This refried black beans recipe is lightyears better than canned. They’re flavorful and tender, the perfect texture, and they’re naturally vegan. Made in about 15 minutes with canned black beans, they’re perfect as a quick side dish for any Mexican or TexMex recipe.
What Makes This Recipe So Good
- They’re absolutely packed full of flavor, from the natural earthiness of the beans to the richness of the spices. They’re perfect any way you want to serve them. Load them up with cilantro or drizzle a little queso on top. Smear them in a burrito, scoop them up with chips, or spoon them onto nachos. They’re delicious AND super versatile.
- This recipe is super quick and easy, made in about 10 minutes. We’re using canned black beans so the prep is minimal, with no overnight soaking involved. Perfect if you’re craving a fast but nutritious snack or just realized your tacos need a little something extra.
- If you’re vegan, your refried bean options are surprisingly slim sometimes. Sure, you can get “vegetarian” refried pinto beans from a can, if you’re lucky. Most of the time, taqueria-refried beans are loaded with lard, a pretty clear no-no for the vegans in the house. These refried black beans? Totally vegan.
👩🏼🍳 Chef’s Tips
- The consistency is entirely up to you. If you prefer runnier refried black beans, feel free to add more water or bean juice if you have extra. If you end up with too much liquid, never fear! The beans will thicken as they cook, so just let them cook a few minutes longer until they’ve thickened up to your liking.
- That goes for the texture of the beans, too! For really smooth refried black beans, you’ll want to mash 100% of the beans as well as you can. They won’t be as smooth as if you ran them through a food processor, but they’ll be nice and silky. If you prefer a little more texture, you just need to mash them less!
- Canned black beans usually contain added salt, so I recommend using low-sodium canned beans OR cutting back how much kosher salt you add to the dish. If you’re using homecooked black beans, be sure to factor in how much (if any) salt was added to the beans when they were cooked.
- Refried black beans are incredibly easy to dress up if you really want to take the flavors to all new levels. Add a little taco seasoning, or mix in garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, oregano, and chili powder. Stir in cilantro, diced green chilies, diced jalapeños, lime juice, or hot sauce. Just be very careful not to overdo the salt!
How to Cook Dried Black Beans
If you only have dried black beans on hand, use this method to cook them. For an added bonus (and digestive comfort), soak them first. There’s more info on soaking beans in the same link in this section.
Do make sure that if you cook your beans from dried that you give yourself plenty of time to simmer them. If you try to speed up the process by cooking them above a simmer, the outsides will become tough, which is all-around not the best!
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- 3 tablespoons neutral oil avocado, refined coconut, or other neutral oil
- ½ cup finely chopped white onion
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ – 2 teaspoons kosher salt see Notes
- 3 cups cooked black beans canned or homemade; liquid drained, reserved; beans divided
- ¾ cup liquid from can of black beans or ¾ cup water or vegetable broth
- Medium skillet
- Wooden spoon
- Potato masher optional
- Heat medium skillet over medium heat. When pan is hot, add neutral oil and swirl to coat bottom of skillet entirely.
- When oil is hot and shimmering, add chopped onion, minced garlic, and kosher salt. Stir well and cook, stirring constantly, until vegetables are soft and begin to brown, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add 1 ½ cups black beans to skillet. Use back of wooden spoon or potato masher to mash beans completely, until no whole or partial beans remain.
- Add remaining 1 ½ cups black beans and mash to preferred consistency.
- Cook mashed beans, stirring constantly, until starches begin to coat bottom of skillet and turn golden brown, approximately 3 minutes.
- Slowly pour in bean liquid in small increments, stirring well to incorporate liquid after each addition. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring and scraping bottom of skillet, until liquid is fully incorporated and beans are heated-through, approximately 2 minutes. Note: beans may look soupy but will thicken as they cool. Be sure to use entire ¾ cup of liquid to prevent beans from drying out.
- Serve as desired with chips, tacos, or other entrée.
- Spices: Feel free to boost the flavors even more by adding your favorite spices. Garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin all do very well in refried black beans, but you could also just use a little taco seasoning. Add any spices you choose to the skillet with the onion, garlic, and kosher salt.
- Beans: You’ll need roughly two 15-ounce cans of black beans to yield 3 cups of cooked beans. I recommend using a low sodium version or quickly rinsing the black beans after draining.
- Salt: It’s important that you use kosher salt in this recipe. If using table salt instead, use only ¾-1 teaspoon total. If you’re using canned black beans, they typically include salt, so you may not want to add as much.
- Leftovers: Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 7 days.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.