There is absolutely no need to pity non-meat-eaters at BBQs. There are so many scrumptious pescatarian, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly options for the grill, including these Smoky and Spicy Homemade Black Bean Burger Patties.
They’re filling, they’re hearty, and they taste amazing with all the same fixings as a beef burger—perfect for a summertime backyard BBQ. Plus, this meatless burger recipe is quick and easy to make, with 10 ingredients and only 30 minutes required.
As an environmental scientist, I’m always looking for delicious meat alternatives to help me lower my ecological footprint, and this burger is one I look to often!
Green tip: Industrial meat production has a huge impact on the environment, especially because of the amount of land it takes to sustain and its high amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing your meat consumption is one great way to improve your ecological footprint.
Black Bean Burger Ingredients & Substitutions
Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Black beans.
- Egg. You can very easily substitute a flax egg.
- Mayonnaise. Or veganaise or Greek Yogurt.
- Breadcrumbs. Any will do from Italian to Panko. You could also use rolled oats. I used Italian seasoned breadcrumbs to sneak in a little extra flavor.
- Onion powder.
- Garlic powder.
- Hot sauce. Use your favorite! I used Tabasco.
- Liquid smoke. Optional, but highly recommended for that smoky flavor even without the grill! I used Natural Hickory flavor.
How to Make Easy Black Bean Burgers
Prep Your Vegetables First
If you don’t have time to let them air dry, pat them dry with clean kitchen towels. It’s important the beans aren’t too wet or you will end up with a soggy burger patty.
Peel your garlic cloves by chopping off the ends and crushing them with the flat end of your knife to break open the exterior. Then, peel away the paper-thin outer layer and discard. You can keep the garlic clove whole.
Cut the onion around the core and peel away the outermost layers. The onion core, and onion cores and peels can be saved in the freezer to use to make your own vegetable broth. Alternatively, they can be composted.
Blend the Beans and Vegetables First
The black beans, onions, and garlic will take the most effort to break down, so it makes sense to blend them first.
Add the drained, rinsed, and dried black beans to the food processor with the onions and garlic. Blend on high until everything is broken down into a paste, with no visible chunks.
Finish Up Your Black Bean Mixture
Once the black bean, onion, and garlic is broken down, add the egg, mayonnaise, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, hot sauce, and liquid smoke.
Blend again until just combined. You’ll have a thick and sticky fragrant black bean mixture to work with.
Here is my obligatory mention of best practice for cracking your eggs: it’s always best to crack your eggs in a separate dish first, rather than directly into your food processor.
This will allow you to remove any eggshells that fall into the egg during cracking or avoid tainting the whole mixture if you get a rare bloody egg.
Still, I have to admit, I often just take the risk, but don’t say I didn’t warn you! 😉
How to Form Your Black Bean Burger Patties
Now it’s time to shape your black bean burger patties! For the most uniform patties, use a pancake mold and add two heaping tablespoons of the mixture to each. You should have enough to form 6 equal-sized patties.
If you want to form your patties by hand you absolutely can! It is a sticky mixture, so I recommend wetting your hands with water.
Then, you can form 6 patties by rolling about 2 tablespoons of mixture at a time into a ball. Place each ball on your baking sheet and use your flat palm or a spatula to press down on them until they are about 1-2 inches thick.
If you are hand-shaping them and grabbing the mixture with your hands rather than a spoon, I highly recommend removing the blade from the food processor first, so you don’t accidentally cut yourself.
How to Properly Store and Reheat Homemade Black Bean Burgers
The baking time for your patties will depend on whether your are making them ahead of time to store in the freezer and enjoy later, or if you’re ready to enjoy them right away.
These homemade black bean burger patties will last in the freezer in an airtight container or sealed freezer bag for up to 3 months.
If you are making these ahead of time and plan to save them for later, bake them on the top rack at 375°F for ten minutes until they are just firm enough to hold together.
Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool completely before using a spatula to transfer them into your container or freezer bag.
