Making a batch of Refried Black Beans (frijoles refritos) at home is super simple. With just a few ingredients and spices, this black refried beans recipe can be shared as a side or enjoyed as a component, like these Tacos Rancheros, in your favorite Mexican food recipes. Check out How to Make Black Beans for the most flavorful refried beans! This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and gluten free.
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Why You’ll Love this Black Refried Beans Recipe
I couldn’t believe how much more flavorful homemade refried black beans are than the canned variety, just like their counterpart, whole black beans. Cooking Black Beans from Dry Beans then whippin’ them up into creamy vegetarian refried beans is super easy and healthy! Here’s why you should make em’:
- Simple ingredients using pantry staples.
- Cook black beans from scratch or make with canned black beans.
- Can be enjoyed as a component in your favorite Mexican food recipes or as a side.
- These black refried beans are vegetarian and vegan.
- They’re over the top flavorful!
After playing with the seasonings and the flavor profile of these creamy beans, I’m sharing my best refried black beans recipe.
Related: Give these refried beans a go on my Crispy Black Bean Tostadas with Fajita Veggies!
Ingredients for Black Bean Refried Beans
- Cooked black beans either from a can or cooked from dry black beans
- Olive oil or avocado oil
- Red, yellow or white onions
- Ground cumin, chili powder and garlic
- Lime juice
Quick Guide: How to Make Refried Black Beans Recipe
Making refried beans with black beans at home is super simple and are perfect for meal prep. They can be made in stored in the fridge up to three days in advance. In summary, here’s how to whip these black bean refried beans up in no time (see recipe card for full details):
- First, heat olive oil in a wide pan or heavy skillet.
- Second, saute the onions then add the spices.
- Next, to the pan, add the black beans and their juice. Start mashing while cooking on medium heat.
- Last, once the beans are cooked to desired consistency, give the beans a good squeeze of lime juice, remove from heat, top with fresh cilantro and enjoy!
The beans will thicken as they cook and cool, so keep this in mind as you’re mashing. If they get too dry, simply add a splash or water or veggie broth and mix throughly.
Tools for Mashing Black Refried Beans
There are several ways to approach mashing the black beans:
- Potato Masher: I use my handy mini masher that I use for guacamole to mash the beans. A large potato masher works too. You’ll have to work a bit because the beans slip through the open spaces on the masher easily. But this method give me control of how chunky or creamy I want the beans to be.
- Large Fork: I find this to be more arduous, and it hurts may hand for the amount of time it takes, but it works in a pinch. Use for a chunkier result.
- Food Processor: Using the food processor can render the beans pureed (extra creamy), chunky or somewhere in between. Transfer the beans to the food processor after bringing the beans to a simmer. If going for chunky, pulse and scrape the bowl down several times. If going for creamy, push the start button and let it whirl, stopping to scrape the bowl down as needed.
The mini masher is my preferred choice simply because it’s easy, not messy and I don’t have to clean the food processor.
Refried Black Beans from Canned or Home Cooked Black Beans
For this recipe, you can make refried beans with canned black beans or home cooked from dry black beans. While canned beans are so convenient, through my testing I found cooking black beans from dry beans to be my favorite in this recipe.
Black beans cooked from scratch are creamier and more flavorful than canned and as a bonus, there’s more broth in homemade which sets the stage for the creamiest and most flavorful black bean refried beans.
Use my recipe for How to Cook Dry Black Beans in this recipe for best flavor!
A Few Recipe Notes
- Consistency: mash to the consistency you prefer. If using for tostadas, mash until thick, pasty and creamy. If serving as a side with rice and enchiladas or tacos, I like the beans a bit chunkier and looser.
- As you mash, the beans will thicken. Add a splash of water or veggie broth if they get too thick.
- Freezer Friendly? Yes Please! Allow the beans to cool completely, then transfer to a storage container and freeze for up to a few weeks. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then use as desired.
- The juice from the cooked black beans is used in this recipe to cook and flavor the beans. Hold on to that juice!
- As a Side: If sharing black refried beans as a side dish, top with your choice of purple onion, cilantro and/or cheese such as cotija (a little salty) or queso fresco (a mild cheese).
- Part of a Main: Slather these black bean refried beans on the crispiest homemade Black Bean Tostadas with Fajita Veggies, stuff into burritos, share as a dip with tortilla chips and hot sauce or spread into quesadillas. There are so many ways!
Recipes to Enjoy Refried Beans With
- Baked Tostada Shells
- Tacos Rancheros
- Mexican Inspired Tofu Tacos
- Cauliflower Tinga Tacos
- Tofu Enchiladas
- Creamy Zucchini Poblano Tacos
- Sweet Potato Open Face Breakfast Tacos
Refried Black Beans (Frijoles Refritos) Recipe
- In a large skillet or cast iron skillet, add the oil and heat until it shimmers. Turn the heat to medium low and add the onions. Saute the onions for about 5-8 minutes or until they're softened.
- Sprinkle in the cumin, chili powder, garlic and salt. Stir for about 30 seconds to incorporate into the onions.
- To the pan, pour in the beans and all their juices. Stir and bring to a simmer. Once simmering reduce heat to medium low and begin mashing. Adjust the heat down as needed. The beans will thicken as you mash and cook. Cook, while mashing and stirring for about 10 - 15 minutes OR until most the bean liquid has cooked off and the beans are creamy.
- When to the desired consistency remove from heat and squeeze in the juice from half a lime. Stir, taste for salt. Rest for about 5 minutes, if needed. They'll thicken further as they cool. Lid until ready to use. Share warm as a side or use as a component in another recipe. Feel free to add a splash of water or veggie broth if they become too thick.
- Store in a lidded container in the fridge for up to three days, or the freezer for up to two weeks. Rewarm stovetop on low heat with a splash of water to thin as needed.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.