Simple Black Bean Tacos
These simple, well-seasoned Black Bean Tacos are easy to make from pantry staples, and the filling cooks in no time. So flavorful and satisfying that you’ll never miss the meat!
I’ve been making a concerted effort to add more meatless meals to our dinner rotation for at least five years now, and from the very beginning, these black bean tacos were a faithful hit. They still make regular appearances on our table, years later!
Best Black Bean Tacos
We love these tacos for so many reasons, and you will, too. This meal is:
- Delicious. The beans have amazing flavor thanks to a simple spice blend.
- Healthy. Lean, mean, beans, and minimal added fat or carbs.
- Quick and easy. They truly require less than 30 minutes — probably much less, unless you’re prepping a ton of toppings.
- Economical. Beans are cheap and easy to buy in bulk and keep on hand.
- Pantry-friendly. This recipe relies on basic ingredients you can have on hand most of the time.
Ingredients & Common Substitutions
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Two cans of black beans. I use canned black beans simply because they are so convenient. If you prefer to use beans that you cooked yourself, include about 3 cups of them. Pinto beans work very well, too.
- One small onion. Red, yellow, or white is fine — I use whatever I have on hand.
- Jalapeno pepper. Totally optional! For the most heat, chop and toss in the whole pepper. For mild-to-medium heat, remove the seeds and membranes, then chop and include just the green parts. Prefer no heat? Skip the pepper entirely.
- Fresh garlic. Real minced garlic adds the best flavor here, but you can use 1 teaspoon garlic powder if needed.
- Fresh lime juice. Again, fresh adds so much — and who can resist a taco served with a lime wedge!? — but a dash of the bottled stuff will do the job, too.
- Fresh chopped cilantro. No real sub for this; if you don’t have it, just skip it.
- Vegetable broth or stock. Use chicken broth if you don’t care about the dish being vegetarian, or water plus an extra pinch of salt if you’re out of stock.
- Seasonings: ground cumin, ground chipotle chili powder, and ground cayenne pepper. If you don’t have chipotle chili powder, you can swap in regular chili power, but I highly recommend keeping the chipotle version in your spice cabinet. A little goes a long way and adds unique heat and flavor.
- Olive oil & kosher salt.
How To Make Black Bean Tacos
- Sauté onion and jalapeno, if using, in a bit of olive oil.
- Add garlic and dry seasonings. Toast for 30-60 seconds to bring out the flavors.
- Add beans and broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then let it cook until the beans are tender and most, but not quite all, of the liquid cooks off. If all the liquid does disappear, don’t worry, you can add a bit more broth or water to the skillet.
- Assemble extra toppings and serve!
Lime wedges and cilantro are a nice pop of freshness and color, as well. You can also add some sliced or pickled jalapenos, other shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, diced onion, or any other salsa you love. Get creative!
And as for your base, we love these in soft corn or flour tortillas, but they work well as a hard shell taco, too.
Storage, Reheating & Repurposing
- Storage. Cooked, seasoned black beans keep well in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Freezing. You might wonder, can I freeze cooked black beans? Happily, yes! Package the cooked and seasoned black beans in a freezer-safe container, seal tightly, and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight or do a quick defrost in the microwave. This little trick makes black bean tacos a great freezer meal!
- Reheating. Place cold beans in a skillet over medium heat and stir in 1-2 tablespoons of broth or water until warmed through.
- Repurposing. These black beans make a terrific quick dip with chips. They’re also amazing mixed in with scrambled eggs for an easy breakfast, mixed with cheese and veggies into quesadillas, or piled on top of tostadas or burrito bowls for another quick meal.
More Easy Taco Recipes
If you try these Black Bean Tacos, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.
Simple Black Bean Tacos
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 small onion chopped; red, white, or yellow is OK
- 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and chopped, optional
- 2 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper more or less to taste
- 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- squeeze of lime juice
- 1-2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and jalapeno, if using, to the warm oil and cook for 4-5 minutes, just until it begins to soften. Stir in the garlic, salt, cumin, chipotle powder, and cayenne and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in the beans, followed quickly by the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until the beans are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the lime juice and chopped cilantro, and adjust seasonings to taste.
- Assemble tacos as desired and serve.
- If you have any leftover bean mixture, it makes terrific quesadillas, and is also yummy mixed into scrambled eggs for a protein-rich breakfast or lunch!
This post was originally published July 27, 2017, and has been updated with minor recipe tweaks, new photos, and more helpful post information.