Crispy Black Bean Tacos

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Tacos meet quesadillas in this Crispy Black Bean Tacos recipe! These vegetarian tacos start with a simple black bean filling made with fragrant aromatics & chipotle peppers for kick of smoky heat. Tuck the black bean filling in warm corn tortillas with a handful of pepper jack, 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.
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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.

Black Bean Tacos with a Crispy Quesadilla Twist!

We’re pretty obsessed with plant-based tacos here at PWWB…& apparently so are you (one of the many reasons why I love our PWWB Community!). Black Bean Quinoa Tacos with Cilantro Lime Crema, Roasted Sweet Potato & Cauliflower Tacos with Smoky Chipotle Cashew Crema, & Cauliflower Lentil Tacos are some of PWWB’s popular & well-loved recipes. So, I’m super excited to kick off 2022 with another feel-good plant-based taco recipe. The years may come & go, but our love for tacos never fades!

These easy black bean tacos are our newest plant-based taco obsession, & I know you’ll love them just as much as we do.

This quick & easy dinner starts with zhuzhing up canned black beans with fragrant aromatics, simple taco spices, & smoky chipotles for a nice kick, creating a black bean taco filling that’s equally satisfying & flavorful. The filling is tucked into corn tortillas with a little cheese & – here’s where we’re switching things up a little bit – the black bean tacos are baked on a sheet pan, creating golden & crisp tacos with a gooey cheesy filling. (This sheet pan method is one I’ve wanted to try ever since I saw these tacos – I gotta say, it works like a charm!)

The result? Part taco, part quesadilla, & 100% insanely good!

& the very best part? It’s so incredibly easy it is to make these crispy black bean tacos! With just a few pantry staples, you can have an epic & satisfying weeknight meal in less than an hour. There’s nothing better than an easy feel-good meal on busy weeknights!

Crispy Black Bean Tacos Recipe Highlights

You’re going to be obsessed with these black bean tacos because they’re…

  • QUICK & EASY. This is an easy & delicious weeknight dinner to whip up when you want something hearty, yet simple. 
  • A PANTRY MEAL. As long as your pantry is stocked with a few simple staple ingredients, you’ll have everything you need to make crispy black bean tacos whenever the craving strikes!
  • SERIOUSLY SATISFYING. These tacos are protein-packed! Black bean tacos are super filling & insanely delicious with their crispy tortillas, spiced black beans, & plenty of ooey gooey melted cheese. Absolutely perfect vegetarian tacos that can also easily turn vegan. 

A total Meatless Monday AND Taco Tuesday win! ♡ Read on to learn more about how to make Crispy Black Bean Tacos, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!

Easy Black Bean Taco Key Ingredients

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.

Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.

All you need are a few pantry staples to make crispy black bean tacos:

  • Black beans – Straight out of the can works great here! Drain the beans & give them a quick rinse, then they’re ready to shine as the main source of protein in this recipe.
  • Aromatics – Simple staples like yellow onion, garlic, & tomato paste add of rich, fragrant flavor to the base of the black bean filling.
  • Spices – My go-to homemade taco spice blend is a mix of chili powder, ground cumin, & smoked paprika. I also like to add chipotle pepper for delicious smoky heat!
  • Vegetable broth – I prefer to use broth or stock for simmering the taco mixture (as opposed to water) because it adds even more flavor to the black bean filling. Vegetable broth keeps this recipe vegetarian, but you can also use chicken broth if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Lime – The acidity of fresh lime juice really brightens up the flavor of the black bean taco filling.
  • Corn tortillas – I prefer the texture of corn tortillas (especially when they get crispy in the oven!), but you can use flour tortillas if that’s your thing!
  • Cheese – One of the best things about these crispy black bean tacos is how melty the cheese gets when they bake. I use pepper jack here, but feel free to use your favorite melty cheese or sub in plant-based cheese to keep this taco recipe vegan.

Taco Night Prep Tips

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

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 built-in rich umami flavor from meat. Keep this in mind as you make these crispy black bean tacos – every step of seasoning makes a big difference!

Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.

1

Cook the aromatics. Start by sauteing onions until soft & golden-brown. Stir in garlic, chipotle pepper, spices, & tomato paste, coating the onion & cooking 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 & spices will teach you how to season black beans for tacos that are insanely delicious!

2

Build the black bean taco filling. Add the black beans to the skillet, mixing them with the cooked aromatics until they are seasoned & warmed through. Then add the vegetable stock – the liquid helps create a soft taco filling consistency & also adds some more rich flavor. Lightly mash the black beans with a wooden spoon to bind everything together, then let the mixture simmer & absorb all the flavors. Taco Tip! ⇢ After a few minutes, squeeze fresh lime juice over the black bean mixture. Lime juice brightens up the beans & makes a big difference – don’t skip it!

3

Steam the tortillas. Super straightforward, but don’t underestimate its importance! Wrap corn tortillas in a damp paper towel & microwave for about 30 seconds. Why? ⇢ The wet paper towels create steam & add moisture back into the tortillas, which makes them more pliable & 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, & fold the tortillas into a taco, with the filling & cheese nestled inside. 

5

Bake! Time to get these crispy black bean tacos crispy! When you transfer the sheet pan to a hot oven, the oiled tortillas turn golden brown, puff up, & get nice & crispy. Carefully flip the tacos halfway through 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 & also adds a final bit of crispiness.

How to Serve Crispy Black Bean Tacos 

Serve the crispy black bean tacos when they come out of the oven & are oozing with cheesy black bean goodness. My favorite way to enjoy a taco dinner is to arrange a spread of taco toppings that everyone can mix & match & enjoy. “More is more” is pretty much my motto when it comes to taco toppings!

