These super tasty Black Bean Quesadillas have been a runaway Budget Bytes hit since they were first posted in 2012. The spicy mix of cheese, beans, corn, cilantro, and onion makes and incredibly flavorful quesadilla that’s perfect for dipping in some cool sour cream or salsa. Make up an entire batch and freeze some for later!
Why I’m In Love with These Quesadillas ❤️
I love these quesadillas for three reasons:
- they’re bursting with flavor
- incredibly EASY to make
- perfect for the freezer!
Students and other busy people take note: this recipe is perfect for you!
I called them “hearty” black bean quesadillas because they are surprisingly filling. I hastily ate two and then promptly felt like my belly was not just full, but full-full. This is one of those vegetarian recipes that meat-eaters won’t feel deprived when eating. Promise.
How to Freeze Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas:
Just fill and fold your quesadillas, but before you cook them, stack them with parchment paper in between each quesadilla. Place the stacked quesadillas in a gallon-sized freezer bag (or two) and pop them into the freezer. When you want to eat one, take a quesadilla out of the freezer and reheat it slowly over medium-low heat until the outside is crispy and the inside has melted. Using a lower heat gives the black bean quesadilla time to thaw and heat on the inside before the outside overcooks or burns.
Or, for a faster method, microwave from frozen for 30-60 seconds, or until the inside is thawed, then finish in a skillet to crisp up the outside and melt the cheese on the inside.
What Kind of Taco Seasoning to Use
To make these black bean quesadillas super fast and easy, you can use a packet of store-bought taco seasoning. Or, if you have a well-stocked spice cabinet, you can use my homemade taco seasoning recipe
What to Serve with Quesadillas
I love to have something like Cumin Lime Coleslaw on the side for an extra dose of vegetable freshness. Warm Corn and Avocado Salad or Charred Corn and Zucchini Salad are also great choices. And don’t forget a little salsa or sour cream for dipping. :)
Make it Meaty
These black bean quesadillas are incredible on their own, but if you DO decide you want to add some meat, try adding some Slow Cooker Pulled Pork or something as simple as chicken breast cooked in a skillet, then diced. Both would be delish!
Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas
- 1 15oz.can black beans ($0.49)
- 1 cup frozen corn ($0.20)
- 1/2 cup red onion ($0.22)
- 1 clove garlic ($0.08)
- 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro (about ½ cup chopped) ($0.20)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese ($1.69)
- 1 batch taco seasoning* ($0.67)
- 10 flour tortillas (7-inch diameter) ($2.00)
- Drain the black beans and add them to a bowl along with the frozen corn (no need to thaw)
- Finely dice the onion, mince the garlic, and roughly chop the cilantro.
- Add the onion, garlic, cilantro, shredded cheddar, and taco seasoning to the bowl with the beans and corn. Stir until everything is evenly combined and coated in seasoning.
- Place a half cup of the filling on one side of each tortilla and fold over. Cook the quesadillas in a skillet over medium heat on each side until brown and crispy and the cheesy filling has melted. Slice into triangles then serve.
- To freeze the quesadillas, stack the filled and uncooked quesadillas with a piece of parchment paper between each quesadilla. Place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to three months. To reheat either microwave (for a soft quesadilla) or cook in a skillet on low heat (make sure to use low heat so that the filling has time to thaw and melt before the outside burns).
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Scroll down for the step by step photos
How to Make Black Bean Quesadillas – Step By Step Photos
Add 1 cup frozen corn (no need to thaw) and one 15oz. can of black beans (drained) to a large bowl.
Next, finely dice about ½ cup red onion, mince one clove of garlic, and roughly chop about ¼ bunch fresh cilantro. These ingredients are super flexible, so you don’t need to be exact on the measurements.
You can use either one packet of store-bought taco seasoning, or make your own using my Homemade Taco Seasoning recipe.
Add the taco seasoning and 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese to the bowl. The cheese is the “glue” that holds the quesadillas together.
Stir the ingredients until everything is mixed.
Now it’s time to stuff the quesadillas. You’ll need about 10 7-inch diameter flour tortillas for these quesadillas (the tortillas I had today were slightly larger so my quesadillas ended up being a bit thinner). Place a half cup of filling in each tortilla and fold it over. You can either cook them or freeze them at this point (see instructions for freezing in the post above the recipe).
To cook the black bean quesadillas, place the quesadilla in a skillet over medium heat and cook on both sides until golden brown, crispy, and the filling has melted. I don’t use any sort of oil or butter, but you certainly can if you want more of a fried finish to the quesadillas.
Slice then serve! You can slice each quesadilla into two or three pieces. I find that if I cut starting on the outside edge going in toward the center fold, I get less of the filling oozing out. A pizza cutter also works great!
