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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. This refried black beans 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 a great side dish to slow cooker salsa chicken or ground beef quesadillas.

I would never want to choose a favorite bean, but if you love black beans as much as I do, then be sure to try my black bean quinoa salad, Cuban black beans and rice, and black bean skillet dinner next time.

Bowl of refried black beans.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

What You’ll Love About Black Refried 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


This black refried beans recipe comes together with just a few basic ingredients:

  • 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 black bean refried beans recipe.

How to Make Refried Black Beans from Canned Beans

These are perhaps semi homemade refried black 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 can.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 some onions and garlic for flavor, then mashed together.

Storage Instructions

Store the black bean refried beans 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.

Bowl of black refried beans.

How to Serve Refried Black Beans 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. 😉

My kiddos LOVE these beans, especially in bean and cheese burritos, but also as a side to steak quesadillas or crockpot salsa chicken.

If your kids aren’t sure about them, start with a tiny portion, a little spoonful or serve a taste on a small “taste tester” spoon before stuffing into burritos or mixing with other foods.

All of my articles on feeding kids can be found here and if you want a FULL list of all of the videos I have with hacks, tips, scripts, and ideas for feeding kids, check out my instagram or tiktok page.

How to Use Refried Black Beans

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

More Easy Black Bean Recipes

If you like this black refried bean recipe, you might also like some of these other easy black bean recipes:

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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

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Photo Credit: All photos in this post were take by Loren at Sweet Rustic Bakes

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