If you need a healthy protein for your lunch or dinner, try reaching for black beans. Also called “turtle” beans, they’re small and oval-shaped (smaller than pinto beans), black with a light cream interior, and have a dense, hearty taste.
Originating in South America, black beans have now gained popularity throughout the world for their flavor and versatility. They form the basis of many Cajun and Caribbean recipes, are a favorite in chilis and gumbos, and provide the staple ingredients for corn salads, quesadillas, bean burgers, Santa Fe skillets, bean dips, and fajitas.
Just one serving of black beans powers up your nutrition intake with:
- nearly three times the recommended daily intake of molybdenum
- about half the daily allowance of folate, fiber, and copper
- about a third of the daily allowance of vitamin B1, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and protein
- about 20 percent of your daily intake of iron
- a little potassium and zinc
All these nutrients make black beans great for maintaining bone structure and strength, lowering blood pressure, and warding off heart disease. The high-fiber content keeps blood sugar levels stable and prevents constipation, while the protein and fiber content together make black beans a very satisfying food—perfect for any weight-loss program.
When looking for black beans, you may wonder which one is best. We recently reviewed dozens of them, looking at factors like packaging (cans, pouches, or bags), dried vs. ready-to-eat, additives (like sodium), organic vs. conventional, and cost. All of these top-rated black beans can be purchased online at Amazon.
We’ve identified Westbrae Natural Organic Black Beans as our top pick. This brand is certified organic and is packed in a recyclable can with non-BPA lining, so you can enjoy the great taste without worrying about any troublesome chemicals.
The 5 Top-Rated Black Beans
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*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change.
Best Black Beans Overall: Westbrae Natural Organic Black Beans
You’d think black beans would be a simple food to purchase, but it’s amazing the additives manufacturers will often put in the package. Some use a lot of extra salt, while others add in thickeners, artificial flavors, and completely unnecessary colors. That’s why we chose Westbrae Natural Organic Black Beans as the number-one brand.
In one of these BPA-free cans, you get the real stuff, unadulterated—USDA-certified organic black beans with no added preservatives, dyes, or thickeners. It’s black beans packed in water with a touch of sea salt, but one serving contains only 5 percent of your sodium for the day, so it’s an extremely low amount. Westbrae is also Non-GMO Project verified, so if you don’t want to be eating genetically modified foods, this is the choice for you.
Of course, you get all the nutrition that comes with black beans, including the high-fiber and high-protein content, with only 110 calories per serving. These cans come ready to serve—just empty them into the pan or bowl and warm them up. They’re perfect for all diets, but if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you may be particularly partial to them. They’re also great for low-sodium diets, such as those that are recommended for people with high blood pressure.
Westbrae Natural Organic Black Beans Key Features:
- USDA-certified organic
- No artificial colors or flavors
- Non-GMO project verified
- Non-BPA lined cans
- Great for all diets, including vegan and vegetarian
Best Dry Black Beans: Iberia Dry Black Beans
It takes a little longer to prepare dry black beans. You need to soak and cook them before you can add them to your recipes, but since they often cost less than canned varieties, and they don’t have any additives at all, they’re often the preferred choice. They’re easy to store and come in bags, which are less likely to leach chemicals into the food.
Home chefs also say that dried beans just taste better, as they haven’t been processed as much as ready-to-eat options. Plus you can cook the beans with other flavors and to the texture preferred, which can result in a better overall outcome.
If you’re looking for dried beans, Iberia Dry Black Beans are a good option. They’re picked at the peak of ripeness, so you can count on a consistent flavor. There are no other ingredients added—you get the beans, pure and simple. They’re great for soups, salsas, taco salads, vegetarian dishes, and many Latin American and Cajun dishes, too.
For those worried about the time it takes to prepare them, the manufacturer offers these tips:
- Rinse the beans, then soak for 4-6 hours (or overnight).
- Place in a pot and cover with 2-3” water above the beans. Boil for 45 minutes to an hour. Add more water if needed.
