Black Bean Gingerbread Bars

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These Black Bean Gingerbread Bars are soft and cake-like, with a sneaky serving of fiber and plant-based protein. You can’t taste that there are beans inside at all!

hand picking up a black bean gingerbread bar off of a cooling rack

Prior to this year, I had never once added a bean to a dessert recipe. Now, I’ve done it three times! First, with these Vegan Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies, then with my Maple Pecan White Bean Blondies (yum!), and now with these Black Bean Gingerbread Bars.

I have since fallen in love with adding protein-rich beans to my desserts, because they are loaded with fiber, potassium, and folate, all of which may help to support heart health.

Why Add Black Beans?

Black beans make an excellent, and affordable, egg substitute in vegan and gluten-free recipes like this one. In this case, the black beans add moisture and act as a binder, without adding an overwhelmingly “bean-y” taste.

In fact, I can’t taste a hint of beans in these Black Bean Gingerbread Bars at all.

What I do taste in these soft, cake-like bars is a perfect blend of holiday spices, including ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and a touch of blackstrap molasses. Did you know that blackstrap molasses contains significant amounts of minerals, including calcium, iron, and magnesium?

If you ask me, that’s even more reason to dig into these fiber-rich bars. When paired with warming ginger, they’re a delicious winter treat!

toddler sprinkling sugar over black bean gingerbread bars

Of course, they’re a bit healthier if you avoid letting your toddler be in charge of the topping. He might have gone a little sugar-crazy. (But, gosh he’s cute.)

Whether you decide to top these bars with an extra sprinkling of sugar or not, I hope you’ll enjoy them in the near future.

black bean gingerbread bars on a cooling rack with sugar on top

These bars will keep well at room temperature for up to 48 hours tightly covered, but for best shelf life keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

black bean gingerbread bars
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4.75 from 16 votes

Black Bean Gingerbread Bars

These moist and cake-like gingerbread bars pack a sneaky serving of black beans in each bite. They are loaded with protein, fiber, and nutrients for a healthier treat.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Black Bean Gingerbread Bars
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 16
Calories 106kcal



  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. In the bowl of a large food processor fitted with an "S" blade, combine the black beans, flour, oil, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt, baking soda, vanilla, molasses, and vinegar. Process until a smooth batter is formed.
  • Pour the batter into the lined baking dish and sprinkle the top with the tablespoon of coarse sugar, if desired. Bake until the top feels firm to a light touch, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely before removing the bars from the pan and slicing.
  • These bars will keep well at room temperature for up to 48 hours tightly covered, but for best shelf life keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.


Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 129mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 0.7mg

black bean gingerbread mix in a food processor and in a baking pan

Note: I haven’t tried this recipe using other beans and flours, so please let us all know in the comments below if you try something new and how it works for you!

Reader Feedback: Have you ever added beans, or another type of pulse, to a dessert? Let me know your favorites!

Disclosure: This post was originally sponsored by USA Pulses and Pulse Canada as part of my ongoing partnership to help promote the 2016 International Year of Pulses, but has since been updated.

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Love black bean bas d desserts so wil have to give this a try! What sugar can I use instead of coconut sugar? Thank you!

Norma Jean

I’m making these tomorrow, thanks Megan! Love your cookbook, can’t wait for the new one!?


They are in the oven right now but the batter was delicious! Didn’t have molasses so used maple syrup. I only used < 1/2 cup of coconut sugar as I'm trying to lower the sugar intake (by the taste of the batter, I could of decreased even more). Can't wait for the them to cool down. Thanks for the great recipe.


This looks yummy! I don’t have blackstrap molasses. Would regular molasses work?


Just made those this morning! They are de-li-cious! From this recipe alone I decided to order your 2 books!!! A bit extreme? Maybe! But I am ready to rock 2017 in an healthy way! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

    Megan Gilmore

    Oh, I’m so glad to hear that! Thanks for your support. I hope you enjoy all of the new recipes, too! 🙂


I made these today but made some changes – I used only 1/4 cup sugar and used 2 tbsp coconut butter and 2 tbsp applesauce instead of oil. I will add another 1-2 tablespoons or so of sugar next time (the batter tasted sweeter than the finished product), but they were still nicely sweet and really tasty! I can’t taste the black beans at all. They didn’t rise as much as I would have liked, but that’s probably due to my substitutions.


