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Black Bean Dip

5 stars based on 35 votes

black bean dip

We just got back from a family adventure in Costa Rica! 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!


My Recipe Videos

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.

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Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    Wow, this was amazing! I was looking for something to do with the leftovers of a pot of black beans I had made and this was perfect! Even my 4 year old loved snacking on this with chips. Thank you! 🙂

    - Erica on November 20, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    My son’s Spanish class was celebrating Dia de Los Muertes in school today and the kids were asked to bring something in to share. Walked through the grocery store and saw a can of black bean dip in the chip aisle. Googled black bean dip recipes and found this one. So glad I did! My 14 year old son enjoyed making it in the kitchen with me and it turned out perfectly. Between the texture and the flavor, it was almost like a Mexican hummus. The flavors of the black beans, garlic, cilantro, and cumin really shine and are accented with just a hint of heat from the jalapenos. Will be making this over and over again for all sorts of occasions. Thanks for an awesome recipe that is both easy and delicious!

    - Amber on November 2, 2017 Reply
  • Can this dip be made a day ahead & stored refrigerated or is it better served the same day it’s made? Also, does it work well with pinto beans? Thanks so much, looking forward to your cookbook.

    - Chrissy on November 2, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Chrissy, this can be made a day ahead with no problem. I’ve never made this with pinto beans, but I suspect it should work. enjoy! (And glad you’re looking forward to the cookbook :)!

      - Jenn on November 2, 2017 Reply
  • 4 stars

    What do you do to make it better looking?

    - Dana Pehrson on October 27, 2017 Reply
    • As is, it’s not all that pretty :). If you garnish it with some cilantro that helps. You could also finely dice a bit of red bell pepper and sprinkle it on top for a little contrast of color.

      - Jenn on October 28, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is excellent! I used to buy Fantastic Foods Instant black bean mix and make an “instant dip” out of it. I loved it, but decided I really wanted to make my own and just could not get the recipe right. You nailed it!!! I love the recipe although I got too much lime in it and added some cheese on top. Thank you so much for this great recipe!

    - Carol on September 4, 2017 Reply
  • Wondering how many days ahead this can be made?

    - Megan on August 5, 2017 Reply
    • I’d say 2 – 3 max. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on August 5, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I love this dip. My friends came yesterday and everybody loved it, it was the first time that I prepared it so I was a little nervous but like I said it was a hit! Thank you for this recipe.

    - ARACELI RODRIGUEZ on August 2, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have large amounts of regret. Regret that I halved the recipe thinking that would plenty. Boy was I WRONG! Amazing! What a wonderful blend of flavors. Nothing overpowers. Instead, each ingredient shines. My 9yo declared the “essence of lime” to be her favorite part. Guess I’ll be setting up to chop another onion and jalapeño. It definitely won’t last long. Love each of your recipes and so grateful that you share them with all of us!

    - Erika on June 11, 2017 Reply
    • I did the same mistake and I have the same regret…you never know.

      - ARACELI RODRIGUEZ on August 2, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Absolutely delicious!!! Thank you for another incredible recipe! ?

    - Jacquie on June 4, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    It was our daughter’s 24 birthday dinner party last evening. I decided to try making this dip. Everyone loved it and it all went. It was easy to prepare and make ahead.

    - Linda on May 31, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Over the MOON Happy Dance! Thank you 1st for sharing a bit about Costa Rica, enjoyed that. The BB Dip, Dannnng is this the tastiest dip ever, awakens & satisfies the taste buds. Seriously this could be my go-to meal. The fresh taste of lime really enhances. MmmMmmmMMM! Made quite a bit & thought I would share some with a co-worker EXCEPT unable to stop eating it so may have to share a little with my husband & keep the rest for myself. Absolutely DELICIOUS!!! Thank you Jenn for sharing this, I am so appreciative. Intend to make it weekly, it’s TH?AT good. I left about 1/4 of the beans whole for texture (preference) Perfect as is though.

    - Kelli on March 16, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is such a yummy dip! I made twice with and without jalapeno. Love both versions and so does my family. Thank you so much for sharing!

    - Yelena on February 26, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    My husband loves black bean dip at our local Mexican restaurant, so I had to find a recipe to make it at home. This was it! It’s so simple to put together and has great flavor. We like things spicy so I use serrano peppers and leave the seeds in. Yummy!

    - Crystal on February 14, 2017 Reply
  • We made this for a group party and it was quite easy to throw together. We even used a cheap blender at our cottage with no issues just used small batches. I left some beans just barely pulsed to give it some chunky consistency. Delicious,easy,healthy!

    - Owen Dexter on October 6, 2016 Reply
    • 5 stars

      I forgot to rate it… 5 stars!

      - Owen Dexter on October 6, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    We love the black bean dip at our local Mexican restaurant. When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. It has great flavor, and I love that it’s such a healthy recipe. It makes me feel a lot better about all the chips that I eat with this fantastic dip.

    - Crystal on October 6, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Have made this a number of times and it is perfection.

    - Eva on October 3, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This black bean dip is so, so, soooo good! Loved it! I could sit down alone and eat a whole bowl of it!

