These quick and easy refried beans are a deliciously healthy addition to any dish.
These easy, authentic-style refried beans take less than 10 minutes to make and don’t use vegetable oil or lard. Top them with freshly crumbled cojita cheese (queso fresco) and you’ve got yourself a knock-out side dish or dip!
Authentic flavor without all the fat
A few years ago, my sister-in-law’s mother came to stay with us for the summer.
Consuelo, my sister-in-law, is from Guatemala, and her mom, who we like to call Mamita, still lives there. For 3 months straight, Mamita spoiled us with authentic Guatemalan food using the recipes she grew up making with her mother and grandmother. We would stand in the kitchen in absolute awe, watching her and taking notes in hopes that we could replicate some of the delicious meals she made for us. One of our absolute favorite side dishes that Mamita served with almost every meal was homemade refried beans.
After Mamita went back to Guatemala, Consuelo continued to bless us with this delicious side dish and we were HOOKED. Not only did the canned versions lack the flavor of their homemade refried beans, most store-bought ones were filled with ingredients we couldn’t even pronounce (like highly processed hydrogenated oils). Because nothing else seemed to compare, we decided to start making them ourselves. Once we realized just how simple refried beans were to prepare, they became a staple in our refrigerator.
Canned beans vs. raw
To save time, we’re using canned beans in the recipe. You can certainly use raw beans (like Mamita and my sister-in-law do) and cook them in a pressure cooker (like an Instant Pot), slow cooker or on the stovetop.
What is queso fresco cheese?
Queso fresco is a Mexican cheese that’s easily crumbled and often used to top dishes like enchiladas, tacos, and beans. Its fresh, milky, yet slightly tangy flavor makes it an amazing accompaniment to a variety of dishes. It can provide a light contrast to a heavier dish, like a Chicken Enchilada Casserole or Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Casserole, or complement something equally as light, like grilled veggies.
It’s extremely freezer-friendly, so don’t worry about leftovers going to waste.
These refried beans can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen in an airtight container (mason jars work well) for up to 3 months.
Serve these refried beans with:
- Hidden Veggie Breakfast Quesadillas
- Cheese Omelet (+ 6 Filling Ideas)
- Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
- Barbacoa Beef (Tacos, Quesadillas, Bowls)
- Chicken Enchilada Casserole (or simply as a bean and cheese burrito wrapped in a flour tortilla with melted jack cheese)
- Cheesy Quesadillas
- With Baked Tortilla Chips and salsa for dipping
Some great ways to reinvent your leftovers:
- As a side to scrambled eggs
- In Easy Southwest Eggs Benedict with Avocado Hollandaise
- In a breakfast burrito
- In bean and cheese enchiladas
- On a Mexican pizza (pre-made pizza dough topped with a mixture of refried beans, taco sauce, diced tomatoes, grilled veggies (leftovers perhaps), cooked ground chicken or pork and then sprinkled with Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses)
- Layered in a taco dip (beans, Greek yogurt, salsa, shredded lettuce and cheese) and served with homemade tortilla chips
- On top of Rice Cake Nachos