Spicy BBQ Black Bean Burger w/ Caramelized Onions
Spicy BBQ Black Bean Burgers

This Spicy BBQ Black Bean Burger recipe is an absolute family favorite. The spiciness from the burger paired the sweetness from the caramelized onions makes this dish unbelievably delicious. They also bring these burgers up and over expectation. I vividly remember making the final test of this recipe and immediately bringing it to family members who were equally blown away by how good they were. Matter of fact, these spicy BBQ black bean burgers were mouthwatering enough to make it on my family's weekly menu. Which is no subtle feat, trust me. With Autumn rolling in, the taste of barbecue is leaving. So here's a recipe to hold you over until grilling time visits us once again.

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When I had the idea for this recipe, I set out to replicate the taste you would get from a traditional barbecue, not only indoors, but healthier. That's where my choice for spices come in. Yes, I know there are quite a few, but trust me, it'll be 100% worth it. I started off with the basics, salt, black pepper, and some dried basil. But I soon found out this was not enough to compliment the barbeque sauce in these spicy bbq back bean burgers. So I went back to the drawing board; added some crushed red pepper, paprika and cayenne in an attempt to give this burger some edge.

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But still, it seemed like I was missing a crucial ingredient. So I called up my father to see what he used when barbecuing and went from there. So, I increased the measurement of every spice I used (and I mean every. single. one). But was careful not to overpower the black bean burger itself. Along with increasing measurements, I added garlic powder, freshly chopped onion, and some raw sugar. Also, I decided to add some caramelized onions to the mix, which ended up being a crucial one for this recipe.  I proceeded to test this one and was so excited to finally have a spicy BBQ black bean burger that was delicious enough to be featured on this blog. Although, there was one last problem I had to tend to.

BBQ Black Bean Burger Ingredients.jpg

This recipe was simply missing an onion flavor that I wanted to bring this dish altogether. I know. So I wistfully walked back to the drawing board for hopefully the last time. I made a few tweaks here and there and after a couple more trial and error I had finally made (in my opinion) the best spicy BBQ black bean burger you could imagine. Not overpowered by barbecue sauce or other spices, but having a little sweetness that gave a little something special to the dish. I did this all by changing one ingredient; the onion. Yep, the most significant change that in the end brought this dish together was changing from freshly chopped onion to dried chopped onion. 

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I know what you're thinking: "Will this really work?" and I have to say with full confidence, yes it will. The dried onion in these spicy BBQ black bean burgers mellowed out the onion flavor. Removing the harsh, intense taste we're used to with onion. Trust me, this change made one heck of a difference. Especially since for an entire week I ate black bean burgers at all hours of the day, I grew accustomed to slight changes in flavor.

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So without further ado, I am so excited to show you all this amazing recipe for Spicy BBQ Black Bean Burgers with Caramelized Onions. I hope you all enjoy!

Spicy BBQ Black Bean Burgers w/ Caramelized Onions:

Ingredients for Black Bean Burgers:

  • 1 can black beans (~15.5 oz)

  • Salt + pepper, to taste

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 1/2 tablespoon dried chopped onions

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 3 - 3 1/2 tablespoons barbecue sauce

  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed

  • 1 - 2 teaspoons raw sugar

  • 1 - 2 tablespoons hot sauce

  • Few sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped (optional)

  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

  • 1 - 3 tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil

  • Shredded sharp cheddar (optional)

  • 4 Brioche Buns

Ingredients for Caramelized Onions:

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • Salt + pepper, to taste

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 teaspoon oregano

  • 1 - 2 tablespoons maple syrup and/or brown sugar


  1. Drain and rinse entire can of black beans (see notes)

  2. In a medium-sized bowl, add black beans, salt, pepper and dried basil and mix together with a fork

  3. Add dried oregano, dried chopped onions, crushed red pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne with black bean mixture

  4. After adding spices, again, mix with fork until spices are evenly distributed

  5. Once mixed, add barbecue sauce, crushed garlic, raw sugar, hot sauce, rosemary (if desired) and all-purpose flour.

  6. With a fork, mush the black bean burger mixture until thick and pasty.

  7. Then, with your hands, use about 4-6 ounces to form into patties. After, transfer patties to a lightly-oiled plate and refrigerate for ~10 minutes

  8. While the patties refrigerate, heat a pan with about 1 - 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Once heated, add chopped onions and sauté on med-high for 3-5 minutes or until lightly browned.

  9. Once browned, add salt, pepper, basil, paprika, and oregano. Continue to sauté until slightly fragrant, about 2-4 minutes. After that, add sweetener and cook until onions have a deep brown color, stirring occasionally. Once cooked, transfer onions to a bowl or plate and set aside until ready for plating.

  10. After patties are done refrigerating and onions are cooked, heat 1 - 3 tablespoons of vegetable or coconut oil in a pan. When heated, add black bean patties to pan and cook until each side of the patty is crispy and browned.

  11. Then add shredded cheddar to the patty and cover until melted.

  12. While cheese is melting, toast the buns either in a toaster, separate pan or in an oven at 375 degrees for 5-10 minutes.

  13. Once buns are toasted and the black bean patties are cooked, assemble your burger however you desire. I like to add pickles, lettuce or homemade honey mustard (see notes).

  14. When your burger is assembled, serve immediately and enjoy!


  1. If you prefer to toast buns in the oven, first preheat your oven to 375.

  2. Recipe for homemade honey mustard coming soon!