Food / Main Dishes / Sandwiches, Wraps + Burgers / Vegetarian

Best Black Bean Burgers

Black Bean Burger CollageI was really apprehensive while making these Black Bean Burgers. I like to be realistic in life, which is why I mentally prepared myself for the doom of collapsed burger patties. It happens to the best of us. I also braced myself for a mushy, possibly flavorless interior. To make myself feel better about possible failure, I chalked this experience up as a trial run. And then..


I took the advice of two different articles/recipes on Black Bean Burgers and plucked the concepts that made the most sense to me: not rinsing the bean juice away because it’s tacky (in a sticky way, not a gaudy way), and panko bread crumbs.

The first thing you need to accept is this: a Black Bean Burger does not, will not, and should not taste like a ground beef burger. It’s not meant to mimic beef–it’s simply meant to allow people on plant-based diets the option of having a, in the words of Jules’ from Pulp Fiction, tasty burger. The process in creating the patties is very similar in that you want to season them properly and bind them together with an egg and breadcrumbs, but the similarities stop there.

I cooked my burgers on a cast iron skillet and the end result was perfection. The burgers felt very sturdy, so I think it’s safe to say that they would do well on a grill, but I can’t say for sure.

I took some step-by-step photos to give you a visual of what the patty making process is like. The entire time I was making these, I kept thinking, “Is that supposed to look like that? Am I doing this right? Is something missing?

I don’t want you to have that sort of anxiety in your life.

When you crack open your can’o’beans, drain them with a strainer, but do not rinse them. Shake them out well, but no rinsing. I feel like the stickiness of the bean juice lent a big hand in why these burgers stayed together. I’m no scientist, but I just have this feeling…

Put them in a large bowl.

BeansMash them with a fork until about 3/4 of the beans are mush. You want some full bean action in there, so I let 1/4 of the concoction remain as full beans. Got it? 3/4 of it mush, 1/4 of it not mush. I can math.

Mashed beansIf it looks like mud, you done good.

Add the extras. You can do what you want seasoning-wise, but I definitely suggest panko bread crumbs over Italian breadcrumbs. They are fuller, more crisp, and they do a better job at bulking the patty and giving it some…sturdiness.

I love pretending that I know what I’m talking about.

I also added chopped red onion and jalapeño.

All ingredients mixedOnce you’ve plopped everything into the bowl, use your fork and mix until everything is completely blended.

Mashed IngredientsThen, with clean hands, dig in and make some patties.

Please note: unlike beef patties, these won’t shrink. So whatever size you create will be the size you end up with.

Black Bean Burger PattyTah-dah!

And then there were noms.

Black Bean Burger 4

I dressed my burger with Pepper Jack cheese, a slice of tomato, baby spinach leaves, red onion, and some homemade guac.

It was perfection.

But you can add whatever you’d like to make it your very own level of perfection. I encourage you to play.

If you want to taste one of my ideas of perfection, see below.

[optin-cat id=”4760″]

Black Bean Burgers


  • 2 15.5 oz cans of black beans drained but not rinsed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • 1/4 cup of red onion minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder
  • Fresh brioche buns
  • Slices of Pepper Jack Cheese
  • Tomato slices
  • Red onion
  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Guacamole


  • Drain the black beans and shake them around in a strainer, but do not rinse.
  • Put the beans in a large bowl and, with a fork, mash them until 3/4 of the mixture of mashed. Leave 1/4 of the beans in full form for texture.
  • Add the panko bread crumbs, egg, and seasoning.
  • With the fork, fold the ingredients in until everything is completely combined.
  • With clean hands, start forming the patties. A heaping handful should make one good-sized patty.
  • If not making the patties right away, wrap and place in the refrigerator.
  • Heat a lightly greased skillet over moderate heat.
  • Carefully place the patties onto the skillet.
  • Cook for 4 minutes or until lightly browned, then carefully flip.
  • Cook for another 4 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Place cheese slices on top of patty and cover with a lid to steam the cheese.
  • Remove the patties from the skillet, place on brioche bun, and dress the burger as you wish.


  • Deedeedee
    December 6, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    How many burgers approximately get did this make? Four? Eight? I know you can probably make them as big as you want, but it makes a difference if you say flip it after four minutes on each side. Then if I make them bigger or smaller, I know to adjust the minutes up or down. It also helps to have an approximation of how many people I can serve out of this.

    • Killing Thyme
      December 7, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      Hi! This recipe will make four patties. This posts recipe card went out of date so I’ll have to update it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention :)

      Hope you enjoy!

  • Tiffany
    January 29, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    The perfect bean burger has always eluded me. It falls apart when I bite it, if I do get it to stay together while cooking. I wonder if it’s because I always rinse my beans. Thank you for that tip and for this recipe. On my to-do list this summer.

      January 29, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      Hey Tiffany, I hope not rinsing helps! I’m not sure what helped with binding more–the tacky beans or the panko bread crumbs. Regardless, I hope it works out well for you! These didn’t even threaten to break when I flipped them, so you should be good to go.

  • ceecee
    January 29, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    MY kids have just started liking beans – this will be a great recipe to make with them.Thx!

      January 29, 2016 at 7:31 pm

      Hey Ceecee, thanks! I hope it’s a winner with the kiddos!

  • Taylor @ The Girls on Bloor
    January 29, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Wow Dana, these look delicious!! I always make this black bean mash to go with my eggs rancheros when making brunch, and this recipe kind of reminds of the perfect hybrid with refried beans and a bean juicy burger. Love the choice of cheese and that you smothered this in guacamole…yum!! Will definitely be giving a try on Meatless Monday!

      January 29, 2016 at 7:30 pm

      Hey Taylor — thanks so much! I hope you dig this! Your eggs rancheros sound delicious. I’ve never made that. Sounds like I need to take a page out of your book, too!

  • Trish
    January 29, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Yum. I hear you. Homemade veggie burgers are trickier than they should be. These look fantastic. Definitely trying this one!

      January 29, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      Thanks, Trish!
      I agree. The last time I had one in a restaurant even, the thing fell apart after my second bite. I guess that has a lot to do with why I didn’t have much confidence in this, but I was surprised–and in the best way possible.


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