Easiest-Ever Black Bean Burgers

black bean burger with toppings on a cutting board

We all know the benefits of eating more plant-based foods: better for your health, better for the planet, way better for your grocery tab. But when it comes to devising what’s for dinner, it’s easy to get stuck in a chicken-shrimp-steak cycle. I’ve only recently pulled myself out of that protein rut and have been experimenting with vegan and vegetarian dinners that are so delicious you’ll forget they don’t involve any meat (promise!). Enter: these extra-easy black bean burgers that come together in 30 minutes and don’t require any special equipment, techniques, or complicated cooking processes. Got a mixing bowl? Let’s go.

How to make black bean burgers

You guessed it—this recipe starts with a can of black beans, but I won’t ask you to cook the beans or bake them or whisper to them and coax them into becoming beef. Many black bean burger recipes call for fussy steps like drying out the beans in the oven, cooking all of the individual ingredients, sacrificing your time and your sanity for something that should be so easy. Here, just pat the beans dry with a paper or dish towel, mash them in a bowl (or pulse them in a food processor), add spices, an egg, panko or breadcrumbs, and a little mayonnaise (these ingredients are binders, which help to ensure the burgers don’t fall apart), cook on a skillet, and pile into buns. Voilà!

How do you keep black bean burgers from falling apart?

This is a common problem with black bean burgers, and it’s happened to me (more than once!). Here’s how to avoid it: 

  • Use a large or extra-large egg (not a medium egg), as this is the best source of stickiness to hold the burgers together.
  • Don’t skip the panko or breadcrumbs, they also help hold the burgers together. If you are gluten-free, you can use an alternative flour or gluten-free oats pulsed in a food processor.
  • Be sure they are fully cooked on the first side before flipping, they should be golden brown and a little crisp on the underside.
  • Flip carefully, and with a thin spatula: The flip is where you are most likely to lose a bean or two, so use a thin spatula that can get all the way under the burger without breaking it and flip gently.
  • Cheese: Once flipped, add a slice of cheese to act as an additional, gooey layer that’ll hold everything together.
  • A little breakage is no biggie: If a piece of the burger breaks off during cooking despite your best efforts, it turns into a crispy little snack that we’ll call the chef’s treat. Lucky you!
close-up of black bean burgers in a skillet with cheese

Let’s make black bean burgers

mashed black beans in a bowl

In a large bowl, mash the black beans until broken down but chunky, you want some texture here (and you don’t want black bean hummus). You can also make these in a food processor if you don’t feel like mashing. Stir in the onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, smoked paprika; season with salt and pepper. Taste the mixture and adjust seasonings as needed. Stir in the panko, egg, and mayo.

black bean burgers on a plate

Using a ⅓ cup measure, scoop the black bean mixture onto a large plate or cutting board to make 4-5 mounds (no need to form them into patties just yet). Chill the burgers in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes and up to 2 hours (this will help them retain their shape). If chilling for longer than 2 hours, cover with plastic wrap.

black bean burgers in a skillet with a red spatula

In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium. Add half of the burgers to the skillet and use a spatula to smash them into patties (you can spray the spatula with a little nonstick cooking spray to prevent sticking). Working in batches, cook patties 2-3 minutes on the first side, carefully flip (it’s best to flip with the skinniest spatula you have), add a slice of cheese on each burger, then cook on the second side for another 2-3 minutes until each side is golden brown and patties are cooked through. 

black bean burger with toppings and a bite taken out of it

Serve on buns with your favorite toppings. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

More easy recipes with canned beans:

Easiest-Ever Black Bean Burgers

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Dinner American
By Samantha Serves: 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes

These extra easy black bean burgers come together in 30 minutes and don’t require any special equipment, techniques, or fussy cooking processes.

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp mayo
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 slices cheese, optional
  • Burger buns and toppings, for serving

Instructions

1

In a large bowl, mash the black beans until broken down, you want some texture here (and you don’t want black bean hummus). You can also make these in a food processor if you don’t feel like mashing. Stir in the onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, and smoked paprika; season with salt and pepper. Taste the mixture and adjust seasonings as needed. Stir in the panko, egg, and mayo. Do not overwork the patties.

2

Using a ⅓ cup measure, scoop the black bean mixture onto a large plate or cutting board to make 4 mounds (no need to form them into patties just yet). Chill the burgers in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes and up to 2 hours (this will help them retain their shape). If chilling for longer than 2 hours, cover with plastic wrap.

3

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium. Add two of the burgers to the skillet and use a spatula to smash them into patties (you can spray the spatula with a little nonstick cooking spray to prevent sticking). Working in batches, cook patties 3-4 minutes on the first side, carefully flip, add a slice of cheese on each burger if using, then cook on the second side for another 3-4 minutes until each side is golden brown and patties are cooked through.

4

Serve on buns with your favorite toppings. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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