Easy Refried Beans

Easy Refried Beans have so much flavor and are super easy to make thanks to canned pinto beans! These vegetarian refried beans are a great healthy side dish to any Mexican meal.

Easy Refried Beans

Refried beans are such a delicious side dish. I know they aren’t pretty, but man are they tasty! They pair wonderfully with any Mexican meal, and you can also use them to make burritos, quesadillas, bean dip, and MORE!

Canned pinto beans make this recipe as easy as can be. You don’t need to soak and cook beans, I promise the flavor is just as good. There is no lard or butter in the recipe, so these are vegetarian refried beans…they are also vegan and gluten-free. We make them ALL of the time and I have a feeling you will too!

Why are They Called Refried Beans?

“Refried” actually comes from the Spanish word “refritos,” which means well-fried. After the beans are soaked and boiled, they are mashed into a paste. The beans are fried or baked, but only once, so the term “refried” is a little misleading.

We start with canned beans, so we don’t have to soak or boil the beans, that step has already been done! I am all about shortcuts when the taste isn’t jeopardized and I think canned beans work great! If you wanted to use home-cooked beans, you certainly can.

Refried Beans Ingredients

These refried beans are FULL of flavor. You’ll want an entire bowl to yourself! The best part is you probably have most of these ingredients in your pantry already.

  • Olive oil-avocado oil is also a good option.
  • Yellow onion-I like to use this onion chopper! No more tears!
  • Minced garlic-always use fresh garlic.
  • Canned pinto beans-make sure you use high quality pinto beans. I like to use organic pinto beans for the best flavor and texture. If you want to substitute black beans, you can! They work great too! I personally like pinto beans because they are a little creamier.
  • Vegetable broth-use your favorite vegetable broth. It adds so much more flavor than just adding water.
  • Spices-cumin, chili powder, and oregano are classic Mexican spices and really spice up these beans!
  • Lime juice-a splash of fresh lime juice brightens up the beans!
  • Cilantro-optional, but SO good!

How to Make Refried Beans

It’s just a couple steps to the best refried beans you’ve ever had!

  • Start with a large saucepan and heat the oil over medium-high heat. Toss the onions in and sauté until they’re softened. Now add the garlic in and sauté for 2 more minutes. This is making a really tasty base for the refried beans!
  • Add in the pinto beans, broth, and spices. Give it a good stir and cook for a couple more minutes.
  • Pull the pan from the heat and grab a potato masher, immersion blender, or even a wooden spoon to mash the beans! This is to your own preference; if you want really smooth beans you can even transfer some or all of the beans to a food processor for a few pulses. I like to use the immersion blender because you just stick it in the pot and blend.
  • Finish the beans with salt and pepper, to taste. I also like to add a squeeze of lime juice and some fresh cilantro to freshen up the beans.
  • You can also garnish the beans with queso fresco, jalapeño slices, pico de gallo, or lime wedges.

How to Store

Store cooked refried beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Always serve them warm. To reheat, place beans in the microwave and heat for 30 to 60 seconds. If the beans are a little dry, you can add a splash of water or vegetable broth and stir. You can also reheat on the stove, make sure you stir occasionally so the beans don’t stick.

Serving Suggestions

Refried beans are a great side for any of your favorite Mexican food dinners! Some of our favorites include:

  • Easy Chicken Tacos
  • Instant Pot Carnitas
  • Shrimp Fajitas
  • Spinach & Cheese Green Chile Enchiladas
  • Skillet Enchiladas
  • Steak Tacos

More Mexican Side Dishes

  • Mexican Rice
  • Restaurant Style Salsa
  • Cilantro Lime Rice
  • Best Guacamole
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips
  • Homemade Flour Tortillas

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