    - Theresa on August 8, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    O M G!!! Best Bean Dip I have ever had … and I made it! The only change I made was to use vegetable stock instead of water … and I trusted you with the hottness and you were right, the recipe creates an amazing balance. Thank you!!

    - Darin on June 29, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this last night, and it was super easy and quick. It doesn’t look very appealing but it tastes very nice. I served it with tortilla chips, which are already salty, so I halved the salt in the recipe. The flavours are balanced perfectly, but I would probably add some jalapeno seeds for thay extra kick if I was serving it to adults.

    - Mary on April 18, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Wow! This was so easy to make and is SO delicious!

    I wanted to make it for the first layer of a taco dip that calls for Frito Lay Jalapeno dip. I will never use the store-bought stuff ever again!

    Of course, this made way more than I needed for the taco dip; after having a taste (it was still warm), my daughter announced she wanted some of the bean dip for dessert.

    Now I need to look at your other recipes 🙂

    - Dawn on April 16, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    So good!

    - Julie on March 29, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Had some friends over recently for supper and they bought black beans and rice. Had tons of black beans left over so froze two quart bags of them – thinking “need to find a good dip recipe for these”. Now we’re invited to game night and wanted to bring some dips, so I found your recipe and made it up – absolutely delicious! We live in Panama, so can relate to your experiences in CR!

    FIVE STARS from me!

    - TC King on March 21, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I happened upon this recipe while I was cooking a huge batch of black beans. I followed the directions except I did not have any jalapeno on hand so just added a few dashes of hot sauce. This dip is very delicious. Great depth of flavor. My kids each ate a bowl with a spoon! I’m enjoying it with celery sticks. I’m really enjoying browsing your blog. You have a serious understanding of food but deliver it to the average home cook like me. I’m glad I found your blog. I look forward to trying more recipes. Thanks!

    - Evie Ogborn on March 20, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Had never been to your site and was looking up a recipe for a Black Bean Dip. I came across your recipe and it sounded simple and yummy. Of course, I also checked all the reviews. All so positive!!

    No wonder! It turned out so Delicious. I added more garlic( I just love garlic) used red onion, the jalepeno is important and just kicked up the spices a little to our taste. EXCELLENT! Love your site so much that I decided to make your Smoky Chickpea and Red Lentil soup tonight to go with all the Super Bowl leftovers. Thank you for a great recipe.

    - Audrey Danto on February 8, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I haven’t made this yet but can tell by the list ingredients that it will be delish! We live down south and have several restaurants that will serve a black bean dip. In order to “dress it up” we add some queso fresco crumbles or a drizzle of la crema!

    - Cayenne Craig on September 14, 2015 Reply
  • Can I make this a day ahead?

    - kally on September 3, 2015 Reply
    • Yes, absolutely.

      - Jenn on September 3, 2015 Reply
  • 3 stars

    Not sure about this recipe. The consistency was fine (“scoopable”) but I didn’t really like the taste of it. And, yes, it’s not very pretty either 🙂

    - Gabi on August 31, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Perfect high fiber and high protein snack!! I’ve made it using jalapeños and serranos, came out great with both varieties!

    - Peg on August 29, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This bean dip is so amazing! Even my picky eater tried it and like it! Can wait to make it again.
    Can I cook my own black beans? I know it is much easier to use canned ones but I cook beans for my kids so often and I always have it available.
    Great recipe!

    - Andreza on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This sounds delish! I think I’ll use some of the pickled jalapenos that I canned. Thanks for the inspiration.

    - Rebecca on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have tried so may of these dips (love black beans) this is by far the best recipe I’ve tried. As always thanks, Maurene

    - Maurene on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I really liked this recipe, but changed a few things. I didn’t use the full 1/4c of oil to sauté and used jarred garlic. I often make fresh “refried” beans with almost the same spices and additions and throw into the blender. I then freeze in ice cubes and have beans in the freezer for quick protein or single lunch meals. Bean dip or refried beans…kind of ubiquitous!

    - Brandy on August 26, 2015 Reply
  • Would the black bean dip freeze well?

    - Gay Lee Freedman on August 24, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Gay Lee, Unfortunately I think it might lose it’s wonderfully creamy texture. If you want to try it, you might be able to revive it by giving it a whirl in the blender again.

      - Jenn on August 24, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Dear Jenn,
    Great recipe, as always! No matter what I make from your website I know it will be perfect and a hit with everyone. I can count on you to make me look good!

    - Lorna on July 12, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    One word…Delicious!!! Thanks for an easy, tasty recipe. I rolled it up in an Ole Mexican Xtreme Wellness Tortilla, with a little mozzarella, for a healthy snack.

    - Julie on June 9, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    How many different ways can I say delicious? This dip disappeared so quickly! It’s so easy to make and it’s so good that I could almost eat it with a spoon! 🙂 Thanks for such a great recipe!

    - CookinCanuck on May 1, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This black bean dip was easy to make. I prepared it one day ahead and it kept just fine. Everyone at my book club loved the taste and that it was very healthy/diet friendly.

    - Cristine G. on March 14, 2015 Reply
  • 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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