The Ultimate Guide to Refried Beans


    Refried beans are deliciously seasoned, mashed, fried, gluten-free beans. The term “refried beans” does not actually imply “fried twice.” It originated from the Spanish word for well-fried or well-cooked beans, frijoles refritos. It is a traditional staple of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, as well as popular in many other Latin American countries. 

    It’s made using pinto beans, but other people also prefer black or red beans. Typically, dried beans are soaked the night before being cooked until tender, allowed to cool, and then put in a hot oiled pan. They are then mixed with other seasonings and mashed for a few minutes until they reach the appropriate texture and are hot and creamy but a little bit chunky. In the Yucatan, the preparation also contains the herb epazote. Epazote is well known for its ability to alleviate flatulence caused by eating beans.

    Furthermore, lard is utilized in the preparation of refried beans, making it inedible for vegetarians and vegans. But with such a delicious cuisine, who wouldn’t fall in love? Some people did it a different way, substituting canola, olive, or maize oil for the lard.

    It is frequently wrapped in a tortilla to create a bean burrito but can also be eaten as the main course, a side dish, or just plain.

    Nutritional Value of Refried Beans

    Ingredients for homemade nachos, tortilla corn, and green chilaquiles from Mexico

    Refried beans contain a lot of vitamins and minerals1, including vitamin C, vitamin B, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, and manganese, and are a very rich source of dietary fiber and other micronutrients. One cup of refried beans has roughly 290 calories2. Refried beans often have a lot of fat, but the fat is largely monounsaturated fat3, which is good for your heart4 and has relatively little carbohydrates5. Many refried beans in cans have minimal sodium levels; if you are concern with salt content be sure to read the label. The use of too much sodium can increase your chance of developing heart disease and hypertension as well as the aging-related loss of bone density6.

    Both soluble and insoluble fiber, which are both needed for proper meal digestion and absorption, are present in refried beans7.

    Antioxidants included in it also aid in the suppression of cholesterol levels and the fight against cancer cells8.

    Types of Refried Beans

    1. Canned Refried Beans

    Open Refried Beans in a Can Isolated on a White Background

    Refried beans are available in cans at the grocery store for convenience and for individuals who don’t want to do lengthy preparations. Refried beans in a can are already cooked; all you need to do is reheat them. Check the contents on the label of any canned refried beans you intend to purchase if you have concerns about gluten. Nowadays, a lot of brands have gluten-free labels.

    2. Refried Beans from Scratch

    Refried baked beans cooked from scratch served with cheese and chips

    You may create refried beans in the comfort of your own home if you have the time to devote to the lengthy cooking process and want to indulge in this traditional Tex-Mex dish. By doing this, you can change how much of each ingredient is used. For instance, you can lessen the amount of salt in the meal, replace the lard with olive oil or another acceptable healthy oil or some uses bacon fat, add onions in place of the onion powder, change the consistency from runny to creamy, and many other options. 

    Refried Beans Products

    1. Traditional Refried Beans

    One of the healthiest foods, beans should be consumed by everyone, even those who have diabetes. In addition to having a very low glycemic index and being a great source of potassium and magnesium, which are essential for heart health, healthy for the intestines and blood sugar control, beans also contain carbs, fiber, and protein.

    2. Original Refried Beans

    Refried beans are delectable and adaptable. You may add them to nachos, make a layered casserole or enchiladas, or use them as a side dish for a Mexican dinner, or a layered dip.  Similar to some of its counterparts, which are made of black, Peruano, or red kidney beans, the original refried beans are typically made using pinto beans. It is made in the same manner as authentic Mexican cuisine, giving it the same texture and flavor.

    3. Fat-Free Refried Beans

    A wonderful source of fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, folate, potassium, and is fat free (since it contains no lard or bacon fat), beans are also exceptionally nutrient-dense foods. 

    4. Refried Vegetarian Beans

    Due of its excellent protein and mineral content, vegans and vegetarians favor it much. Beans are a fantastic choice if you prefer to maintain a healthy weight because they are filling, tasty, quick to cook, and very inexpensive. Beans are also high in protein and soluble fiber.

    5. Gluten Free Refried Beans

    Since Refried beans are made of beans, they are inherently gluten-free. 

    How to Use Refried Beans

    Refried beans prepared in the Mexican way, topped with queso fresco and jalapenos

    1. Lime Chipotle Carnitas Tostadas

    Tostadas, a traditional Mexican dish, are served with chicken or carnitas, lettuce, tomato, onion, fried beans, hot red salsa, and cream over a rustic table.


