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Black Bean Cakes

Black Bean Cakes recipe from



Getting a lot of protein when you’re a vegetarian isn’t always easy. Most restaurants load you down with tons of bread and pasta or offer you bland tofu or bean dishes. Often when cooking at home you rely on the same few recipes that you know your family will eat rarely making vegetarian cuisine a win. We have been making Black Bean Cakes since Kenya was just a lanky toddler. He would sit there holding on to his Black Bean Cakes with two little hands nibbling and babbling away. It still makes me so happy to think about I want to eat him up!

For this Rewind Wednesday I wanted to share one of our all time favorites. Yes, they’re a super friendly toddler recipe, but also a hit with adults. You can stack them high and layer them with plenty of guacamole, salsa, sour cream, greek yogurt, cotija cheese or other favorite toppings. These savory cakes pack not only a power punch of protein, but plenty of flavor and fun in every bite!

Black Bean Cakes recipe from

One of Kenya's (many) favorite foods are black beans. He loves them with brown rice or quesadillas, or even just on their own. I wanted to come up with another fun way for him to enjoy them.

Black Bean Cakes recipe from

Beans are an incredible source of fiber and iron and because of their soft texture they’re perfect for forming into these little black bean cakes. Sometimes I find it hard to come up with delicious vegetarian recipes which are truly filling, but these totally fit the bill.
I love serving these to Kenya with a little guacamol-wee and sour cream for him to dip in.

Black Bean Cakes recipe from

Trust me, the only major problem I had making these was keeping my husband away from them. Luckily, most of the ingredients are things I keep on hand, so I quickly cooked up an extra batch so we would all have plenty to munch on at dinner and throughout the next day.

Black Bean Cakes recipe from

Photos by Matt Armendariz

Black Bean Cakes  (Makes About 20 Patties)

  • Prep Time: 5 mins,
  • Cook Time: 15 mins,
  • Rating:
    Rate this recipe
One of Kenya's (many) favorite foods are black beans. He loves them with brown rice or quesadillas, or even just on their own. I wanted to come up with another fun way for him to enjoy them. Beans are an incredible source of fiber and iron and because...


  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ear of corn, cut off the cob (or 1 cup frozen kernels, defrosted)
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon oil, vegetable or canola


  1. 1. Place all the ingredients, except the oil, in a food processor and puree.
  2. 2. Heat a large saute pan over low to medium heat with 1 tbsp oil.
  3. 3. Place 1 Tbsp of the bean mixture in the pan. Using the back of a spoon, spread the mixture into an even circle (the size and shape of a pancake).
  4. 4. Cook for 3 minutes.
  5. 5. Flip on the other side and cook another 3-4 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. 6. Cook remaining patties, adding about 1 tbsp oil for each batch, and move to a plate.
  7. 7. Cool and serve.
  8. *Allow to cool, transfer to a ziploc bag, label and freeze up to 4 months. When ready, defrost in fridge for 24 hours or heat in oven for 10 minutes at 300.
Black Bean Cakes

Nutrition Information

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  1. Caroline

    December 30, 2016 at 11:32 am

    I too wanted to try these baked instead of fried.. for those of you wondering, I used cooking spray on a sheet pan and baked at 350 degrees for 12 minutes; then flipped, and baked another 6 minutes. They seem to have turned out just right!

  2. Caroline

    August 12, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    I just made a variation of these without the cheese for my dairy-free toddler and they were a hit! They stuck together just fine also. I used pre-made refried black beans (a happy/organic one) and so didn’t need to use the blender – the corn looked pretty not blended up.

    • C. McCord

      August 15, 2016 at 10:13 pm

      So glad these were a hit!

  3. Brooke Amaden

    June 14, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Which quinoa salad is in the picture?

    • C. McCord

      June 15, 2016 at 4:48 pm

      It is quinoa tossed with cucumbers and tomatoes :)

  4. Lizz

    April 20, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    I am not allowed to eat corn – would this recipe work without the corn? Or is there something I could substitute in?? They sound soooo delicious!!!

    • C. McCord

      April 21, 2016 at 9:37 am

      This would work just fine without the corn. You can simply omit it!

  5. omlet

    April 20, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    hmmm….an interesting recipe – i’ve got to try this one!

    • C. McCord

      April 21, 2016 at 9:37 am

      Try it and let me know how you like it!

  6. Liz

    April 20, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Nice and simple. Thank you.

    • C. McCord

      April 21, 2016 at 9:38 am

      I hope your family loves them as much as mine does!

  7. Sarah whited

    June 27, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Is there a way to make these without using a food processor or blender?

  8. Sasha

    June 8, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Is there a way to bake these? Like in a muffin pan?

    • Jenn

      September 5, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      I think I need to try these again. Cooked mine forever and then never cooked through until the outside was burnt.