    Thank you so much for sharing your modifications. Hoping to try this with date paste soon also. Whole foods!!


    If you add a little liquid they will rise more.


These are absolutely amazing!! I made them yesterday and they pleased our whole family, including our two “discerning” (I hate the word picky!) children. Thank you for another wonderful recipe. I am going to try the almond butter blondies today. Since going gluten and dairy free, it is nice that we can still enjoy holiday baking and treats.

    Megan Gilmore

    Oooh, I’m so glad to hear that! I love it when healthier recipes past the picky-kid taste test. 🙂 Hope you enjoy the Almond Butter Blondies, too.


I made these yesterday. I subbed 1/4 c Pyure (erythritol & stevia) for the coconut sugar, and added 2 T of blackstrap molasses instead of 1. They were plenty sweet! Next time I might cut back themolasses back to 1 T and try 3 T of Pyure.. Just saying, these hit the spot! I have missed holiday goodies needing to avoid sugar, eggs, dairy, and gluten, and these filled that need. Even my choosy 12 year old Celiac was going back for more, even though he knew it was made of beans. I’m making more today! Totally going to try the Maple blondies also.


    Made these again, as well as the maple blondies. I just wanted to note that if you’re using canned beans, you don’t really need salt. I added just a pinch. I reduced it automatically on these bars, but forgot on the blondes and they were too salty for our tastes, although we still ate them. These gingerbread bars were surprisingly a hit with my kids. Even more than the maple bars. And even using stevia instead of sugar. I hate it when I have to share! But glad my kids are getting a more wholesome treat.

    Megan, have you ever tried combining this recipe with your older buckwheat zucchini gingerbread bars to incorporate both beans and a veggie.? I thought of subbing pumpkin or zucchini for some of the beans or oil but was afraid to mess up a tried and true recipe.

Kathy EH

Oh my gosh, these are WONDERFUL! I used quinoa flour in one batch & sprouted rice flour in a second batch. We could taste the quinoa & it kind of competed with the ginger, but the batch made with rice flour was perfect. Also, used only 1/2 cup coconut sugar and that was plenty sweet for us. Yummy!!! Definitely a five-star recipe & a keeper. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

Sabrina B,

would have never even thought of black beans in a desert, but love them in many savory dishes, so will have to give this and the other two recipes that you mentioned, thank you for this!


I wanted to make a treat tonight, and I LOVE ginger spiced anything so I thought these would be perfect. Then I realized I had to use my blender and my little ones were just in their beds trying to go to sleep. The blender noise would peak their interest and I would have neither sleeping kids, nor a little treat for myself. So I experimented a little with what I already had — chickpea flour left over from another recipe. I think they are just that good that I will leave this for you to do whatever you want with. Thank you for the yummy recipes!

Chewy Chickpea Ginger Cookies,
1 cup chickpea flour (dried chickpeas blended in my blender til a fine and fluffy flour is created)
1/2 cup GF oat flour
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
6 tbs water
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
6 tbsp coconut oil, melted
~mix all the ingredients; bake at 350 8-10 min (til tops are crisp when tapped)


These were very good! I have seen recipes for Black Bean Brownies for a few years now and although I do love black beans, I just couldn’t imagine using them for anything like brownies. These are not ‘labeled’ as brownies, and maybe that’s what got me to try the recipe, I don’t know, but I’m happy I finally tried using black beans in baking….I was super surprised!!! Thanks for opening my eyes!! I have since made a couple of different batches of black bean brownies….anyone have an absolute favorite recipe for brownies???

    Megan Gilmore

    I keep meaning to try a black bean brownie recipe after making these, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. In the meantime, this is my favorite brownie recipe at the moment: (And I have a double-chocolate coconut flour version in my cookbook, Everyday Detox.)


      Hi Megan….well you’ll be happy to know i made these Black Bean Gingerbread Bars again tonite…and they came out wonderful once again! Thanks for the link to your favorite brownie recipe, I will have to give that a try as well…




These are very tasty. I have had great success with the recipes on your site and while making these i started wondering if you had a black bean brownie recipe? I know it’s been done by many but I am interested to see your take on it. I find that your recipes may be similar to others but your subtle changes make the difference. Kind of like what you said in your chickpea chocolate chip cookie recipe post. If you don’t have one maybe if you have time it could be added to the list. Thanks


Megan have you done a brownie with black beans?


