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15 Minute Refried Beans

January 31, 2022 Diane Homan

Fat-free and full of fiber, these “refried” beans are a tasty alternative to the store-bought variety. Only 15 minutes from start to on the table!

15 Minute Refried Beans | Homan at Home

My family loves our Mexican food. Burritos, tostadas, enchiladas, tacos, you name it, we love it. Which is why these refried beans are a nearly weekly occurrence. I’ll also admit they hit my lazy mom spot — 15 minutes from start to finish, and only about 3 of them are actual hands-on time.

So, yes, refried are even faster if you buy the store-bought kind and reheat them in the microwave. I am aware. However, these beans are so tasty that I’m willing to put in the 3 minutes of actual work they take. They are also fat-free — there’s no lard or shortening in this recipe — high fiber, and relatively low-calorie (140 cal for store-bought and 100 cal for this recipe).

Heck, these beans are even a perfect party dip on their own — that’s how tasty they are! My favorite way to eat them by far though, is as a family tradition. When I was a teenager, my mom would make a version of these (she’s hardcore and makes them from dried beans) every Friday. We would then plop a serving of beans in a bowl, top it with tomatoes, onion, cheese, and salsa and then use tortilla chips to eat our bowl of beans in front of a movie. We very inventively called it “Bowl of Beans and a Movie,” and I looked forward to it every week.

How Do You Make 15 Minute Refried Beans?

You’re going to start with a can of drained pinto beans, or, if you have the time, your own cooked pinto beans (check out my tutorial on how to cook dried beans). Aside from the beans, you’ll need:

  • beef bouillon
  • water (reserved from draining canned beans)
  • picante sauce
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder

COOK: Put all your ingredients into a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and allow the beans to simmer for 5-10 minutes or until all the flavors have gotten acquainted and the beans have softened.

BLEND: Pour your bean mixture into a blender, or use an immersion blender to make your refried beans velvety smooth and creamy!

What Equipment Do I Need?

You can go pretty low-key on this recipe and make the whole thing with just a saucepan and a whisk (or potato masher). I’m not a big fan of getting my arm workout in while cooking, so I prefer to use either one of my two favorite blenders:

Standard Food Processor/Blender: This is* hands-down my favorite blender/food processor of all time. It blends both hot and cold, and the top-down mechanism means that, as long as you don’t overfill it, it doesn’t suffer from that issue where some of whatever you’re blending stays chunky. It’s also a fraction of the size of a standard blender, which has worked out well in many of the smaller kitchens we’ve had. Bonus: dishwasher safe for easy clean up!

Immersion Blender: This very simple immersion blender* is my favorite. It isn’t fancy, but it does the job. You can request a warranty, and although it’s not dishwasher safe, it is easy to clean!

*Disclosure: this is an affiliate link. If you purchase something from this link, I will receive a portion of the profit. However, all opinions and recommendations are my own. I will only ever recommend something I love!

15 Minute Refried Beans Tips

How do I store them? Refried beans need to be stored in an airtight container. Allow the beans to cool before putting the lid on or putting them in the refrigerator. If you put them in too hot, condensation can form and alter the consistency of the beans.

How do I reheat them? Cover and zap them in the microwave! You can also reheat them on the stovetop on low. These taste delicious next day — the flavors are even stronger in my opinion.

Can I use salsa instead of picante sauce? The short answer is not really. The longer answer is that picante sauce is generally a lot more liquid and more puree-like in consistency. The pureed, liquid-y texture of the picante sauce is necessary to getting the right texture for these beans, and making them with a chunky, drier salsa just doesn’t yield the same results. If your salsa is very liquidy, then substituting it should be fine.

How do I use them? Sky’s the limit! My family eats them in burritos and tostadas. We also love them as a side to Mexican dishes. These make a great bean dip, and then there’s the weekly “Bowl of Beans and Movie,” which is essentially just refried beans smothered in delicious toppings. Sooo good!

For more easy Mexican and Tex-Mex Favorites, check out:

15 Minute Refried Beans

Fat-free and full of fiber, these "refried" beans are a tasty alternative to the store-bought variety. Only 15 minutes from start to on the table!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 100kcal


  • 2 cans pinto beans
  • ¼ cup pinto bean liquid reserve during draining
  • 2 tsp beef bouillon granules
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ cup picante sauce


  • Drain pinto beans, but reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid.
  • Dump pinto beans, bouillon, garlic powder, onion powder, reserve liquid, and picante sauce into a medium saucepan.
  • Bring mixture to simmer, stirring often.
  • Lower heat and allow mixture to simmer covered for 5 to 10 minutes, or until beans are soft.
  • Pour bean mixture into blender (or use immersion blender) and blend to desired consistency.
  • Enjoy!

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