19 Best Black Bean Recipes

You've found a can of black beans in your pantry and want to use them, but can't come up with any recipes. Look no further. Here's a collection of amazing, tastebud astounding dishes that will have you going back to the store for cases of the musical fruit.

Many of the foods here have Latin American flavors. That's not surprising considering black beans are native to the Americas and Brazil is currently the biggest producer, exporter, and consumer of black beans, but they are popular throughout Latin America and beyond. Though, in decades past, few people in the U.S. bought black beans, today you can buy them at any grocery store in the states.

Beans contain a large amount of protein and are much better for the environment than beef and other meats. What makes black beans useful in particular is their amazing hue of deep purple, almost black, that is eye-catching in almost any dish. There's also the earthy flavor and smooth, creamy texture as some of the good reasons to tie your apron and get some black beans simmering on the stove.

Instant Pot Black Beans

This recipe for an Instant Pot makes cooking dry black beans almost as easy as opening a can. Home-cooked beans typically contain less sodium, are cheaper, and still taste delicious. Usually, you'd have to plan to prepare this legume with overnight soaking then keep a pot on the stove for an hour or more. That's not the case here.

First, you only have to wash the dry beans, then, once they're in the appliance, it only takes a little over an hour to cook. Finally, you can easily adjust the listed quantities for any amount of beans you want to make.

Recipe: Instant Pot Black Beans

Mexican Black Beans

A bowl of Mexican-style black beans brightened with cilantro and chili powder tastes delicious and works as both main dish and side. 

You can prepare this recipe quickly, as it'll only take 25 minutes. Grab a can of beans, dice an onion, and put some garlic in the press. Next, throw everything into the frying pan. You don't even need to drain the can since leaving that extra juice will give these beans a smoother texture. If you have pre-cooked black beans left over from another recipe or in your freezer, this is a delicious way to use them.

Recipe: Mexican Black Beans

Refried Black Beans

When you make classic refried beans with black beans, they taste even creamier than usual. To make this recipe, you'll need a slow cooker. Load the ingredients first thing in the morning and leave them cooking for around seven hours. When you get home, just grab an immersion blender and you'll have tremendous refried beans in a matter of minutes.

You can also make this recipe with canned beans or ones that have been cooked on the stovetop. However you prepare them, these refried black beans will taste wonderful on tortilla chips and make for incredible bean burritos.

Recipe: Refried Black Beans

Black Bean Soup

Nothing can warm you up on a chilly day like a piping-hot bowl of soup. Make that soup with beans, green chiles, and cumin, and you'll forget about winter altogether.

Use canned black beans and it will only take you around 20 minutes to get this soup on the table. You'll need to sauté the onions, but after that, it's just a matter of combining broth, canned beans, tomatoes, and spices in a single pot. Once everything's warm, run it through the blender. Serve with broken tortilla chips on top, grated cheese, sour cream, and cilantro.

Recipe: Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Dip

Bean dip is a necessity on any party table with chips, but if you buy it pre-made you might not like the spice level. The best solution is to whip some up yourself and add as many chopped jalapeños as you want.

To get the perfect texture, make this with a can of drained whole black beans and process them with garlic, jalapeños, lime juice, and cumin. The spicy, sour, creamy taste will have you spooning this into your mouth instead of bothering with tortilla chips.

Recipe: Black Bean Dip

Black Bean Brownies

Starchy black beans substitute for flour in this brownie recipe perfect for anyone avoiding gluten. Having extra nutrients and protein as part of the sweet treat is welcome a bonus. 

Pour a can of black beans and other ingredients into a blender and mix until there are no whole beans left. Add chocolate chips and chopped walnuts for extra flavor and texture. It takes 30 minutes to bake, but it will be hard to wait that long for something so tasty.

Recipe: Black Bean Brownies

Black Bean Enchiladas

Whether you're looking for a vegetarian entree or just something tasty for dinner, black bean enchiladas are for you. This dish is a cheesy, spicy delicacy.

There are three stages to making these — cooking the filling, rolling the enchiladas, and baking. The second step requires you to place the tortillas on a sauce-filled plate, flip them, add the filling, and then roll them before placing them in the pan. The final product is bursting with beans, cheese, red pepper, and tomatoes, and is more than worth the effort.

Recipe: Black Bean Enchiladas

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

Bite into a roasted sweet potato and black bean taco and the first thing you'll feel is the crunch of the corn taco shell. Then, your teeth will sink into a gooey, caramelized sweet potato. Finally, you'll taste earthy black beans. It's all perfectly complimented with a mix of garlic, cumin, chili powder, and paprika.

With carbs and protein already taken care of, if you top it off with tomatoes and avocado, you'll get a serving of veggies too. These tacos make it a pleasure to eat well.

Recipe: Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

1-Pot Cuban Black Beans and Rice

Cuban black beans and rice are good the first day you make them, but they're mind-blowingly delicious after reheating. A little time in the fridge allows all the complex flavors to blend perfectly. If you're looking for the perfect healthy food for meal prep, you've found it. Make a big pot Sunday afternoon and freeze in individual portions until you're ready to dig in.

