Mexican Dish | September 21, 2011

Cafe Rio Style Black Beans

Cafe Rio Style Black Beans are simple to make at home and taste just like the black beans at our favorite fast-casual restaurant Cafe Rio! Serve them on a salad, in burritos, with tacos, quesadillas, or just own their own with some rice. This will become your go-to black bean recipe.

A few weeks ago, my friend Mel, aka the Dancin’ Queen, had to make Cafe Rio beans for 250 guests. Yes, two hundred and fifty.
We talked about how this was going to happen.
She gathered ingredients.
I showed up with my apron and big bowls.
We went to work.

About an hour and a half later, we had made four batches of beans (she made a test batch the night before). Each batch contained enough to serve fifty. Seriously, it was really simple. The hardest part, or I should say the most tedious part, was opening all of the cans. It’s a REALLY easy recipe. The finished product? Yum. These beans are flavored perfectly and go great on the side of any Mexican dish. This recipe tastes exactly like the black beans you can get at Cafe Rio. The texture is just right.

I’m all about a good copycat recipe you can make at home. Sauté some garlic, cumin, and olive oil over the stove. Once it becomes fragrant (about a minute) add the beans and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes juice and season to taste. When you’re ready to serve these yummy beans, add the chopped cilantro and enjoy!!

I’m posting the recipe for 8 and for 50. Depending on how many you are serving, or how much you love beans, or how much you love your hubs after he eats beans- you choose the quantity. If you want to use dry black beans take a look at my No-Soak Instant Pot Black Beans.

Interested in making more copycat Cafe Rio recipes?

5 from 1 vote

Cafe Rio Style Black Beans

Servings 8 -50 servings
Author Si Foster, A Bountiful Kitchen


for 8 servings:

  • 2-15 oz cans black beans (drain one can, don't drain the other)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-11.5 oz can tomato juice
  • salt kosher or sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

for 50:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 12 cloves garlic about 1/3 cup chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup ground cumin
  • 12-15 oz cans of black beans drain 6 cans, do not drain 6 cans
  • 60-70 oz tomato juice about 1 1/2 46 oz. cans


for 8:

  1. In a non stick pan, cook garlic, cumin and olive oil over medium heat until fragrance is released, about one minute. Be careful not to burn garlic.
  2. Add beans, cook down for about 5 minutes until some of the liquid from the beans is absorbed and evaporated.
  3. Add can of tomato juice and seasoning to taste.
  4. Stir in chopped cilantro when ready to serve.

instructions for 50:

  1. Place oil in large pot.
  2. Add garlic and cumin, cook over medium heat until fragrance is released, about one to two minutes.
  3. Add black beans and tomato juice and salt to taste. Cook until mixture is heated through on medium heat.
  4. When mixture has cooked 20- 30 minutes, turn off heat and add chopped cilantro.
  5. Cool and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  6. When ready to serve, heat slowly on medium heat, stirring gently to avoid burning beans at bottom of pan. Add more tomato juice if needed.
  7. This may be made and stored up to five days before serving.

31 thoughts on “Family Favorite Chicken Enchiladas

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Recipe Rating

  1. Made this for my family of 7, doubled it of course, but it was a hit! Super yummy! Tip: I used the ready made hot whole chickens from the store which saved time and kept hungry hubby and 1 teenager busy while I prepared other ingredients.

  2. chicken enchiladas, made by a mormon mama, with no condensed soup…yippee!! we didn't have green chilis on hand (sacrilege, i know), so i used my father in law's salsa (well he made it, and gave it to us that is…don't want you to think i was out of green chilis AND salsa…how sad:( ) and with stars aligned and fingers crossed, it still tasted really great. thanks for sharing and getting me out of the "chicken enchiladas made with a can of hoo-ha" rut i was in.

    1. 5 stars
      LINDSAY KJAR You are one hilariously funny writer! That comment had me laughing and is now officially one of the BEST comments around. (Seriously, though…NO GREEN CHILIES?) 😄

    2. 4 stars
      Lindsay, you’re so funny you should start your own blog if you don’t have one already!
      I loved this recipe and loved your comment!

