Don’t Give Up! How to Make Your Best Black Bean Burger Ever

Chef Samantha holding a homemade black bean burger with melted cheese on a plain bun, ready to bite.

Black bean burgers often get a bad rap. Dry, crumbly, and flavorless—sound familiar? But trust me, mama, it doesn’t have to be that way! With simple tweaks and hacks, you can create juicy, flavorful black bean burgers that even the pickiest eaters will devour. Let’s ditch the disappointment and make burger magic happen! 

Do Black Bean Burgers Taste Good? 

Black Bean Burgers vs Beef Hamburger

Beef burgers reign supreme in many households, but let’s be honest: they’re not exactly the mainstream picture of health. Black bean burgers offer a protein-packed, fibre-rich alternative that’s lighter, lower in saturated fat, and cholesterol-free. Plus, they’re naturally gluten-free and easily adaptable for vegan diets! 

Why Do People Love Black Bean Burgers?  

  • Budget-friendly: Made with pantry staples, they’re an affordable crowd-pleaser. 
  • Customizable: Endless flavour combinations to suit your taste. 
  • Dietary friendly: Perfect for vegetarians, vegans, and those with gluten sensitivities. 
  • Quick and easy: Whip up a batch in under 30 minutes! 

How to Make the Best Ever Black Bean Burger 

Chef Samantha holding a black bean burger with cheese pointed at camera

I Set Out to Create the Best Black Bean Burger Recipe ‍ 

After doing my research, and trying different recipes, I’ve come up with a hybrid recipe that’s bursting with flavour and holds its shape beautifully. No more dry, bland hockey pucks here! 

How Are Black Bean Burgers Made? 

The basic recipe involves mashing beans, mixing in spices and binding ingredients, and forming patties. But to achieve burger nirvana, we need a few key hacks: 

Hack #1: Shitake Mushrooms Instead of Black Beans Only

Adding chopped shiitake mushrooms adds meaty texture and umami depth without compromising on protein. Trust me, it’s a game-changer! 

Hack #2: Using Canned Beans (with a caveat)

Dried beans are great, but canned beans are a lifesaver for busy moms. Just rinse and drain well! 

Hack #3: Dehydrating the Beans (Optional)

Dehydrate rinsed beans for a few minutes in the air fryer before using for an extra-firm texture. This reduces moisture and prevents crumbly patties. 

Hack #4: Using a Good Food Processor ️ 

A food processor cuts prep time to practically zero minutes (slight exaggeration) to achieve a mostly uniform patty and evenly distributed ingredients.

my favorite food processor
My favorite Cuisinart Food Processor

Hack #5: Caramelized Onions and Peppers ️ 

These add richness, sweetness, and depth of flavour. Trust the process, mama! 

Hack #6: Adding Chopped Nuts

Walnuts, pecans, or even pistachios add a delightful crunch and healthy fats. This method is a great way to get your kids eating nuts if they’re picky eaters. A win-win in my book!

Key Considerations When Making Black Bean and Mushroom Burgers From Scratch 

Making Black Bean Burger Patties That Don’t Fall Apart 

  • Don’t overmash the beans! Leave some texture for binding. 
  • Use an egg or flaxseed mixture as a binder (vegan options available below!). 
  • Chill the patties for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This helps them set. But if you watch my video you’ll notice I never did this step because of the breadcrumbs and egg.

Your black bean burger won’t fall apart if you follow my recipe

How Long to Air Fry the Burger Patty? ⏲️ 

Air frying yields perfectly crispy patties in about 8-10 minutes to set them, heat them through and crisp up. But pan-frying or grilling works too! 

Two black bean burgers ready to go in my air fryer

How to Make a 100% Vegan Black Bean Burger 

Swap the egg for a flaxseed mixture (1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp water) and use vegan mayo for binding. Easy peasy! 

Substitutes for Flour Breadcrumbs (Gluten-Free): 

Watch the Step-by-Step Video Tutorial Here

What are the Essential Tools Needed to Make Your Amazing Burger? 

What to Do If You Don’t Have a Food Processor? 

Mash the beans well with a fork and mix vigorously to ensure an even distribution of ingredients. And manually dice the other ingredients with a chef’s knife as finely as possible. Or you can dice everything in your blender on pulse mode.

Chef Sam’s Best Black Bean Burger Ingredients & Directions

Don’t Give Up! Here’s How to Make the Best Black Bean Burger at Home

Recipe by Chef Samantha GeorgeDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time



Ditch dry, crumbly black bean burgers! This recipe reveals secrets to juicy, flavorful patties everyone will love. Make your best black bean burger ever.