According to my doctor, if I eat too much of something I become allergic. Up until last week the list included eggs, wheat AND gluten, rice, nuts, citrus and dairy. And then last week I was told that I am now also allergic to chocolate. After a moment of self-pity and a week of finishing off the avocado pudding I had already made, I was then faced with how I could possibly satisfy my sweet tooth. (I probably had more days of eating the pudding from your first cookbook in the last year than not eating pudding from your first cookbook, so the thought was a bit daunting. Luckily, I have both of your cookbooks and your website, and after making these gingerbread bars I realize that it’s going to be okay.

These bars are delicious! The flavor is perfect and the texture is great! Now I just need to restrain myself before my oat sensitivity becomes something more. Thank you for keeping me not just alive all of these years but happy to be here!

Charity Crawford

Do you think I could somehow sub the sugar with honey? If so how much would you reccomend?


These are amazing! I am now a bean believer in desserts. Who knew???

I reduced the sugar to 2/3 cup and added roasted macadamia nuts.

Thanks for another great invention!


I made these with 3/4 cup mashed ripe bananas instead of the sugar and 1 T 100% Maple syrup and they were delicious!!

Thank you so much for the terrific recipe!


Made exactly as outlined and they would not bake through. After 1 hr finally took them out of oven. The result was almost more of a pudding bar than a cake texture.
Tested oven temp snd all fine. Any ideas?


I made these today using powdered Swerve instead of sugar. My beans were previously frozen (used your IP method to cook) and I think they were a little old. I suspect the texture was a little off as a result, but they tasted great. I frosted them with a cream cheese/greek yogurt frosting and they were a real treat. Thanks for the recipe.


I think this is the only black bean bar recipe like it’s kind on the internet (all the others are chocolate based) and it’s AMAZING! I make this recipe in the Vitamix, and the dough doesn’t turn out as smooth (the poor blender is working hard) but it’s still absolutely amazing. My only modifications: coconut syrup instead of molasses (because that’s in the pantry…), less coconut sugar, and more ginger.
Delicious! Thank you!


I made the quarantine version of these- meaning, I am working through a 25 lb of black beans. I used sunflower oil in lieu of coconut, 3/4 cup honey powder + unknown amount of brown sugar in lieu of coconut sugar. They were strange and bubbly when I removed them from the oven but now amazing! My whole family <3s these. Thank you!!


Made the recipe as written (except i added chopped walnuts for texture) and it is so good. I am very happy to find a dessert without wheat, dairy, or caffeine (like cocoa or chocolate).


    Forgot to mention: I don’t have a stand up mixer so i used a hand blender to “cream” and break down the beans. Worked perfectly I would say.

Beth Hobday

I am loving all of your bean-filled sweet treats! Yours are the best I’ve found online. I adapted this one into a lemon cake by replacing all of the spices, except ginger, with lemon zest and using honey in place of molasses. I had to force myself to put it in the oven because the batter was so tasty. Keep up the incredible work!


    Are you saying that you made black bean lemon bars?? Like the taste says yellow, but the color is black? 🤔


I used GF flour and honey in place of coconut sugar. They were okay but nothing I’ll make again. Not sure switching ingredients changed the taste?


These are sooo good! Brownie texture with awesome gingerbread flavour. No bean taste at all. I think they would be just fine with a bit less sugar. Yum! My new favourite recipe, (I may have eatena good half of the pan myself)

Lynette Morse

These look great! Unfortunately, I can’t have oats (or oat flour). Is there another grain-free flour that would work instead? Thanks.


I have made these several times this winter as I’m trying to use up a jar of molasses. I made them in a muffin tin instead of a cake pan but otherwise stuck to the recipe. They’re a bit intense to eat plain but I’ve enjoyed them with either homemade cranberry sauce or applesauce.


WOW! These are incredible. This is my new favorite dessert recipe (made with half a cup of sugar), and I’ll be making it for my birthday. Thanks for sharing!

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