  9. Dawn

    March 23, 2015 at 10:25 am

    I’ve made these twice. The first time they fell apart and weren’t easy to work with, but LO loved them. So I just made a second batch and accidentally forgot to add the egg. It managed to bind together nicely, but still had a tough time working with the batter with the cheese. I found working with a hot pan and a lot of oil helped firm up the edges and cook them faster.

  10. Rebecca W

    March 2, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Catharine was right… Mine were crumbly at first but I hadn’t let the oil heat up. Once I did they worked like a charm.

  11. Rebecca

    October 23, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I had the same problem with them being crumbly/falling apart. Cooking them longer helped, but still not great. They are tasty though, and super easy. Can’t wait to see if the kid likes them.

  12. Jodi

    August 14, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    I just found this recipe and am excited to try it out. My son is allergic to dairy, so I’d like to omit the cheese. Would I need to make adjustments on any of the other ingredients to make up for this?

    • Catherine McCord

      August 15, 2014 at 9:10 am

      The cheese is there for flavor, so you should be fine to just omit the cheese! If you want the cheesy flavor, you can try adding about 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast!

  13. Laura

    January 27, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Did anyone figure out why these weren’t working? I made them tonight and because of comments made sure to follow directions. These didn’t work at all. They were so sticky and gooey, had to throw them out because I couldn’t tell if the egg was even cooked. :-( only weelicious recipe fail so far….

  14. Kate

    June 13, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    I made these for the second time tonight and they were perfect! I used an immersion blender to make them (don’t have a food processor) and it worked perfectly. I think there is a learning curve to cooking them, but the second time around, they turned out just right. My nearly 2-year-old proclaimed them ‘yummy’ and I agree!

  15. Pingback: Black Bean Cakes | My Healthy Inspirations

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  17. Robin

    January 16, 2013 at 9:55 am

    I made these out of the cook book last night and they were fantastic! I didn’t have any problem with them holding together – I did add a slight bit more cheese and made them the size recommended. Can’t wait to eat them for lunch today! Thanks!!

  18. Leslie Leis

    January 8, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Pancake bust!
    I make so many of your recipes for my daughter, but this one just won’t work. They won’t stay together and they are mushy. Did I do something wrong? Glad to see others had the same issue.

  19. Christine

    December 2, 2012 at 7:44 am

    We love these.
    Though the cakes don’t stay together, I just cook a a bunch at a time and make like a hash. It is quicker that way and the girls will eat this whether it is in cake form or not.. They love it. They eat in a wrap, or right off their plate. With, of course, some sour cream :)

  20. Rebekah

    November 1, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    These just fell apart…i followed the recipe exactly…it was still like mush. Any suggestions on what I could do better?

    • catherine

      November 2, 2012 at 11:53 am

      Without being there I can’t know for sure what went wrong. Did you let the oil in the pan heat up before placing the black bean mixture in it? If the oil was too cold the black beans would just absorb the oil instead of cooking and getting that crisp coating! How thin did you make the cakes? Too thin and they’ll cook too quickly and possibly fall apart. Too thick and they’ll take longer to cook or cook unevenly.

  21. Oril

    August 30, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Just stumbled upon your post today and I can’t wait to try these recipes with my little ones. Thank you for the helpful info.

  22. Leesh

    July 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    These are another freezer staple in our house. Sometimes they are wetter than others so, we may use more bread crumbs. The key is to let them sit a while before you try to flip and don’t make them too big, like a scant tablespoon at the most. My daughter has been eating these since 11 months and LOVES them.

  23. Maria

    May 12, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    FYI – for those who can’t eat cheese/corn/egg, I used black beans instead of chick peas in the Weelicious Falafel with Yogurt Tahini sauce recipe, adding a little extra bread crumbs (a little less than 3/4cup instead of 1/2cup), instead of using this black bean cakes recipe, because my baby can’t yet have cheese/corn/egg and I wanted to make something with black bean but didn’t want to change this Black Bean Cakes recipe so much. They came out great! And, using the falafel patties or the black bean patties as the “bread” of a hummus and tomato sandwich was so yummy. I actually used one of each (falafel patty->tomato->hummus->black bean patty) … so yummy! Love your recipes!

  24. TJsMama

    April 28, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    These were excellent! I don’t have a food processor so I used my blender. I didn’t use oil on my pan as I have a non-stick griddle. When I tried to flip the first one it started to crumble, but I left them for a few more minutes and then they were easily flipped. Delicious, will definitely make these again!

  25. Jenny

    April 20, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Made these tonight… Same crumbling issues as the other posters. Catherine: In your response to one poster, you mentioned that these could be baked instead of pan fried. Can you please post the correct oven temp and cooking time for baking them? I’d love to try again… and prefer to bake instead of fry when possible anyway :) Thanks! Your website is fantastic and so helpful!

