Crispy Black Bean Tacos

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Tacos meet quesadillas in this Crispy Black Bean Tacos recipe! These delicious vegetarian tacos start with a simple black bean filling made with fragrant aromatics, spices, & chipotle peppers for kick of smoky heat. Tuck the filling into warm corn tortillas with a handful of cheese, then pop them on a sheet pan to bake until the tacos are crispy, golden-brown, & oozing with gooey melted cheese. A weeknight-friendly dinner made with pantry staples, ready in 45 minutes max!

Naturally vegetarian. Easily vegan & dairy-free.

Three crispy black bean tacos rest atop a white ceramic plate. One of the tacos is torn in half. Taco toppings surround the tacos including lime wedges, guacamole, and pickled red onions. Loose cilantro leaves, and a blue and white striped linen napkin surround the plate while the plate sits atop a creamy white textured surface.

Easy Black Bean Tacos with a Crispy Quesadilla Twist!

We’re pretty obsessed with plant-based tacos here at PWWB…and apparently so are you!

Some of PWWB’s most popular and well-loved recipes include Black Bean Quinoa Tacos, Roasted Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Tacos, and Cauliflower Lentil Tacos and these Crispy Black Bean Tacos are our newest plant-based taco obsession.

They’re part taco, part quesadilla, and 100% insanely good. I know you’ll love them just as much as we do!

Easy vegetarian tacos stuffed with a flavorful black bean filling and melty cheese, then baked on a sheet pan until golden and crispy.

This quick and easy vegetarian dinner starts by zhuzhing up humble canned black beans with simple taco spices and smoky chipotles to create a black bean taco filling that’s equally satisfying and flavorful.

The meatless taco filling is tucked into corn tortillas with a little cheese and the tacos are baked on a sheet pan, creating a golden and crisp exterior with a cheesy filling while baking in the oven.

A Meatless Monday AND Taco Tuesday win!

Four tacos arranged on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The baking sheet sits atop a creamy white textured surface. Cilantro and lime wedges surround the tacos both on the baking sheet and on the surface surrounding the baking sheet. A small ceramic bowl filled with pickled red onions, a blue and white striped linen napkin, and a small white bowl filled with guacamole also surrounds the baking sheet.
Perfect for easy entertaining, game day bites, or weeknight meals – these crispy tacos are always a hit!

Taco Night Prep Tips

Before you get started, I highly recommend gathering and prepping all your ingredients. Once you begin cooking, these tacos come together super quickly – there won’t be too much time to multi-task. Chopping and measuring in advance will only take 5 minutes tops – totally worth it. Check out the Recipe Notes, below, for more meal prep tips!

An overhead shot of ingredients arranged on a creamy white textured surface: yellow onion, garlic, chipotle pepper, tomato paste, chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, black beans, vegetable broth, lime, corn tortillas, Pepper Jack cheese.
Canned black beans shine in these baked tacos alongside flavorful spices and aromatics, melty cheese and crispy tortillas!

How to Make Crispy Black Bean Tacos

The secret to making simple meals taste great is to build tons of incredible flavor into every component of the dish. This is especially true for plant-based dishes, which don’t have the built-in rich, umami flavor of animal protein. Keep this in mind as you make these tacos – every step of seasoning makes a big difference!

Black bean taco filling in a Zwilling Madura Plus Non-stick frying pan. A wooden spoon rests inside of the skillet and the skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
Simple canned black beans are refried on the stovetop along with aromatics and vegetable stock.
A side angle shot of black bean taco filling inside of a black non-stick frying pan. A wooden spoon rests inside of the skillet and the skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
A squeeze of lime juice brightens up the refried bean mixture for a meatless taco filling that’s full of flavor.
10 assembled black bean tacos arranged on a baking sheet. 9 of the tacos have been assembled with the tortillas folded, while one remains unfolded revealing the black bean mixture spread on one side of the tortillas with Pepper Jack cheese sprinkled over top. The baking sheet rests atop a creamy white textured surface.
Fill and gently fold the tortillas to prevent cracking. They’ll naturally fall as the tacos bake creating crispy taco shells.
1

Cook the aromatics. Sauté onions until soft and golden-brown, then stir in garlic, chipotle pepper, spices, and tomato paste and cook until the mixture is super fragrant. Why? ⇢ Canned black beans are packed with protein, but a little bland all on their own. Adding a few aromatics and spices is key!

