by Olena

Black Bean Burger Recipe

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Olena Osipov
5 from 18 votes

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This Easy Black Bean Burger Recipe is perfect for meat-free Mondays and vegetarian guests. It is a genuinely wholesome, hearty, filling veggie burger that combines black beans with leftover rice and several veggies – no sauteing required!

Bake, fry, or grill the black bean burgers and serve in a bun, using lettuce leaves (for a low-carb option), or ‘naked’ alongside various sides like a leafy salad or as part of a burrito bowl!

Black Bean Burger

Along with my family-favorite turkey burgers, chicken burgers, and salmon burgers – I think it’s essential to have a good ‘go-to’ veggie burger – that’s what this easy black bean burger is for me. After years of making and tweaking the recipe, this is the best black bean burger recipe I’ve ever made!

In fact, this recipe was first introduced on my blog back in 2015!! But then, in some mad moment, I decided to delete it – boy was that a mistake! I got tons of messages asking for it back, and now it’s a readers’ favorite!

Hearty, High-Protein, Meat-Free Black Bean Burgers

The combination of black beans and leftover rice makes for a hearty, nutrient-packed burger. Adding in zucchini adds some moisture and tons of extra nutrients without affecting the flavor. A few additional elements like onion, garlic, and chipotle peppers in adobo make for a savory, smoky, slightly spicy black bean burger.

Plus, it does everything I want from a veggie bean burger; it holds its shape wonderfully, is easy to make, and gets a wonderful crispy sear when pan-fried! Not only are they far healthier than traditional hamburgers, with only a fraction of the fat- but they don’t lack in the texture or flavor department!

Burger patties on white platter

I love black beans. Honestly, they’re an ingredient I use year-round, from this mango black bean salad in summer to this one pot chili mac in winter and black bean nachos – well, all the time because yum! I even chuck them into sweet treats like black bean brownies (and a no bake version!). This black bean burger recipe happily joins the ranks of a year-round crowd-pleasing meat-free recipe for all!

Once the burger is in a bun with all the usual fixing’s, it is ‘meaty’ enough that even meat-lovers will be impressed. Or at least that’s the case for my boys, who practically lick the plate clean! Best of all, you only need a few simple ingredients!

Black Bean Burger wrapped in lettuce and topped with guacamole, red onion, tomato and avocado

Ingredients and Substitutions

For the Black Bean Burger Patties:

  • Black beans: You can either use low sodium canned black beans or cook your own in an Instant Pot. If you use canned beans, make sure to rinse and pat them dry first.
  • Zucchini: Squeezed grated zucchini adds unbelievable moisture to the patty. Don’t skip it!
  • Rice: Any cooked or leftover rice will work; white, brown, long-grain, short-grain, etc. I often use brown rice leftovers from the night before. You could also use quinoa or another grain like farro.
  • Oat flour or breadcrumbs: I prefer a patty with breadcrumbs but often use oat flour. You can make your own by grinding oats in a food processor or blender into a floury consistency.
  • Eggs: Used to bind zucchini burgers – so very important!
  • Aromatics: I use a simple combination of onion and garlic – no sautéing necessary!
  • Seasonings: Chipotle in adobo sauce is my favorite addition to these black bean patties. You can substitute it with 1 tsp smoked paprika, though, if you’d prefer. I also use cumin and salt. Feel free to increase the spice if preferred with extra chili/cayenne powder. For more Mexican black bean vibes, feel free to add in some cilantro too.
  • Oil: I recommend either coconut or avocado oil.

Note: You could also add some sweet corn and finely diced red bell pepper to the burger mix. But I haven’t measured exact amounts, it’s more about feeling if the patties still bind.

What to Put on a Black Bean Burger?

There are several ways that you can serve up these black bean burgers. For this recipe, I usually use:

  • Burger buns: I like to use either whole wheat burger buns or ditch the bread entirely and use lettuce leaves for a low-carb option or serve it ‘naked’ over a salad. If you’re using bread, feel free to also include some lettuce leaves within your burgers.
  • Salad veg: I use a combination of lettuce, tomato slices, red onion slices, pickles, and avocado or easy guacamole. You could also add jalapeño slices of pickled jalapeño in place of the regular pickles.
  • Cheese: Since this black bean patty has no saturated fat like beef patties, I feel happy to add a slice of mozzarella, Havarti (with jalapeno even!), pepper jack, or white cheddar – yum!
  • Sauce: Feel free to use the classic ketchup, mustard, and mayo or experiment with the sauce, like making a spicy chipotle mayo (or a lighter version using Greek yogurt and some more of the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce) or using a chili sauce or this avocado cilantro sauce (not thinned).

