Southwestern Black Bean Burgers

By America’s Test Kitchen | August 24th, 2022

A flavorful twist on the healthy, classic veggie burger

Served with complementary toppings like tomatoes and avocado, Southwestern Black Bean Burgers make a healthy, hearty, protein-powered main.

Black beans and Southwestern‑inspired seasoning dress up this veggie burger. Nestled between your favorite bun, with your favorite complementary toppings – like tomatoes and avocado slices – Southwestern Black Bean Burgers make a healthy, hearty, protein-powered main.

Have a can of black beans in your pantry? You’re ready to make one heck of a veggie burger with these Southwestern-inspired black bean burgers! But first, here’s a little history on canned beans.

The process of getting beans from the plant to the can is a marvel of culinary engineering. First, bean plants are cut down and left to dry out. Then, machines separate the dried beans from their pods. While the exact canning process varies from brand to brand, it usually starts with cleaning the beans, sorting them by size, and removing any beans that are damaged.

Then, the dried beans are quickly cooked in hot water before they’re sealed in their cans along with water and salt. The salt not only seasons the beans but also makes their skins more tender. Finally, the beans are pressure cooked, right in their cans – no pot required. The result? Perfectly cooked, flavorful beans, ready to use at a moment’s notice.

Southwestern Black Bean Burgers

Serves 4


  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 ounces tortilla chips, crushed (1 cup)
  • 2 cups drained black beans
  • 4 scallions, ends trimmed and chopped coarse
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small head Bibb lettuce (6 ounces), leaves separated
  • 4 hamburger buns, toasted


  1. In a large bowl, whisk egg, chili powder, salt and pepper until well combined. Set aside.
  2. Add tortilla chips to the food processor and process until tortilla chips are very finely ground, about 1 minute.
  3. Add beans and scallions to processor. Pulse until ingredients are finely chopped.
  4. Transfer black bean mixture to bowl with egg mixture. Use a rubber spatula to gently stir ingredients until just combined.
  5. Use wet hands to divide black bean mixture into 4 portions and form 4 lightly packed balls. Gently flatten each ball into a circle that measures 3 1/2 inches across. Transfer patties to a plate and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir mayonnaise and sriracha until well combined. Set aside.
  7. When patties are ready, heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet for 1 minute (oil should be hot but not smoking). Carefully place patties in skillet and cook over medium heat until well browned on the first side, 4 to 6 minutes.
  8. Use a spatula to gently flip patties. Cook until well browned on the second side, 4 to 5 minutes.
  9. Serve the black bean burgers with lettuce and sriracha mayonnaise.

Why and how to go meatless

Pinto Bean Chilaquiles recipe for a fun fiesta

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