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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.
By 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. 

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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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.