These vegetarian sweet potato burgers are nutritious, flavorful and so easy to make. You can even freeze a batch for quick weeknight meals!
I am so excited to share these sweet potato black bean burgers with you! This is my go-to veggie burger recipe. I've been making it for years, so I apologize that they are just now making it to the blog.
- diet-friendly: vegetarian, vegan-optional, soy-free, gluten-free optional, nut-free
- easy to double and freeze for later like storebought veggie patties
- they do NOT fall apart!
- made with mashed sweet potato and pantry staples
- lightly smoky and subtly sweet
- Black beans: I use one can of drained and rinsed black beans and usually choose "no salt added". This is equal to about 1 and ½ cups beans. You can also use beans cooked from dry. Check out my instant pot black beans to see how!
- Sweet potato: Choose an orange fleshed sweet potato. One large sweet potato usually makes about 1 cup of mashed sweet potato. Use leftover sweet potato in sweet potato pancakes or in place of pumpkin in these pumpkin muffins.
- Bread crumbs: Choose plain finely ground breadcrumbs like the Progresso brand. I haven't tried these with panko but it should work.
- Chipotle chili powder adds smokiness. An equal amount of chili powder will work (but I do recommend chipotle chili powder as it has a great distinct flavor). You can also try smoked paprika in place of the chili powder.
How to hold veggie burgers together
There are two main things that cause veggie burgers to crumble: too much moisture and not enough binding ingredients.
We can do a few simple things to make sure these sweet potato black bean burgers pass the crumble test:
- Sauté the veggies to remove extra moisture AND deepen their flavor. It's a win-win.
- Lightly pat the canned black beans with a paper towel or clean dish cloth to remove extra moisture.
- Binding ingredients like an egg (or flax egg) and breadcrumbs help keep everything together.
Step by step instructions
Start by roasting a sweet potato: Poke a few holes in a medium sweet potato. Place on a piece of foil or sheet pan and roast at 400F for 45-60 minutes, until very tender. Juices should be coming out of the holes and it should be very easy to poke the sweet potato with a knife. Bake time will vary based on the sweet potato size.
First and foremost, you'll need to mash the baked sweet potato. Because all sweet potatoes are different sizes, you'll want to mash the sweet potato and then measure it out.
Combine the sweet potato and black beans and mash a little more. Leave some whole beans for texture.
There's a secret to really, really good burgers: sauté the onions, peppers and garlic instead of adding it straight to the mix. This softens them and releases a lot of their flavor and sweetness.
Add the jalapeño (optional!) and garlic and sauté until nice and soft. A little bit of browning is a good thing!
Combine the sautéed veggies with the seasonings, bread crumbs and whisked egg. Mix until a loose ball forms.
Form the mixture into patties. I like to make mine about the width of my palm. For best results, make sure the burger is no more than ½ inch thick when cooking. The thinner the patty, the firmer it will be.
Cook in a large skillet over medium heat. I use my cast iron skillet or the skillet I cooked the peppers and onions in for extra flavor. Lightly oil the skillet to prevent sticking.
Cook on each side for 4-5 minutes or until golden.
- Make it vegan: Make this recipe vegan by replacing the egg with a flaxseed egg. To make a flax egg, simply combine 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons warm water and let rest for 5 minutes. It won't hold together as well as an egg but it gets the job done.
- Oven instructions: Line patties on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through. The patties will be slightly dryer but still delicious!
- Make gluten-free by replacing bread crumbs with finely ground gluten free rolled oats. You can grind them up in a blender or food processor (these are the ones that I use). This is also a good option if you just don't have breadcrumbs on hand.
- Sizes: This recipe makes 6 medium veggie burgers. You can also shape them into meatballs or falafel sizes. The cook time will remain the same.
Yes! I recommend forming individual patties and cooking on the stove before freezing. This way you can take them out of the freezer and reheat on the stove instead of needing to cook the entire burger.
Store patties between layers of wax paper to prevent them from sticking to each other. Keep in an airtight freezer container for up to 3 months.
For best quality, keep refrigerated in a closed container for 3-4 days. I like to form the patties before refrigerating for easier use.
I always enjoy mine on a bun with lettuce, tomato, BBQ sauce and all the classic burger fixings. Quick pickled onions are also a great addition.
Yes, these work great with roasted butternut squash for a fall twist. The canned pumpkin will be a little wetter so you may need to add extra breadcrumbs 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture holds together.
I haven't tested this recipe on the outdoor grill but they do work on a grill pan.
Looking for more vegetarian dinner recipes?
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Vegetarian Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers
- ½ cup mashed sweet potato from one medium sweet potato, see note #1
- 1 and ½ cups black beans, drained and rinsed equivalent to one 15 ounce can
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for coating sweet potato
- 1 cup diced white onion from one medium onion
- ½ medium red bell pepper diced
- ½ teaspoon salt divided in half
- 1 small jalapeño diced (optional
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dry parsley
- 1 large egg whisked
- 1 cup plain bread crumbs
- 5 burger buns
- lettuce and barbecue sauce for topping
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat whole sweet potato in olive oil (optional). Poke several holes in the sweet potato using a knife. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until tender, about 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of your sweet potato.
- Remove skin from the sweet potato. Mash the inside until almost pureed. Measure out ½ cup of the mashed sweet potato. Before adding black beans, pat them with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Combine the sweet potato and black beans and mash a little more. You want some whole beans to remain for texture. Set aside.
- Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add diced onion, diced bell pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt . Sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add jalapeño and garlic and sauté a minute more, until golden and aromatic.
- Stir the sautéed ingredients into the sweet potato mixture. Add the seasonings (cumin, ¼ teaspoon salt, chipotle chili powder, parsley), whisked egg and bread crumbs. Mix until a loose ball forms.
- Form the mixture into patties. I like to make mine about the width of my palm. For best results, make sure the burger is no more than ½ inch thick when cooking. The thinner the patty, the firmer it will be.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat (I use the same skillet I sautéed the onions in for extra flavor). Lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. Once hot, add patties. Cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until browned.
- Serve on burger buns with for favorite fixings, such as lettuce or kale and barbecue sauce. Enjoy!
- Sweet potato: Choose an orange fleshed sweet potato. One large potato usually makes about 1 cup sweet potato mash.
- To make gluten-free: Gluten free rolled oats can be finely ground in a food processor and used in place of bread crumbs. You can also do this if you just don't have bread crumbs on hand.
- To make vegan: Replace one egg with one flaxseed egg. To make a flaxseed egg, combine 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons warm water. Let rest for 5 minutes before using. This mixture will not be as firm as the egg version but still works well.
- How to bake: Line patties on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- To freeze: Form into individual patties before freezing. I like to cook my patties before freezing, but you can also freeze uncooked patties. Store in a freezer-safe container between layers of wax paper to prevent sticking. Heat frozen patties in a skillet until fully thawed and cooked through.
- Leftovers: For best quality, keep leftovers refrigerated in a closed container for 3-4 days.
Recipe updates: This recipe was updated June 2021 when I made a new YouTube video. I doubled the spices (cumin and smoked paprika) and added ½ red bell pepper. Everything else remains the same.