Go-To Black Bean Burgers

Anyone else always stock up on beans when you’re at the grocery store?

Vertical close-up image of a vegetarian burger with sauce, tomato, and lettuce, and text on the top and bottom of the image.

I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to food shopping.

While I could happily spend hours walking up and down the aisles, browsing all the options and thinking up new recipe ideas, I’m often in a rush to get all my shopping done for the week.

So, to make my life easier, not only do I plan out all my meals for the week, but I also organize my grocery list in order of where the ingredients are in the store.

Not only is this a huge time-saver, but it’s also keeps my focused on just those ingredients on my list.

But beans are my one exception. Even if there’s no reason for me to go down that aisle, I find myself pulled in by yellow “sale” stickers that seem to be there every week. Afterall, who knows when there will come a day when the dollar-per-can sale will go away?

Vertical image of an open-faced black bean burger with tomatoes and lettuce.

But you can bet that if it does, my pantry will be fully stocked.

Plus, when it’s the end of the week and there’s nothing left in the fridge, if you have a can or two of beans, then you can likely still whip up a simple, healthy meal like oven quesadillas, a vegetarian soup, or a fresh, vibrant salad.

Not only are they high in fiber and a good source of protein, black beans are also high in antioxidants.

In fact, a study published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry found that black beans may have more antioxidants than any other type of bean.

In case you’re wondering why that’s worth getting excited over, antioxidants are compounds that protect our cells from damage. As a result, they may help reduce our risk of developing chronic diseases.

Vertical image of an open-faced bean burger on top of tomato, lettuce, and a bun and topped with ketchup.

But there are two keys for making black beans as healthy as possible, and they both have to do with reducing sodium.

While more convenient than remembering to soak them the night before, canned beans are higher in sodium. So, to cut back on the salt, start by choosing a can that says “no added salt.”

Then, since even “no added salt beans” still contain some sodium, pour the beans into a colander to drain the liquid, and then run them under water to rinse off additional salt on the beans themselves.

Once your black beans are ready, all that’s standing between you and dinner is an egg, a few slices of bread, and some seasonings. With a few vegan-friendly and gluten-free swaps, this dish is perfect for everyone to enjoy.

Vertical close-up image of a halved veggie burger with a hand holding it.

While there are a bunch of fancy recipes out there, these black bean burgers are simple and dependable. Plus, they actually stay together when flipped. I don’t know about you, but after trying a handful of recipes, this is a big win in my book.

All that’s left is deciding how to top them. Not sure what to choose? Don’t worry, I have some ideas to help you out! Keep reading to the end of this article for my suggestions.

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Horizontal close-up image of a hand holding a whole patty with bread, sauce, lettuce, and tomatoes.

Go-To Vegetarian Black Bean Burgers

  • Author: Kelli McGrane
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Finally, a black bean patty that doesn’t fall apart. Made with pantry staples, you’ll have a healthy dinner ready in less than 20 minutes.


  • 2 slices whole grain, sourdough, or gluten-free bread
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans with no salt added, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten (for vegans, substitute 1 flax egg)
  • ½ cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons avocado or canola oil
  • 4 whole wheat or gluten-free burger buns
  • Toppings of choice


  1. Place bread slices in food processor and pulse until small crumbs form. Set aside.
  2. Add rinsed black beans to a medium-sized mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork.
  3. Add bread crumbs, beaten egg, onion, oregano, parsley, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine.
  4. Form mixture into 4 patties and set aside.
  5. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Once oil is hot, add patties. Cook for 4 minutes per side, or until browned on each side and heated through.
  6. Remove from pan. Place each patty on a bun and serve with toppings of choice.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Category: Burgers
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian

Keywords: black bean, burger, vegetarian, meatless

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Chop Onion, Whisk Egg, and Measure Ingredients

Horizontal image of bowls with beans, spices, oil, and onions, next to whole egg on a wooden surface.

Finely dice the yellow onion and lightly whisk an egg. Measure out all of the remaining ingredients.

To make these vegan-friendly, substitute in one flax egg by combining 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed and 2.5 tablespoons of water. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before adding it to the black bean mixture.

Step 2 – Make Breadcrumbs

Horizontal image of a food processor with breadcrumbs.

Tear bread into smaller pieces and place in a food processor. Pulse until small crumbs form and set aside.

Step 3 – Mash Beans and Form Patties

Horizontal image of mashing beans in a glass bowl.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mash the rinsed and drained beans, using a potato masher or fork. For a little extra texture, I like to leave a few beans whole.

Horizontal image of a mashed dark brown mixture in a glass bowl with a metal spoon.

Next, add the beaten egg (or flax egg), breadcrumbs, onion, oregano, parsley, garlic powder, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Stir well to combine.

Horizontal image of formed patties with a dark brown mixture on a plastic cutting board next to bread buns in a plastic bag.

Divide the mixture into four equal portions and form round patties.

Step 4 – Cook

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the avocado or canola oil.

Horizontal image of a stack of vegetarian patties on a white plate next to tomatoes and lettuce.

Once the oil is hot, carefully place the patties in the skillet. Cook for 4 minutes each side, or until browned.

Remove burgers from the pan, and place them on whole wheat buns, or your choice of roll.

Horizontal image of an open-faced bean burger on top of tomato, lettuce, and a bun and topped with a dollop of red sauce.

Top with tomato, lettuce, and barbecue sauce or ketchup, or consider some of my suggestions below.

Jazz Up This Simple Recipe

As perfect as these burgers are for a last-minute meal, if you do have time to plan ahead, I recommend getting creative with the toppings. Some of my favorite garnishes include:

Horizontal close-up image of a hand holding a whole patty with bread, sauce, lettuce, and tomatoes.

And as a side, who would ever try to break up the dynamic duo of a hearty burger and crispy fries? Certainly not us.

If you love this vegetarian recipe and are craving for more, you’ll want to try our chickpea veggie burger next!

Looking for more ways to use all those black beans in your pantry? Check out these Foodal favorites:

What’s your favorite dinner to make using pantry staples? Share in the comments below. Love these burgers? Let us know by leaving a five-star rating.

Photos by Kelli McGrane, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on April 15, 2012. Last updated: April 5, 2022 at 19:56 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

The written contents of this article have been reviewed and verified by a registered dietitian for informational purposes only. This article should not be construed as personalized or professional medical advice. Foodal and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet, or using supplements or manufactured or natural medications.

About Kelli McGrane, MS, RD

Kelli McGrane is a Denver-based registered dietitian with a lifelong love of food. She holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in nutrition science from Boston University. As a registered dietitian, she believes in the importance of food to nourish not only your body, but your soul as well. Nutrition is very personal, and you won’t find any food rules here, other than to simply enjoy what you eat.

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