These Easy Refried Beans are simple to make with canned pinto beans and taste delicious! They are perfect as a side dish alongside your favorite Mexican meals.
Refried beans are a traditional Mexican dish made from cooked and mashed pinto beans that are seasoned with spices and onions, and garlic.
Following this recipe couldn't be easier! Simply cook the garlic in a pan and add the seasonings along with canned pinto beans. Mash the beans until they reach your desired consistency and voila! You've got easy, tasty refried beans that are gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
This versatile recipe can be used in a variety of different ways. Serve them as a side dish, use them as a dip for chips or veggies, or add them to your favorite Mexican recipes like tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more!
I like adding them to Chickpea Tacos, Mini Lentil Tacos, Vegan Fajitas with Mushrooms, or Veggie Quesadillas.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
The entire refried beans recipe is made with just 7 simple ingredients.
Canned pinto beans help you save time by not having to cook the beans from scratch. If using dried pinto beans, follow this recipe for cooking them first: cook dried pinto beans.
This recipe is vegan and vegetarian as well as dairy-free and gluten-free.
These refried beans are a great source of protein and fiber, making them a healthy option to add to your meals.
- Vegetable Oil - Used to cook the garlic to make it fragrant.
- Minced Garlic - Adds a bold and zesty garlic flavor to the beans.
- Canned Pinto Beans - The main ingredient, pinto beans add a thick texture along with flavor, fiber, and vegetarian protein.
- Seasonings - A mix of cumin, cayenne chili powder, and salt properly flavor the beans.
- Lime Juice - Brighten the beans by adding a bright citrus flavor.
Please see the recipe card below for quantities.
Wondering how to make this Easy Refried Beans recipe? It's easy! Just follow this step-by-step photo tutorial. Then, scroll down for the recipe card for the full ingredients list and recipe method.
Cook the garlic: Heat the oil in a large pan over a med/low heat, then add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes until it just starts to turn golden (careful, it will quickly burn).
Add the beans and seasonings: Stir in the beans (and the liquid from 1 of the cans), cumin, cayenne, and salt.
Cook the beans: Heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Process the beans: Mash the beans with a potato masher, fork, or with an immersion blender, but don’t puree it completely. Puree about ⅔ of the mixture.
Serve and store: Stir in the lime juice and serve warm with your favorite Mexican meals. Place cooled refried beans in an airtight container to store. Enjoy!
Don't drain out the canning liquid in the beans as it helps make the refried beans nice and creamy.
Make sure not to overcook the garlic as it will quickly burn if it's left on the heat for too long.
If the refried beans are a bit soupy, they will thicken as they cool, or you can simmer them again to evaporate any excess moisture.
Once the beans are warmed through, taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
Add them to the bottom of Mexican Tortilla Bowl Salads.
Use it as a dip for Mini Mexican Street Corn.
Serve it as a side dish for Chickpea Tacos.
Makes a great pairing with Easy Seasoned Rice.
Serve on the side of Quinoa and Black Beans.
Use different beans: You can use black beans, great northern beans, or even white kidney beans in this recipe. Learn more about Beans.
Make them spicier: Add more cayenne chili powder to make the refried beans spicier. Or, add a diced jalapeño pepper when cooking the garlic for a spicy kick.
Add more veggies: Stir in some chopped bell peppers, diced tomatoes, or frozen corn when you add the seasonings.
Make them cheesy: Stir in some shredded cheese or cream cheese (or vegan versions of them) when you add the lime juice.
Once cooled, refried beans can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to one week.
You can also freeze refried beans for longer storage. Freeze them in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months. Let them thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
If you want to make refried beans from scratch, cook the pinto beans in water until they're soft and then mash them before adding the other ingredients. You may need to add more liquid or oil to get the correct consistency.
Yes, this recipe for refried beans is made without any lard or animal products, making it both vegan and vegetarian.
No, Taco Bell refried beans are not vegan as they contain lard which is a great reason to make this recipe at home from scratch!
Easy Refried Beans
- 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 30 oz pinto beans canned and not drained (800g)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne chilli powder (optional, or more to taste)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- Heat the oil in a large pan over a med/low heat, then add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes until it just starts to turn golden (careful, it will quickly burn).
- Stir in the beans (and the liquid from 1 of the cans), cumin, cayenne and salt and heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Mash the beans with a potato masher, fork or with an immersion blender, but don’t puree it completely - keep a bit of texture.
- If the refried beans are a bit soupy, they will thicken up as they cool, or you can simmer them again to evaporate some moisture.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.
this was such a great recipe and came out so good. Well flavored and nicely cooked and so well explained.
Oh yum! I love how these beans come together in less than 10 minutes. Those flavors sound fantastic with such a great texture.
Love refried beans! Thanks to this recipe homemade is the only way I will have them from now on!
I love how easy this is!! Thanks so much for the recipe!
Very easy, and delicious too, especially with a good pinch of cayenne pepper!