Habichuelas con Dulce is one of my all-time favorite Dominican dessert recipes that we eat during Easter, Holy Week, and Lent or as we call it, cuaresma. This cream of sweet beans has only four steps: cook the white sweet potatoes, cook the red kidney beans, blend the beans, and cook the bean puree down with coconut milk, evaporated milk, sugar, raisins, small cubed white sweet potatoes, cinnamon sticks, and whole cloves. Follow along to learn how to make habichuelas con dulce in four easy steps.
Hello my friends. Today I’m sharing with you one of my favorite Dominican dessert recipes called Habichuelas con Dulce. These sweet beans are one of the most famous desserts that we prepare during Lent, and even if you are reading this after Easter, it’s still a great recipe to have on hand for next year, or if you are like me, to make any time during the year I’m feeling nostalgic.
We already released for previous Easter seasons Fried Dough Balls / Dominican Buñuelos and last year Dominican jalea. If you ask me which one is my favorite, I’ll have to say that buñuelos is my all-time favorite. It has a deep sentimental value because my grandmother always used to make buñuelos for me every time I went to visit her.
In the Dominican Republic, we have many traditions during Lent. As a very catholic country, on Good Friday some people go to church to pay respect to the last days that Jesus was on earth, and some people go with family to the countryside or to the beach. But the most important part of Easter for me, and the fun one for sure, is that we get to eat a lot of desserts.
The tradition is to cook these Dominican Sweet Beans in large quantities, so we can share with family and neighbors. Like every traditional dish, this Easter dessert recipe will vary slightly depending on the region or the family recipe, but the general recipe is pretty universal. This family recipe makes 15 servings, but I will also give you some guidance on how to make smaller quantities.
Habichuelas con Dulce Ingredients
We are going straight to the recipe of how to make the cream of sweet beans. But before we start, here are the ingredients you’ll need for this habichuelas con dulce recipe:
- Red kidney beans,
- cinnamon sticks,
- whole cloves,
- light coconut milk,
- low-fat 2% evaporated milk,
- sea salt,
- white sugar,
- white sweet potatoes for texture and additional flavor,
- and we cannot forget Dominican milk cookies.
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How to Make Habichuelas con Dulce in Four Easy Steps
Step 1: Cook the red kidney beans.
I took the easy way out and cooked the beans in the pressure cooker (instant pot).
- First, add the beans to a large container, fill it with water, and drain.
PRO TIP: I wash the beans in a container because the bad beans will float to the top and it’s easy to pick them out. Also, I like to stir the beans with my hands to make sure that all the bad ones go to the top.
- Add the beans to the pressure cooker with 7 cups of water. Cover with the lid and set the pressure cooker on high pressure for 60 minutes + natural release.
Step 2: Puree the red kidney beans.
- Puree the softened beans in the blender along with whatever liquid is left in the pressure cooker where you cooked the beans. I did it in two batches. PRO TIP: If you think the mixture is too thick, add some of the milk.
- Then, strain the pureed beans through a fine mesh colander into a large pot, pressing the mixture down with a spoon or spatula. You can do this step right into the large pot you will use to finish cooking the habichuelas con dulce.
Step 3: Cook the sweet beans.
- In the large pot with the pureed beans, add the coconut milk and the evaporated milk. Stir well until it becomes smooth.
- Add the sugar, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, sea salt, and raisins. Stir until everything is well combined.
- Place the large pot on the stove-top at medium heat until it starts bubbling and reduce to low heat. Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Stir constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula. The sweet beans will easily stick to the bottom of the pot, so keep your eyes on the pot, and stir from the bottom. The consistency will be like a creamy soup. See pro tips below regarding the consistency.
Step four: Cook the white sweet potatoes.
- While your beans cook and thicken, peel the white sweet potatoes, cut them into small cubes, and put the cubed sweet potatoes in a small saucepan with water, a pinch of salt, and a cinnamon stick.
- Boil for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft but still holding their shape. Add the cooked sweet potatoes to the habichuelas con dulce.
Serve these habichuelas con dulce with milk cookies and more raisins if you wish.
More Pro Tips:
- The consistency is very important. Do not overcook because the habichuelas con dulce will thicken after it’s chilled.
- Make sure you follow the manual for your instant pot/pressure cooker and its capacity. The capacity of your instant pot will affect how much water or beans you can add to your machine.
- I cook the beans in the pressure cooker without soaking them overnight. If you soak your beans overnight, the cooking time for the beans in the instant pot will be 45 minutes + natural release.
- If you prefer to soak your beans the night before, add the beans in a large container and a lot of water, maybe 10 cups. Remember, the beans will expand. The reason to soak the beans overnight is to soften the beans, and the cooking time will be less. As you can see, the pressure cooker time for unsoaked beans is 60 minutes and soaked beans is 45 minutes.
- To blend the beans, you can use an immersion hand blender or a full blender. Whatever works better for you, but I highly recommend using a regular blender. It’s easier and you get a smoother mixture.
- The reason for straining the pureed beans is to remove the skins. I think my blender did such a good job that I didn’t have any skins.
- For this sweet beans recipe, I use low-fat milks but you can use full-fat milks. I’m trying to be a little bit health conscious where I can.
