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Costa Rican Black Bean Dip Recipe

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This traditional Costa Rican black bean dip recipe is the perfect party food. Vegetarian, vegan and perfect for dipping, with just black beans, onion, cilantro and Salsa Lizano it’s so easy to put together.  I love to dip plantain chips, tortilla chips, or make it into a seven-layer dip.  You will love how easy this black bean dip recipe is to make!

In this post I’ll tell you all about our favorite black bean dip (vegan, even!)- including substitutions, variations, serving suggestions and give you a great printable recipe. Here we go!

This traditional Costa Rican black bean dip recipe is the perfect party food. Vegetarian, vegan and perfect for dipping plantain chips, tortilla chips, or making seven layer dip, you will love how easy this black bean dip recipe is to make!

About This Recipe

It’s no secret that black beans are a staple of the Costa Rican diet. We eat black beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A typical Costa Rican home will make a big batch of beans and then reheat and reuse the beans in lots of different recipes throughout the week.

So, after eating a quick gallo pinto (white rice and black beans) for breakfast, adding black beans to our casados for lunch- well, the leftover beans have to be used somehow before they go bad. Sometimes we just eat the leftover broth in a traditional Costa Rican black bean soup, but when it’s hot outside, we need something different.

black bean dip topped with cheese on a gold plate served with tri color tortilla chips

Thus the frijol molido was born. Frijol molido in Spanish means pureed beans- but we use it as a dip for all kinds of different foods:

  • Freshly made tortilla chips
  • Plantain chips
  • Patacones (thickly fried and mashed green plantains)
  • On Nachos
  • Inside savory empanadas

One thing the above all have in common is that they are great party foods, and they pair very well with a nice cold Imperial (our national beer). 

Frijol Molido Recipe

bean dip ingredients- black beans, cilantro, onion, garlic salt and salsa lizano

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked black beans (I use this black bean recipe to make my beans each week)
  • 1/2 cup liquid from beans (keep a bit more on hand as necessary)
  • 1/2 small white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove pressed garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped (with or without stems)
  • 1/8 cup Salsa Lizano**

**New to Costa Rican cooking? Read this article: What Is Salsa Lizano From Costa Rica

ingredients in blender and black bean dip on stovetop

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.

This dip is a little picky- if you get too much liquid it is hard to reduce on the stove. If you don’t get enough liquid then the ingredients get stuck when blending. 

I just have a bit of liquid nearby when I blend. The final result should be the consistency of refried beans. If you do get too much liquid and the beans are runny, add a teaspoon of cornstarch to the beans once they are warm.

Transfer blended bean mixture to a small saucepan on the stovetop. Heat on medium-low, stirring frequently, until bubbly.

Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish if desired, and serve.  Maybe be served hot or cold.

Substitutions

If you would like to use canned beans for this, you can definitely do so. I use 2 15 ounce cans There are a few changes you need to make:

If using regular canned beans then omit the 2 tsp of salt. If using low sodium you only need about 1/2 tsp salt. 

Drain beans but keep liquid. Add about 1/4 cup of liquid and blend, adding more as necessary. Canned beans retain more water for some reason, so you shouldn’t need a lot of the liquid.

In some areas of Costa Rica (such as Guanacaste), this recipe would be made with red kidney beans (dark or light). You can definitely use that type of bean too.

bean dip on table with guava cocktail, red salsa and cheese wheel

Variations

You can add a bit of sour cream to the top of this when serving, or put cheese on top. I love to add Mexican queso fresco. 

Some people make the dip and then add a jarred salsa like Pace and some mozzarella on top and then bake it for a layered dip.

You could also serve this with slices of ripe avocado on top too, maybe a little lime juice on the side? So many possibilities!

We like to eat this dip on our tacos- the girls like to use the frijol molido in between the meat and cheese. I like it because they get an extra dose of fiber!

FAQ

Can I make black bean dip ahead of time?

