Let's get one thing straight: I am an omnivore, and I am not ashamed of that. Still, I think it's good to keep vegetarian a few days a week and I genuinely enjoy vegetarian cooking. (As long as we don't leave cheese out of the party.)

These bean burgers are the best I've ever had, and let it be known I've had my fair share of meat-alternative burgers.

What makes these ones shine is the smoked paprika, just a little goes a long way, but it brings a delicious smokey flavor that makes me think of the grill. The texture, obtained by mixing smashed and whole black beans, is also spot-on. 

Black Bean Burgers

  • Prep Time:15 mins
  • Cook Time:8 mins
  • Total Time:23 mins
  • Servings:4
  • Medium


  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoon your preferred cooking oil
hamburger, bun
Caitlyn Heter
  • Step 1

    Drain the can of beans, saving the liquid for later. Put half of the drained beans into a bowl and thoroughly smash with the back of a fork.

    GIF by Caitlyn Heter
  • Step 2

    In a large bowl, add the smashed beans from step 1, remaining 1/2 can of whole black beans, bread crumbs, egg, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and black pepper. Stir to combine.

    GIF by Caitlyn Heter
  • Step 3

    Your mixture will likely be a little too dry to form into patties—add a spoonful at a time of the bean liquid saved in step 1 until the mixture is smooth and pliable, but not runny.

    GIF by Caitlyn Heter
  • Step 4

    Form the mixture into patties. I made 3 thick ones in the video, but I recommend 4 thinner ones so that they cook quickly and consistently.

    GIF by Caitlyn Heter
  • Step 5

    Heat your cooking oil in a nonstick pan or other skillet on medium heat. Then cook the burgers for about 4 minutes per side, until browned evenly on both sides.
    #SpoonTip: Try canola oil, it's one of the least flavorful oils, so the flavor of your ingredients will really shine through.

    GIF by Caitlyn Heter
  • Step 6

    Serve the burgers however you want. I had mine with toasted buns, spring mix, American cheese, and mustard, but anything is possible.

    GIF by Caitlyn Heter