Black Bean Dip -- flavored with fresh garlic, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice, and cumin -- is healthy, zesty, easy to make, and equally delicious scooped up with tortilla chips or raw veggies!
If you're a fan of chips and Mexican-style dips, I'm happy to guarantee that we've got you covered here at Five Heart Home. You can find salsa or queso. You can find bean dip or corn dip. Heck, you can even find Beef Enchilada Dip or Creamy Jalapeño Dip! And yes, most of these are admittedly on the more decadent side.
But you can also find an easy, tasty, healthy dip that can be scooped up with celery or carrot sticks just as readily as chips...this zesty Black Bean Dip!
So what makes this Black Bean Dip recipe both packed with delicious flavor and healthy?
- Fresh garlic. I find one clove per can of beans to be a nice ratio.
- Fresh jalapeño. Most of the heat is housed in a jalapeño's seeds and membranes, so you have some control over how spicy your Black Bean Dip turns out. More on that below under "Adjusting the Heat"...
- Fresh cilantro. I always say the more, the merrier when it comes to cilantro. But feel free to tweak the amount to your taste. Or leave it out completely if you hate it. 😉
- Canned black beans. Be sure to rinse 'em and drain 'em.
- Spices. Traditional Mexican spices -- cumin, garlic salt, chili powder, dried oregano, and black pepper -- build layers of flavor in this recipe.
- Lime juice. Use fresh-squeezed if you've got it, but bottled lime juice will also work just dandy. I always keep a bottle of 100% lime juice (no added ingredients) in the fridge for such occasions.
- Balsamic vinegar. I often turn to this "secret ingredient" to add depth of flavor to more than just Italian recipes.
- Water. Not pictured above, but you only need as much as necessary to thin out the dip to your desired consistency. Or you could use some sort of broth instead, if you wish.
How to Make Black Bean Dip
This recipe requires a food processor, but would probably work in most blenders as well.
- You'll start by pulsing together the garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro until minced. Just be careful when you take the lid off of the food processor for the next step, because the jalapeño fumes are likely to clear your sinuses. 🙂
- Add the drained beans, spices, lime juice, vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of water.
- Process until all ingredients are smooth and incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through.
- If necessary, add additional water, a little at a time, until your preferred consistency is reached. You can also adjust the spices to your liking.
Serve immediately with tortilla chips or fresh crunchy veggies, or pop in the fridge until you're ready to enjoy. And keep in mind that flavors will continue to develop as the dip sits!
Adjusting the Heat
Jalapeños are notorious for varying in their heat levels from one pepper to another. Sometimes you get a pretty mild one and sometimes you get a super spicy one!
The important thing to know is that most of the heat of a jalapeño is housed in its seeds and membranes. So when it comes to controlling the heat of your jalapeños, the general rule is to scrape out and discard the seeds/membranes for a milder Black Bean Dip, and leave all or some of them intact for extra heat.
If you aren't sure how mild or spicy your given jalapeño may be, a helpful tip is to scrape out the seeds and membranes and set them aside. Puree the jalapeño (sans seeds/membranes) into the dip and then taste. If you feel like your dip needs more heat, start blending in the reserved seeds and membranes until the dip reaches your desired level of spiciness.
On the other hand, if you add a whole jalapeño to your dip and you'd like even more heat, feel free to toss in another one! Or just another half. This Black Bean Dip recipe is totally customizable to your tastes, from tweaking the heat to adjusting the spices.
Along the same lines, you can increase the heat of this recipe while also adding some smokiness by blending in a pinch of chipotle chile pepper powder (which is very spicy and totally different than regular chili powder). It also makes a great sub if you want to make this recipe when you don't have any jalapeños on hand. Just go slow...a little bit of the stuff goes a long way!
The ingredients in this recipe are naturally gluten-free. If avoiding that allergen is important to you, just make sure your dippers are GF as well.
Black Bean Dip is obviously wonderful scooped up with salty tortilla chips.
But since the dip is already naturally healthy, you may want a healthier option for dippers. May I present to you a few of our favorite ideas:
- Sweet potato crackers.
- Celery sticks.
- Baby carrots.
- Bell pepper spears or mini sweet peppers.
But really, the possibilities are endless!
Other Ways to Enjoy Black Bean Dip
This recipe was developed to be enjoyed as a cold dip. You may certainly warm it up if you prefer.
However, it can also be folded into a quesadilla, stuffed into a bean burrito, or spooned over a taco.
It can be dolloped onto nachos.
It can be used as a layer in 7-Layer Dip.
Or it can even be served warm as a side dish to your favorite Mexican food entrees!
Leftovers of this Black Bean Dip may be stored in an airtight container in the the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.
And as long as it's stored in an appropriate, freezer-safe container, this recipe is freezer-friendly as well for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and stir well before serving.
But lucky for us, it's every bit as scrumptious. 🙂
More Healthy Dips
Black Bean Dip
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 1 jalapeño, cut into chunks (see NOTES below)
- ½ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 to 4 tablespoons water
- Place garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro in the bowl a food processor (or canister of a blender). Pulse until finely chopped, scraping down sides halfway through. Add black beans, cumin, garlic salt, chili powder, oregano, pepper, lime juice, vinegar, and 2 tablespoons water to food processor. Process until all ingredients are smooth, adding additional water one tablespoon at a time (if necessary) until preferred consistency is reached. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- Garnish with cilantro. You can also add a little cheese (cotija, cheddar, Monterey Jack, etc.) and a sprinkle of diced tomatoes for color. Serve as a dip with tortilla chips or raw vegetables. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.
- Most of the heat in a jalapeño is housed in its seeds and membranes. So scrape them out and discard them for a milder dip, and leave them intact if you like some heat.
- If you're not sure how spicy your jalapeño is, scrape out the seeds/membranes and set them aside. Make the Black Bean Dip as directed, taste, and then gradually add in seeds/membranes until your desired heat level is reached.
Recipe originally posted at Or So She Says on January 9, 2014.
Originally published February 17, 2014, and updated on May 4, 2020, and May 2, 2022.