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QUICK + EASY REFRIED BEANS

This homemade vegan refried beans recipe is made on the stovetop using canned pinto beans and is quick, easy to make and ready in just 20 minutes. They are versatile and perfect with all your favorite Mexican inspired recipes!

side angle view of quick and easy vegan refried beans in a bowl.

I’m making my way through all the different ways to make homemade vegan refried beans!

In this recipe we’ll be using canned beans, making it a quick and easy recipe that’s ready in about 20 minutes. Plus, they are vegan, gluten free, and low fat with an option to be oil free!

If you prefer making your beans from scratch with dried beans and have a little time be sure check out these:

These longer cooking recipes yield the most flavor, but this quick and easy stovetop method is pretty darn good too!

top down view of ingredients needed to make easy refried beans.

Ingredients You’ll Need

This recipe involves cooking canned pinto beans, onion, garlic, cumin and chili powder into a thick and creamy refried beans that is perfect for all you favorite Mexican inspired dishes.

Here is everything you’ll need:

  • Canned Pinto Beans – Use 2 (15 oz.) or 1 (28 oz) cans. If you prefer black beans, by all means use those as they work just as well.
  • Onion – 1/2 small onion is all you need, but feel free to use the whole onion.
  • Garlic – A couple of garlic cloves add another layer of delicious flavor.
  • Cumin – I find 1/2 teaspoon is perfect, but if you love cumin flavor double the amount.
  • Chili Powder – This adds more depth of flavor. I like to change it up sometimes with chipotle powder for a smoky flavor.
  • Water or Veggie Broth – Use either or. The veggie broth will add the most flavor.
  • Salt – Don’t skimp on the salt. I use pink mineral salt which adds essential minerals and trace elements. It’s delicious and I find I don’t need as much as traditional table salt.
  • Lime – Will be added at the end adding an overall brightness and finishing touch.

side by side photos showing the process of making refried beans using canned beans on the stovetop.

How To Make Vegan Refried Beans

  • Saute. In a medium sauce pan, heat oil or water, saute onions for 5 minutes, add garlic saute for 1 more minute.
  • Add remaining ingredients. Add in the beans, spices and water (shown above), bring to a simmer for 5 minutes or so.
  • Leave the beans as is for a ranchero or charro style bean or continue to next step.
  • Puree or mash the beans. My favorite way to puree the beans is using an immersion blender as shown below. You can also mash them using the back of a fork or slotted spoon, or potato masher. But I find the stick blender does the best at breaking down the beans into a nice creamy texture. Use your preferred method.
  • Warm the beans on low if needed and add the lime juice. Beans will thicken as they cool. Add more water as needed to thin.

side by side photos of the process of simmering and pureeing refried beans.

How To Store + Reheat

Homemade refried beans will last in the refrigerator for 4 – 5 days stored in a covered container. Reheat them in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring often.

Can You Freeze Refried Beans?

Yes! They freeze beautifully for 2 – 3 months. To freeze, let the beans cool completely. Divide the leftovers into quart-sized freezer bags or freezer-safe containers, with about 1/2 inch space from the top for expansion. Let thaw in the refrigerator the night before you want to serve them.

Serving Suggestions

Easy to make, and even easier to eat, these refried beans are super versatile and can be served in many ways. Here are a few of my favorite options:

top down view of quick and easy refried beans in a bowl surrounded by items.

If you try this easy refried beans recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.

Print

QUICK + EASY REFRIED BEANS RECIPE

This vegan refried beans recipe is healthy, delicious and is made quick and easy using canned beans. They are a great addition to just about any Mexican dish!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Stovetop, Simmer
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Mexican, Tex-Mex

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or 1/4 cup water for water saute
  • 2 (15 oz) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, optional
  • mineral salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions

Saute. In a medium sauce pan, heat oil or water, saute onions for 5 minutes, add garlic saute for 1 more minute.

Add remaining ingredients. Add in the beans, spices and water, bring to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes.

Leave the beans as is for a ranchero or charro style bean or continue to next step.

Puree or mash the beans. My favorite way to puree the beans is using an immersion blender. You can also mash them using the back of a fork or slotted spoon, or potato masher. But I find the stick blender does the best at breaking down the beans into a nice creamy texture. Use your preferred method.

Warm the beans on low if needed and add the lime juice. Beans will thicken as they cool. Add more water as needed to thin.

Serves 4

Store: Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 – 5 days. To keep longer, store in the freezer using freezer safe containers or baggies.

Notes

Make ahead: Beans can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Feel free to substitute pinto beans for black beans as they substitute well.

RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT: I love my immersion blender (affiliate link) to puree the beans. It’s easy to clean, small and fits well in a utensil drawer. For more of my favorite cooking tools, shop my kitchen essentials.

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9 Comments

  1. Jean Myers says:

    Quick and easy when I forgot to cook pinto beans from scratch – thanks so much!

  2. Came together so quickly. They were delicious!

  3. Maybe a weird question, but how long do I simmer the beans for? I don’t see that in the directions.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Great question, Tim! A time is helpful, and somehow I missed it. I’ve updated the recipe with a time of simmering for 5 minutes. Thanks for bringing it to my attention! Enjoy :)

  4. Kent Sargent says:

    how much lime juice ???

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Use as much or as little as you like, just to taste. I’d start with 1/2 of a lime and go from there.

  5. Sarah Mathu says:

    Ooooo yay! Thank you we just made them for our potato burritos and they are delicious! 🤍🤍🤍

  6. I thought this was going to be a recipe. As in cooking the beans first. 😔

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