12 Ways to Build Delicious Veggie Burgers

Start with this bean burger recipe and go from there

Mark Bittman
Published in
4 min readSep 17, 2020


The simplest bean burger on a bun
Photo: Burcu Avsar & Zach DeSart

These burgers are excellent served on a bun with the usual fixings, no matter which bean you use, but I will say that black beans give the best possible result. If you start with well-seasoned cooked-by-you beans, the results are even better. If you like, replace the oats with rolled rye or wheat. Like almost all veggie burgers, these hold together better if you refrigerate before cooking.

The Simplest Bean Burgers

Makes: 4–8 servings
Time: 30–40 minutes, plus chilling time


  • 2 cups well-cooked black, white, or red beans, chickpeas, or lentils, or 1 14-oz. can, drained
  • 1 onion, cut into chunks
  • ½ cup rolled oats (not instant), more if necessary
  • 1 tablespoon chile powder or spice mix of your choice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bean-cooking liquid, stock, wine, cream, milk, water, etc. (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or more as needed


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
  2. Put the beans, onions, oats, chile powder, and some salt and pepper in a food processor. Let the machine run, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, until the mixture is thoroughly combined but not pureed, about a minute. If you don’t have a food processor, put everything in a large bowl, and use a potato masher. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. You want a moist consistency that will easily form cakes. If it is too wet, add more oats. If it’s too dry, add bean-cooking or other liquid. In either case, add the ingredient 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse (or mash) after each addition.
  3. Lightly wet your hands and shape the mixture into 4 large or 8 small patties. Put them on the baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
  4. Put the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the patties. Cook, undisturbed, until brown and crisp on one side, 3 to 8 minutes. Add more oil if the pan looks dry, then turn the…



Mark Bittman

Has published 30 books, including How to Cook Everything and VB6: The Case for Part-Time Veganism. Newsletter at markbittman.com.