  26. mns

    April 12, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    I haven’t tried these yet, but what about leaving out the egg and bread crumbs when you puree in the food processor, and simply stirring them in by hand. Sees like this might help with some of the crumbling issues. This is how I used to make all sorts of similar dishes when my now 2 year old was starting finger foods. I’ll have to give it a try and report back.

  27. tmcconne

    April 3, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Love the flavor of these but had the same crumble issues as the ladies above. Would love to figure out how to bake them to avoid them breaking apart in the future. I did notice they firmed up a bit when allowed to cool but still turned out a bit of a mess. Hope my son likes them anyway!

    • Bones

      February 1, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Superior thinking detnmstraoed above. Thanks!

  28. Ramona

    March 28, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Are there any good substitutes for the egg in this recipe? I think it would be great finger food but can’t use the egg, at least not right now.

    • Oril

      August 30, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      Potato starch may help also.

    • catherine

      March 29, 2011 at 2:05 pm

      Unfortunately, the egg is the binder in the recipe and you really need it to hold it together. How old if your wee one? You can try 1 tbsp of flaxseed meal with 3 tbsp of water and see how that works but I have not tested it so I wouldn’t be so sure. Let me know if you need help with other finger food recipes :)

  29. Christina

    January 26, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Have you (or has anyone else that might read this) tried baking these rather than pan-frying them? It’s very labor intensive, especially without owning a griddle pan.

  30. Sue

    January 9, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    I tried these today and had the same problem with them falling apart in the pan. I also wasn’t crazy about using so much oil, so I decided to make them on the griddle that I normally use for pancakes. A bit difficult to manuever into a pancake on the pan (no matter which one I used), but they taste great.

  31. Numbers Macleod

    November 19, 2010 at 4:28 am

    Thank you for your great post! It has been very useful. I wish that you will continue posting your knowledge with us.

  32. sara

    November 18, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    these are so good. my whole family loves them. do you think they could be baked?

    • catherine

      November 22, 2010 at 4:43 pm

      yes they can :)

  33. Karen

    August 10, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    What if I don’t have black beans? Can you make it with kidney beans?

    • catherine

      August 11, 2010 at 4:52 pm

      Kidney beans might be too sweet, I would make them with white or pinto beans instead :)

  34. shauna

    August 7, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    These were delicious but I too had the same problem with them falling apart. Actually they were quite runny in the pan when I first dropped them in. I let the pan get really hot and then let them sit on one side for longer than 3 mins and they still fell apart.

    • catherine

      August 9, 2010 at 3:14 pm

      This recipe can be a little tricky for some, how big are you making your cakes? I find that the bigger the cakes are, they are will fall apart when flipping.

  35. Betsy

    June 18, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Oh, see I put the oil into the batter. Bet that had a lot to do with my problems. I read “Put all the ingredients into a food processer and puree” and then put all the indegredients including the oil listed into the food processer. Thank you so much for clarifying. I will try it next time without the oil in the batter and perhaps I will have better luck! My 9 month old gobbled them up for lunch today. I am sure I will be making a new batch soon :)

  36. Betsy

    June 18, 2010 at 7:27 am

    I had the same problem with my first attempt. Is the 1 tbsp of oil listed in the ingredient list supposed to go in the batter or is it for the pan? I ended up adding more bread crumbs. I made them very small, about the size of a silver dollar. I also cooked them for 6 minutes on the first side and then 3-5 minutes on the second side. The flavor was great.

    • catherine

      June 18, 2010 at 1:36 pm

      The 1 tbsp is for the pan. You have to let it set on one side before flipping. But thanks for letting me know! I’m happy you enjoyed the flavor :)

  37. Mikki

    June 16, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I had the same crumble issues too! I thought I should have used another egg. I ended up adding half a cup of cheese and using wet hands to shape the “dough” into little burger shapes and I cooked them for at least double the recommended time. Hope that helps. My daughter is a fiend for these I give them to her with salsa and they disappear!

  38. Beth

    May 15, 2010 at 12:12 am

    So I made these last night. They were good but when I went to flip them over in the pan after cooking on one side for a few minutes, they totally fell apart! :( What’s the deal? I followed the recipe exactly. Any tips? Thanks!!

    • catherine

      May 18, 2010 at 1:45 pm

      I’m just making them right now, you have to make sure that they fully set for 3 minutes before you flip them and the pan is oiled. Did you cook them under low heat?

  39. Avery

    March 11, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    I love the black bean cakes recipe. I made it for my daughter’s lunch. I used food coloring to color the sour cream so I could make a flower on the top. Sour cream petals, guac leaf, and cheddar cheese center. I know they aren’t beautiful, but I am pretty excited about it.

  40. Kris

    December 3, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    1/4 cup of cilantro?

    • Claudio

      February 2, 2014 at 9:12 pm

      Great little salad. We are huge kale fans, but tend to only eat it in the wtneir. Adding this to our must make kale list. Love the addition of cranberries and pepitas alongside creamy avocado.