Cuban-Style Black Beans: Moros y Christians right out the pressure cooker

Beautiful bean footage: served along side leftover lamb chickpeas and rice with fried plantains and carrot salad.

Frijoles Negros! I am really enjoying making beans in the pressure cooker. The key is remembering to soak them the night before but the texture is great and you can’t beat the speed. Again, sorry to sound repetitive but seriously love the Great Big Pressure Cooker Book, my recipe is based on the Cuban Bean recipe they share, but there are lots of others out there to look at, just make sure you have enough liquid for the beans really.

A couple of notes. I had part of a smoked ham hock left from the pig we purchased.  You could also use bacon or sausage/chorizo or pancetta or ham in this recipe.  Also, I used some lamb broth along with chicken that I had on hand.  The 2 cups of dried black beans makes a very generous portion for 8-10 people, depending how well you know one another and how much you like beans.

Spices to set the bean recipe up for success.


  • 2 cups dried black beans. Soaked overnight. Rinse and drained when ready to cook
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, glug glug
  • 1/2 pound of chopped pork product (smoked hock, ham, bacon, sausage etc)
  • 2 medium yellow or white onions, chopped, at least 1- 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 bell pepper seeded/chopped, green or other colors, medium to large in size
  • 1 tablespoon freshly zested orange peel, eat the orange
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 3 teaspoon fresh oregano or about 2 1/2  teaspoon dried oregeno
  • for some heat! 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or add more or omit)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick, 3-4 inches
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar, just not white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 4 cups chicken broth or stock (or lamb as noted above)
  • 1/2 cup loosely filled with chopped cilantro (if you have it, if not, no worries)


  1. Prep beans by soaking overnight and draining them
  2. Heat up olive oil in pressure cooker pot. Add the chopped pork (ham hock etc) and stir and cook it until it browns and little flavor bits start to form on the bottom of the pot.
  3. Add the onion and bell pepper. Cooking and staring until onion becomes translucent. 5minutes or so.
  4. Add in the orange peal zest, garlic, oregano, red peppa, bay leaves and full cinnamon stick. Proclaim something like “boom” or a line from a spice girls tune.
  5. Stir the ingredients around until the spices start to become more fragrant. This will happen pretty quick, about 60 seconds. Don’t over do this part.
  6. Add in the vinegar, brown sugar. Stir constantly until sugar is melted. Things are probably starting to stick to the pan. This is flavor. DOn’t panic.
  7. Add in the broth. Add first about 1 cup and start to deglaze the pan and scrape up flavor bits. Then add the rest of the broth. Stir.
  8. Add the beans and cilantro.
  9. Pressure cooking time! Heat up your locked and loaded cooker to 15PSI. Give it 12 minutes cooking once at goal. When done, a-ok to use quick release pressure method.
  10. Before serving, pick out the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. and if you can wait, simmer the pot with lid off for 5-10 minutes to reduce the liquid in the beans. No one could wait for me to do that step, so I used a slotted spoon to serve.

Serve as a side dish. If you put it next to rice (check out this lamb and chickpea rice dish i made and served alongside) you have a Cuban favorite Moros y Christianos. I also like cold beans on my salads for lunch. We certainly ate our fair share of Moors and Christians on our awesome, pre-reopening-US-Embassy  Cuba trip. (I have a few other posts about the trip as well here and here.)

Some other cuban black bean approaches

Please share if you have a favorite bean recipe!

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