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How to Make Canned Refried Beans Taste Like Restaurant

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Tired of canned refried beans having no flavor and just not tasting as good as what you get at your favorite mexican restaurant? This quick and easy recipe will turn boring canned refried beans into what you get at the restaurant or even better since you make them to your liking. Try this simple recipe and add a side of refried beans to your favorite mexican dishes. 

Refried beans in a white bowl with shredded cheese on top next to a black and white towel.

What are refried beans?

Refried beans are made from pinto beans that have been cooked and mashed. The name “refried beans” is somewhat misleading as the beans are really only fried one time. Refried beans are popular in mexican restaurants and tex-mex restaurants around the United States as well as in Mexico. 

Canned refried beans are different from the ones found in restaurants because they are generally lacking seasoning and additional sources of fat that give refried beans the desired creamy consistency. Thankfully, improving canned refried beans is quick and easy. 

How to Make Canned Refried Beans Taste Like Restaurant

Ingredients in Restaurant Style Refried Beans

Restaurant style refried beans are loaded with extra fat and are seasoned to improve the bland flavor of pinto beans. For this refried bean recipe you will need just a handful of ingredients and then you can adjust them to your liking with our additional suggestions. You will need the following ingredients:

  • can of refried beans, preferably plain so you can season as you desire
  • sour cream- use non-dairy if you prefer 
  • salt

Can I make refried beans from regular pinto beans?

Yes! If you are starting with dried pinto beans be sure to cook them thoroughly according to the package directions to start. You can also used canned pinto beans. Then, once the beans are cooked (or from a can) add them to a skillet. Warm them and mash them as they cook. You can mash them with a potato masher or fork. Once all of the beans are mashed continue with the recipe as written in the recipe card below. 

Can I make refried beans from other kinds of beans?

Definitely, we love to make our own refried beans from black beans. You can also use kidney beans or any other canned beans you like. See our notes in the question above. 

How to Make Canned Refried Beans Better

To make delicious refried beans from canned refried beans all you need is the above ingredients plus a skillet.

Step One: Heat refried beans in a skillet

To start, open the can of beans and add them to a skillet. Place the skillet on the stove, and heat over medium heat until beans start to warm.

Step Two: Add sour cream

Once beans are beginning to soften, add the sour cream and stir well to combine.  Cook until warmed through and creamy.

Step Three: Season Beans

Then, season with salt as desired. This amount will vary depending on personal preferences as well as how salty the beans are right out of the can. I recommend tasting the beans before adding any salt.

Step Four: Top beans and serve

Finally, see our additional tips for extra seasoning or topping to make your creamy refried beans even more flavorful. 

Refried beans in a white bowl with cheese on top.

More Delicious Recipes with Beans

  • Forbidden Rice and Beans
  • Simple Rice and Beans
  • Three Bean Turkey Chili

Extra Seasoning Tips for Refried Beans

Refried beans can be made to suit all tastes. Next time you make them give some of these tips a try:

  • Sauté a couple of garlic cloves in olive oil in the pan before adding the beans for a garlicky kick
  • Add bacon grease instead of sour cream and get a rich flavor that only bacon fat can give
  • Add your favorite hot sauce and stir in during the final minutes of cooking for a little heat 
  • Like spicy? Try adding chili powder or cayenne pepper to the refried beans
  • For more savory flavor try adding a sprinkle of garlic powder or onion powder 
how to make canned refried beans taste like restaurant with refried beans in a small white bowl topped with shredded cheese.

Topping Refried Beans

Making refried beans doesn’t have to end at the seasoning… try these extra toppings on warm refried beans for a true restaurant experience: 

  • Sprinkle the top of the beans with cheese like cotija cheese or shredded cheddar cheese 
  • Top with a squeeze of lime juice on top, the little bit of acid with help cut the fat 
  • Top with chopped fresh cilantro, green chiles or sliced jalapeño peppers 
  • Crush up some tortilla chips to sprinkle on top

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve alongside tacos or even add to the inside of your tacos or burritos. 
  • Make breakfast tacos and serve flour tortillas with refried beans, scrambled eggs and cheese. 
  • Use refried beans to make a bean dip. Place cooked refried beans in a baking dish and top with cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and then top with your favorite toppings (see above for suggestions). 
  • Serve with any other mexican dishes you enjoy as a delicious side dish. 
refried beans in a white bowl with shredded cheese on top next to a black and white towel

How to Make Canned Refried Beans Taste Like Restaurant

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Tired of canned refried beans having no flavor and just not tasting as good as what you get at your favorite mexican restaurant? This quick and easy recipe will turn boring canned refried beans into what you get at the restaurant or even better since you make them to your liking. 

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz can plain refried beans
  • 2/3 cup sour cream, non-dairy if desired
  • salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Open can of refried beans and scoop into a skillet.
  2. Place skillet on stove and heat beans over medium heat. Stir often and cook until softened and starting to smooth.
  3. Add sour cream and cook until smooth and heated through.
  4. Taste and season as desired with salt.
  5. Add any additional toppings and seasoning as described in notes.

Notes

Extra Seasoning Tips:

  • Sauté a couple of garlic cloves in olive oil in the pan before adding the beans for a garlicky kick
  • Add bacon grease instead of sour cream and get a rich flavor that only bacon fat can give
  • Add your favorite hot sauce and stir in during the final minutes of cooking for a little heat 
  • Like spicy? Try adding chili powder or cayenne pepper to the refried beans
  • For more savory flavor try adding a sprinkle of garlic powder or onion powder 

Toppings for refried beans:

  • Sprinkle the top of the beans with cheese like cotija cheese or shredded cheddar cheese 
  • Top with a squeeze of lime juice on top, the little bit of acid with help cut the fat 
  • Top with chopped fresh cilantro, green chiles or sliced jalapeño peppers 
  • Crush up some tortilla chips to sprinkle on top

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 172Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 551mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 6g

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