- For the white sweet potatoes, some people cook the sweet potatoes with the beans, but I prefer my method of cooking them separately. It’s an extra step but it’s my favorite. Also, some people cut the potatoes a bit larger. I personally like mine small because for me it’s all about the creaminess of this sweet beans dessert. We add the sweet potatoes for texture but if you cannot find white sweet potato, you can leave it out.
Alternative Ingredients for Habichuelas Con Dulce
Vegan milk alternative
You can substitute the regular evaporated milk for evaporated coconut milk. You can still use the regular coconut milk and combine with the evaporated coconut milk; or you can use the combination of any plant-based milk plus the evaporated coconut milk. If you don’t want to use evaporated milk, just leave it out and instead use the coconut milk or any other plant-based milk. Note: combine the two.
Coconut sugar, Splenda, or any artificial sweetener.
Stove-top Method for Cooking the Red Kidney Beans
You can soak the beans in water overnight and the cooking time will be less. Sometimes I do it, sometimes I don’t. So, it’s up to you.
In a large pot, add the beans and add enough water to cover them well; it will be about 10 cups total. Set over medium-high heat and bring to boil. Then reduce heat to a low simmer and semi-cover the pot. Cook until beans are completely tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let it cool a bit. Then follow the rest of the steps in the recipe card starting with step #2.
How to make a small batch of these Dominican Sweet Beans
You want to make a smaller quantity of these Dominican Sweet Beans, no problem. I know if you are trying this dessert recipe for the first time, you may want to make sure you like them (I’m 100% certain that you will love them) before making a big batch, or it’s just for you and you don’t want to make too much. I got you covered!
Recipe conversion for a small batch of Dominican Habichuelas Con Dulce:
- 2 cups red kidney beans
- 5 cups water to cook the beans
- 1-½ cups (12 oz) light unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 cups (18 oz) low-fat 2% evaporated milk
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole cloves
- ¼ lb. white sweet potatoes (batata)
- ⅓ cup raisins
Then you follow the same cooking instructions as per the recipe card. If you think it’s too watery, just cook it down a little longer; think it’s too thick, add more milk. Please drop a comment below if you have any question, and I’ll get back to you right away.
I hope you get a chance to make this delicious Dominican Easter Dessert! Did you make this or another recipe? Tag @Spoonabilities on Instagram or add a photo or comment on Pinterest, so we can find you! And we love to hear from you in the comment section below.
Your Recipe Concierge!
Habichuelas con dulce is a traditional Dominican dessert very popular during Easter / Holy Week. It’s an easy dessert recipe to make with pureed red kidney beans cooked down on the stove with coconut milk, evaporated milk, sugar, raisins, small cubed sweet potatoes; spiced with cinnamon sticks and whole cloves; and served with milk cookies called casabe.
- 4 cups red kidney beans
- 7 cups water to cook the beans
- 3 cups (24 oz) lite unsweetened coconut milk
- 4 cups (36 oz) low-fat 2% evaporated milk
- ½ teaspoon sea salt available in our online shop
- 1-½ cups white sugar
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 12 whole cloves
- ½ lb white sweet potatoes (batata), cut into small cubes
- ½ cup raisins
- Pressure cooker:
- Place the beans in a large bowl and fill with water to rinse them. You will notice that the bad beans will float to the top. Remove those beans, then drain out the water.
- Add beans in the pressure cooker/instant pot and add 7 cups of water to cover with 3” of water over the beans. You can add another cup without exceeding your instant pot capacity.
- Close the lid and set your pressure cooker for 60 minutes with a natural release. For stove-top method and other important information see the notes.
- Blend the beans with the remaining cooking liquid. Blend in batches. If you think the mixture is too thick, use some of the milk in the blending process. You want to have a loose consistency you can put through a fine mesh strainer.
- Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a large pot. Add the light coconut milk, low fat evaporate milk, sugar, sea salt, cinnamon sticks, raisins, and whole cloves. Mix to combine.
- Bring the pot to a light boil on the stove over medium heat. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Stir throughout the cooking time to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom. Cook for about 30 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and cloves.
- Boil the small cubed sweet potatoes in a small saucepan for about 10 minutes or until they are cooked through but still holding their shape. Add the cooked sweet potatoes to the sweet beans.
- Transfer the cream of sweet beans to a large serving bowl. Let it cool at room temperature and then transfer to the refrigerator. Serve in individual bowls with some milk cookies.
Once the sweet cream of beans is cold it becomes thicker. Keep this in mind when you are cooking the beans. You want to get it to a loose creamy soup consistency.
You can eat these sweet beans warm or cold. Traditionally, we wait at least until they are room temperature or chilled.
Is 15 servings too much? Check out the full recipe post for a modified 8 servings batch
Soak the beans overnight? I don’t pre-soak the beans. If you prefer to soak the beans overnight, check out the recipe blog post for pro tips on how to do that and modified cooking time.
No pressure cooker or instant pot? If you don’t have a pressure cooker or instant pot, no problem. Check out the full recipe post for the stove-top method of cooking the beans
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Stove-top
- Cuisine: Dominican
Keywords: sweet beans, Dominican desserts, Easter dessert, sweet cream of beans, sweet red beans, habichuelas con dulce, postre dominicano, semana santa, postre de semana santa, dulce de habichuelas rojas
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