This crispy black bean tacos recipe is quick, easy, super flavorful, and extra crunchy - everything you love in a taco! They're made with a spicy black bean filling wrapped in a crispy tortilla served with all your favorite toppings and dippings sauces. Best part, you decide how to make them crispy: oven baked, pan fried or air fried!
I'm a tacos for dinner kinda mom because they are easy to throw together on busy week nights, the kids love them plus they're nourishing, filling, and inexpensive. These crispy black bean tacos are super popular at our house right now - we're obsessed with every cheesy, spicy, crunchy, addictive bite!
If you love a good vegetarian taco like my kids do, here's a few more options sure to satisfy your taco cravings: Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpea Tacos, Simple Vegan Tacos with creamy slaw, Smoky Jackfruit Tacos with tropical slaw, and Black Bean and Corn Tacos. YUM!
Black Bean Taco Ingredients & Variations
One of the best things about these veggie bean tacos is they're made with only a handful of affordable pantry staples. They make the perfect plant-based dinner for Taco Tuesday and every other night of the week too! Here's what you'll need:
- black beans: the main source of plant protein
- taco seasoning: homemade or store bought taco mix
- small flour tortillas: I like flour tortillas, but use your favorite kind. You can easily sub in corn tortillas - white (softer) or yellow - to keep the recipe gluten free.
- chipotle pepper in adobo sauce: or try sriracha sauce, chipotle tabasco, liquid smoke like hickory or mesquite for a kick of smoky heat
- fresh cilantro, green onions & lime juice
Pro Tip: I recommend making a double batch - these crunchy vegan tacos go fast (and they are delicious leftover)!
Veggie Taco Topping Options
Whether you are a taco minimalist or you like your tacos fully loaded, you've got tons of fun options to choose from. Here's just a few taco topping ideas to get you started:
- Keep it simple: Sour cream, chopped tomatoes, diced avocado and romaine lettuce ribbons.
- Vegan cheese: Who doesn't love a cheesy black bean taco? Use your favorite dairy free cheese shreds. These crispy tacos are delicious without the cheese too if you prefer!
- Guacamole: Add extra creaminess with homemade guacamole or store bought.
- Salsa topping options: Dip your black bean tacos in homemade pico de gallo, mango corn salsa or your favorite store bought salsa.
- Make them tangy/crunchy: Add a punch of tanginess with creamy vegan coleslaw or pickled red onions.
- Dipping sauce ideas: I love how a dipping sauce can easily change the flavor profile of tacos. Try any of these 5 minute vegan dipping sauces to temper spiciness, add creaminess or cut through richness: creamy chipotle sauce, cilantro lime sauce, Tex-Mex sauce or sweet and spicy tahini.
How to Make Easy Bean Tacos
I have a few secrets to make these crispy black bean tacos better than the rest! For starters the magical combination of my taco seasoning blend (it's smoky, spicy, and salty) with an extra boost of spice from smoky hot sauce. Plus the toppings are totally customizable to your family's taste, and there are 3 cooking choices for making the tacos extra crispy and delicious.
Let's get into the details:
- Prepare the bean filling: Add the bean filling ingredients to the food processor then pulse to the desired texture. I leave some chunkiness. Stir in some fresh chopped cilantro if desired. Pro Tip: If you don't have a food processor, use a potato masher or a fork to break up the beans then stir together with the other ingredients.
- Sear the bean filling: Heat up the oil until shimmering then add 2 or 3 sliced green onions and a sprinkle of salt. Cook over medium high until fragrant. The green onions add a subtle but incredible flavor to the filling.
Then add in the bean filling and cook for ~5 minutes leaving undisturbed for a couple minutes, then flip in chunks to develop a lightly seared crust (for extra texture). Add extra salsa or a splash of water if the taco filling is too thick.
- Prep the tortillas: Rub olive oil on one side of the tortillas (all the way to the edges). Place them face down on the baking sheet. Oil gets really hot so will help make the tacos extra crispy!
- Fill the tortillas: Next scoop some bean filling (and cheese if using) onto one half of the tortilla then fold the flap over the filling. Lightly press the tortilla so it stays folded (you may need to flip the whole taco over so it stays put). Select a cooking method below.
- Assemble the tacos: Once cooked, serve the crispy black bean tacos hot with toppings of choice. Dunk them into a different dipping sauce for each crispy bite!
3 Ways to Cook Crispy Black Bean Tacos
Time to choose your cooking method - all super delicious with incredible texture:
- OVEN BAKED: Preheat the oven to 450º F. Bake the tacos for 6-8 minutes until golden then flip each taco (using a spatula) and continue baking for another 6-8 minutes or until perfectly golden and crispy. This cooking method (sheet pan) is easy, fast, and hands free. Bonus Tip: You will be amazed at how gloriously crispy these BAKED tacos become!
