Black Bean Dip

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Break out the chips for this creamy black bean dip—it’s not only easy to whip up and healthy, but irresistibly delicious!

bowl of black bean dip on platter with tortilla chips.

One of our most memorable family trips was to Costa Rica, where we explored the jungle, made friends with monkeys and sloths, and zip-lined above the rainforest (okay, I didn’t, but the rest of the family did). For me, the adventure was as much about the food as it was about the thrills. We enjoyed everything from homemade corn tortillas to hearty rice and beans, beef empanadas, and the classic arroz con pollo. One of my favorites was this deliciously creamy black bean dip. Although it’s not the prettiest dip at the party, its incredible flavor and simple preparation will make you fall in love at first bite.

“It’s so delicious…and also makes a GREAT filling for burritos. Spread it on a tortilla, add some chicken or beef, some sautéed veggies, cheese, sour cream, guac…YUM!”


What You’ll Need To Make Black Bean Dip

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.

Two jalapeño peppers might seem like a lot, but I don’t use the seeds or ribs, 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.

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 terribly!

Step-by-Step Instructions

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the onions, garlic and jalapeño peppers. Notice that I leave the garlic in fairly large chunks; if you chop it too finely, it will burn.

Heating the olive oil over medium heat in a small saucepan and adding the onions, garlic and jalapeño peppers.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about ten minutes. Do not brown.

Cooked onion, garlic, and pepper mixture.

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

Beans with onion mixture, salt, cumin, lime juice, water, and fresh cilantro in a food processor.

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

puréed black bean dip in food processor.

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!

bowl of black bean dip on platter with tortilla chips.

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Black Bean Dip

Break out the chips for this creamy black bean dip—it’s not only easy to whip up and healthy, but irresistibly delicious!

Servings: Makes about 3 cups
Total Time: 20 Minutes


  • ¼ 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
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from one lime, plus more if desired
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • ¼ 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.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (12 servings)
  • Serving size: 1/4 cup
  • Calories: 114
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 14 g
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Sodium: 231 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

See more recipes:


  • Delicious. I did pressure cook fresh black beans first then used a ninja processor to put it all together.

  • Very good! I used orange juice instead of lime because that’s what I had on hand. I added roasted red peppers and a splash of chicken broth, and used my immersion blender. I served with warm soft tortillas as part of a “tapas” night. Thank you!

  • A delicious and easy to make recipe. I’ll definitely be making it again! 🙂

  • Was amazing!! Would recommend only one teaspoon salt instead of one and one half though!

  • Can this be made ahead? If so, do you serve it cold from the fridge or warm it a bit before serving? Looks like a great recipe!

    • Hi Susan, yes, you can make it up to 2 to 3 days ahead and serve it cold or at room temperature (it’s good either way). Hope that helps!

      • Thank you for the reply and the recipe! It was a big hit with my book group. Next time I’ll make half the recipe because it was too much for this group. I see lots of burritos in my future for the next few days! 🙂

  • Halved the recipe and it still made plenty. We found it boring as written, after processing I upped the cumin to 3/4 tsp and used one whole lime (for a half batch) to add more flavor. I couldn’t get my onions to Jenn’s pictures softness without them browning a little, if you like the sweetness of onions this could be great however I just found the taste distracting.

  • Oh such creamy goodness.
    Finally a black bean dip that is not chunky and hard, oh and that flavour ❤
    Thank you so much

  • This was good enough to eat as is, with a spoon although it was a hit with some rain forest crackers I had just made. Instead of jalapeños I used ¼ of a red bell pepper, chopped, and sautéed with the onion and garlic. Once everything was processed the red bits looked rather nice with the green from the cilantro. I added a couple of glugs of extra virgin toward the end of the processing and also some red pepper flakes. Like others, I halved the recipe but it disappeared too quickly so next time I’ll do a whole recipe.

  • I have made this recipe many, many times for myself and taken it to parties too. It’s so delicious, I love it. I don’t change a thing. It also makes a GREAT filling for burritos. Spread it on a tortilla, add some chicken or beef, some sauteed veggies, cheese, sour cream, guac … YUM!

  • Super yummy and easy to make. It is a nice way to add beans to your diet. Flavor is smoky and complex and different than a black bean salsa (which we love as well). A healthy and welcome addition to our dip repetoire!

  • Oh my, this was absolutely delicious! Served it with corn chips. Unfortunately, I was unable to get limes so I had to use lemons – which was still great however, I can’t wait to try it again with limes! So glad I found your site! THANK YOU!

    • — Lorraine Marier
    • Reply
  • So delish!!! I brought to a get together last night and everyone raved. Having it now in the form of a quesadilla! An absolute keeper. 🙂

  • How have I never posted a review about this? It’s been my go-to black bean dip for some time now. I’ve posted it on Facebook, incl. the link, letting my friends know about this no-fail, all-age pleasing dip. About 4 or 5 years ago, I brought it to my workplace – in a school. A 6 year old student in my class told his friend, “the [dip] tasted better than I thought it would.” This was good, and I felt guilt-free bringing this savoury contribution.

    Thanks Jenn Segal for this wonderful recipe. I last made it about 2 weeks ago, and I’m about to make it again. A classic, that is always loved, and consumed within 2 days (usually!)