2

Build the black bean filling. Add black beans to the skillet, then add the vegetable stock – the liquid helps create a soft taco filling consistency. Lightly mash the black beans with a wooden spoon to bind everything together, then let the mixture simmer and absorb all of the flavors. Taco Tip! ⇢ After a few minutes, squeeze fresh lime juice over the black bean mixture to brighten up all the flavors. 

3

Steam the tortillas. Wrap corn tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for about 30 seconds. Why? ⇢ The wet paper towels create steam and add moisture back into the tortillas, which makes them more pliable and prevents cracking or breaking. 

4

Assemble the tacos. Lightly coat a large rimmed baking sheet with oil. Place the warm tortillas on the sheet, flipping them a few times to coat in oil. From there, build the black bean tacos: spread the black bean mixture over half of each tortilla, sprinkle cheese on top (or vegan cheese if you prefer!), and fold the tortillas into a taco, with the filling and cheese nestled inside. 

5

Bake! When you transfer the sheet pan to a hot oven, the oiled tortillas turn golden brown, puff up, and get nice and crispy. Halfway through baking, carefully flip the tacos so both sides toast evenly! Taco Tip! ⇢ Give the tacos a few minutes to cool once they come out of the oven – this helps the black bean mixture set and also adds a final bit of crispiness.

Four tacos arranged on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The baking sheet sits atop a creamy white textured surface. Cilantro and lime wedges surround the tacos both on the baking sheet and on the surface surrounding the baking sheet. A small ceramic bowl filled with pickled red onions, a blue and white striped linen napkin, and a small white bowl filled with guacamole also surrounds the baking sheet.
These tacos are perfect for topping with all your favorites – guacamole, pickled red onions, cilantro, fresh squeezed lime, and anything else your heart desires!
Four crispy black bean tacos arranged on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The baking sheet sits atop a creamy white textured surface. Cilantro and lime wedges surround the tacos both on the baking sheet and a few loose pieces of cilantro rest on the surface surrounding the baking sheet. A blue and white striped linen napkin is tucked alongside the baking sheet.
For an extra-crispy finish, let the tacos cool on the sheet pan for a few minutes after baking.

Step-by-Step Video

Serving Suggestions

Serve the crispy black bean tacos fresh from the oven. My favorite way to enjoy a taco dinner is to arrange a spread of taco toppings that everyone can mix and match and enjoy.

“More is more” is pretty much my motto when it comes to taco toppings! You really can’t go wrong, but some of my favorites are…

  • Avocado – I love piling a thick layer of smashed avocado on any taco (made with mashed avocado, lemon juice, and salt). It’s super easy to throw together and the creaminess and brightness of the avocado balances the spiciness of the black beans perfectly. Mashed avocado is kind of like a cheater guacamole – bonus points if you actually whip up a batch of guacamole instead!
  • Chopped cilantro – A small amount of fresh cilantro adds bright, fresh flavor and a picture perfect garnish. 
  • Salsa – Pick your fave jarred salsa, whip up a quick pico de gallo, or try this vegan creamy salsa verde
  • Homemade slaw – My everyday simple slaw adds a light and crunchy bite to the black bean tacos. Plus it’s super flexible, with tons of variations.
  • Pickled red onions – A quick and easy way to add a tangy zip to your tacos. My quick AF pickled red onions are seriously quick – less than 5 minutes to prep!

Leftover Tip!

If you have any leftover black bean filling, feel free to use it in something else besides a taco! The black bean filling is super versatile. Use it in a burrito, make a rice bowl, or serve it on nachos. Same topping recommendations still apply! 

