The Ultimate Guide to Refried Beans

Refried beans are a traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. It is a dish of cooked and mashed beans that is also popular in many other Latin American countries. In northern Mexico and as well as in Tex-Mex cuisine, refried beans are usually made with pinto beans. But there are also other kinds of beans that can be used, such as black beans, red kidney beans, and Peruano.

In households, refried beans are usually served as a side dish or rolled in a tortilla to make a bean burrito. In the United States, they are commonly made from pinto beans and served as a side dish in Tex-Mex restaurants. Aside from that, refried beans are also popularly used as a tortilla dip. It is also used as an ingredient in tostada and chimichanga recipes.


Types of Refried Beans

Refried beans can be divided into two types, which hare heat and serve and making them from scratch.

  • Heat and Serve

    Heat and serve, or canned refried beans, is the most convenient choice because it won’t take much of your time. You just need to open the can and heat the beans in the microwave or stove. In as fast as 10 minutes, you’ll be able to enjoy your yummy refried beans.

  • Made from Scratch

    Making refried beans from scratch is great if you want to make it to your own standard. If you choose this method, then you can use cans of pinto beans or black beans to make your own personal refried beans with the flavors you prefer.

    Before cooking the beans, they are dry or soaked overnight, and then stewed. Most of the remaining liquid of the beans are drained, and they are converted into a paste using a masher. They can also be pressed through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the skins. Some of the drained liquid is added to the mashed beans if the consistency is too dry. After that, the paste is baked or fried, usually with onion and garlic in a small amount of oil, butter, or bacon drippings. Then, it is seasoned with salt and spices to taste. In Mexico, lard is usually used than oil or butter because it has a huge effect on flavor.

Things to Consider When Buying Refried Beans

If you are looking into buying canned refried beans, here are some of the important things you need to consider:

  • Your Diet

    The kind of refried beans you should buy depends on your diet. For example, if you are on a low sodium diet, then you need to make sure that the sodium in each serving of the refried bean you’re going to buy is not too much. If you are a vegetarian, then choose vegan-friendly refried beans that have no animal product. You can also find gluten-free refried beans if you are on a gluten-free diet.

  • Food Allergies

    Another important thing to consider is if you have allergies. When buying canned refried beans, check the ingredients and see if there’s something on the list that you are allergic to. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy the yummy refried bean without worries.

  • Added Flavors

    You should also check if it contains any added flavor or seasoning. If you want to flavor your dishes as you prepare it, then it’s best to choose canned refried beans that have no added flavors or seasonings.

  • Level of Spiciness

    Some recipes of refried beans are hotter compared to others. Therefore, checking the label and the ingredients to see if it contains chili pepper and other hot spices is important.

The Best Canned Refried Beans You Can Buy Today

Where to Buy
Rosarita Traditional Refried Beans, 16 oz
Amy's Beans, Organic Traditional Refried Beans, 15.4 Ounce
Taco Bell ORIGINAL REFRIED BEANS 16oz (8 Pack)
Ortega Refried Beans, Traditional, 16 Ounce (Pack of 12)
Old El Paso Refried Spicy Beans, Fat Free, 16-Ounce (Pack of 12)
La Preferida Organic Refried Beans, 15 Ounce (Pack of 12)
Santa Fe Bean Company Instant Fat Free Vegetarian Refried Beans 7.25-Ounce (Pack of 8) Instant Vegetarian Refried Beans; All Natural; High in Fiber; Fat Free; Gluten-Free

If you are looking for some refried beans for a side dish, dip, or to make some tortillas, here are some of the best ones we can recommend:

1. Rosarita Traditional Refried Beans

You can use these canned refried beans in making a delicious Mexican-style meal. You just need to heat the beans over medium heat in a saucepan until it’s hot while occasionally stirring. You can also microwave it in a covered dish on a high setting for one and one-half minutes or until it’s hot. It has a smooth and creamy texture and not as chunky as other brands. This traditional refried beans by Rosarita have 120 calories per serving with zero grams trans-fat. However, it’s not vegetarian because it contains lard, which makes it tasty and more flavorful.

2. Amy’s Vegetarian and Organic Traditional Refried Beans

This is a mild refried beans recipe that contains green chilies. It also has lots of flavor for vegans and vegetarians alike. Aside from that, all of its ingredients are organic and kosher. This canned refried bean is also great to mix with tacos. You can also add more spices to it if you want it to taste more flavorful.

3. Taco Bell Original Refried Beans

The canned refried beans offered by Taco Bell contain soy, but they have less amount of salt, making them similar to regular beans. They contain additives and cornstarch that is high in fructose. These contents ultimately affect the taste of the beans. The beans are also chunky, meaning it can greatly influence your meal’s texture. It also has an ideal consistency that is not to thick nor too watery. This is also perfect for vegetarians as it does not contain animal products. It is high in protein and does not have saturated fats. You can also eat the beans straight out of the can, and add cheese or other sauces you want.

4. Old El Paso Refried Spicy Beans

This canned refried bean is a blend of both worlds. It is perfect for both vegetarians and not, and it is a perfect side dish or accompaniment to different Mexican cuisines due to its chunky texture. It is made with a mixture of spices, giving the beans the right flavor and taste. It is also a good choice for fat-free beans, and it is cholesterol-free, as well. It is a cook and serve canned refried beans, but you can also just heat it and serve because it’s already richly flavored.

5. Ortega Traditional Refried Beans

This features the use of high-quality beans using only simple ingredients, such as garlic, onions, vinegar, water, and spices. It has a mild flavor and also contains lard, which enhances its smooth texture. The beans are excellent sources of fiber and protein. It also does not contain cholesterol and trans-fat, and only has 11 grams of carbohydrates. It has a low-sodium content, making it great for burritos and tacos. It is ideal for health-conscious people.

6. La Preferida Organic Refried Beans

This is a USDA organic canned refried beans that have an irresistibly rich and creamy taste. It does not contain lard, additives, or any artificial preservatives. It is a must-have authentic Mexican side dish. You can also use it in making tortillas, as a dip, or mixed with other Mexican dishes.

7. Santa Fe Bean Company Refried Beans

These refried beans are not canned but come in a bag. However, it needs a bit of extra preparation time because you need to mix it with water. But the cooking time of these refried beans is minimal. In fact, you can serve them in as fast as 3 to 5 minutes. Each pack of refried beans can serve up to six people, making it ideal for the whole family on taco night. This pack of refried beans only has two ingredients, which are salt and pinto beans. Some might find it bland, but you can mix it with other dishes well. Just don’t add salt when cooking because it already contains plenty of it.

These are some of the best canned refried beans that we can recommend. Whether you’ll opt for canned ones or make them from scratch, refried beans are indeed wonderful side dishes and dips for Mexican cuisines. We hope the information we shared will help you in finding the best refried beans that will match your meals.