  • Pretty good

  • Whoa. Waaay too much onion! I used 1/2 small onion and it was too much. Tastes fine besides that.

  • Can I make this a day ahead of time? Just want to make sure it will still be yummy !

    • Sure, Teresa, that should be fine. Enjoy! 🙂

  • So easy and delicious!!! Would this be okay to freeze? Understand if it’s best served fresh vs. frozen

    • Hi Ruth, I think it might lose its great creamy texture. If you want to try it, you might be able to revive it by giving it a whirl in the blender again once you thaw it.

  • How far ahead can I make this? We’re going camping on the weekend and I’m prepping early. Love your recipes, Jenn. 😊

    • Glad you like the recipes! I wouldn’t make it any more than 3 days ahead. Hope you have fun camping. 🙂

  • My favorite bean dip of all time. So flavorful! The only modification I made was to add about a teaspoon of coriander. Served it at a party and everyone loved it.

  • Probably the best bean dip Ive ever had. Same comment from my guests.

  • Love, Love LOVE your black bean dip recipe. Quick question; craving refried beans, do you think this recipe would work for those as well? Or another recipe for refrieds?

    • Glad you like this! Yes, I think this could also work for refried beans. 🙂

  • Made this as directed and it was yummy! Used some as a filling in reverse grilled cheese recipe on Food Network, wow, will be making this again.

  • So easy, so fast, and so good!

  • Easy and tasty! What more could I ask for?

  • Yet another winner – thanks so much Jen, your recipes are always spot on!

  • Outstanding! Easy to make with ingredients I always have on hand. I keep pickled jalapenos in the frig since fresh ones can vary so much in heat, and that worked great.
    I so appreciate that all of your recipes are incredibly reliable – and delicious!

  • The best!!!

  • Not just for dip!
    Pickiest little boy had a record number of quesadillas using this bean dip – made exactly per the recipe & cheese!!
    Very good and I won’t be making him his favourite bean & cheese quesadillas with refried beans anymore!

  • This dip is delicious and is perfect with the chicken tacos recipe. I cut the recipe in half and it still turned out perfectly. The only substitution was to use hot sauce and a small amount of green pepper instead of jalapeño pepper since I didn’t have one on hand.

    • This is a wonderful, simple, tasty recipe! I will say that all of the recipes I have tried on Once Upon a Chef would get the same review. Excellent, real life cooking with ingredients I either have on hand or regularly on my grocery list. Thank you!!

  • Thanks for another great recipe! I made this a day in advance and without the water. When I took it out of the refrigerator, it was very thick and needed some more seasoning. I added the juice from one lime; the flavor came alive and consistency was perfect.

  • Can this be heated in the oven and served warm?

    • — Christine Proud
    • Reply
    • It can definitely be served warm. (And although you could use your oven, a microwave will be faster.) Hope you enjoy!

  • I tried this tonight. I divided it into two bowls for now and later 🙂 added cilantro and a bit of lime juice on top . I will make it again maybe add some pepper .

  • Very good, but it takes an hour unless you have a sous chef.

  • Probably time to leave a review because my family is seriously obsessed with this dip. So much flavour and is so versatile! We’ve been making a batch almost weekly, and have been using it to make quesadillas and burritos. Caramelizing the onions before blending all the ingredients is definitely what sets this recipe apart from the other dips I’ve tried. Cheers!

  • Very good recipe! I modified slightly, substituted Mexican beer for the water (borracho style) and added 5 strips of chopped bacon and topped with Oaxacan cheese.

  • Hello, I was just wondering if there was a good substitute for the onions? Thank you in advance.

    • Hi Pamela, are you able to use other things from the onion family? If so, you could go with shallots or scallions. If not, I’d suggest using a bit more garlic. Hope that helps!

  • Delicious! Another winner in our house!!

  • This is a wonder bean dip. I substituted 1 chipotle pepper (reconstituted) in place of the 2 jalapeno peppers for a different twist. Big hit with my friends & family

    • — Shane J McNair
    • Reply
  • I just made the dip. It ended up like a thinnish green soup. I added 2 more cans of beans but still not thick. Any thoughts on what I might be doing wrong. Thank you!

    • Hi Teresa, the recipe has a number of green ingredients but it shouldn’t be green or thin – besides adding extra beans to the recipe, did you make any adjustments?

  • Can this dip be made ahead?

    • Sure, Anne – it keeps well.

  • This is such a wonderful and simple recipe. I accidentally touched my each eye with my two index fingers after handling the peppers on my first try. Apparently the chili likes to remain under the nails for 3 days no matter how much I tried scrubbing it off. I’ve learned my lesson and it did not happen the second time around. Today I will be making it for the 3rd time. I am excited to try your other dairy free recipes. Thank you!

  • This is my go-to for every get together. It’s so easy and always a hit!

  • I am hosting a cinco de mayo party this year and was wondering if you can make this in advance?

    • Sure, Natalie – you can definitely make it a day or two ahead. Enjoy!

  • Another question! Would red onion work?
    Thank you!

  • Hi! How long can this be stored before consuming? Thank you!

    • Hi Kasey, I’d say 2 – 3 days at the longest. Hope you enjoy!

  • Thank you! This recipe was so easy to make and so fast!

  • 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! 🙂

  • 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!

  • 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.

    • 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 :)!

  • What do you do to make it better looking?

    • 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.

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