A side angle shot of three crispy black bean tacos rest atop a white ceramic plate. One of the tacos is torn in half. Taco toppings surround the plated tacos including lime wedges, guacamole, and pickled red onions. Loose cilantro leaves and a blue and white striped linen napkin surround the plate while the plate sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
Our favorite part of taco night is all the delicious toppings! Guacamole, pickled red onions, fresh chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice are all tasty options!

I can’t wait for you to try these Crispy Black Bean Tacos! They’re so quick, so easy, and so satisfying – I know you’ll love them as much as we do!

If you do give them a try, be sure to let us know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo and tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. We LOVE seeing your PWWB creations!

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Three crispy black bean tacos rest atop a white ceramic plate. One of the tacos is torn in half. Taco toppings surround the tacos including lime wedges, guacamole, and pickled red onions. Loose cilantro leaves, and a blue and white striped linen napkin surround the plate while the plate sits atop a creamy white textured surface.

Crispy Sheet Pan Black Bean Tacos (Vegetarian)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 45 reviews
  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Tacos, Burritos & Enchiladas Recipes
  • Method: Stovetop, Baked
  • Cuisine: Mexican & Tex-Mex, American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Tacos meet quesadillas in these Crispy Black Bean Tacos! Tuck a hearty and flavorful black bean taco filling in warm corn tortillas with a handful of pepper jack, then pop them on a sheet pan to bake until they’re crispy, golden-brown, and oozing with gooey melted cheese.

A weeknight-friendly dinner made with pantry staples, ready in 45 minutes max. Naturally vegetarian, easily vegan and dairy-free!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • optional: chipotle pepper (from a can, packed in adobo sauce), finely chopped OR 1 tablespoon adobo sauce for less spice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • two 14-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup vegetable broth or stock
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 810 corn tortillas
  • 6 ounces Pepper Jack or melty cheese of choice, freshly shredded
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper, to season
  • for serving, as desired: shredded lettuce, mashed avocado or guacamolesour cream or cashew cremapickled red onions, chopped cilantrosalsa of choice, lime wedges, etc.

Instructions

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, ensuring a rack is positioned in the center of the oven. Gather and prep all ingredients according to Ingredients List, above – once you begin cooking, these black bean tacos come together very quickly so it’s helpful to get any chopping and measuring done ahead of time.Crispy Black Bean Taco ingredients arranged on a creamy white textured surface: yellow onion, garlic, chipotle pepper, tomato paste, chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, black beans, vegetable broth, lime, corn tortillas, Pepper Jack cheese.
  2. Sauté the onion: Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a medium skillet over medium heat. Once hot and shimmering, add the onion. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and fragrant, 3-4 minutes.Yellow onion sautéed in olive oil inside of a black non-stick skillet. A wooden spoon rests inside of the skillet used for stirring. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
  3. Toast aromatics: Stir in the garlic and chipotle. Cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, and tomato paste. Stir, coating the onion. Cook 1-2 minutes longer, until very fragrant.A mixture of softened onions, chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, and tomato paste are combined a black non-stick skillet and allowed to cook until fragrant. A wooden spoon rests inside of the skillet for stirring. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
  4. Make the black bean taco filling: Add the black beans to the skillet, stirring to combine with the aromatics. Cook, stirring occasionally, until warm, 1-2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, increasing heat to bring the mixture to a simmer. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to mash the black beans slightly, binding everything together. If needed, cook 1-2 minutes longer to thicken slightly. Squeeze the lime juice over the black bean mixture. Taste and season with additional kosher salt and ground black pepper as desired. Remove from the heat and set aside for taco assembly.A side angle shot of black bean taco filling for Crispy Black Bean tacos inside of a black non-stick frying pan. A wooden spoon rests inside of the skillet and the skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
  5. Warm the tortillas: Meanwhile, as the black bean filling cooks, prep the tortillas. Wrap the corn tortillas in a damp paper towel. Microwave 30 seconds to steam the tortillas, making them pliable enough for taco assembly. Remove from the microwave and set aside.A stack of warmed corn tortillas sits atop damp paper towels. The paper towels sit atop a creamy white textured surface.
  6. Assemble the black bean tacos: Brush the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil across the surface of a large rimmed baking sheet. Place the warmed tortillas on the baking sheet, flipping them one or two times to get a nice light coating of oil on both sides. Spread the black been mixture over half of each tortilla, then sprinkle the cheese over top. Fold the tortillas, creating a taco around the black bean and cheese filling. I like to carefully flip the tacos at this point, so the cheese side is facing down.10 assembled black bean tacos arranged on a baking sheet. 9 of the tacos have been assembled with the tortillas folded, while one remains unfolded revealing the black bean mixture spread on one side of the tortillas with Pepper Jack cheese sprinkled over top. The baking sheet rests atop a creamy white textured surface.
  7. Bake the black bean tacos: Transfer the sheet pan to the oven and bake the tacos 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Working quickly and carefully, use a spatula to flip the tacos. Return to the oven and bake 8-10 minutes longer, until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool 2-3 minutes – the tacos will get even crispier as they cool.Four crispy black bean tacos arranged on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The baking sheet sits atop a creamy white textured surface. Cilantro and lime wedges surround the tacos both on the baking sheet and on the surface surrounding the baking sheet. A small ceramic bowl filled with pickled red onions, a blue and white striped linen napkin, and a small white bowl filled with guacamole also surrounds the baking sheet.
  8. Serve: Serve the crispy black bean tacos warm, finishing with toppings of choice – cashew crema, chopped cilantro, lime juice, salsa, or any other toppings your taco-lovin’ heart desires. Enjoy!Three crispy black bean tacos rest atop a white ceramic plate. One of the tacos is torn in half. Taco toppings surround the tacos including lime wedges, guacamole, and pickled red onions. Loose cilantro leaves, and a blue and white striped linen napkin surround the plate while the plate sits atop a creamy white textured surface.

