Easy Cuban Red Beans or Frijoles Colorados are so hearty and meaty. They can be served with rice as a side dish or even as a hearty bean soup! Growing up in a Cuban household we usually ate black beans more often than red so these were always a treat when I saw them on the table! Click here to see more of our family’s favorite Cuban recipes.
As an amazon associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com. This comes at no cost to you.
Traditionally, these Cuban red beans start with dried beans but using beans from a can makes this recipe so much faster! You can still use dried if you prefer (just soak in water overnight) but I prefer to just buy low-sodium canned beans and drain and rinse them well.
How to make Cuban Red Beans (Frijoles Colorados):
Right from the very first step, you can see these beans will have a ton of flavor! They start by sautéing onions, peppers, garlic, ham, and chorizo sausage. Don’t be surprised if anyone who walks in your house asks to stay for dinner! lol.
What kind or chorizo is best for Cuban red beans and rice:
You want to make sure that you are buying DRIED chorizo. You can find it in the latin section of the grocery store or order it here on amazon. It’s harder and does not crumble like a regular sausage. Before slicing it, just make sure to peel the casing off. I also like to run them under water to remove some of the oil they’re packaged in. This helps keep the cutting board from staining.
When you’re done with the first step. The mixture should look like the photo below. The vegetables will be soft and you’ll be able to smell the fragrant garlic a mile away! Believe it or not, we’re going to add even more flavor to this recipe!
Next comes the tomato sauce, wine, water, a ham bone, the beans and seasonings! By the way, if you are wondering what “sazon goya” is in the recipe, see the photo below. It’s adds a touch of flavor and a big boost of that beautiful red color that these beans traditionally have. You can find it with the latin ingredients in the grocery store or order it here on amazon. I’m including a photo of the beans I used as well. These are also usually located in the latin section. If you can’t find them, you can substitute small red kidney beans.
After simmering this for about 30 minutes, you can add in the potatoes and a little more salt. Potatoes absorb salt so you want to make sure everything is well seasoned. This keeps then from completely falling apart. You want to make sure you simmer everything uncovered so it can reduce slightly, giving you a heartier sauce.
After adding the potatoes, everything gets simmered one more time for another 30 minutes. Then you can toss out the bay leaves. If you have a ham bone that has any meat on it, you can shred that off and add it to the beans if you’d like. I don’t ever remove the ham hock. Even when I store leftovers, I leave it in there to just keep infusing flavor!
When you’re ready to serve, just add some white rice! You can also eat this as a soup. I ladle a few scoops of the beans and broth, then add just a few small spoonfuls of white rice so it’s a soup consistency. It’s a great lunch!
Other recipes you’ll love!
- How to Make White Rice
- Cuban Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche)
- Quick Cuban Black Beans
- Ropa Vieja – Cuban Shredded Beef
- Slow Cooker Birria Tacos
Easy Cuban Red Beans (Frijoles Colorados)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion - diced (about ¾ cup)
- 1 small green bell pepper - diced (about ¾ cup)
- salt (see instructions for amounts)
- 2 links of dried Spanish chorizo (usually comes in a 3.5 ounce pack)
- 8 ounces cubed ham (be sure not to buy a sweet ham)
- 1/4 cup dry white cooking
- 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
- 8 cups water
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 3 (15.5 ounce) cans of small red beans (see photo above) - not drained
- 1 cooked ham hock or ham bone (You can check with your butcher if you can't find this)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 packets of sazon goya con azafran (see photos above)
- 2 russet potatoes
- Optional - white rice for serving (click here to see how to make it!)
- Start with your prep to make things easier:-Dice your onions and peppers.-Peel the casing off the chorizo and slice into 1/4 coins.-Cut your ham into cubes. -Peel and cut the potatoes into 1" bite size pieces.
- Heat a large pot over medium heat and add 2 tbsp of oil. Add the onions, green pepper, cubed ham, chorizo, and ¼ tsp sat and cook until the vegetables soften. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 more minute.
- Add in the wine and the tomato sauce and allow it to bubble for just about 1 minute.
- Add in the water, vinegar, beans (including the liquid), cumin, oregano, bay leaves, ham bone and packets of sazon. Do not drain your beans. The starchy liquid in the can is what will help thicken your beans.
- Bring everything to a low boil and cook uncovered for 30 minutes. (Usually medium low works best) Remember to stir every few minutes. The sauce will thicken slightly.
- Add in the potatoes, another ½ teaspoon of salt and bring to a medium low boil again, uncovered for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken some more during this step.
- If you have any meat on your ham bone, you can pick that off and add it to the beans, if not, you can leave as is. Discard the bay leaves.
- Serve over a bed of white rice! See how to make perfect white rice here!