  • For the Black Bean Burger
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans of black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 1 large, sweet pepper, roughly chopped

  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and roughly chopped

  • ½ a scotch bonnet pepper, finely diced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 cup cilantro, roughly minced

  • 1 tablespoon garam masala

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ cup breadcrumbs

  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise

  • Salt

  • ½ tsp MSG (optional)

  • ½ tsp baking soda (optional)

  • Oil spray

  • For the Aripe Mango Salsa
  • 2 ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced into thin strips

  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • Optional toppings
  • Lettuce leaves

  • Pickles

  • Sliced tomatoes

  • Emmental cheese slices

  • Yogurt + Sriracha dressing


  • Drain the black beans and spread them out on a tray in the air fryer basket.
  • Cook about ½ the portion of the black beans for about 10 minutes in the air fryer to remove excess moisture. Set aside.
  • In a food processor, pulse the onion and sweet pepper, until finely chopped. Sauté the mixture in a pan with garlic infused coconut oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  • In a food processor, pulse the shiitake mushrooms until finely chopped then set aside.
  • In a large bowl, use a fork to mix the mayonnaise, egg, cilantro, msg, baking soda, scotch bonnet pepper and garam masala.
  • Add the dehydrated black beans and the wet black beans, chopped nuts, and bread crumbs. Then with a potato masher (or fork) mix together until mostly smooth, leaving some beans intact for texture. Be sure to mix until well combined.
  • Grab about a tennis ball size portion of the mixture and form patties. You should get between 6 and 8 patties
  • Spray the air fryer basket with oil spray, then place the patties in a single layer, leaving some space between each patty. Spray the tops of the patties with oil spray.
  • Air fry the patties at 375°F (190°C) for 0 minutes until golden brown and crispy on the outside. Repeat with any remaining patties or freeze them for later use.
  • While the patties cook, prepare the Aripe Mango Salsa by combining sliced mangoes, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño pepper, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Stir gently to combine.
  • Serve the black bean burgers on toasted hamburger buns with a spoonful of Aripe Mango Salsa, some yogurt or mayo mixed with sriracha and any desired toppings.
  • Enjoy your flavorful and satisfying black bean burgers with refreshing Aripe Mango Salsa!


  • See my website for guides on how to make your recipe gluten-free or totally vegan/vegetarian

Chef Samantha’s Professional Tips Simplified 

Tips for Making the Patties Easier and Faster: 

  • Make a double batch and freeze half: Cook and freeze cooked patties for quick weeknight meals. 
  • Grate the onion instead of chopping: Saves time and ensures even distribution. 
  • Use a cookie scoop for uniform patty size. 
  • Wet your hands slightly when forming patties: Prevent sticking. 

Grilling the Burgers

I didn’t try grilling my burgers but I see no reason why this wouldn’t work. The smoky flavor will also elevate the burger, but here’s what I’d recommend

  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. 
  • Freeze your burgers if possible.
  • Lightly oil the grates to prevent sticking. 
  • Grill for 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through and slightly charred. 

Freezing the Burgers: 

You can freeze uncooked or cooked black bean burgers.

  • Let cooked patties cool completely. 
  • Flash freeze on a baking sheet for 30 minutes, then transfer to freezer bags. 
  • Thaw frozen patties in the refrigerator before reheating. 

A tray of four black bean burger patties ready to be frozen

Pan-Fried vs Air Fryer Burgers: 

In my video, I tested the two methods and the difference between the air fryer and the pan-fried version was barely noticeable. I preferred the pan-fried burger, however, the difference is not going to be noticed by most people.

  • Pan-frying: Use a little oil over medium heat, cook for 3-4 minutes per side. 
  • Air Fryer: Preheat to 400°F, cook for 8-10 minutes per side for crispy results. 


Do Black Bean Burgers Have Meat? 

No, black bean burgers are vegetarian and meat-free. They are a great source of plant-based protein and fiber. 

Do Black Bean Burgers Have Protein? 

Yes! Black beans are a good source of protein, with about 7 grams per 1/2 cup serving. Combining them with other protein-rich ingredients like mushrooms further boosts the protein content. 

Other Air Fryer Recipes You Can Try: 

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A Few Air Fryers I Recommend to Purchase:


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About The Chef
Chef Samantha

A formally trained chef, Observer Food Awards scholar, graduate of The University of Technology in Hospitality & Food Service management, young wife and mom of two.

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