Beans are cheap, healthy, and delicious: and there are so many ways to use them! Here are the best bean recipes for incorporating them in your everyday.
Got a can of beans but not sure how to use them? We’re here to help! There are so many ways to use beans to make a meal. They’re cheap, healthy, and delicious (when prepared correctly). Just like lentils and chickpeas, beans are legumes and a great way to infuse plant based protein and fiber into your diet.
How can I use a can of beans? So many ways! The recipes below feature black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, and white beans in just about every way you could imagine:
- Soups & Stews
- Main Dish Salads & Side Salads
- Tacos & Wraps
- Dips & Salsas
- Pot Pies
- Stuffed Sweet Potatoes & Squash
- Nachos & Loaded Fries
Is 45 recipes too many? Because when we went digging, we unearthed a treasure trove of bean recipes for you.
Note: Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are considered beans, but we have a separate list of recipes for those! Go to 25 Favorite Chickpea Recipes.
And now..our 45 best bean recipes!
Forget burgers when you can have a black bean burger! This one is filled with spices and sweet potato, then topped with spicy mayo.
This quick Cuban black beans recipe uses canned beans as a shortcut: but they’re full of big flavor! They taste just as good as restaurant style.
This black bean salad is perfectly seasoned with cumin, garlic, and apple cider vinegar, and mixed with colored bell peppers and rice. It saves well and is perfect for making ahead.
Ready for the quickest bean tacos recipe? These tacos come together in just 20 minutes, featuring a tangy BBQ pinto bean filling and a sweet tart pineapple salsa.
Beans make a hearty filling for lettuce wraps! These zesty vegetarian wraps have a chipotle black bean filling, and are topped with tangy mango salsa and guacamole!
Refried beans aren't just a side: they can be the main event! These refried bean tacos are a simple, healthy dinner idea, served with a tangy pepper slaw and smoky chipotle cream.
Pinto beans are the star of these vegetarian tamale pies! They're easy to throw together if you use prepared polenta and canned beans. Top with sour cream and enjoy!
This Mexican pizza recipe features creamy refried pinto beans, Monterrey jack cheese, tomatoes, corn, and cilantro. The perfect dish for when you can’t decide between Italian and Mexican food!
These oven baked flautas are filled with a zesty refried bean and cheese filling! Similar to taquitos, they can be made with either flour or corn tortillas.
Not sure what's for dinner? These simple eggs and garlicky black beans are the answer to how to get a quick dinner on the table…in just 20 minutes! This recipe doubles as a hearty brunch.
Dal makhani is a traditional Indian dish made with black lentils, black beans, butter and cream. This version is full of flavor, and it's a little lighter than most by using milk instead of cream!
Here, black beans load up these fries making them into a healthy meal. These insanely delicious sweet potato wedges are topped with beans, salsa, cumin lime crema, and feta cheese.
This bean recipe is hiding white beans, which are pureed into the cheese sauce to make it creamy! Stuffing sweet potatoes with broccoli and the cheese sauce make for an easy weeknight dinner.
Shakshuka is a dish of eggs poached in a tomato sauce that originates from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean regions. This one features white beans and feta, and works as a vegetarian brunch or dinner recipe!
Beans in a cookie recipe? Oh yes! These cookies made with black beans are a healthy dessert that tastes chocolate-y and satisfying.
Here's a unique alternative to the classic bean salad recipe! This zesty Cajun salad is a grain salad with an unexpected spin: bulgur wheat, corn, and kidney beans are flavored with fresh oregano and Cajun seasoning.
This one is lovingly dubbed "pizza soup" for it's hearty Italian flavors! Ready in just 30 minutes, this Tuscan soup features white beans, kale, smoked paprika and fennel.
Delicata squash is becoming more popular for its quick cook time and sweet flavor (like a sweet potato!). Here it's stuffed with black beans and rice to make it a tasty main dish, and painted with a chipotle glaze.
This pan-grilled polenta is perfectly crispy! Serve it with rosemary-infused white beans and tomatoes for a delicious Italian main dish.
This flavorful and easy Mexican quinoa recipe is inspired by Mexican flavors, featuring black beans, corn, tomatoes, and fajita seasoning. It's easy to whip up and perfect for lunches.
Here's a simple way to prepare black beans using cilantro, garlic, and the liquid from the bean can! Serve it alongside a tofu scramble recipe to make a plant based breakfast idea.
Here black beans form the filling of these colorful pinwheels! These Mexican pinwheels are a quick and easy lunch recipe, they’re vibrant and full of healthy veggies spiced with cumin and chili powder. Dip in salsa for the win!
Vegetarian fajitas are easy to grill up as a fast and easy dinner recipe! The black beans are grilled in separate foil packets and chilled alongside the peppers and onions.
This hearty ribollita recipe is a delicious white bean Tuscan vegetable stew, loaded with veggies and thickened with bread. It's a cozy vegan and vegetarian dinner idea.
How to cook dried beans
Is it better to use canned beans or dried beans? It doesn’t matter: you can use either in all of these recipes! The advantage to cooking dried beans at home is that they have a little firmer texture and enhanced flavor. But we often use canned beans in our recipes since they’re so quick and easy. You can find lots of brands that offer BPA free cans or cardboard cartons these days.
The best way we’ve found to cook dried beans is in an Instant Pot! It cooks SO fast: it only takes 1 hour. But if you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can use our Dutch oven method.Print
This easy black beans recipe uses canned beans as a shortcut: but they’re full of big flavor! Here’s how to make Cuban-style black beans and rice.
- 1 1/2 cups minced sweet yellow onion (about 1 large onion)
- 1/2 green bell pepper
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1/4 jalapeño pepper
- 2 tablespoons salted butter (substitute additional olive oil for vegan)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 15-ounce cans black beans (or 3 cups cooked black beans)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- Fresh cilantro, for a garnish
- 1 cup dry white or brown long grain rice, to serve*
- Start the rice, using our Instant Pot Rice method or How to Cook Rice on the Stove.
- Mince the onion and mince the pepper (chop them into a small dice). Mince the garlic.
- Remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapeño pepper and mince it.
- Use a strainer to drain the black beans over a glass measuring cup, reserving the can liquid. (No need to rinse.)
- In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Once melted, add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent and lightly browned. Add the beans, cumin, oregano, and kosher salt and stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the liquid from the black beans. Simmer 15 minutes until beans are tender.
- Chop the cilantro for the garnish. Serve the black beans warm with rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Cuban Inspired
Keywords: Bean Recipes
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.