with a variety of Latin spices, peppers, onions, and garlic for a final product you can serve on the side or as your main course!

overhead: a bowl of Cuban black beans and rice with thick-cut bacon

Also known as moros y cristianos, this black beans and rice recipe is a staple of Cuban cuisine. Often served as a side dish or as a meatless meal, it is generously spiced and cooked with plenty of peppers, onions, and tender legumes to fill you up!

For a little extra bulk and flavor for the vegetables, I start this recipe with crispy thick-cut bacon. That fat really sets the foundation for flavor! You can leave it out, though, for a vegan-friendly version of black beans and rice.

closeup: black beans and rice recipe in a skillet

A similar meatless rice and beans option with a nicely spiced palate is my Mexican black beans and corn, or frijoles con elote. You might even take a note from that recipe to bulk these black beans even more with corn and extra chiles. Or use it to fill tacos, burritos, or a simple rice bowl with guacamole and sour cream!

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Thick-Cut Bacon – Cut a couple of slices into ¼-inch pieces that will mix well with the black beans and rice. To make a vegetarian variation of Cuban black beans, omit this ingredient. 
  • Bell Peppers – A combination of bitter green and sweet, juicy red peppers add lovely variance to this dish. Yellow and orange bell peppers are certainly fine to use as substitutes if desired, seasonal, or already rolling around in your refrigerator!
  • Long Grain Rice Short-grain rice, which tends to be stickier, is not well suited for this black beans and rice recipe. Opt for jasmine or basmati. 
  • Black Beans – Don’t drain the liquid! It adds extra, savory flavor to the rice as it cooks.
  • Sazon Seasoning This spice mixture features the staples of Latin cooking: achiote, cilantro, oregano, cumin, and more. Save both money and time you’d spend at the grocery store with my homemade sazon blend!
  • Ground Cumin – Your closest substitutes are coriander, chili powder, or paprika.
  • White Onion – This onion cooks down to a good texture and mild flavor. Yellow onion is a good substitute, though it’ll have a more significant texture.
overhead: rice and beans cooking in a skillet

Tip From Kevin

Moros y Cristianos or Arroz Congri?

Moros y Cristianos, pronounced “moe-roes-e-chris-tee-anos,” incorporates black beans, while Congri, pronounced “kon-gree,” features red beans. However, the name you use depends on your place of birth; in some regions of Cuba, it’s referred to as congri, while in others, it’s known as moros.

side view: Cuban black beans and rice in a bowl with bacon

Tip From Kevin

Rice & Beans

Together they are a classic comfort food combo in Latino and Caribbean communities and some parts of the American South and is one of the healthiest dishes you can eat. It’s rich in plant protein—12 grams per cup—and it provides nutrients that most Americans don’t get enough of. Top among them is fiber.

How to Make Black Beans and Rice

  1. Fry the Bacon. Place the bacon in a heated Dutch oven or deep skillet, and fry until crispy. Once browned, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Leave the fat in the pan.
  2. Sauté the Vegetables. Add the chopped bell peppers and onion to the still-hot pan. Stir for 3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute until aromatic.
  3. Season & Simmer. Empty the can of beans, liquid included, into the pan. Follow with the rice, sazon seasoning, cumin, and 1 ½ cups of water. Drop the bay leaf in as well. Stir it all together and bring to a boil. Once a rolling boil is achieved, cover and reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the Bacon & Serve. Remove from the heat but keep the lid on for an additional 10 minutes. Uncover and remove the bay leaf. Fluff the rice and beans with a fork and stir in the cooked bacon.
  • Dutch Oven – This is a versatile pot that you really can’t do without in your kitchen. Stews, stir fries, roasts – there isn’t anything a Dutch oven can’t do! Plus, it retains heat well enough to be used as a serving dish for potlucks and parties. 
  • Deep Skillet – These cast irons give you more room and higher sidewalls. It’s great for saucier recipes or for making any of your favorite recipes in larger quantities! 

Storing and Reheating

Leftover black beans and rice can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Allow to cool down, then refrigerate right away to limit the chance for any bacteria to grow.

Reheat in the microwave with a bit of water or stock added to bring moisture back to the dish. Warm for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until heated through.

overhead: black beans and rice recipe with bacon and fresh herbs on top in a bowl

Frequently Asked Questions

How much protein is in black beans?

½ cup of black beans contains 8 grams of protein, making them an excellent meatless protein option. 

These proteins are easiest to digest when cooked, which is one of the reasons why this black beans and rice recipe has a 40-minute cook time. It isn’t just for texture! The fibers are broken down and softened, making them much easier on your stomach than when they are right out of the can.

What meat goes with rice and beans?

Cuban cuisine almost always contains meat, so this is an important question in terms of authenticity! As pork is widely consumed in Cuba, my version of Cuban arroz congri includes thick-cut bacon.

However, chicken and beef will both also taste great with the ingredients used in this recipe.

Should I soak the rice before making Cuban black beans?

No. The rice will cook as it simmers in the canned juice and water, so no prior cooking or soaking is necessary.

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Cuban Black Beans and Rice (Moros y Cristianos)

5 from 1 vote
Cuban black beans and rice are made with peppers, garlic, and Sazon spice for a subtle heat. This simple dish is bursting with Latin flavor!
Servings: 6
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total: 50 minutes



  • In a Dutch oven or deep skillet, add bacon and fry until brown and crispy. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve bacon fat in pan.
  • Transfer green and red peppers and onions to skillet. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add rice, black beans, 1 1/2 cups water, sazon, cumin and bay leaf. Stir to mix and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, keeping the lid on for another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork discard bay leaf then stir in the cooked bacon.


Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 629mg | Potassium: 402mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 454IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: side dishes
Cuisine: Cuban
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
close up of bowl of cuban black beans and rice with bacon in white bowl


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. A friend from Panama used to make a variation of this, but it was not so seasoned. He called it “Moros y Cristianos.”

    1. Thank you so much for this information. I read up on this and have updated the name to reflect the correct naming Cristina!

  2. 5 stars
    These were so tasty and a filling dish on its own, but I added shredded chicken for a dinner. Great flavors here Kevin.