- PAN FRIED: Heat up some oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the tacos and cook until crispy and golden brown. Flip and fry the other side (2-3 minutes each). The quickest cooking method, but it's a bit messy and definitely hands on. Bonus Tip: Pan frying produces the crispiest, most indulgent black bean taco.
- AIR FRIED: Brush the outside of the tortilla with oil. Place in the air fryer basket at 400º F for 4-7 minutes or until golden and crispy. Flip the taco halfway through. Easy, quick, hands free method. Bonus Tip: This cooking method uses the least amount of oil. Can easily be made oil free, but the tortillas will not get as dark or crispy (still delicious and crunchy tho).
With very little prep or cooking time, weeknight meals don't get any easier than these black bean tacos, and the kids love them!
TIPS & Variations
- Sear the filling: I like to sear the bean filling with a handful of green onions for extra flavor and texture. Place the filing in the hot skillet and let it sit undisturbed for a couple minutes until a light crust is formed then flip and sear the other side (~5 minutes total).
- Corn tortillas: If using corn tortillas, warming them helps make them more pliable. Wrap them in a damp paper towel. Microwave for 20-30 seconds to steam and soften the tortillas. Remove from the microwave and set aside.
- Bake until crispy: I have tested with a couple different types and brands of tortillas - some can take longer to crisp up than others. Your cooking method will impact how long and how crispy the tacos become as well. All my photos are made with flour tortillas.
- Prepare taco toppings: While the tacos are in the oven, prepare any toppings and dips so everything is ready to serve when the tacos are hot and crunchy! In fact, the dips can be made several days in advance.
- Serve fresh: For the crispiest, crunchiest texture, serve hot and immediately! As the tacos cool, the tortillas will naturally soften (still taste delicious!).
Make Ahead, Freeze, and Reheating
MAKE AHEAD & MEAL PREP: Make the black bean filling and any dipping sauces up to several days in advance. Store in individual covered containers in the fridge until ready to use. Guacamole and avocado are best served fresh.
FREEZE BEFORE OR AFTER COOKING: Prepare the tacos but don't bake/fry them. Place in the freezer for up to 3 months. Remove from the freezer and cook whenever you are craving tacos for dinner! Or prepare the tacos including cooking them. Freeze the cooked tacos then when ready to eat, just reheat and enjoy. Either way, it's a bonus to have a few black bean tacos tucked away in the freezer for quick plant based weeknight dinners or lunches.
REHEATING: Reheat any leftover, cooked tacos in the oven, microwave or an air fryer to renew the crunchiness.
More Easy Vegan Dinner Ideas
If you're always on the lookout for quick and easy, super flavorful meatless main dishes, here's a few tasty recipes to try next:
- Vegan Mushroom Pasta
- Crispy Orange Tofu
- Succulent Baked Tofu
- Ultimate Vegan Chili
- Savory Chickpea Pancakes (easy + gf)
If you tried these Crispy Black Bean Tacos, please leave a rating and review below! Be sure to follow along on Instagram and Pinterest or sign up for my Sunday morning newsletter for tips on how to make vegan food taste incredible.
Crispy Black Bean Tacos (so easy + vegan!)
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Black Bean Filling
- 19 ounce can black beans (2-3 cups)
- ½ cup salsa
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning (more to taste)
- 1 tablespoon chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (sriracha or chipotle tabasco sauce)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- cilantro or parsley, chopped
- green onions, sliced (optional)
Optional Taco Topping Ideas
- dairy-free cheese
- diced tomatoes or pico de gallo
- avocado slices or guacamole
- non-dairy sour cream
- pickled red onions
- creamy cole slaw
- romaine lettuce ribbons
- dipping sauces (see post for ideas)
- Preheat oven to 450º F if using oven baked method for cooking.
- Drain and rinse the black beans.
- Mix the bean filling: Blend the black beans, salsa, taco seasoning, 1 chipotle pepper (more to taste), garlic powder, and salt in a food processor. Leave it a little chunky if you prefer. Stir in a handful of fresh, chopped cilantro or parsley (optional).
- Searing the bean filling: Heat up a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering then add 2 or 3 sliced green onions and a sprinkle of salt. Cook over medium high until fragrant. The green onions add a subtle but incredible flavor to the filling.Then add in the bean filling and cook for ~5 minutes leaving undisturbed for a couple minutes, then flip in chunks to develop a lightly seared crust (for extra texture). Add extra salsa or a splash of water if the taco filling is too thick.
- Fill the tacos: Scoop a few tablespoons of the bean filling on one side of a flour tortilla (top with vegan cheese if using). Fold over. Repeat until the filling is used up (about 6-8 tacos).
- Oven baked method: Brush or rub oil on the outside of the tortillas. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet in a preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, flip the tacos with a spatula and continue to cook for another 6-8 minutes or until golden and crispy. See Notes for Pan Fried and Air Fryer Methods.
- Prepare toppings and dipping sauces: Prepare any optional taco toppings and dipping sauces while the tacos are cooking.
- Assemble and dig In: Serve immediately with toppings and sauces!
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