    • 16 tostada shells
    • ½ cup chicken broth
    • 1 boneless pork shoulder, halved
    • 4 tsp chipotle pepper, ground
    • 4 tsp cumin, ground
    • Salt to taste
    • 1 large onion, halved
    • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
    • 1 lime, halved
    • lime wedges
    • refried beans
    • optional: salsa, sour cream, lettuce, avocado, cilantro, cheese 


    Pour broth into a slow cooker, then rub the pork with a mixture of seasonings on all sides. Put in the slow cooker along with the onion and garlic cloves. Cook the pork, covered, for 8–10 hours or until it is soft. Remove the pork, and let it cool. Remove garlic cloves and reserve cooking liquids; remove onion and discard. From cooking liquids, remove the fat. Shred the meat and mince the garlic. Add the pork, garlic, and cooking liquids back to the slow cooker. Pour lime juice over the meat, then cook it through while stirring constantly. With lime wedges on top, layer the tostada shells with the pork mixture, refried beans, and garnishes. 

    2. Vegan Refried Bean Burger

    Alternative burger made with quinoa, vegetables, beets, whole-wheat flour, and black beans


    • 16 oz. refried beans
    • ¼ cup oat flour
    • 1 tsp garam masala
    • 1 tsp red chili powder
    • ¼ cup bread crumbs
    • ½ cup chickpea flour
    • 1 tsp garlic and ginger paste
    • 1 small onion, minced
    • Oil
    • Salt to taste


    In a sauté pan with hot oil, add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to brown.

    After cooking for another minute, add the ginger and garlic paste. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for a bit. Combine the refried beans, chickpea flour, oat flour, bread crumbs, garam masala, red chili powder, and salt in a large mixing basin. Combine thoroughly.

    Mix in the onion mixture until it forms a slurry that holds together when squeezed. To absorb moisture, add extra oat flour or bread crumbs if the mixture is too wet.

    Make 6 equal-sized patties from the mixture, each about 13 cup in size.

    In a nonstick pan over medium heat, warm 2 tbsp oil. Carefully add the patties, and cook them without turning for approximately 34 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned. When a golden brown crust forms on both sides, flip the patty over and continue cooking. Enjoy with your favorite bun!

    3. Mexican Pork Chop and Refried Beans Casserole 

    Mexican enchilada prepared using the items on the table and placed in a baking dish


    • 4 pork chops, bone and fat removed
    • 1 can refried beans
    • 3 cups Mexican rice, cooked
    • 1 ½ cup cheddar cheese
    • Non-stick cooking spray


    Use non-stick cooking spray to coat the bottom of an 8 × 8-inch dish.

    Refried beans should be distributed evenly. Set the trimmed pork chops atop the beans. Place the cooked Mexican rice on top of the pork chops. Bake at 350°F until the pork chops are done and the dish is cooked thoroughly. To prevent the rice from drying out, cover it with foil for the first 20 minutes. The final 20 minutes should be cooked uncovered. Cheese shreds should be spread over the rice during the final five minutes of cooking.

    4. Ham and Cheese Quesadillas

    A flour tortilla-based quesadilla with ham and cheese


    • 1-pound ham steak, sliced
    • 12 flour tortillas
    • 15 oz. refried beans
    • ¼ cup roasted green chilies, chopped
    • 2 cups salsa
    • 1 cup jack cheese, shredded
    • Salt and pepper to taste


    Oven temperature should be set at 375 degrees. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper to the ham steak. On a baking sheet coated with paper, place the seasoned ham steak. Cook in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F. The ham steak should be flipped over halfway through cooking and cooked through until done. Before cutting, let the ham steak rest for at least 10 minutes, loosely covered with foil. Chopped the ham into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside.

    5. Crock Pot Dinner

    Cooked pinto beans with green onions and jalapenos


    • 1-pound stew beef
    • ½ can refried beans
    • 6 tortillas
    • 1 can green chilies, diced
    • 3 cups cheese
    • 2 beef bouillon cubes
    • 1 can red enchilada sauce


    Cook the beef, sauce, and beef bouillon in the crockpot on low for at least 8 hours. Using your handheld mixer, shred the cooked meat before mixing in the refried beans. Fill the center of each enchilada with about a 1/2 cup of this mixture, then top with cheese. To make an enchilada with open ends, fold the top and bottom in. To make a burrito, fold the sides in. Place burritos on a greased baking dish and cover with the remaining sauce. For about five minutes, broil on low heat with cheese sprinkled on top. Serve with rice and sour cream.


    If you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or someone who avoids consuming or purchasing animal products for some reasons, make sure to read the contents on the label. The same is true for people who are worried about the salt and gluten content.











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