Refried Black Beans are a staple in so many Mexican dishes! This simple recipe starts with cooked beans and allows you to season and mash them to your preference. Skip the canned type and make the best homemade version instead!

A wooden spoon stirs refried black beans in a skillet.

Authentic Refried Black Beans

Making recipes at home, from scratch, ALWAYS have so much more flavor than canned food.

That’s exactly the case when it comes to making these Refried Black Beans.

They’re FULL of authentic Mexican spices and you can make them the exact consistency you prefer, from super creamy to thick and chunky.

Unlike most “from scratch” recipes, however, this dish doesn’t take that much longer to whip up! From start to finish you can have these frijoles refritos ready to enjoy in just 15 minutes. (Yes, this does mean that you’re using canned whole beans to begin with!)

Have a little extra time? Make these Instant Pot Black Beans! Start with dried beans, and use this easy, no-soak method to make beans in half the time as the stovetop.

Black beans, broth, spices, and onion are the ingredients for this dish.

Ingredients

The basic ingredients you need to make this black refried beans recipe include:

  • Black beans. You ultimately need 3 cups of cooked black beans. You can opt for 2 cans from your local grocery store OR make your own with this Instant Pot Black Bean recipe.
  • Oil. Both avocado oil and olive oil work for this recipe.
  • Onion. You can opt for a small red or white onion. Be sure to finely dice the onion.
  • Garlic. Minced garlic is so important to get a rich flavor throughout the beans.
  • Spices. Ground cumin and chili powder make the base of seasoning, along with salt and black pepper.

How to Refry Black Beans?

Below, you’ll find the steps to follow to make this easy refried black beans recipe:

Prep the Beans

If you are using canned black beans, rinse and drain them.

You can choose to make your own from dried black beans in an electric pressure cooker with these Instant Pot Black Beans, as well.

Instant Pot black beans are delicious in tacos and burrito bowls.

Sauté the Onion and Garlic

Warm the oil in a large skillet on medium or medium-high heat. Toss in the minced onion and stir while cooking for 3 to 4 minutes until it’s translucent.

Add the garlic and continue sautéing for another 30 seconds, when it’ll become aromatic.

Add the Spices and Beans

Sprinkle the cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper over the garlic and onion. Sauté for an additional minute.

Pour the drained beans into the onion mixture and stir until everything is well combined.

Mash and Mix

Use a potato masher to crush the beans until there are very few chunks left. You can leave as many or as little as you prefer.

Pour in ¾ cup of water and stir. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add in extra water in small increments until you reach the perfect texture.

Serve these delicious refried beans with some chopped, fresh cilantro and enjoy!

Meal Prep and Storage

  • How to prep ahead of time: You can whip up these refried beans a day or two before serving them; just keep them in the fridge.
  • How to store: Place leftover beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 to 5 days.
  • How to freeze: Beans freeze beautifully. Simply store them in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months.
  • How to reheat: For the best results, warm refried beans back up in a skillet over medium heat, adding water as needed to reach the desired consistency again.

Are refried beans healthy?

While not all versions are good for you, homemade refried beans are a healthy alternative to the store-bought kind. When you make them yourself, you control the amount of oil and sodium and limit the extra fat in the beans, so you can feel good about eating them.

Serve these refried black beans made in a skillet as a healthy side dish.

What are refried beans?

Refried beans are typically cooked black or pinto beans that are cooked again in oil or lard along with seasonings. They are most commonly found in Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes.

Are refried beans gluten free? Keto?

Refried black beans are gluten-free but are not low-carb or keto. Making them at home is a great way to ensure a healthy and wholesome side dish free of gluten. They do not qualify as low-carb and high-fat.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Save a step. You can buy a can of black beans at the store. Look for a plain, low-sodium option if possible.
  • Follow the steps. Be sure to sauté the onion and garlic for extra flavor in these beans.
  • Make extra. This recipe is perfect for making more than you need to freeze some for later.
  • Take a shortcut. Make the mashing easier with an immersion stick blender if you crave super creamy beans.
  • Use them up. These refried beans can be used in SO many of your favorite Mexican and Tex-Mex recipes.
  • Add flavor. Change it up with extra garlic powder or onion powder, use a bit of broth instead of water, or include some green chiles, fresh jalapeños, chipotle chili powder, or hot sauce for some heat.
A spoons scoops refried black beans out of a white bowl.

What to Serve With Refried Black Beans

Easy refried beans are the perfect side dish to a variety of Mexican recipes. Try one of these for a complete meal.

You can’t go wrong with beans and rice, so opt for Cilantro Lime Cauliflower RiceCilantro Lime RiceMexican Rice, Instant Pot Mexican Rice, or even plain Instant Pot White Rice.

Make your own Homemade Tortilla Chips then serve them alongside Roasted SalsaFresh Tomato Salsa, or even Pineapple Pico de Gallo.

Blackened Fish Tacos, Shredded Chicken Tacos, Beef Empanadas, Fiesta Lime Chicken, Mexican Lasagna, and Steak Fajitas are perfect main dishes.

More Black Bean Recipes

You can’t have a Taco Tuesday (or any Mexican meal) without black beans.

Instant Pot Refried Black Beans or Instant Pot Black Beans are so quick and easy.

These refried beans are perfect additions to Chicken Taquitos and Breakfast Tostados

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 1 vote

Refried Black Beans Recipe

Refried Black Beans are a staple in so many Mexican dishes! This simple recipe starts with cooked beans and allows you to season and mash them to your preference.
A wooden spoon stirs refried black beans in a skillet.
Yield 6 servings
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 10 minutes
Total 15 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 3 cups cooked black beans or 2 15-oz. cans
  • 2 Tbsp. oil avocado or olive
  • ½ small white or red onion finely diced, about ¾ cup
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ¾-1 cup water

Instructions 

  • If using canned black beans, be sure to rinse and drain them before using.
  • Add the oil and diced onion to a large skillet over medium heat. Saute for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent. Add the garlic and continue sauteing for an additional 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  • Mix in the cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Stir and saute for a minute.
  • Pour in the drained beans and mix until they’re well coated in the oil and onions. Mash the beans with a potato masher until there are very few whole beans remaining.
  • Pour in ¾ cup of the remaining water and stir until it’s well mixed. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then add additional water until your desired consistency is reached.
  • Serve immediately with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro and enjoy!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 1 vote

Notes

  • One serving = 1/2 cup refried black beans.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • How to prep ahead of time: You can whip up these refried beans a day or two before serving them, just keep them in the fridge.
  • How to store: Place leftover beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 to 5 days.
  • How to freeze: Beans freeze beautifully, simple keep in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months.
  • How to reheat: For the best results, warm refried beans back up in a skillet over medium heat, adding water as needed to reach a creamy consistency again.

Nutrition

Calories: 165kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Sodium: 170mg, Potassium: 341mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 0.4g, Vitamin A: 134IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 34mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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