Habichuelas Guisadas is an amazingly tasty Puerto Rican bean dish. It uses the magic combination of sofrito + sazon + adobo to take humble beans to new heights.
They’re a popular side dish, but can be eaten as a main for an easy weeknight dinner.
Once you try your beans the Puerto Rican way, you may never eat them any other way again…
Habichuelas Guisadas Puerto Rican Style
This time, we’re going with a simple side dish that’s often served along with rice, but still packs in a ton a flavor.
What are Habichuelas Guisadas?
Simply translated as “stewed beans”, habichuelas guisadas are pink beans that have been cooked with plenty of Latin flavor enhancers.
Some versions have meat, such as ham. Some have veggies like potatoes.
On our recent trip to Puerto Rico, we found these beans on just about every menu, along with rice, as a side dish.
We found them so hearty and satisfying, that when we cooked our own we enjoyed a big pile of habichuelas and rice as our main course.
Why You’ll LOVE Puerto Rican Stewed Beans
- Incredible Flavor Profile: With the combo of sazón, sofrito, and adobo, every spoonful is a burst of savory goodness that dances on your tongue.
- Ultimate Comfort Food: There’s something incredibly soul-soothing about a pot of warm, hearty beans. It’s like a hug in a bowl.
- Versatility: This dish is a chameleon. Serve it alongside rice, meats, or even by itself. It’s a guaranteed hit in any culinary setting.
- Quick & Easy: With just 5 minutes of prep time and 35 minutes of cooking, you have a dish that tastes like it’s been simmering all day.
- Nutrient-Rich: Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, and when you toss in veggies like potatoes and carrots, you’re also getting essential vitamins.
- Feeds a Crowd: This recipe serves 4-6, making it perfect for family dinners or small gatherings. And trust me, your guests will be coming back for seconds, maybe even thirds.
- Budget Friendly: Beans are one of the most affordable ingredients out there.
- Cultural Journey: Every bite is a mini-vacation to Puerto Rico, right from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Why Is Puerto Rican Food So Tasty?
The secret to these Puerto Rican stewed beans, as well as any of their stews or rice dishes, comes down to three ingredients: sofrito, adobo and sazon.
Sofrito is a cooking base made by blending green bell pepper, sweet peppers, onion, garlic, cilantro and culantro (an herb with a similar taste and aroma to cilantro).
You can buy jarred sofrito in the Latin aisle of your grocery store, but there is nothing like fresh, vibrant homemade sofrito. Check out our detailed post for homemade Sofrito, and keep it ready in your freezer. It’s so good, you’ll find yourself using it in everything.
Adobo is a Latin seasoning salt. It is a blend that typically includes kosher salt, black pepper, dried oregano, garlic powder, and ground turmeric.
This is another staple easily found in your grocery store. We like our Goya brand adobo seasoning.
Sazon seasoning is a Latin favorite for flavoring rice, soups, and stews. Additionally, with its ground annatto seeds, it adds beautiful color to many dishes. Look for Goya brand Sazon Con Culantro Y Achio (with Coriander & Annatto) in your grocery store.
What Kind of Beans are Used in Habichuelas Guisadas?
In habichuelas guisadas, the most commonly used beans are pink beans, known as “habichuelas rosadas” in Spanish.
These beans are a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine and are prized for their smooth texture and slightly sweet flavor, which complements the rich, savory notes of the dish.
Ingredients for Habichuelas Guisadas
- Pink beans – AKA, habichuelas rosadas. We are using canned, but read on for dried bean instructions.
- Ham – Optional, but goes great. Other options are bacon, pork belly or leftover shedded pork.
- Garlic – For that aromatic goodness. Fresh please.
- Tomato sauce – To deepen the flavor profile. You can also use freshly crushed tomatoes.
- Chicken broth – We use Better than Bouillon.
- Seasonings – Sofrito, adobo, sazon, oregano, bay leaves.
- Veggies – Potatoes and carrots.
- Olives – Another staple of Puerto Rican stews.
