Return to top
featured in… The Huffington Post CookingLight Reader's Digest Women's Health BuzzFeed Glamour Whole Foods Oprah Winfrey Network CNN Food Network Healthline Shape

Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Southwestern Pinto Bean Burgers

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.
Share This:

Ever tried making a veggie burger with pinto beans? Now’s your chance – and you don’t want to miss it! These pinto bean burgers are fresh, flavor-packed, and filling. So much better than frozen veggie burgers and easily adapted to vegan. 

southwest pinto bean burgers served on a whole wheat bun

Is this the best veggie burger ever?

Yes.

Will it please meat-eaters and vegetarians alike?

Yes.

Is it worth the 45 minutes – 1 hour it takes to make?

You bet. (But I might have a little time-saving hack to share at the end of this post, so stay tuned!)

Is it healthy?

Of course!

Enough said. You should definitely try this pinto bean burger recipe. It’s one of my favorite easy weeknight meals. Making veggie burgers from scratch does take more time than heating up a frozen patty, but it is so, so worth it! 

Latest Recipe Video!

I like making homemade bean burgers because then I can control the ingredients, and you can pretty much guarantee that nothing processed will be in your dinner. This recipe also makes great pinto bean cakes and fritters – just don’t use a bun!

How to Make Pinto Bean Burgers

This pinto bean patty recipe is perfect for pleasing picky eaters or veggie burger skeptics. It has a great texture, about as close to beef burgers as you can get with a homemade veggie burger patty, so it’s a great alternative if you need a vegetarian or healthy option!

Recipe Ingredients and Notes

ingredients for pinto bean burgers

Whole Wheat Panko Bread Crumbs, Low Fat Sour Cream, and 1 Egg: Necessary to bind the burger mixture together! This keeps the pinto bean patties from falling apart.

Fresh Cilantro & Jalapeno Pepper: For added brightness and heat

Hot Pepper (Cholula) Sauce: For added heat, but you can also use Adobo Sauce or Chili Powder if you don’t have hot sauce on hand.

Ground Cumin, Black Pepper, Salt: To help give the burgers that southwestern feel. You can also add some garlic powder (or 1 clove of garlic) to the mixture for more spice.

Pinto Beans: Because you can’t make pinto bean burgers without pinto beans! But honestly, any type of bean (black beans, red kidney beans, etc) would work well in this recipe.

Corn: Adds a nice texture and a subtle sweetness to these burgers.

Whole wheat or sprouted wheat hamburger buns: For added whole grains and fiber, much healthier than a white burger bun!

Toppings: Choose any toppings you like based on your personal preference. Ketchup or barbecue sauce, red onion slices, diced bell pepper, tomato slices, baby spinach leaves, your favorite hot sauce, salsa, guacamole, etc. Pinto beans also go great with roasted garlic cloves and sautéed mushrooms. Sandwich it all between two burger buns and you have yourself a very filling (and even more flavorful) meatless meal!

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1: To prepare burgers, combine the first 9 ingredients in a large bowl or food processor. If you use a food processor, you don’t have to dice the onion or mince the jalapeno pepper ahead of time. (This saves on cutting time if you have a good food processor). Transfer to a large bowl, and mix in the egg.

egg added to burger patty mixture

Step 2: Put pinto beans and corn in a food processor, and chop them — don’t puree them. Then add them to the bean mixture in the bowl. Alternatively, you can add the beans/corn to the bowl and partially mash with a fork or potato masher before adding them to the bean mixture.

corn and beans in a food processor

Step 3: Divide mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 3 1/2-inch patty, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

patties shaped on a cutting board

Step 4: Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties to pan, and cook 5 minutes on each side. Reduce to medium heat, cook an additional 5 minutes (flipping the burger patty once in between) to get a nice caramelized crust. Transfer burgers to a plate lined with paper towels.

burger patties cooking on the stove

Now it’s time for assembly! Place patties on the bottom halves of the burger buns; top each pinto bean patty with 1-2 tbsp ketchup or bbq sauce, red onion slices, roma tomatoes, baby spinach leaves, and the top half of the burger bun. 

southwest pinto bean burgers served on a whole wheat bun

The best part: One HUGE bean burger has ~400 calories, ~11g fat, ~15g protein, and ~9g fiber. Now THAT’s what I call a veggie burger! 

How to Make Spicy Pinto Bean Burgers Vegan Friendly

While this recipe contains sour cream and egg, you can replace them with vegan sour cream or a vegan mayo like Vegenaise and a flax or chia egg. And just like that – with 2 quick substitutes – you have delicious vegan burgers!

If you’ve never made a chia seed or flax seed egg, all you do is mix a tablespoon of chia seeds with three tablespoons of water. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then add it to the recipe. The egg works beautifully in these delicious burgers and really helps them stick together. 

Need a Quicker Meal? Turn Them Into Refried Bean Burgers!

Since making bean burgers from scratch takes a while, I want to share my busy mom hack!

Replace the cooked whole pinto beans with a can of refried beans. Don’t worry, you won’t end up with a mushy burger. 

The rest of the recipe can stay the same (you can just mix the corn into the refried beans and leave them whole). And since you’re using refried beans, which are already mashed and creamy, you don’t have to use a food processor – that’s one less thing to wash! Just mix with a fork instead of a spoon to break up the veggies a bit. 

