Make creamy refried black beans from canned or scratch-cooked black beans in ten minutes with a few spices and a potato masher.
Healthy and homemade in only ten minutes
This recipe is one of my favorite Mexican recipes to whip up for parties, game day, healthy meal prep, or a last-minute snack. It's amazing how delicious and comforting mashed black beans become when they're refried with a few spices! You'll love these creamy black beans with chips and 5-minute restaurant style salsa, dolloped over nachos, and all things Tex Mex.
What makes these healthy refried black beans is that there's very little saturated fat and they're a great source of fiber and protein. They're also naturally vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free!
The best part, you can make refried black beans from canned black beans or scratch-cooked beans. Either way you get delicious, rich tasting, creamy beans with endless options.
- olive oil - Or any cooking oil.
- garlic powder - Minced raw garlic works great too. Use any amount you like!
- cumin and chili powder - These spices add so much flavor to black refried beans without adding spiciness, so they're family friendly.
- cooked black beans -Use canned black beans, my failproof oven-cooked method, or Instant Pot black beans. Keep the juice, aka aquafaba, from the drained beans because we'll use it to adjust the consistency of the refried beans.
- salt and pepper - Add to taste. You may not need to add any salt, especially if using salted canned beans.
How to make black refried beans
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add spices: garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin. Saute until fragrant about one minute, stirring as needed to prevent the spices settling and burning.
Add whole, cooked black beans and continue heating until warmed through, stirring as needed. Mash the beans in the skillet with a potato masher and allow to cook – this is what turns them into refried black beans.
Add and incorporate small amounts of the reserved bean juice, aka aquafaba, until they reach the desired consistency. Once you're happy with the texture, take them off the heat and they're ready! Note: you can use any cooking liquid here – bean juice isn't required.
Let's talk consistency: You can make refried black beans as thick or as thin as you like. You'll notice I serve them super silky with a little texture. To do this, I like to mash the beans about halfway and add multiple, smaller splashes of bean juice until it reaches the perfect consistency.
Pro tip: If you accidentally add too much liquid, all is not lost. You can cook the beans down to reduce the liquid which will make them thicker.
Do I need a food processor or blender?
No. A simple potato masher is all you need to mash the beans right in the skillet to make them creamy and textured as they cook. I prefer to use a heat resistant spatula for stirring the beans while cooking – and scraping every last delicious drop from the skillet when I'm done.
If you want pureed beans, you can spin them in a food processor or blender before adding them to the skillet. Plan on adding splashes of bean juice to help the mixing process along.
How to serve refried black beans
Serve these delicious beans as a side dish topped with fresh cilantro or any other toppings. I'm sure you already know that these perfectly mashed black beans can be used in so many ways. Here's a few...
- as a dip with tortilla chips
- burrito filling
- spread on tostadas
- topping for nachos
- as a base layer in taco salad
- spread on torta sandwich
Use chicken broth or preferred cooking liquid in place of of black bean juice to adjust the consistency.
Seasoning - Use taco seasoning in place of, or in addition to, the spice combination listed in the recipe. Add other flavors to black refried beans such as onion powder, oregano, chipotle chili powder (for a spicy kick), or minced garlic (fresh or jarred).
Use other ingredients to add flavor - add onion, fresh cilantro, lime juice, hot sauce, jalapenos, or diced green chiles. Pro tip: Using bacon grease instead of olive oil gives this refried black beans recipe another level of flavor.
Cookware - Use any cookware to make refried black beans including a cast iron skillet, dutch oven, or stainless sauce pot.
Canned beans vs scratch-cooked beans - Canned beans are super convenient because they're fully cooked and ready to use. However, cooking dried black beans from scratch saves money because you get a larger volume at a lower cost. This refried black beans recipe works beautifully with either method. So, enjoy!
To freeze, allow cooked beans cool completely and store in freezer-safe containers up to 90 days, or longer if vacuum sealed. To thaw, transfer the beans to the refrigerator for an overnight stay and they'll be ready to heat and serve.
More Mexican recipes to love
- Loaded Black Bean Dip
- Homemade Pico De Gallo
- Taco Pasta
- Chicken Tacos
- Chipotle Brown Rice
- Totchos Tater Tot Nachos
- Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls
Refried Black Beans Recipe
- Drain BLACK BEANS into a colander over a fitted bowl to capture the bean juice. Set aside briefly.
- In a skillet, heat OLIVE OIL until shimmering. Add GARLIC, CUMIN, and CHILI POWDER. Sauté until fragrant (about 1 minute), stirring continuously to prevent overcooking.
- Add BLACK BEANS to the skillet (without the juice). Toss beans to coat with oil, then saute a few minutes until warmed through, stirring as needed.
- Mash the beans with a potato masher until no longer whole and starting to become creamy.
- Add small amounts of reserved bean juice (or other liquid) to adjust consistency to your liking, stirring as needed.
- Add SALT and PEPPER to taste. Serve warm.
- To store, allow to cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container up to 5 days.
Traci's Recipe Notes
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.