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Vegan Refried Beans

Easy Creamy Refried Beans

  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Simple ingredients and a delicious spice blend make for Easy Creamy Refried Beans! Serve them with your favorite Mexican food.


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red or white onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt (or more to taste)
  • 1.5 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (omit for kid-friendly version)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 large jalapeno, stem and seed removed, diced (optional)
  • 2, 15-ounce cans low sodium pinto beans, drained and rinsed [you can sub black beans if desired but pinto beans are more traditional]
  • 3/4 cup filtered water
  • 1 lime zested and juiced
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro leaves

Optional Garnish Ideas

  • diced red onion
  • cilantro
  • lime wedges
  • dollop of vegan sour cream
  • pico de gallo
  • diced or sliced jalapeno


  1. Preheat a small dutch oven over medium heat.  Add olive oil, onion and salt.  Saute over low heat for 10 minutes. Add spices and minced garlic, jalapeno and saute for another 2 minutes.  If you have time continue to saute over low heat for even longer to slightly caramelize the onions which gives the dish incredible flavor.   
  2. Add the two cans of pinto beans and water. Turn the heat to medium to high heat and stir until well incorporated.  Cook until liquid is slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. 
  3. Add cilantro, lime zest and lime juice.
  4. Use an immersion blender to blend the beans until smooth and creamy.  Continue to simmer to reduce the liquid until the refried beans are desired thickness.  The refried beans will continue to thicken as it cools.  
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  
  6. Serve immediately while hot or warm with desired garnishes.  My favorite garnishes are red onions, fresh cilantro and lime zest. 
  7. For storing, allow to fully cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.  Add 1/4 cup filtered water to rehydrate if needed before serving leftovers.


When I am in a rush I skip the onions and jalapeno and it is still delicious!  You can definitely make this with just the beans and spices if you are short on time or ingredients.  

For an extra smooth texture, transfer the mixture to a blender and blend starting on the lowest speed and gradually increase to the highest speed.  Blend on the highest speed for 30 seconds or until perfectly smooth and creamy.

  • Category: Appetizer or Side
  • Method: stovetop

Keywords: creamy refried beans

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