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rice and beans

How to Make Rice and Beans

Rice and Beans, known as “arroz y frijoles” in Spanish, are staple components of many Mexican dishes, often served as a side dish or as a base for various meals.

Texture-wise, Mexican rice is typically cooked with onions, garlic, tomatoes, and sometimes bell peppers, resulting in a fluffy yet slightly sticky texture. It’s seasoned with spices like cumin and chili powder, giving it a mildly spicy and aromatic flavor profile.

Beans, most commonly pinto or black beans, are often cooked until they become creamy and tender. The texture of cooked beans can vary depending on the preparation—some recipes result in whole beans, while others are mashed or refried to create a smoother consistency.

Rice and beans are fundamental to Mexican cuisine and are often served together to create a well-balanced meal. They complement each other both in taste and texture, providing a satisfying combination of flavors.

These two ingredients serve as the foundation for numerous dishes. They can be used as a filling for burritos or tacos, served alongside meats or other main courses, or enjoyed as a simple yet hearty meal on their own.

Rice and beans are celebrated for their versatility, affordability, and nutritional value. They provide a substantial source of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates, making them an essential part of Mexican cooking that adds texture, depth, and a comforting element to many dishes.

Key Takeaways

  • Who this dish appeals to: Food enthusiasts looking for a wholesome and budget-friendly meal, those seeking the essence of Latin American comfort food.
  • Estimated duration: A straightforward cooking process that takes approximately 30-40 minutes.
  • Nutrition facts: A balanced and nutritious dish providing essential proteins, fiber, and carbohydrates.

About this Recipe

Rice and Beans is a versatile dish that varies across regions, each offering its unique twist. This recipe provides a basic foundation, allowing you to customize and elevate the dish according to your taste preferences.



  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste


  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Cooking Rice:

  1. Rinse Rice:
  • Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This helps remove excess starch.
  1. Saute Rice:
  • In a saucepan, heat vegetable oil over medium heat.
  • Add the rinsed rice and sauté for 2-3 minutes until it becomes slightly golden.
  1. Add Water and Salt:
  • Pour in 2 cups of water and add salt to taste.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 18-20 minutes or until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed.

Preparing Beans:

  1. Saute Aromatics:
  • In a separate skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat.
  • Add finely chopped white onion and minced garlic, sautéing until the onions are translucent.
  1. Add Beans and Seasonings:
  • Incorporate the drained and rinsed beans into the skillet.
  • Season with ground cumin, dried oregano, salt, and black pepper.
  • Cook for 5-7 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.


  1. Combine Rice and Beans:
  • Once the rice and beans are individually prepared, combine them in a serving dish or on individual plates.
  1. Garnish and Serve:
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro, lime wedges, or your preferred toppings.
  • Serve warm as a side dish or a hearty main course.

Serving Suggestions

  • Top with avocado slices, salsa, or a dollop of sour cream for added richness.
  • Pair with grilled chicken, beef, or sautéed vegetables for a complete meal.
  • Drizzle with lime juice for a burst of freshness.

Storage Options

Rice and Beans store well in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove with a splash of water to maintain moisture.

Ingredient Substitutes

  • Long-Grain White Rice: Substitute with brown rice or another rice variety for a different texture and flavor.
  • Black Beans or Red Kidney Beans: Use your preferred beans or a mix for a diverse blend of colors and tastes.

Alternatives to this Dish

Experiment with different bean varieties, such as pinto beans or black-eyed peas, and add vegetables like bell peppers or corn for a personalized twist on Rice and Beans.


Rice and Beans embody the soulful simplicity of Latin American cuisine, offering a nourishing and comforting dish that stands the test of time. This culinary classic invites you to savor the harmony of textures and flavors in every spoonful. ¡Buen provecho!