Refried beans are actually perfect for this particular pinto patty recipe because it’s already Southwest-style! It was meant to be 🙂 

southwest pinto bean burgers served on a whole wheat bun

What to Serve with Pinto Bean Patties

Don’t feel like you have to reinvent the wheel when serving up vegetarian burgers. They’re fantastic with all the usual burger sides like fries, potato or tortilla chips, or a side salad. 

Even traditionally greasy fries can be “healthified” by using sweet potatoes and crisping in an air fryer without all that oil! 

Recipe Variations

The great thing about this pinto bean patty recipe is that it’s customizable. Here are some of my favorite ways to mix things up:

  • Make it into a burrito! Try breaking up the pinto bean burgers and serving in a tortilla with other ingredients from fajitas – think guacamole, shredded cheese, and roasted peppers. 
  • Make it open faced! Serve the patties on buns with your favorite toppings piled on the tops of the patties. 
  • Make it into a hash! Cook up some chopped onion, mushrooms, and peppers and have that toasted in some olive oil or butter. Then add some cheese and the burger patties (broken up), and cook it until the cheese is melted.
  • Change up the beans: Don’t like pinto beans? Swap them for black beans. In fact, turn this into a mixed bean burger recipe and combine a few different varieties!
  • Make it less spicy: Don’t like the spicy Southwestern vibe? Leave out the jalapenos and hot pepper sauce and replace them with savory roasted sweet peppers. A blend of red, orange, and yellow would be ah-mazing!
  • Make it gluten-free: To make it gluten-free, you can easily swap the breadcrumbs for oats. Oats add more fiber to the patties and have a heartier texture than breadcrumbs. Just be sure to get certified gluten-free oats. 

Top Tips For Making Pinto Bean Burgers

  • Use whole wheat panko breadcrumbs because they lighter and lower in calories than regular breadcrumbs.
  • Use a food processor to cut up the first 9 ingredients, to save time. 
  • Make sure you don’t skip refrigerating the burger patties before cooking them! That really helps them hold together and have that meaty feel.
  • The pinto bean burger patties will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. To store: let the patties cool completely. Then transfer them to an airtight container and place in the fridge. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months (just thaw in the fridge to defrost and heat in a skillet on medium heat until warmed through).
southwest pinto bean burgers served on a whole wheat bun

Want More Burger Recipes?

My whole family absolutely adores these tasty burgers, but vegan and veggie burgers can be made with all kinds of beans and toppings. Try these (your taste buds will thank you later):

If you have tried these Pinto Bean Burgers or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

Print Recipe
5 from 7 votes

Southwestern Pinto Bean Burger Recipe

This is one of those leftover pinto bean recipes I would have never thought of but now can't live without! These pinto bean burgers really hit the spot when you're craving that Southwestern, Tex-Mex flavor. But beware, you won't want to go back to frozen veggie patties after these!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 411kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

Burger:

  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • ½ cup dry whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño pepper
  • 2 tablespoons low fat sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce or Cholula sauce
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 15oz can pinto beans, drained 1 can
  • 1 8oz can no salt-added whole-kernel corn, drained Or 1 cup frozen or fresh corn
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Toppings:

  • Ketchup or barbecue sauce If you use bbq sauce, make sure you get one that’s super low in sugar (less than 4 grams per serving)
  • Red onion slices
  • Roma tomato slices
  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Whole wheat or sprouted wheat hamburger buns Make sure you get buns with <200 calories and at least 4 grams of fiber per bun

Instructions

  • To prepare burgers, combine the first 9 ingredients in a large bowl or food processor. If you use a food processor, you don't have to dice the onion or mince the jalapeno pepper ahead of time. (This saves on cutting time if you have a good food processor). Transfer to a large bowl, and mix in the egg.
  • Put pinto beans and corn in the food processor, and then add to the mixture in the bowl. Alternatively, you can add the pinto beans/corn to the bowl and partially mash with a fork or potato masher.
  • Divide bean mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 3 1/2-inch patty, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties to pan, and cook 5 minutes on each side. Reduce to medium heat, cook an additional 5 minutes (flipping the burger patty once in between) to get a nice caramelized crust. Transfer burgers to a plate lined with paper towels.
  • Now it’s time for assembly! Place patties on bottom halves of buns; top each patty with 1-2 tbsp ketchup or bbq sauce, red onion slices, roma tomatoes, baby spinach leaves, and top half of bun.

Notes

Top Tips For Making Pinto Bean Burgers
  • Use whole wheat panko breadcrumbs because they lighter and lower in calories than regular breadcrumbs.
  • Use a food processor to cut up the first 9 ingredients, to save time. 
  • Make sure you don’t skip refrigerating the burger patties before cooking them! That really helps them hold together and have that meaty feel.
  • The pinto bean burger patties will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. To store: let the patties cool completely. Then transfer them to an airtight container and place in the fridge. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months (just thaw in the fridge to defrost and heat in a skillet on medium heat until warmed through).
Adapted from MyRecipes

Nutrition

Serving: 1burger | Calories: 411kcal | Carbohydrates: 63.1g | Protein: 15.2g | Fat: 10.7g | Sodium: 837mg | Fiber: 9.1g

Posted In…

Subscribe to newsletter

Copyright 2021 The Picky Eater. All rights reserved.