This rice and bean dish has a longer list of ingredients than some recipes, but most are spices and you'll only need to get one pot dirty to make it. For most of the cooking time, you leave it simmering on the stove. That's a small investment of energy for a huge amount of taste.

Recipe: 1-Pot Cuban Black Beans and Rice

Green Chile Black Bean Burger

Sometimes a burger sounds good, but you can't eat beef. It that's the case and you also love southwestern seasonings, try this recipe made with corn, green chiles, green salsa, and olives in addition to the legumes.

If you've ever made veggie burgers at home before, you may have had trouble getting them to stick together. That's not the case with these patties as the green salsa combines with the starchy rice to hold things together and so you can shape and cook these patties easily. These are perfect for a plant-based summer picnic.

Recipe: Green Chile Black Bean Burger

3-Bean Vegetarian Chili

There are two schools of thought when it comes to chili: no beans and beans. If you belong to team beans, you'll love this vegetarian chili. The best part is that it takes under 20 minutes to make.

In addition to a can of black beans, you'll need one can of pinto and another of kidney beans along with sautéed onion, tomato sauce, and as much spice as you like. Since the ingredients are pre-cooked, all you have to do is heat the soup for 15 minutes until the flavors combine.

Recipe: 3-Bean Vegetarian Chili

Copycat Panera Corn Chowder

This corn chowder recipe with black beans will make one of the creamiest soups you'll ever eat. That smooth texture comes from combining cream with potato and corn puree to make a base. The taste is all corn, black bean, sweet pepper, cilantro, lime, and chili. Make sure you rinse the black beans well before adding them. Otherwise, your soup will look less cream-colored and more burnt umber. 

This is the perfect soup to serve in the fall. It's easy enough to make on a school night and eating it will give you warmth on those first chilly nights of the year.

Recipe: Copycat Panera Corn Chowder

Balela Salad

The combination of red tomatoes, green cucumbers, yellow garbanzos, black beans, and purple olives in this balela salad means it tastes just as festive as it looks. You can eat it as a main dish or as a side. Use it to stuff a wrap if you're looking for a utensil-free way to eat.

Chopping veggies, draining a couple of cans of beans, and mixing in some herbs are the only steps required for this dish. You'll have it on the table and ready to eat in less than 10 minutes.

Recipe: Balela Salad

Taco Soup

This taco soup with black beans makes a hearty meal. The aroma of the corn, beans, meat, and tomatoes slow-cooking may make it tough to wait four hours until it's cooked through. But it's well worth biding your time for the spectacular taste of the richly seasoned final product.

Make a meal of taco soup even more fun by setting up a topping bar. Everyone will have a ball adding their combos of shredded cheese, finely chopped tomatoes, sour cream, tortilla chips, jalapeños, chives, and black olives.

Recipe: Taco Soup

Copycat Chili's Southwest Egg Rolls

The thing about Chili's classic Southwest Egg Rolls is that they're not technically egg rolls. These use a flour tortilla instead of an egg roll wrapper and a filling of chicken breast, black beans, corn, spinach, and cheese. The dipping sauce is avocado and ranch.

Making this dish at home takes time and concentration. First, you'll roll the tortillas and filling into neat little packages that won't come apart. Then, fry the rolls in hot vegetable oil. If the recipe doesn't work quite how you wanted the first time, try again. With practice, you'll get the hang of it.

Recipes: Copycat Chili's Southwest Egg Rolls

Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos

Nachos are fun to serve at a casual get-together like game night. These nachos are even better because they're packed with healthy and delicious ingredients like black beans, shredded chicken, cheese, and tomatoes.

It's easiest to use canned black beans in this recipe, but remember to rinse and drain them well first. Otherwise, you could end up with soggy nachos, and no one wants that. Using a rotisserie chicken can make assembling this even faster.

Recipe: Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos

Bean and Cheese Gorditas

Gorditas are essentially extra-thick corn tortillas that are typically stuffed with black beans and cotija cheese. Here, make them at home with finely milled corn flour and water. When they come off the skillet, cut them open and add a dab of butter for extra flavor. 

For the filling, you can use black beans straight from the can and spoon them into your gordita. For even more explosive flavor, add your homemade Mexican-style or refried black beans. It's a great way to use up leftover black beans.

Recipe: Bean and Cheese Gorditas

Spicy Chicken Casserole

Casseroles rule because they're a great way to use up leftovers. It's also easy to clean up after making one, and this spicy chicken casserole with black beans is no exception. It should be your go-to recipe for using up leftover scraps of rotisserie chicken.

To make this dish, put raw white rice in a baking pan. Over that goes shredded chicken, a can of black beans, and spicy salsa. Top it with shredded cheese and stick the dish in the oven for half an hour. In no time, you'll have gooey, beany goodness for dinner.

Recipe: Spicy Chicken Casserole

Mexican Chicken and Rice

Get out your slow cooker! It's time to make Mexican chicken and rice with black beans. This dish takes just 10 minutes of prep time. After three hours, lunch is ready with very little effort. This recipe is perfect for busy weekdays.

The ingredients include long-grain rice, a can of black beans, diced tomatoes, corn, chicken breast, and taco seasoning. To serve, top this dish with shredded cheese, salsa, and a bit of cilantro.

Recipe: Mexican Chicken and Rice