These are delicious and filling enough as-is but I’ve made them so often I decided to do a little experimenting anyway. Adding a diced red pepper gives it a little more flavor; I’ve started adding two as a replacement for the corn because I just like peppers better than corn (and often just green peppers because they’re cheaper, but still taste great in this) but it works fine as a simple addition.
Other things I’ve added both one at a time and in various combinations (some of these will obviously make it not vegetarian and also increase the cost:)
-If you’re not vegetarian and you’re thinking a little bit of meat could fill it out, get a single can of canned chicken, saute the chunks with whatever spices you prefer, and shred the chicken before adding it to the mix. Shredded, the single can will be enough to notice it in quesadilla, since it will distribute evenly when you mix it in with the rest of the recipe (it’s obviously more price-efficient to just get a chicken breast from the meat section, but it’s way way more than you need for a single or even double go of the recipe.)
-A little bit of rice cooked in whichever type of broth you prefer. I keep the rice stored separately and mix it in with the quesadilla filling when I’m putting it on the tortilla.
-Diced okra, if you don’t mind the texture. You could probably boil/sautee/otherwise prepare the okra first to avoid future slime in the quesadillas but I haven’t bothered trying, I’ve found it’s not really THAT noticeable raw, I assume because it’s not really ‘cooking’ in the tortilla for the amount of time it’s on the stove.
-1tbsp bacon bits, maybe a little more to make the flavor come through more, but I’d stop before 2tbsp.
-Substitute something different for the taco seasoning; whatever seasoning you like to use in ground beef/burger patties will very likely work well here (my store’s store-brand spices include a burger seasoning that goes really well with this,) at least for a one-time experiment if not something you’d want to do regularly.
-Entirely replace the onions with peppers; this made for an interesting flavor but not one I’d want every time, definitely better to just keep the onions and peppers together.
I’ve also done an alternate preparation to turn this into bean burritos:
-Mix as in the recipe
-Make some rice, use a broth of your choice instead of plain water for extra flavor.
-Line the middle of the tortilla with a layer of the rice. Put the quesadilla mix on top of that; optionally add a salsa or hot sauce of your choice (you can also add sour cream but on account of the next step, sour cream is probably better left as a dip.)
-Roll up the tortilla or tortillas, put them on a skillet pre-heated on medium heat for 30-45 seconds, flip them, immediately set the heat to low (you’ll likely want to use the “keep warm” setting and not the lowest cooking heat) and lay a sheet of tinfoil over them. Leave them for 5 minutes or so, maybe 10 if the heat is really low; the medium heat should last long enough to properly toast the other side but will cool down fast enough not to outright burn them; the extra time is to warm it through the entire way and melt the cheese inside.
–Alternately, leave out the shredded cheese from the recipe, add some nacho cheese sauce to the burrito before rolling it up (put it on top of the rice before adding the quesadilla mix on top.) It won’t take as long to warm through on the last step since there isn’t shredded cheese to melt. The jar of cheese sauce at my store is cheaper than the shredded cheese, too, though YMMV.
I didn’t use to have a freezer, so I would make the filling and store it in a container in the fridge. Then, when I got home from work each night it was real nice and easy just to scoop some filling onto a tortilla and heat it up on the stove. Filling, cheap, and tasty.
Enjoyed these overall, especially the flavor of the homemade taco seasoning. I sauteed the onions and garlic before adding them to the filling, but otherwise made as is. It was actually too cheesy for me (which is a first!) It gave me a great starting point to experiment in the future, though.
Thanks for the recipe, this was so good! I didn’t have all the spices for taco seasoning so I just used cayenne pepper and garlic powder, it was delicious. I can’t wait to try this recipe again with the exact ingredients!
Omg amazing!!! I added in white rice in some of them! And it was sooo goood! Loved how it was super easy and super simple to make with minimal ingredients. And I loved how it was freezer friendly too and it made a lot! Definitely a 10/10
So good!! I made a couple of these as meal prep for the week. After the first two quesadillas, I realized they don’t stay together well enough for the containers I have for meal prep, so I turned them into burritos instead. AMAZING! I paired it with the salsa from the salsa poached eggs (minus the eggs, of course) for some extra pizzaz.
I enjoyed this recipe – very tasty. However, all my filling kept falling out because the mixture was so dry. Is there anything I can do about that?
It’s kind of the nature of the beast. A little more cheese should help hold everything together! ~ Marion :)
try mashing the beans into kind of a paste
Tortillas in the store don’t show a size in inches. Instead they are called by their suggested use. Soft taco / large, fajita (smaller) or nothing
We used medium-sized flour tortillas…the enchilada or bigger taco-size shells which are approx. 7-8 inches wide (the size between the 4-inch, street taco style tortillas, and the very large, 10-inch, burrito-style shells). I hope that helps! ~ Marion :)