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You won’t believe how simple it is to make homemade easy refried black beans in just a few minutes. This recipe is healthier than the canned version and is even better than the kind ordered in your favorite Mexican restaurant. 

Refried Black Beans recipe is featured in an off center photo of a white bowl full garnished with parsley.

Mexican food may just be one of my family’s favorite cuisines. And who doesn’t love family taco nights? These creamy beans are the perfect side dish for parties, meal-prep, game day, and even for an after-school snack.

This easy recipe is just the thing to add to your Cinco de Mayo spread or for Taco Tuesday! If you need some other ideas for a Mexican buffet that everyone will love, try my Tex-Mex Chicken Chopped SaladQuick and Easy Skillet Steak Fajitas Recipe, or a heaping bowl of this Mexican Street Corn White Chicken Chili.

Ingredient Notes

A labeled list of ingredients for refried beans.
  • Avocado Oil – Use the oil to “re-fry” the beans. You can also use olive oil or canola oil (a neutral oil).
  • Onion | I used a chopped white onion for this recipe, but any onion will do.
  • Black Beans – A can of black beans is the main ingredient here. For the best results, use high-quality canned black beans and reserve the liquid.
  • Basic Seasonings – Garlic powder, chili powder, and ground cumin are all mixed in to give the beans an amazing full flavor.
  • Spicey Seasonings – Cayenne Pepper and Red Pepper Flakes give this recipe a bit of a kick. Adjust to your preference.
  • Salt & Pepper – to taste.
  • Cilantro – Garnish your serving dish with fresh cilantro for a gorgeous presentation. Add in a little with your seasonings if you really love it.

Traditional refried beans are made with pinto beans. But I love this refried black bean recipe (frijoles negros refritos) served with a corn tortilla and a splash of lime juice. See my FAQs section for a bean comparison.

How To Make Homemade Refried Black Beans

Be sure to see the recipe card below for exact ingredients and full recipe instructions!

Step 1 | Saute the Onions

Take out a cutting board and get all the onions chopped and ready to cook. Then add the avocado oil to a pot or deep saute pan over medium-low heat. Warm the oil for 1 minute and carefully add the onion. Saute for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is translucent.

Sauteing onions for refried black beans.

Step 2 | Cook and Season Beans

Now, pour in the can of beans drained.

Cooking the black beans in a pan.

Add in the seasonings, giving them a good stir to incorporate. Then, saute the black beans for 2-3 minutes.

Adding the seasonings for refried black beans.

Step 3 | Mash the Beans

Next, you’ll turn off the heat (or to low) and mash the beans until creamy. 

Finally, add ⅛ cup of bean juice at a time until you reach the consistency you like. Now, you can taste the easy refried beans recipe and add more salt and pepper if desired.

Beans are mixed to make Black Bean Refried Beans.

Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and top with chopped cilantro.

A table is set with a bowl of chips and and other garnishes surrounding a serving bowl of Refried Black Beans.


  • Mash the beans until you reach the consistency you like!
  • For creamier beans, you can use a blender, food processor, or immersion blender to blend smoothly.
  • Use a no-salt-added variety of beans to control the salt in the recipe.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Consistency: You can make this dish as thin or thick as you like. Add more bean juice for a thinner result.
  • Use chicken broth instead of bean juice for extra flavor.
  • I love whole black beans for this recipe, but you can certainly use traditional pinto beans to make Easy Restaurant Style Refried Beans (this makes a great dip too).
  • Love a Mexican-style whole black bean? Use the spices and pour the beans in a pot with juice and all. Let them cook for 30 minutes to an hours to soak up all that flavor. Add a little chicken or vegetable broth if you want a little more liquid.
  • You can turn up the heat by adding more cayenne and red pepper flakes or splashing it with your favorite hot sauce!
  • Top refried black beans with cotija cheese, queso fresco, cheddar cheese, sour cream, green chiles, or diced onions.
  • Lime: Add some zing by squeezing in some fresh lime juice and a bit of lime zest.

How to Use Homemade Refried Beans

Honestly, there are many ways you can add refried beans to your menu. Here are a few ideas to try.

  • As a dip- Garnish the beans with lime wedges and squeeze a little juice over the top. Then serve with your favorite tortilla chips!
  • For a side dish- Place a hearty scoop full on the side of your Cheesy Oven-Baked Beef Tacos or Dorito Taco Salad Recipe.
  • In your Mexican creations- Use the beans to seal your burrito, add to your quesadillas and tacos and in your enchiladas, too!

Recipe FAQs

Are refried beans vegetarian?

Traditional refried beans are made with lard, which is animal fat. For this nontraditional recipe, I’m using avocado oil (or you could also use olive oil) for the fat in these beans. If you’re buying canned refried beans, check the label. Look for “vegetarian” or “fat-free” refried beans on the label to be sure they are vegetarian. I believe once you try these homemade refried black beans, you will likely never buy the canned version again!

How do you make the best refried beans from scratch?

To avoid using canned beans, you can buy dry beans at the grocery store and cook them as directed on the package. Then, you can proceed as this recipe indicates.

Do you need a food processor for refried beans?

I use a potato masher because I like my beans a bit chunkier, but you can certainly use one to get a smoother result.

What is the difference between refried pinto beans and refried black beans?

Great question. Black beans are sturdier and don’t hold as much moisture, so they won’t get mushy as quickly. Pinto beans have a slightly nutty taste and often take on the flavors in the recipe. Both are delicious!


Storage: Cover the leftovers of this black refried beans recipe in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 -3 days. 

Freeze: Likewise, you can freeze the beans in a freezer-safe container for 2 – 3 months.

Reheating: Warm the beans in the microwave or a skillet until they reach the temperature you like. 

Refried Black Beans in a serving bowl, topped with parsley garnish and a spoon ready to serve.

What to Serve with Creamy Refried Black Beans

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Refried black beans are in a white serving bowl with a green garnish.
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Easy Refried Black Beans Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Nikki Lee
You won't believe how simple it is to make your own easy refried beans in just a few minutes – and the best part is they are healthier!
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  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • cup onion, chopped
  • 15 ounce can black beans, drained but reserve liquid
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, for topping


  • To a pot or deep saute pan, over medium-low heat, add the avocado oil. Warm the oil for 1 minute and add the onion. Saute for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
  • Add the drained beans and seasonings, then saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat (or to low) and mash the beans until creamy. Adding ⅛ cup of bean juice at a time until you reach the consistency you like.
  • Taste; add more salt and pepper is desired.
  • Top with chopped cilantro.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving Calories: 88kcal (4%) Carbohydrates: 12g (4%) Protein: 4g (8%) Fat: 3g (5%) Saturated Fat: 0.3g (2%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g Monounsaturated Fat: 2g Sodium: 372mg (16%) Potassium: 233mg (7%) Fiber: 5g (21%) Sugar: 0.2g Vitamin A: 98IU (2%) Vitamin C: 2mg (2%) Calcium: 28mg (3%) Iron: 1mg (6%)

Nutritional Disclaimer

Soulfully Made is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

©️Soulfully Made

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