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Cooking Tips

Bind Your Black Bean Burgers Together with Tortilla Chips

Tortilla chips are just what your bean burgers need. They hold the patties together and boost flavor with their salty, corny taste.
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Published Oct. 25, 2022.

I have never been a fan of veggie burgers. 

They usually call for a lot of ingredients and a lot of steps to make them as satisfying to eat as regular burgers. 

And yet they rarely compare.

Black bean burgers are better, since the beans themselves have a uniquely earthy flavor. But often that flavor is obscured by too many starchy binders like bread crumbs, rice, or oats. 

And still the burgers can fall apart when you’re flipping them or eating them (or both).

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For black bean burgers that were cohesive enough to hold their shape without losing flavor or textural contrast, the editors here at Cook’s Illustrated looked to an unexpected starch. 

Crushed tortilla chips. 

Now I was interested. 

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The tortilla chips (with egg and a little flour) hold the beans together while complementing their Southwestern profile with their saltiness and discernible corn flavor. But you can’t just crush them and mix them with the beans. 

There are some important steps to follow to achieve the perfect flavor and texture in our black bean burgers:

Dry the beans. To keep the burgers from becoming too mushy, we drain and dry the black beans before pulsing them in the food processor. 

Let the mixture sit. This rest allows the starches in the beans and the tortilla chips to absorb the liquid from the egg, making them easier to shape. 

Add more oil after flipping. The burgers will soak up the initial oil added to the pan. For a nice crust on both sides, add more oil when you flip them.  

How to Make the Best Black Bean Burgers

  1. Line rimmed baking sheet with triple layer of paper towels and spread 2 (15-ounce) cans of drained black beans over towels. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  2. Whisk 2 large eggs and 2 tablespoons flour together in large bowl until uniform paste forms. Stir in some scallions; cilantro; garlic; cumin; hot sauce, (if you want) coriander; salt; and pepper until well combined.
  3. Process ½ cup (1 ounce) tortilla chips in food processor until finely ground. Add black beans and pulse until beans are roughly broken down. Transfer black bean mixture to bowl with egg mixture and mix until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
  4. Pan fry in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat with vegetable oil. Carefully place patties in skillet and cook until bottoms are well browned and crisp. Flip patties, add more oil, and cook second side until well browned and crisp. 

Watch us cook through the recipe below:

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