Read the how-to serve section for ideas on what to serve with these homemade black bean burgers!

How to Make Black Bean Burgers

  • Cook the rice: If you’re not using leftover rice, you’ll first need to cook it – according to the package instructions. I prefer using leftover rice from the night before, though.
  • Mash the black beans: I prefer to have chunky pieces of black beans in my black bean patties, so I mash them by hand into a chunky texture. Feel free to mash them slightly more, if preferred. You can also lightly mash (or pulse in a food processor) the rice, helping the burgers bind together better.
  • Prepare the zucchini: Grate the zucchini on the medium part of your grater (or using a grating disk in your food processor). Then squeeze out all the excess liquid from the zucchini. I find it easiest to do this after placing it in a few layers of cheesecloth or a nut milk bag and squeezing. Measure the zucchini only after this to make sure you use the correct amount.
  • Prepare the remaining ingredients: You need to mince or puree the onion. This can be done in one of several methods. You could use a food processor or a chopper. Alternatively, for the onion, you could use a grater (but get ready to cry!). The garlic could also be prepared using a garlic grater or garlic press.
  • Mix and shape the black bean patties: First, preheat a large skillet with around 1 tbsp of oil. In a large bowl, combine all the burger ingredients and mix well (I use my hands). Use around ½ cup for smaller burgers or 3/4 cup for larger patties. I like to transfer the shaped patties directly to the heated skillet – however, you can also chill them, covered, in the refrigerator to help further ‘bind’ them for 30-40 minutes (or until you’re ready to cook them).
  • Cook the black bean patties: Add as many patties as possible to your heated skillet and cook, undisturbed, for between 5-7 minutes per side (try to flip it too early, and it will fall apart). You’ll have to cook the burgers in batches, adding a new tablespoon of oil to the pan as needed. Optionally, if you plan on having the burgers with cheese, you can place the cheese slice over the black bean patties in the last 2 minutes, cover with a lid, and allow it to melt while the patties cook.
  • Assemble the burgers: If you plan on eating these homemade black bean burgers as ‘assembled burgers,’ then assemble them now either in a burger bun or on lettuce leaves. Alternatively, serve the burgers’ naked’ with sides (read below for recommendations).

What to Serve with Black Bean Burgers?

These homemade black bean burgers are perfect for serving in a bun with all the regular fixins’, with a salad bun, or even ‘naked’ as part of a larger meal. Here are some potential sides and serving suggestions:

You can also serve the black bean burgers alongside veggie side dishes like roasted cauliflower, roasted Brussel sprouts, grilled zucchini, corn on the cob, and Mexican cauliflower rice (among many options!)

How to Store and Reheat

Store: Store the baked and cooled black bean burgers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.  

Freeze: Allow the patties to cool entirely, then lay them on a parchment-lined baking sheet to freeze. Once solid, transfer the ban burgers to a Ziplock bag or a container with parchment paper between the layers. You can reheat the burgers from frozen or allow them to thaw in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter for a few hours.

Check out my full list of 20 healthy freezer meal prep recipes. I’m obsessed!

Reheat: To reheat the black bean burgers from frozen, then place them back in a skillet and cook as usual but with an extra 5-or so minutes added. It works best if you add a little water to the pan and cook them, covered until you flip them over. To reheat the chilled patties, you can either cook them in a pan or even microwave them for a minute or so.

FAQs

Can I make these black bean burgers ahead of time?


You sure can. Prepare the shaped black bean patties up to a day in advance and store them on a parchment-lined tray in the refrigerator, covered.

You may also be able to freeze the uncooked burgers, though this isn’t something I’ve tried.

Can I omit the egg for vegan black bean burgers?


The egg is an important element in this black bean burger recipe; to bind the patties together, and I haven’t tried the recipe without it. However, there may be several ways to substitute this (I just can’t guarantee results).

First, you could simply use an egg replacer or a chia/flax egg (combine 1 tbsp ground seed with 3 tbsp water, mix well, and allow to thicken for 15 minutes).

Several other ‘sticky’ types of ingredients could help the burgers stay together. However, they are also more likely to change the recipe and flavor. For example, using mashed sweet potato (just the plain potato-no butter, etc.) or various sauces.

You could try to blend the rice somewhat into more of a sticky mixture and/or mash the beans more to use as a binder.

What is the best pan to use?

