Black Bean Dip

5 stars based on 2 votes


I just got back from a family adventure in Costa Rica, where we rafted through the jungle, came face-to-face with monkeys, sloths and toucans, zip-lined over the rainforest (okay, I didn’t do that but my kids and husband did!) and — best of all — ate lots of delicious Costa Rican food. From homemade corn tortillas to rice and beans to empanadas, we tried so many native dishes that I can’t wait to recreate at home and share with you. First up, this creamy black bean dip. Admittedly, it’s not going to win a beauty contest, but it’s so flavorful, healthy and easy to make, you won’t care.


The secret is using lots of onions, garlic, jalapeños, and fresh lime juice to boost the flavor. I also like to add lots of fresh cilantro but if you don’t care for it, it’s perfectly fine to leave it out.


Before we get to the recipe, a few words on jalapeño peppers. Two might seem like a lot, but I don’t use the seeds, which is where most of the heat is. The dip has a little kick, but it’s not spicy. If you like heat, you can add some of the seeds but go easy — you can always add more at the end. Also, be sure to either wear gloves or wash your hands very well after handling jalapeños, and never touch your face while you’re chopping — if the juice comes in contact with your eyes, it will sting something awful!


Begin by cooking the onions, garlic and jalapeños in olive oil until very soft, about ten minutes. Notice that I leave the garlic in fairly large chunks; if you chop it too finely, it will burn.


Meanwhile, rinse the black beans.


Combine the beans with onion mixture, salt, cumin, lime juice, water and fresh cilantro in a blender or food processor.


Purée until almost smooth. If you’re using a blender, you may need to stop and stir it a few times.


Transfer the dip to a serving bowl and top with more fresh chopped cilantro and a lime wedge if desired. That’s all there is to it. Enjoy!


Black Bean Dip

Servings: Makes about 3 cups
Total Time: 20 Minutes


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small yellow onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped*
  • 2 (15.5 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from one lime, plus more if desired
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the onions, garlic and jalapeño peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about ten minutes. Do not brown.
  2. Transfer the cooked onion mixture to a blender or food processor and add the black beans, salt, cumin, lime juice, water and cilantro. Blend until smooth (if you're using a blender, you may need to stop and stir a few times to help it out). If the dip is too thick, add more water or lime juice, little by little, to thin it out. Taste and adjust seasoning, then transfer to a serving bowl. Serve warm, cold or room temperature with tortilla chips.
  3. *Most of the heat from the jalapeños is in the seeds and ribs, so leave those out. If you like a spicier dip, reserve the seeds and add them little by little when you're blending the dip.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    Great! All of the ingredients are on my diet! I ate it with veggies and it was delicious.

    - Pam on January 24, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Delicious, thank you! I love black beans and was looking for a black bean dip that wasn’t too heavy. I modified it a bit – no garlic (allergic b friend) and added juice of half of a lemon in place of the second lime. It’s so tasty and easy, I’ve added to my “take to parties” repertoire.

    - Christina on December 31, 2014 Reply
  • Can I ask where you had the best bean dip?

    I am in Costa Rica as we speak and wondering if we ate at the same place to inspire me to find this post!!!

    - Kira Sabin on March 4, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Kira, I am so jealous! I don’t remember the name of the restaurant but it was overlooking Lake Arenal.

      - Jenn on March 5, 2014 Reply
  • Really great recipe.

    - Richard on February 2, 2014 Reply
  • Great bean dip recipe! I was looking for one to make and this was just what I was looking for! Perfect recipe as is.

    - Austin on January 19, 2014 Reply
  • Onight’s dinner menu just changed. Thank you!

    - Ka'Lu Underwood on October 4, 2013 Reply
  • Excited to make this dip this afternoon for a party. Got all fresh ingredients from the farmer’s market this morning. Thanks!

    - Deb on September 7, 2013 Reply
  • It was so nice to meet you and your family in Costa Rica. I am making your beef stew as we speak even though it is not winter…. Can’t wait to try this bean dip. Looks delicious and healthy too! Looking forward to trying your other recipes…. Susan and Boys

    - Susan on September 3, 2013 Reply
  • This is fantastic!! Very simple to put together and extremely flavorful!! This will become a party favorite for sure!! Great dip for my friends who can’t eat cheese, too. Thanks so much!!

    - Eileen on September 2, 2013 Reply
  • Costa Rica is a fabulous place to share with your family..Michael and i did that trip several years ago on a tour. loved every adventure..and the food. Will make this dip soon. Sounds excellent..

    - Marsha Blond on September 2, 2013 Reply
  • I love black bean dip! I had it recently at a party and now I want to make it at home :)

    - Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on September 2, 2013 Reply
  • This looks so great! I spent 3.5 weeks this July traveling throughout Costa Rica. It was amazing (including the food)! I had some black bean soup while there that was unbelievably delicious (particularly with the tomato/onion/egg salsa topping). I look forward to more CR inspired dishes that you’ll post!!

    - Jennifer on September 2, 2013 Reply
  • Jenn, it was so nice to meet you and your beautiful family in Costa Rica and experience watching our children zipline attached to one another!
    I’m glad I’ll be able to try your easy to make and delicious recipes. This one, I can’t wait to try! Thanks Jen

    - wanda on September 1, 2013 Reply
    • So great to hear from you, Wanda! We loved meeting your family too…and I’m so glad the kids are all keeping in touch on instagram! Mike and I just watched the video of Zach and Ryan on the zipline…crazy!

      - Jenn on September 1, 2013 Reply
  • Will definitely make this. Sounds great. We were in Costa Rica last year as part of a cruise through the Panama Canal. I did go Zip lining…and I’m a lot older than you. It was scary but I lived through it

    - barbara on September 1, 2013 Reply
    • lol…Barbara, I am petrified of heights. I couldn’t even watch my kids do it!

      - Jenn on September 1, 2013 Reply
  • I have been looking for a good black bean dip recipe and I can tell by the ingredient list that I will enjoy this one!
    Having traveled to Mexico (real places like La Paz, not the foolish resorts) I have experience the true flavors of Latino food and am glad to have your recipes. Now I’m off to my garden to harvest some jalapenos!
    Thank you.

    - madeline on September 1, 2013 Reply
  • Sounds like your trip was wonderful. I will try to make this dip tonight!

    - daphna on September 1, 2013 Reply
  • Definitely will make this and look forward to your other Costa Rica inspired dishes. My daughter toupee and actually picked coffee beans when she visited and then they told her what she would have made per hour if she were working the field.
    Happy Labor Day weekend and love the presentation of this dip!

    - Karen on September 1, 2013 Reply

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