Then, stick ’em in the freezer, and when you’re ready to enjoy, reheat them on a frying pan for 5-7 minutes over medium-high heat with a splash of olive oil, flipping halfway between.
Alternatively, you can grill them from frozen, or simply microwave them (though this may change the texture and cause them to be a little more soggy or even rubbery).
If you’re making them to serve immediately, keep them in the oven for 16-18 minutes, or remove them after 10 minutes and finish off on the grill or in a grill pan with a little olive oil if you want those classic grill marks!
How to Serve Your Black Bean Burgers
These black bean burgers are smoky and a little bit spicy. I like to lean into the spice and serve them up with a little sriracha mayo that I make out of 2 parts mayo: 1 part sriracha. Then, I stack it with cheese, tomato, lettuce, and red onion.
It also goes well with other classics like ketchup, mustard, pickles, fried onions, or you can even get a little fancy and serve with guacamole or an aioli.
Here are some of my favorite sides to go with these black bean burgers:
Why These Black Bean Patties are the Best
- They don’t require a grill. By adding liquid smoke you can infuse that smoky flavor without the grill, though this recipe is versatile enough that you can still grill it if you want to!
- They can be made ahead of time. Pack these away in the freezer for up to 3 months to enjoy any time!
- They’re crazy easy. It’s really as simple as blending up the ingredients, shaping them, and baking them.
Easy Homemade Black Bean Burger PattiesPIN Print RATE
- 15 ounces black beans (15 ounce = 1 can )
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 large egg (or flax egg for vegan)
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise (or vegan mayonnaise)
- 1 cup breadcrumbs (I used Italian seasoned for extra flavor)
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a reusable baking mat.
- Drain and rinse your beans and set aside to dry. If you don't have time to let them air dry, pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel. If they are too wet, you will likely have soggy burger patties. Peel and chop your onion around the core and peel your garlic cloves.
- Add the black beans, onion, and garlic to the food processor and blend on high until completely broken down into a paste.
- Add the egg, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, hot sauce and liquid smoke and blend again until everything is well-combined.
- Use about two heaping tablespoons to form each burger patty. I use pancake molds to make them more uniform, but you can also shape them by hand. If you are shaping them by hand, I recommend wetting your hands with water, so the black bean mixture doesn't stick. You should have enough for 6 patties.
- To make black bean burger patties ahead: Bake for 10 minutes on the top rack of the oven until the patties are just solid enough to hold together. Allow them to cool completely before adding to a freezer bag for up to 3 months. When ready to consume, reheat in the oven, in a pan, or on the grill. To enjoy immediately: For the patties you want to consume straight away, bake for 16-18 minutes on the top rack of the oven and serve hot, or remove from the oven after 10 minutes and finish off in a frying pan or on the grill.
- You can use other binders aside from breadcrumbs. Rolled oats are great, or even Ritz crackers.
- Your mixture should be pretty wet when you shape your patties. Using wet hands to shape them avoids too much mixture sticking to your hands.
- Find more delicious meat-free recipes in this collection of my best meatless meals!
The Inspiration Behind These Smoky and Spicy Black Bean Burgers
For our first date, my husband and I went to a nice restaurant (the same restaurant he would pop the question at 4 short years later). He didn’t know that I didn’t eat meat, and he ordered a steak (typical). Luckily, there was an awesome black bean burger on the menu as a veggie option.
I’ve always liked black bean burgers, but this one was a game-changer! It was smoky, a little bit spicy, and the best ever texture. Honestly, after the first bite, I was a little concerned that they brought me a regular burger instead of the black bean one (don’t worry, they didn’t).
Once I started this recipe development venture, I knew I had to replicate it. It took a while for me to figure out that liquid smoke was the key. But now, every time I eat this, I think about our first date. And about how we connected over that black bean burger and steak, a juxtaposition that would one day become the inspiration for this blog.
Never did our difference in diets deter us from enjoying great meals together, and cooking for the two of us has been a challenge I’ve welcomed and honestly enjoyed tackling. But I’m confident that whether you eat meat or not, you’ll enjoy these Smoky and Spicy Black Bean Burgers.