Best Black Beans: The 6 Most Fantastic Frijoles at the Grocery Store

The best black beans have a firm exterior, creamy interior, and pleasant earthy taste. Canned black beans are a blank canvas for your cooking style; they take on aromatics and seasoning incredibly well, swelling with flavor. So which earned the title of best black beans? Check the list to find out.

For this taste test, I ate 14 different brands of black beans from the can (or bag), and judged them primarily on texture. Black beans shouldn’t be mushy; they should be creamy. I say this about a lot of beans (like baked beans and garbanzo beans, aka chickpeas), and that’s because a high quality, well-cooked bean has a decadent, irresistible buttery flavor and texture. Overcooked beans are too mushy and undercooked beans are too coarse. I didn’t rule out flavored black beans, as long as they still retained their bean form. In other words: No refried black beans. Here are the best canned black beans for you to keep stocked in your pantry.

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a dozen cousins cuban black beans

Best of the Best

A Dozen Cousins Cuban Black Beans

My mom’s side of the family is Mormon, so I deeply understand the phrase “a dozen cousins.” These beans are effing good, my guy. They’re seasoned perfectly with salt, pepper, garlic and some cumin. This bag also includes some small diced onions, bell peppers, oregano, tomato paste, and vinegar. The mix super-duper well balanced. There’s bright acidity, sweetness, herbaceousness, and bite to these creamy-yet-firm black beans. A Dozen Cousins packages their beans in a neat little pouch, and they’re ready to heat and eat as soon as you snip the top. These beans are an amazingly delicious and nutritious snack on their own, but you can also throw a bagful on a salad, eat the beans with rice, or dump the pouch directly into some soup. However you decide to eat A Dozen Cousin’s Cuban black beans, you simply can’t go wrong.

Credit: Paula Kunatee / Amazon

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

great value black beans

Best Budget

Great Value Seasoned Black Beans 

Walmart’s Great Value brand of canned black beans comes in at number two because they’re cheap and have awesome flavor. These beans come seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and cumin, so they’re ready to eat. All you have to do is heat them up in the microwave (or a pot if you’re feeling cheffy). There’s some incredible utility to a well-seasoned, cheap, ready-to-eat bean that only needs to be microwaved. I’ve got a special place in my heart for thrifty bean dinners, and it’s still something I do to this day when I’m looking to eat healthy and save some scratch in the process. These canned black beans costs 78 cents, dude. Come on, now.

Credit: Paula Kunatee / Walmart

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

la preferida black beans

Best for Refried Beans

La Preferida

La Preferida’s black beans are exceptionally creamy and buttery. They’ve also got a good amount of salt (410 mg per serving), so you really can just eat these beans right out of the can and be somewhat satisfied. Still, these black beans beg to be cooked and rolled into a burrito. Cook and mash these beans up with garlic, onion, and jalapeño, and some pork lard to enhance the beans’ decadence even more. 

Credit: Paula Kunatee / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

goya black beans

Best Salty

Goya Black Beans

Goya came through here in a surprising way. First of all, the prices of Goya’s products are always very reasonable, and the brand itself is available just about everywhere. Secondly, straight out of the can these black beans are buttery, creamy, and adequately salty: 19% of your daily value of sodium per serving. That salt is the biggest selling point for me. Even the bean brine in this can of black beans is delicious. Buy Goya for all of your black bean needs, but these beans would be especially great in a soup or as a refried bean because of the added saltiness.

Credit: Paula Kunatee / Target

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

westbrae natural organic black beans

Best Organic

Westbrae Natural Organic Black Beans

These black beans grew on me. First of all, they’re so damn creamy. Wow. The texture is incredible. That said, there is no sodium or flavor whatsoever outside of the flavor of the bean itself. To some, that might seem bland, but to me it just reads like a very natural, earthy flavor. It’s plain tasting, but in a grassy, organic way. Think of it as an excellent blank slate. Adjust the flavor with seasonings—salt, garlic, herbs, onion, vinegar, and oil—to your own liking. Refry them, put them in stews, salads, make a burger out of these beans, etc. It’s the best black bean to cook with, no doubt. They’re a bit pricey, though; not gonna lie.

Credit: Paula Kunatee / Amazon

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

fillo's cuban black beans

Best with Rice

Fillo’s Cuban Black Beans

I’m not as crazy about these beans as Sporked staff writer Jordan Myrick was, so take that into consideration. For me, these beans taste good, but there’s something about the strong bitterness of the olive oil that’s just a little off putting. That said, the beans do explode with a fatty, buttery taste that’s quite decadent. Jordan suggested pairing these black beans with rice. Me? I think they need some salt, garlic, and other add-ins. And, personally, I think you could get much better olive oil to put on black beans if that’s the flavor you’re going for. Still, Fillo’s Cuban black beans are practically ready to eat, and the quality of beans is quite good. 

Credit: Paula Kunatee / Instacart

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

Other Products We Tried: S&W, La Costeña, Eden Organic, Cento, Bush’s, Good & Gather, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods

Find the best black beans at home and share with us using #SporkedTasteTest for a chance to be featured on our social pages!


About the Author

Danny Palumbo

Danny is a comedian, cook, and food writer living in Los Angeles. He loves gas station eggs, canned sardines, and Easter candy. He also passionately believes that all the best chips come from Pennsylvania (Herr's!). If you can't understand Danny when he talks, it's because he's from Pittsburgh.

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