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How to Make Refried Black Beans from Canned Beans

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Let’s learn how to make refried black beans! Now, I have nothing against a good can of refried beans, but these refried black beans from canned beans are just SO good (and easy) that I’m not sure we can go back. Update: my kids refuse to go back. Even when we really need to lean on the convienence of canned refried beans, they complain. This easy recipe is made with just a few simple ingredients and take just 15 minutes to make. I think you’ll love them as much as we do!

The black refried beans were originally created for these black bean tostadas, and then we all fell in love with them so much that we started looking for other ways to use them – hence the bean and cheese burritos, black bean quesadillas, black bean quesaritos, breakfast tacos, and black bean crispy tacos – they are also a great side dish to slow cooker salsa chicken or ground beef quesadillas.

Bowl of refried black beans.

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

What You’ll Love About Refried Black Beans

  • Quick and easy
  • Just 15 minutes total time
  • Made with just 4 basic ingredients
  • Can be used in so many ways
  • Naturally vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free


  • Olive oil – This is what we’re using to “re-fry” the beans, but you can really use any oil or fat.
  • Onion – I’ve used white onion, but you could also use yellow onion or even red onion, though the flavor might change slightly.
  • Garlic – Use fresh garlic cloves for best flavor or frozen garlic cubes for a quick and convenient option.
  • Black beans – Yes, we’re making refried beans from canned black beans! I think it’s a great shortcut. Use high-quality black beans for best results.
Ingredients to make refried black beans recipe.

How to Make Refried Black Beans from Canned Beans

This is an overview on how to make refried black beans, the detailed instructions can be found below in the recipe card. These are perhaps semi-homemade beans. I consider them homemade, but others may not because we’re using canned black beans as a shortcut. Regardless, they are easy to make:

Cook aromatics. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute onion until soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
Sauteing onions in white skillet.
Cook beans. Add beans and some of the cooking liquid to pan. Bring mixture to a simmer, then lower heat and cook, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Black beans in skillet for black refried beans.
Mash beans. Use a potato masher to mash beans to desired consistency and texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with fresh cilantro if desired.
Skillet with mashed refried black beans from a can.

How to Use Refried Black Beans

There are so many ways to use these refried beans! Here are some ideas:


Can you make refried beans with black beans?

Yes, while traditional refried beans are made with pinto beans (and also totally delicious), you can use the same method with really any type of beans. Black beans make excellent refried beans!

How do you spice up refried black beans?

If you want to add some extra flavor to your refried black beans, here are some ideas:

  • Spices – Add spices like cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika to the onions sautéing (right when you add the garlic)
  • Salsa – Add some salsa into the bean mixture before you mash them. I would start with 1/2 cup but add more to taste.
  • Hot sauce – If you’d like to add spice, but maybe not to the whole batch, top your refried black beans with your favorite hot sauce.

How do you make refried black beans from scratch?

Refried beans are exactly what they sound like. Beans that are being fried (cooked again) and then mashed into a paste. So to make them from scratch, you’ll need cooked beans (either canned or dry black beans that you’ve cooked) that you then saute with some fat and a little onion, garlic, and seasoning like we’ve done here. Canned refried beans are incredibly convenient, but homemade beans taste SO good.

Bowl of black refried beans.
Photo Credit: My Everyday Table.

Storage Instructions

Store the refried beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

How to reheat

Reheat beans in the microwave or a hot skillet until warmed through.

Can you freeze refried beans?

Yes, you can also freeze these refried black beans in an airtight container for 2-3 months.

How to Feed Refried Black Beans Recipe to the Whole Family

I get it, feeding kids can be tough! But following the Division of Responsibility and knowing your job and your child’s job makes it SO much more enjoyable. You’ll be able to feed your kids any meal, which will help ensure that they are eating a variety of nutritious foods – with plenty of play food sprinkled in.

I would recommend serving the refried beans in a pinch bowl (taster bowl) if it’s a new or learning-to-like it food. Serve the meal with a few items you know your kids will eat, like fruit, milk, and/or bread and butter if they don’t do tortillas or chips.

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Bowl of refried black beans.
Photo Credit: Loren Runion for My Everyday Table.

More Easy Bean Recipes

If you like this black refried bean recipe, you might also like some of these other easy recipes that are made with beans:

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Black bean and cheese burrito.

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Bowl of refried black beans.

How to Make Refried Black Beans from Canned Beans

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You won’t believe how easy it is to make refried black beans at home and they are SO GOOD! Made with just 4 ingredients and ready in 15 min.


Units Scale
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 315 oz. cans black beans (drained, but reserve liquid)
  • 1 1/2 cups liquid from canned beans


  1. Heat olive oil in large stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, until soft. Add garlic to pan and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
  2. Drain beans over a bowl to reserve liquid. 
  3. Add beans to pan and combine with onions. Add bean liquid to pan and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low and cook at a low simmer for about 9-14 minutes until most of liquid has evaporated.
  4. Mash beans to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Keywords: black refried beans, refried black beans recipe, how to make refried black beans, refried black beans from can

Food styling and photography by Loren Runion.

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