Skip to Content

Black Turtle Beans

Black turtle beans are one of the healthiest and most versatile types of beans you can grow in your backyard.

Dried black turtle beans.

Keep reading to learn all about these nutrition-packed legumes beloved by many people around the globe. Discover how you can take advantage of the many science-backed benefits of black beans.

What Are Black Turtle Beans?

Black turtle beans are more widely known as black beans or frijoles negros. They are a hard, dark variety of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris.)

Like many types of beans, black beans are native to Mexico and Central and South America. This warm region is the birthplace of all modern bean varieties.

Black turtle beans are the only type of turtle bean, and they are so-named for their hard outer shell. Black beans are a staple ingredient in Latin American cuisine.

Bush bean pods.

What Do Black Turtle Beans Taste Like?

Black beans have a toothy, meaty texture that makes them a fantastic addition to vegetarian dishes. Replacing ground beef with beans in burritos and tacos is a great way to make your favorite foods healthier.

Many foodies agree that black turtle beans are the number one choice when you want versatility.

Their mild earthy flavor allows them to complement a wide range of dishes. Plus, the slightly floury texture of cooked black beans lends them some surprising uses in the kitchen.

The Many Health Benefits of Black Beans

Prominent nutritionists have stated that beans are the single healthiest food you can add to your diet.

One cup of black beans contains 16 grams of dietary fiber, 15 grams of protein, and less than one gram of fat. (USDA Food Data Central)

This amazing bean variety’s high fiber content and complex sugars help control blood sugar levels.

Dietary fiber is also essential for digestive health and can help you feel fuller for longer. If you are trying to lose weight, beans can help you achieve your goal without the hunger pangs.

Closeup of black turtle beans.

The consumption of plant foods like black beans, combined with reduced calorie intake, reduces the risk of many severe health conditions.

According to a 2008 peer-reviewed study published by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, “Bean consumption is associated with greater nutrient intake, reduced systolic blood pressure, lower body weight, and a smaller waist circumference in adults.”

As a bonus, anthocyanins are the compounds that give black beans their dark color. Anthocyanins are potent antioxidants that can improve many areas of your health. This makes black beans a no-brainer when planning a healthy diet.

How to Add Heart-Healthy Black Beans to Your Diet

Black bean and cilantro lime rice.

Due to their lengthy cooking time, dry beans can be less popular than their canned alternative. Still, adding black beans to your daily diet is easy once you get the cooking process down.

While not essential, purchasing a crockpot or pressure cooker can simplify cooking dry beans. These tools allow you to “set it and forget it,” locking in moisture and flavor until serving.

If you already have a slow cooker handy, you can enjoy delicious black bean soup in no time. Try Cuban black bean soup in the slow cooker as an easy cook-ahead supper.

Adding beans to your breakfast is a great way to start the day with a nutrient-dense meal. This mouthwatering black bean huevos rancheros recipe goes great with stewed or refried black beans.

Mexican baked eggs with black beans.

Do you dislike the taste of beans but still want those sweet health benefits? Try these decadent black bean brownies for a guilt-free dessert or healthy treat for kids.

Are Black Turtle Beans Easy to Grow?

Black beans can take up to five months to mature, from planting to harvest. In cool climates with short growing seasons, it’s best to grow black beans in containers. This allows you to move them indoors when there is any risk of frost damage.

Ensure your bean beds have loamy and fertile dirt with a pH balance between 6.0-6.5. Break up the earth in your bean patch and test the soil to determine which amendments you should add.

Black beans are a cheap and effective bumper crop. Beans and other legumes fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil, making them a crucial part of crop rotation and companion planting.

Bush bean plants.

You likely won’t need to add any fertilizers to your bean beds, but it is always a good idea to check. You should identify any micronutrient deficiencies in the soil so your beans can be well-equipped to fight off fungi, bacteria, and viruses.

To aid your bean plants in defending against pests and diseases, you might need to invest in an all-purpose pesticide.

If you prefer more organic growing methods, then you should consider some light pruning. Use supports to ensure the black turtle bean leaves don’t come into contact with the ground, where they can pick up soil-borne pathogens.

Where to Buy Seeds

Dried beans are edible seeds, meaning you can generally plant the same beans that you would cook. You can germinate and sow beans from your cupboard or purchase black bean seeds for growing online from one of our favorite online seed retailers.


How do you cook black turtle beans?

Cooking dry beans takes a long time, but the wait is worth it.

First, you’ll need to soak dry black beans overnight. Next, cook the beans down over low heat for a few hours until they are tender.

For more detailed information about the cooking process, check out this Food Network recipe for Black Beans by Ree Drummond.

Black beans and rice.

Are black turtle beans and black beans the same?

The name black turtle bean might be new to you, but this is just another way to refer to common black beans.

Still, there are other black bean varieties available that are not black turtle beans. These include black adzuki beans, black lentils, and Kenyan black beans.

Growing Black Turtle Beans at Home

Closeup of black turtle bean plant sprout.

After reading this article, you should better understand what black turtle beans are and why you should add them to your diet.

Check out our other detailed guides to learn more about your favorite beans. Visit our beans page page to learn everything there is to know about these healthy legumes.