Notes

  • Storage and reheating: These crispy black bean tacos are best served fresh out of the oven, though leftovers will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. For crispiest results, reheat for 5-10 minutes in a 250 degree F oven or on the stovetop (quesadilla-style) until warmed through.
  • Corn tortillas: To help ensure your crispy chicken tacos do not crack as they bake, look for corn tortillas that are a little thinner and do not appear dry or crumbly. I’ve had good success using the Mission Corn Tortillas labeled “super soft” – yellow or white corn is fine, use whatever you love!
  • 10-Minute Meal Prep: These black bean tacos come together really quickly once you get to cooking! To make this an even faster weeknight dinner, eliminate all active prep time by prepping a few ingredients in advance:
    • Dice 1 small yellow onion. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (<5 minutes active prep).
    • Grate 8 ounces cheese. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (<5 minutes active prep).
    • Prep taco toppings. Prep a batch of cashew crema, a batch of quick pickled red onions, or whatever taco night fixings you love most! (Active prep time varies.)

Recipe and Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.

Four tacos arranged on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The baking sheet sits atop a creamy white textured surface. Cilantro and lime wedges surround the tacos both on the baking sheet and on the surface surrounding the baking sheet. A small ceramic bowl filled with pickled red onions, a blue and white striped linen napkin, and a small white bowl filled with guacamole also surrounds the baking sheet.
Three crispy black bean tacos rest atop a white ceramic plate. One of the tacos is torn in half. Taco toppings surround the plated tacos including lime wedges, guacamole, and pickled red onions. The plate sits atop a creamy white textured surface.

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Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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Comments

  1. 6.10.24
    Kmo said:

    Delicious! But I’m always confused on the amount of veggie broth. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 teaspoon cups. What does that mean?! Is it just supposed to be 1 1/2 teaspoons? Please clarify.






    • 6.11.24
      Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Kmo, We’re glad you enjoyed the tacos!! The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of vegetable stock/broth. Hope that’s helpful!

  2. 5.23.24

    Next time I want to try them without the lime, or only half a lime, they were a little to acidic. Also, a bit too salty, plan to skip the second pinch next time as well. Tasty overall.






    • 5.28.24
      Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      We definitely recommend adjusting lime and salt amounts according to your preferences! Glad you enjoyed, SharLee!