Iberia Dry Black Beans Key Features:
- Wholesome, nutritious food in its natural state
- Picked at the peak of ripeness
- Great for soups, salads, vegetarian dishes, and Latin cuisine
- Easy to prepare
Best Budget Black Beans: Rosarita Whole Black Beans
Pay only about 13 cents an ounce with Rosarita Whole Black Beans. They’re tasty and nutritious, providing over a quarter of your fiber intake for the day with only 110 calories. Rosarita adds a few spices to create more flavor, including onion, garlic, olive oil, and some salt, though it’s only 16 percent of your daily recommended intake.
You may find that because of this extra flavor, your family prefers Rosarita Black Beans. Plus that flavor means less work for you. Simply warm up the beans and use them however you like—as a side dish, in your taco salad, in your burritos, or add a little cheese and salsa for a tasty chip dip.
If you’re on a diet, these are also a great option, as they’re super low in fat—only 1 percent of your daily value. Plus they’re a good source of protein, so they’ll keep you satisfied for hours. When you order this particular item, you’ll get a 12-pack of 15-ounce beans. They’re affordable enough that you can stock your emergency shelves or put some aside for that future camping trip.
Rosarita Whole Black Beans Key Features:
- Low-fat, high-fiber food
- Made with beans, a little salt, and some spice for good flavor
- Ready-to-eat and easy to prepare
- Extremely versatile—use them in a wide variety of Mexican-style dishes
- High protein content keeps you satisfied
Best Refried Black Beans: Rosarita Low-Fat Refried Black Beans
Rosarita landed on our list twice because the brand knows how to serve up healthy black beans. If you like that refried taste but worry about the fat content, choose Rosarita Low-Fat Refried Black Beans. There is no added fat in these cans! That’s right—0 percent. No saturated fat, no trans fat. Just cooked black beans along with a little flavor, including onion, garlic, chili pepper, and jalapenos.
There is more sodium in these than in the other options here—23 percent of your daily intake. Keep that in mind if you are on a low-sodium diet. But you also get 12 percent of your daily requirement of potassium, 24 percent of your fiber, 7 grams of protein, and other nutrients too, including iron, phosphorus, and magnesium. All this at only 110 calories per serving—pretty great for a refried bean product.
Reviewers note that these count as 0 points on the Weight Watchers program, but that they taste great and are pleasantly filling.
Rosarita Low-Fat Refried Black Beans Key Features:
- Low-fat refried black beans
- No added oils—only garlic, onion, chili pepper, and jalapeno
- Ready to serve
- Perfect for all your Mexican recipes
- High-fiber, filling food
Best Cuban Black Beans: Fillo’s Cuban Black Beans
Enjoy that unique, authentic regional flavor that only Cuban black beans can provide with Fillo’s Cuban Black Beans. They’re seasoned with green sofrito—a traditional cooking base of onion, green bell pepper, garlic, cumin, and bay leaf, all gently sautéed in extra-virgin olive oil. The unique flavor makes them great for any meal of the day. Pair them with eggs for breakfast, avocados for lunch, or rice for dinner.
You’ll still get all the nutrition that black beans have to offer, including the high-fiber and high-protein content, along with iron and potassium. There is a little fat in these because of the olive oil, but it’s only 4 percent of your total daily intake, so it won’t hurt your diet one bit. They’re ready-to-eat—simply warm up and serve—and the convenient BPA-free pouch is ideal for meals on the go—at work, when camping, or for picnics.
Frillo’s chooses non-GMO ingredients and makes these beans in the USA. Reviewers note that these are super tasty, with an original home-cooked/restaurant flavor.
Fillo’s Cuban Black Beans Key Features:
- Packed in a BPA-free, on-the-go pouch
- Cooked in the traditional Cuban style
- Non-GMO Project certified
- High-fiber, high-protein healthy food
- Packed with flavor
With all these great choices, how about you put some beans on the menu for tonight? Meanwhile, if you need help losing weight, check out our Best Appetite Suppressants. For more emergency preparedness/camping ideas, try our Best Freeze-Dried Foods.