Skip to main content

Black bean soup from Cuba

This is a very poular soup in Cuba. Every Cuban family has its own black bean soup recipe. Many Cubans have adapted their recipe to use local ingredients when they moved out of the island, so there are even more variations.


1 lb beans (black beans)
1 onion (small, chopped)
3 clv garlic (peeled and chopped)
1 bell pepper (seeds removed and chopped)
1⁄2 lb pork (ham hock)
1 t salt
1⁄2 t pepper (ground black pepper)
1 t cumin (ground)
1⁄2 t oregano (dried, optional)
1 T vinegar (red wine vinegar)
1 c wine (optional, dry white wine)


Soak the beans in water for 6 hours, preferably overnight. Rinse the beans, drain, and place in a large pot or Dutch oven.

Add the ham hock, cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 30-35 minutes.

In the meantime, heat olive oil in a pan, about 2 minutes. Add chopped onion and green pepper. Sauté for about 3 minutes then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add salt, ground pepper, cumin, bay leaf, and oregano, if using, mix briefly. Add this sofrito to the bean pot when the beans are half soft.

Stir in vinegar and wine, if using. Let the beans cook for a further 30 minutes to develop flavors.

Once cooked, chop the ham hock and distribute among 4 soup bowls. Ladle soup into the bowls and serve.

Total time
30 minutes
Cooking time
Preparation time
4 servings


If served with rice, this soup becomes a whole meal. You may substitute or add some seasonings, to your taste. There are versions of this recipe where only 2 teaspoons white vinegar are added but then 1 cup of red wine is incorporated.

You can make this soup with the pressure cooker. Just prepare the sofrito, as explained in the recipe, in the pressure cooker then add beans, ham hock, vinegar and cover with water. Follow your pressure cooker instructions for beans to choose pressure and length of time - most likely high, for 35 minutes, let steam slow method.


Cuban cuisine

Make this black bean soup better by omitting the ham and adding 1 chopped red pepper to the sofrito. This way it is a vegetarian black bean soup, suitable for the strictest of vegans. Serve with rice. Make it quick by using canned black beans and substituting ham hock with bacon slices. Chop the bacon and add to the sofrito.

easy, beans, simmer
soups, appetizers, main course
Cuban food recipes
Food in Cuba