There are so many delicious taco topping options & you really can’t choose wrong – it’s what you like best! Some of my favorite crispy black bean taco toppings are:

  • Avocado – I love piling a thick layer of smashed avocado on any taco (made with mashed avocado, lemon juice, & salt). It’s super easy to throw together & the creaminess & 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 & 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 & crunchy bite to the black bean tacos. Plus it’s super flexible, with tons of variations.
  • Pickled red onions – A quick & easy way to add a tangy zip to the black bean tacos. My quick AF pickled red onions are seriously quick – less than 5 minutes to prep!
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.

Leftover Tip!

If you have any leftover black bean filling, feel free to use it in something else besides a taco! The black bean taco 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.

I can’t wait for you to try these Crispy Black Bean Tacos! They’re so quick, so easy, & so satisfying – I know you’ll love them as much as we do! If you do give them a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations!

Love Plant-Powered Tacos? You’re in the right place! Give these PWWB reader favorites a try next: Roasted Sweet Potato & Cauliflower Tacos with Smoky Chipotle Cashew Crema, Cauliflower Lentil Tacos, & Black Bean Quinoa Tacos with Cilantro Lime Crema. ♡ Happy cooking!

Print
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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.

Crispy Black Bean Tacos

  • 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 & 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, & oozing with gooey melted cheese.

A weeknight-friendly dinner made with pantry staples, ready in 45 minutes max. Naturally vegetarian, easily vegan & 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 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • two 14-ounce cans black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth or stock
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 810 corn tortillas
  • 6 ounces Pepper Jack or melty cheese of choice, freshly shredded
  • kosher salt 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 & 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 & 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 & shimmering, add the onion. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent & 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 & chipotle. Cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, & 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 & season with additional kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Remove from the heat & 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 & 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 & 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 & bake the tacos 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Working quickly & carefully, use a spatula to flip the tacos. Return to the oven & bake 8-10 minutes longer, until golden & crisp. Remove from the oven & allow to cool 2-3 minutes – the tacos will get even crispier as they cool.
  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!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.


Notes

  • Storage & 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.
  • 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.)

Keywords: crispy black bean tacos, black bean taco recipe, black bean taco filling, vegan taco meat, sheet pan tacos, easy, weeknight, vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free

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

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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. 6.3.22
    Madeline said:

    I made these last night and they were so good! Definitely a new staple weeknight meal. Quick question – what size and brand of tortillas did you use? Mine didn’t hold together as well as yours!

    • 6.7.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Madeline! We typically use the Pueblo Lindo White Corn Tortillas from ALDI! To help make any tortillas a bit more pliable, steam them by wrapping in damp paper towels & microwaving for about 30 seconds – this should help! If you did attempt the quick microwave steam, maybe test giving your tortillas just a bit longer or letting them sit in the damp paper towel for a bit after microwaving to help soak up a bit more moisture.

  2. 4.27.22
    Anna said:

    These tacos are so delicious and filling for a vegetarian meal! I really enjoy the texture of the slightly mashed up beans.

    • 4.30.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      So glad to hear you loved these tacos! Vegetarian totally doesn’t have to mean bland or boring :), thank you for dropping a comment!!

  3. 4.20.22
    Deme said:

    Excellent recipe! I just made them, and they taste amazing!! Thank you!!!

  4. 1.21.22
    Rachel said:

    SO GOOD. I just loved these crispy tacos. I did make some modifications based on what I had on hand, but the real star of this dish was the baking method that Jess explains. I want to make all my tacos by baking them with oil

    • 1.28.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      So glad you enjoyed Rachel! The quick bake in the oven makes all the difference, thank you so much for sharing with us!

  5. 1.20.22
    Emily said:

    Yum! This was a easy recipe to put together and enjoy on a weeknight. Taco, quesadilla..it satisfied my craving g for empanadas!

    • 1.28.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Love to hear it Emily!! It truly is such a versatile & satisfying recipe! Thank you for sharing!

  6. 1.17.22
    Bella Lee said:

    Such a fantastic recipe! The bean mixture had so much flavor and the crispiness of the tacos really added so much.

    • 2.1.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Bella! We are thrilled to hear that you loved these tacos as much as we do, thank you for sharing!

  7. 1.12.22
    LME said:

    Woooweee, these beans were good! Only way I’ll be making my black beans from now on – not wasting my time with premade again! This recipe definitely comes together super quick and is totally worth the effort over just opening a can of refried black beans. We did add some shredded chicken because I only had enough beans for a half recipe – but the beans were DELICIOUS solo and with chicken added.

    • 2.1.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      So glad you enjoyed & really loved the bean filling! We love how simple the ingredients are but how bold the flavor is too. Thank you for sharing!

  8. 1.7.22
    Amber K said:

    I made these this week for dinner and then had the leftovers for lunches. They definitely come together quickly so definitely have your ingredients ready. My meat loving husband even said we should have these again!

    • 1.17.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Amber! Thanks so much for sharing & so glad to hear it – the filling does make great leftovers!

  9. 1.6.22
    C said:

    The only ‘problem’ with this recipe was how much of the bean mixture we ate while waiting for the oven to finish preheating. And there are no leftovers.

    • 1.17.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      🤣 Haha we can totally relate C! It’s such a flavorful filling – might have to make a double batch next time!! Thank you for sharing!

  10. 1.5.22
    Amber K said:

    These were so easy to make and full of flavor. The tip to have everything ready is important because it comes together so quickly and easily!

    • 1.17.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Thanks Amber! So glad the tip was helpful & glad these could be a quick weeknight meal for you!!

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