Sweet Simmered Black Beans

My daughter’s preschool class celebrated the Chinese New Year this past week – complete with songs and food, of course! New to me was a MOONCAKE – a traditional Chinese snack – it was like a doughy pocket filled with sweet black beans. I love all kinds of beans – I never met a bean I didn’t like because they are versatile and so good for you! However, in spite of my love of beans, I really never thought about having sweet black beans. What a concept! I immediately came home and was pleased to find about a half pound of black beans sitting in the pantry just waiting to be sweetened…


1/2 lb. uncooked dried black beans
3 cups chicken or veggie stock (about)
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
About 1 tablespoon each of chile powder and cumin
1 tablespoon sea salt


1. Bring beans, broth, and onion to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer and cover.

2. Simmer on the lowest heat possible for about 3 hours. Add more stock if necessary.  

3. Combine the brown sugar, molasses, and spices. Stir together and add to the beans. Simmer an additional hour or so on low until the beans are tender.

We served our sweet black beans with plain basmati rice and a delicious, slightly spicy, salmon! Yum!

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Erin Brighton

I am a native New Englander now living in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina and enjoying summers in sea-breezy Scituate, Massachusetts with my five small kids and two large dogs. I love to cook easy, local, and gluten-free for friends and family.

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