I’ll show you how to get the most amazingly flavorful Mexican style black beans for tacos! Give your vegetarian tacos the wow factor with the perfect mix of flavors and seasonings, cooking your beans from dried in the instant pot. It’s an easy, cheap and fast route to taco night!

This is how I make amazing black beans for tacos

Black beans are a fairly ubiquitous vegetarian taco filling, and for good reason. They are filling, protein packed and economical. But if they’re the main filling for your taco, let’s make them extra tasty!

With this recipe I am aiming for black beans that are worthy of being the headline ingredient, so the flavors are more punchy than you’d expect from black beans that are intended to be used as a side dish. Lots of smoky chipotle flavor, lots of cumin and oregano, and even a kick of anise from fennel seeds. Trust me on the fennel seeds. I am obsessed.

Of course, these will slot into burritos, quesadillas, tostadas – anything you like! But for me, the easiest way to turn a cup of beans into a tasty meal is tacos, so that is always going to be my preferred route.

Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

  • Dried black beans: I haven’t tested this recipe with any other kind of beans, but pinto beans would be worth a try.
  • Canned chipotle in adobo sauce: An easy enough thing to find in the US but elsewhere it might require an Amazon order or a trip to a specialist Mexican food supplier. Failing that, you can swap in 1 teaspoon of chipotle paste.
  • Fennel seeds: Bring a nice umami anise flavor to the beans which I love, so definitely use these if you can, but the recipe will work without them.
  • Smoked paprika: I use this for extra smokiness without extra heat, but you can use chili powder if you prefer.
  • Broth: I actually prefer to use a meatless chicken broth over vegetable broth for this recipe. The savory flavor clicks into place a little more, but it’s not critical and veggie broth works fine too.
  • Salt and pepper: Not pictured but you definitely want to add salt and pepper. Despite the fact that you’re using broth and lots of seasonings, the beans won’t be as flavorful without some salt. I recommend 1/2 teaspoon though it’s very personal and depends how salty your broth is.

Making tacos with these beans

To turn these beans into the perfect taco, mine your fridge for as many of these toppings as you can find:

  • Corn tortillas lightly fried to get them crispy, but still pliable (yes I know flour are pictured, but I find corn more flavorful)!
  • Lime wedges for squeezing
  • Fresh salsa, pico de gallo or slaw
  • Crumbled feta or cotija cheese, or grated cheddar
  • Pickled red onion, or just some very thinly sliced red onion (you can skip this if you’re using pico de gallo which is already fairly onion heavy)
  • Avocado slices or guacamole
  • Sliced black olives

Use your beans in these easy Mexican recipes…

These black beans can be used in any recipe that calls for refried beans (they’re a little runnier than refried beans but if you mash them up a little they’ll slot in fine) or as the black bean component of any other recipe including black beans. Some ideas from my archives…

The Best Instant Pot Black Beans for Tacos

I'll show you how to get the most amazingly flavorful Mexican style black beans for tacos! Give your vegetarian tacos the wow factor with the perfect mix of flavors and seasonings, cooking your beans from dried in the instant pot. It's an easy, cheap and fast route to taco night!
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  • olive or vegetable oil, for cooking
  • ½ medium onion, any color is fine
  • 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp dried cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp dried coriander
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 cup (200 g) dried black beans
  • 1 ¾ cups (415 ml) vegetable broth, use 2 cups if you would like it more soupy
  • Salt and pepper, to taste – I recommend 1/2 tsp salt


  • Saute the aromatics and spices. Set the Instant Pot to SAUTE. Heat a little oil in the pot, then add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and fennel seeds and cook for a few moments until fragrant, then add the dried spices and chipotle (add a scoop of the adobo sauce too!) and mix through for a few seconds until it's well combined.
    Don't let it cook any longer than that – we don't want the spices to burn. Add a little broth if things get sticky in the pan.
    1/2 medium onion, 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, 1 tbsp garlic, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1 tsp dried cumin, 2 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 tsp dried coriander, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, olive or vegetable oil
  • Add the black beans and salt and pepper to taste. I recommend about 1/2 tsp salt to make sure the beans are flavorful enough, but you can cut down on that if your broth is particularly salty.
    1 cup dried black beans, 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth, Salt and pepper
  • Pour the broth into the pan and set the instant pot to the BEAN or HIGH setting for 40 minutes.
  • Once the cycle is complete, allow a natural release for 20 minutes before opening the lid. The beans should be soft. You can either leave them whole, or use a potato masher or immersion blender to get them to a smoother texture. I tend to do a little mashing so that the liquid is nice and thick and they don't feel soupy.
  • Serve in tacos, or as a side dish for any Mexican dinner.
Calories: 250kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Sodium: 416mg, Potassium: 783mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 375IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 94mg, Iron: 3mg