  3. Soooo excited to see this recipe! I made this prob 20+ yrs ago and I’ve never forgotten this recipe or how delicious it is and different thanks to the coriander! It was out of my bhg cookbook and it has always been my favorite with the white sauce! This recipe hooked me on ground coriander. Thx so much for posting!!, I’ll be making this again soon !

    1. Lori,
      It’s an oldie but a good one! Im making this tomorrow for my son’s birthday. This is one of my most requested recipes from our kids!
      Have a great day,

  4. I made this for my husband and I. It was so yummy!! I was missing tortillas so I made some from scratch, I added Sriracha hot chili sauce over the enchiladas totally made them awesome!! I haven’t eaten anything that tasted so good to me in a long time!

    1. Brittany,
      Look in the Mexican Foods section of your local grocery store – Walmart, Smiths Harmons all have it here. Green Chili Salsa is also known as Salsa Verde. I also found it on Amazon.
      I hope you enjoy that recipe. Thanks for reading ABK.

        1. Karen,
          I’ve tried several different brands. Some I like more than others. Oddly, I have found the salsa’s sold in a glass jar seem to better quality than salsa sold in cans!
          Thanks for reading ABK,

    1. Hi Pat,
      I haven’t tried this with corn tortillas, but im sure it would work. Just make sure to grill the tortillas ahead of time on a griddle with a title oil and don’t make them ahead of time. Corn tortillas tend to get soft when left to sit in sauce. Thanks for reading ABK,

  5. 5 stars
    This recipe was fantastic! Usually making a recipe for the first time you need make notes on what to do next time but this recipe nails it! Such good enchiladas, the whole pan was gone at the end of the night!

    1. Thanks Stephanie! So glad you loved this recipe. It’s been a favorite in our home for years.
      Thanks for reading ABK,

  6. 5 stars
    So delicious! My entire family loved these and I loved making some chicken enchiladas without canned cream of chicken soup! I fell in love with coriander in a spice rub and when I saw it in these…I knew it would be delicious! So yummy!!

    1. Thanks Bethany! We agree, homemade is so much better than a can. And the coriander is definitely what sets this recipe apart. Such a small addition but big flavor change. Thanks for reading Abk,

  7. 5 stars
    Wonderful recipe! Thank you! My mother-in-law is a fabulous cook. Whenever she comes to dinner, I make something from your website and she always raves about it, and she always goes home with the recipe. I also made your cilantro lime rice to go with the enchiladas and she took seconds! Thank you so much for the rave reviews I get by making your recipes. But, of course, I always let them know it’s your recipe and I refer them to your website. Thank you so much for making my life easier and more delicious! 😊

    1. You’re very welcome, Nancy, and thank you so much for reading ABK! There’s nothing better than making homemade food for your loved ones.

  8. 5 stars
    Let me first say that I am not a cook. However, that being said, these enchiladas made me look like a rock star! I made them for our family Sunday dinner that included 7 adults and 2 littles. EVERYONE loved it! It was amazing! I left out the onion and added onion powder. It was divine! Thank you for making me look good! My family thinks I can cook!

  9. 5 stars
    These are now my Families Favorite Enchiladas! I have made these multiple times and they always turn out beautifully! I make them for luncheons or dinners and they are always a hit!

  10. 5 stars
    A new family favorite! So easy to double and make for a large crowd! We prefer this recipe to one we have used for years!

  11. 5 stars
    Every time I make these I have to stop my husband from eating the entire pan. He says without fail, “Is this a new recipe? These are AMAZING!” We are a big fan of the coriander and that there’s no cream of anything soup in the base. Delicious, delicious.

  12. INCREDIBLE!! Hats off to Si @abountifulkitchen. You make this cooking/ baking thing easy for a beginner. Can’t wait to try more recipes ❤️