Crazy for Crust

Easy Refried Beans

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If you’re looking for a simple side dish for Taco Tuesday or any meal, my EASY Refried Beans are the perfect recipe. You can make this recipe with black beans or pinto beans! With just a few ingredients they’re perfect in quesadillas, on salads, or as a side dish for Taco Chicken.


refried black beans in blue bowl

I started making these beans about 10 years ago when I wanted refried beans but we didn’t have any. I wondered if I could make a sort-of refried beans out of a can of black beans and it worked! I’ve been making these easy refried beans constantly ever since.

Often I’ll make these for lunch and then use the leftovers for a few meals over the following days. I mainly use them in simple taco salads or I’ll use them as a side dish when I host family taco night. They’re fantastic plain but I also love to spice them up with some homemade salsa. My husband puts Tapatio on them and they’re also really good with guacamole or avocado slices.

Also: these are picky-eater approved. Jordan has never liked beans (or meat, or pasta, or rice) but since she’s getting pickier about her meat (she’ll only eat chicken and ground turkey now) I am trying to find more vegetarian meals she’ll eat. She’s finally getting into liking refried beans thanks to eating dinner at a friend’s house, so I made these easy black beans one night and made quesadillas and she loved them. In fact: she ate TWO quesadillas! #momwin

This easy refried bean recipe is a hit with my family and is perfect using black beans or pinto beans!

refried beans in blue bowl

If you’ve ever wondered how to make canned beans taste better then this is the solution! There are so many ways you can vary them as well. As written, the recipe is super simple and a bit plain, just using garlic and beans. You can dress them up using spices or salsa to make your favorite easy refried beans.

Just writing this post makes me crave my favorite taco salad: a layer of lettuce topped with these refried beans, cheese, guacamole, black olives, and cilantro. I don’t even use dressing! Sometimes I add corn or salsa too. One can will make about 4 servings so these are a great easy protein for a vegetarian meal or lunch.

Dare I say that these are a healthy refried black bean? Black beans are full of protein and nutrients and these are made with minimal oil.

Have you ever wondered why refried beans are called refried? They’re not fried twice; the Spanish they’re called frijoles refritos, which translates to fried beans. Somewhere along the lines we must have taken refritos and translated it incorrectly to refried!

Whatever you call them, making these easy refried beans will be the highlight of your taco meal.

refried black beans in blue bowl

Tips for making my easy refried black beans:

  • Don’t drain the liquid from the beans. The more it cooks the thicker they get.
  • Use as much garlic as you like. I love garlic so I sometimes use even more than called for.
  • Plain they’re fantastic, but you can add salsa or hot sauce to the finished beans for some kick.
  • If you’re using low-sodium beans, taste test to add salt.

These are the perfect side dish for:

Tools for success:

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Servings: 4 servings

Easy Refried Beans

Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
15 mins
Easy Refried Beans can be made with black beans or pinto beans. This simple recipe is the perfect side dish or use refried beans in salads or quesadillas!


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic — peeled
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans — or use pinto beans
  • Salsa, cheese, sour cream, and/or jalapeños — for serving


  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Use a garlic press to process the garlic, scraping the bits into the oil. Cook for just a few seconds; you don't want the garlic to burn.
  2. Add the beans with their liquid into the pan. Use a potato masher to mash the beans (there will still be some chunks left).
  3. Cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes. The beans will bubble and the liquid will start to cook off. You can cook them longer to reduce the liquid or less to have a more "runny" refried bean.
  4. Use or serve plain, or stir in cheese or salsa or any toppings you like.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beans, mexican

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 serving) — Calories: 10, Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1mg, Vitamin C: 0.2%

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1 comment

  1. WOW! This looks gorgeous AND delicious!

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