Yes- this dip works really well as a make-ahead, but I usually don’t heat it until the day I am going to serve it.

Can I microwave the dip? 

You can put it in the microwave, but you need to reheat it on very low power. I usually put it in for 2.5 minutes on half power so it doesn’t spray all over. 

Does it reheat well?

Yes! I prefer to reheat on the stovetop, but add a bit of cooking spray to the pan so the beans don’t stick. I heat on low stirring frequently.

Serving Suggestions

This is a great recipe for game day- who doesn’t love black beans?. It is literally fine for almost any diet- vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free, and a pretty darn healthy snack as long as you don’t add the fried food to accompany it. Like, dipping bell peppers!

I usually make this part of my game day spread with the following recipes (I’m ready for the Super Bowl!):

This traditional Costa Rican black bean dip recipe is the perfect party food. Vegetarian, vegan and perfect for dipping plantain chips, tortilla chips, or making seven layer dip, you will love how easy this black bean dip recipe is to make!

Printable Recipe

Yield: 2 cups

Costa Rican Black Bean Dip

Black bean dip topped with cheese on a gold plate served with tri color tortilla chips.

Traditional Costa Rican black bean dip recipe -vegetarian, vegan and so easy! Ingredients are just black beans, onion, cilantro and Salsa Lizano.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked black beans (I use this black bean recipe to make my beans each week)
  • 1/2 cup liquid from beans (keep a bit more on hand as necessary)
  • 1/2 small white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove pressed garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped (with or without stems)
  • 1/8 cup Salsa Lizano**

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
  2. This dip is a little picky- if you get too much liquid it is hard to reduce on the stove. If you don't get enough liquid then the ingredients get stuck when blending. 
  3. I just have a bit of liquid nearby when I blend. The final result should be the consistency of refried beans. If you do get too much liquid and the beans are runny, add a teaspoon of cornstarch to the beans once they are warm.
  4. Transfer blended bean mixture to a small saucepan on the stovetop. Heat on medium-low, stirring frequently, until bubbly.
  5. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish if desired, and serve.  Maybe be served hot or cold.

Notes

If you would like to use canned beans for this, you can definitely do so. There are a few changes you need to make:

If using regular canned beans then omit the 2 tsp of salt. Drain beans but keep liquid. Add about 1/4 cup of liquid and blend, adding more as necessary. Canned beans retain more water for some reason, so you shouldn't need a lot of the liquid.

In some areas of Costa Rica (such as Guanacaste), this recipe would be made with red kidney beans (dark or light). You can definitely use that type of bean too.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 104Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 665mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 6gSugar: 2gProtein: 7g

Please verify this information with your preferred nutrition calculator.

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About the Author

Christa profile image

Hi- I’m Christa! I fell in love with Latin America in my 20s, and I’m still head over heels! Here at Pura Vida Moms I celebrate what it means to be bicultural- Costa Rican recipes, bilingual parenting and family travel.

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5 Responses

  1. Delish but a few changes for next time. I used canned beans. IndrIned some liquid out of them but it still made the dip too runny. Even heated hoping to thicken. Next time I‘ll drain the cans. Also, too salty. Half the salt next time. We loved it with chips, tacos and margaritas!

    1. Hi Lisa!

      Thank you so much for commenting! I’m getting ready to update this recipe and I’ll add your notes for canned beans- they definitely have more sodium so you do need less salt. And yes- don’t need much for the liquid from the beans when canned either because they are soft. I’m so glad you brought this up and I’ll make the adjustments in the update! Thank you and Pura Vida! ~Christa

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Christa profile image

Hi- I’m Christa, and I’m on a mission to help the world fall in love with Costa Rica through food, language and travel. I’m a Latina mom, bicultural, bilingual (English/Spanish), and 100% in love with celebrating parenthood in all its forms, (even the sucky parts). I’m so happy you found the site- WELCOME! Find out more about me here.

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