When making veggie burgers, my preference is to use a good non-stick ceramic skillet. You could also use a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, but it will need more oil to stop them from sticking (thus falling apart!).

Can you bake/ grill black bean burgers?


Grilling isn’t something I’ve attempted but should be possible. With this black bean burger recipe, it’s best to use either a grilling silicone mat or a layer of tin foil (sprayed with cooking spray) for cooking the burgers on. If you attempt to cook them directly on the grill, they’ll likely fall apart.

You can make this easier by par-cooking them in the oven first. Place the black bean burgers on a parchment-lined tray and bake in the oven at 350F/180C for 10-15 minutes at then transfer to the grill (or frying pan) to finish the job.

Alternatively, you can just bake the black bean patties at 400F/200C for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway.

Black Bean Burger recipe

More Recipe Tips

  • What to do with the leftover chipotle in adobo: After opening the can, I mash and freeze the leftovers since you only need a small amount per recipe. You can even portion it out into a small ice-cube tray. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer-safe bag and then remove as many as needed, as needed.
  • Use leftover rice: This black bean burger recipe is perfect for using leftovers or the rice and beans (or using canned) – plus, it massively reduces the prep time and I prefer the texture of day-old rice.
  • Use a hot pan: If it’s not hot enough when you first add the burgers, they won’t sear and crisp up nicely. Make sure the pan is preheated, and the oil is shimmering before adding the black bean patties.
  • Don’t crowd the pan: Just like mushrooms, if you add too many burgers to your pan, they’ll just end up ‘steaming’ one another and not forming that crispy seared crust that we want. Instead, leave space between each patty and cook them in batches.
  • Using a ring mold: If you’re used to making uneven patties, then using a ring mold or burger press can be a great idea for even burger size every single time!

Other Black Bean Recipes

Alternatively, have a browse through my entire collection of bean/legume recipes!

Black Bean Burger Recipe

Quick and Easy Black Bean Burger Recipe

This Easy Black Bean Burger Recipe is perfect for meat-free Mondays and vegetarian guests. It is a genuinely wholesome, hearty, filling veggie burger that combines black beans with leftover rice and several veggies – no sauteing required!
5 from 18 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 7 patties
Calories: 395kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

Black Bean Patty:

  • 1 cup white or brown rice cooked (measured after)
  • 2 x 14 oz cans low sodium black beans drained & rinsed
  • 2 eggs large
  • 3/4 cup 1 small grated zucchini, liquid squeezed out (measured after)
  • 1 medium onion minced or pureed
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced or grated
  • 1 cup oat flour for GF version or whole grain breadcrumbs (I prefer latter)
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili pepper in adobo sauce minced (more to taste)
  • 2 – 3 tbsp oil for frying

Burger (use your imagination):

  • 7 burger buns
  • Cheese mozzarella, white cheddar or (jalapeno havarti go well))
  • Lettuce use in place of a bun for low carb version
  • Tomato slices
  • Red onion slices
  • Pickles
  • Avocado sliced/mashed or guacamole
  • Ketchup and mustard

Instructions

  • Cook rice as per package instructions.
  • In the meanwhile, in a large bowl, add beans and mash with a masher until coarse puree with some bean chunks forms. It doesn’t have to be smooth, in fact coarser texture means “meatier” burger.
  • Add eggs, zucchini, onion, garlic, oat flour,  salt, cumin, pepper in adobo, and mix with spatula very well.
  • Preheat large non-stick ceramic or well-seasoned cast iron skillet on low – medium heat and swirl 1-2 tbsp of oil to coat it generously.
  • Scoop 1/2 cup for smaller or 3/4 cup mixture for larger burgers and form into a patty. Place on a skillet and proceed doing the same with remaining mixture until skillet is full.
  • Cook patties undisturbed for 5-7 minutes per side. Flip with flat spatula carefully with a quick single flip. Other side will cook faster as skillet gets hotter.
  • Optional: Top desired amount of patties with a bit of melted cheese, cover and cook on low until cheese is melted.
  • Assemble burger on a bun with your favorite toppings. Serve immediately.

Store: Refrigerate cooked patties in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.

    Freeze: Lay patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, freeze completely and transfer to a large Ziploc bag. Cook from frozen following recipe’s instructions + 5 minutes.

      Notes

      • I chop onions using this chopper or puree in a food processor. Best non-crying methods.
      • I used my own cooked Instant Pot black beans so you might need to use less salt if using canned.
      • Do not skip eggs and zucchini.
      • Sub chipotle in adobo sauce with 1 tsp smoked paprika
      See Recipe Post for more Tips and FAQs.