How to Make Habichuelas Guisadas
Though good stewed beans take some time to simmer, the hands on time is minimal…
1. Start with the ham: Heat some olive oil in a pot, then sauté the ham and garlic for a few minutes, just till the ham starts to brown up a little.
2. Cook the sofrito: Add in the sofrito and cook it a couple of minutes. It should start smelling nice and aromatic.
3. Simmer: Stir in all of the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer at least 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Taste and adjust for adobo salt.
4. Serve: Enjoy your stewed beans with some freshly cooked rice.
Recipe Notes and Tips
- Homemade Sofrito: Seriously, don’t skimp on this. Homemade sofrito takes this dish to stratospheric levels of deliciousness!
- Slow Simmer: Resist the urge to crank up the heat. A slow simmer allows the flavors to meld perfectly.
- Taste as You Go: This dish can change dramatically as it cooks. Make it a point to taste periodically and adjust seasonings accordingly.
- Potato Types: Waxy potatoes like Yukon Gold hold their shape better during cooking, giving your dish a nice texture.
- Doubling the Recipe: This dish scales beautifully. Just make sure you have a pot large enough to accommodate the increased volume.
Can I Use Dried Beans?
Absolutely! We were just trying to give you an easy weeknight dinner option… 😉 Follow these steps if you would like to use dried beans:
1. Soak: Soak 1 cup of dried pink beans in water overnight or for at least 8 hours.
2. Rinse: Drain and rinse the soaked beans.
3. Boil: Add the soaked beans to a pot of fresh water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cooking until they are partially tender, about 30-45 minutes.
4. Stew: Proceed with your original habichuelas guisadas recipe, adding the partially cooked beans where you would add the canned beans. You’ll need to extend the simmering time to ensure the dried beans are fully cooked, which could take an additional 30-60 minutes. Add the potatoes in only once the beans are almost fully cooked.
- You can make a vegetarian version by omitting the ham and replacing chicken stock with vegetable stock.
- Try different veggies. Some versions have pumpkin or other hard squashes instead of, or in addition to, potatoes and carrots.
- Follow the same recipe, but with a different variety of beans, for a little flavor variation.
- Give it some kick. Add in red chili flakes, diced jalapeno, or hot sauce for a spicier version.
- Make it soupier. This recipe is pretty thick, but feel free to add additional water towards the end of cooking time to give it a soupier consistency.
Leftovers and Storage
These Puerto Rican stewed beans make great leftovers. Refrigerate them in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat on stovetop, or in the microwave, with a splash of additional water.
They also freeze great in an airtight container for 2-3 months. Just thaw overnight in the fridge the day before eating them.
The next time you want a simple, easy beans and rice night, give these habichuelas guisadas a try.
Or, cook them up along with some Bistec Encebollado and Tostones for an all out Latin feast night.
You just may find yourself cooking these again and again. After we tried them the first time, we were cooking up another pot in less than a week!
Make sure to save or pin this recipe, we’re pretty sure you’ll be coming back to it. And be sure to subscribe to GypsyPlate, we’re always cooking up new recipes for you!
Habichuelas Guisadas, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced ham
- 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup sofrito
- 1 packet sazon con culantro y achiote
- 1/2 tsp adobo
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 2 14oz cans pink beans (not drained)
- 1 8oz can tomato sauce
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 pound potatoes and/or carrots, cut into bit sized pieces
- 1/4 cup green olives
- Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium high heat.
- Add ham and garlic, sauté 2-3 minutes.
- Add sofrito. Cook 2-3 minutes, till sofrito gets aromatic.
- Add all remaining ingredients and mix well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer till potatoes are tender, at least 30 minutes.
- If you wish to use dried beans, soak them overnight. Boil for 30-40 minutes before proceeding with the rest of the recipe. They may need to simmer for longer, so don't add the potatoes until the beans are nearly done.
- Waxy potatoes like Yukon Gold hold their shape better during cooking.
- For best flavor, use homemade sofrito.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat on stovetop over medium heat, adding a little extra water if they have dried out.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 320Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 9mgSodium 1177mgCarbohydrates 49gFiber 9gSugar 3gProtein 18g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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