      Nutrition

      Serving: 1patty | Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 589mg | Potassium: 216mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 130IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg
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      40 comments on “Black Bean Burger Recipe

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      1. 5 stars
        I love these black bean burgers! Thank you too for the note about freezing the chilis in adobo sauce. That worked out so well – I didn’t waste any and I’m ready for next time. 🙂

      2. 5 stars
        I made a variant of this recipe for some non-meat eater relatives, and the “burgers” were a smash hit! One variant was that I used oatmeal mix instead of breadcrumbs or oat flour. Second, I added some very finely chopped jalapenos to the mixture. And finally, I baked them, placing the “patties” on parchment paper that had a small amount of vegetable oil on it. The “burgers” held together perfectly and were very easy to flip 1/2 way through the baking period, which I found to be a bit longer than 30 minutes at 400 degrees. In re spices, I used the suggested amount of cumin and also used a tsp of smoked paprika. Everyone LOVED them, even the non-vegetarians. Note: the leftover burgers reheated nicely.

      3. 5 stars
        Ok, I used red rice and totally forgot the oat flour or ww breadcrumbs, which explains why the second set were falling apart. Not sure about chili pepper in adobo sauce. I had a jalapeño and adobo spice but clueless about sauce?Still they tasted great and will make again and again I am sure.Thank you Olena❤️

      4. 5 stars
        These are terrific! Easy to make, tasty and filling. I make them and freeze them uncooked, individually wrapped in parchment so they don’t stick together. The best part is my parents (big meat eaters) love these and I always bring them 1/2 the batch – they get excited when I say I’m making them. The tip about freezing the chili in adobe was super helpful – long time problem solved. Thank you for your recipes, they’ve really added a lot of healthy variety to our menu without a ton of fuss or having to seach high & low for rare ingredients. Perfect, as always.

      5. 5 stars
        I love your recipes and these burgers (I use quinoa)! Wondering if they could be baked instead of pan fried? If so what temp and how long?

      6. 5 stars
        I had to tone down my spice but I didn’t want it to be a flat tasting burger. Thank you for your help. I’m happy with the six qt cooker. It’s a new experience, So I am paying close attention to your work.

      7. 5 stars
        I am a meat eater who loves burgers. Hamburger has zero taste. It is the fixins that are the best part. I tried these burgers with my wife. We both agreed that they were delicious tasting way better than hamburger. Could you send more veggie burger ideas.
        Thank you, Howie

      8. 5 stars
        OH my WORD! No wonder this is a reader favourite! This recipe is the best black bean burger I’ve ever tried. Yummy. I used Farro instead of the rice and melted havarti on top with about 30 seconds left of cooking. I will be making this again. Olena you did not disappoint! 🙂

      9. 5 stars
        Wow….These were incredible! The whole family asked me to put them on our “dinners we love list”. So flavorful. My husband asked me to make another batch so he could bring them to the crew at work tomorrow.
        Thank you.

      10. 5 stars
        Hi, Made this buger tonight and everyone loved it. Can these be frozen without cooking? Thank you, I will definitely be making your black bean buget again!

        1. Hi Barry! You can freeze uncooked patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment, then transfer to a zip top bag and freeze for 3 months. Cook from frozen + 5 minutes. Hope that helps!

      11. 5 stars
        I love this burger. It took me a while to figure out how much oil to use to my liking but even when I’m off theses burgers are amazing. Moreover, my partner requests them (he does not join me in eating veggie often so the fact he enjoys it is a true testament to the texture). Don’t forget you need cooked rice! I like it better when the rice is from the night before. Regardless, the burgers are so yummy and stick together so well. If I manage to freeze some, they’re good out of the freezer. I was bummed when the recipe was taken down so I emailed Olena and she sent it to me. Please keep leaving comments so that others can find this recipe. ❤️❤️❤️

      12. 5 stars
        I love this recipe! I make it and freeze the extras so we can have them any time. We use farro instead of rice and way more chipotle peppers because we like it spicy.

      13. 5 stars
        Yummy! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe! Zucchini is the best vegetable for almost every food, isn’t it? I love it so much and burger also. It looks so tasty and the sauce that is flooding out is soooo attractive that I feel crave now! Thanks again!

      14. You always come up with the most interesting recipes! I’ve heard of bean burgers but have never tried them. I have all of these ingredients in my pantry too, just need to make them sometime! 🙂 Yours look so good by the way! I am getting hungry over here lol.

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