These quick Vegan Refried Beans are creamy, hearty, full of protein and fiber, and really delicious! They make it easy to get a meatless meal on the table in just 20 minutes! Gluten-free with an oil-free option!
Refried beans are a staple of Tex Mex cuisine. They’re versatile and delicious.
Eat them as a dip with tortilla chips, as a side dish, or add them to burritos, quesadillas, tacos, taquitos, enchiladas, or tostadas.
Ready in just 20 minutes, these easy Vegan Refried Beans are sure to become a staple on your dinner table.
Ingredients you need
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Beans ~ Typically, refried beans are made from mashed pinto beans. They’re mild in flavor and have a super creamy texture when cooked.
I use canned beans for convenience. They’re inexpensive and are a staple on my plant-based grocery list.
If you prefer to make your beans from scratch, use about ½ pound of dry beans for this recipe. Cooked them according to package directions and then add them just as you would the canned beans per the directions below.
You could also use black beans to make refried black beans or kidney beans to make refried kidney beans.
Aromatics ~ Onion and garlic add flavor. A white or yellow onion works best.
Fresh is best, but you could use onion powder and garlic powder instead, if you must.
Spices ~ Chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika are my go-to Tex Mex spices. You could add a pinch of cayenne if you like a little kick of heat.
Milk ~ I like to add a splash of non-dairy milk before mashing the beans to make them extra creamy. Choose an unsweetened, plain variety, like almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk.
It’s an optional ingredient. You could add extra water or some vegetable broth if you prefer. Or you could save the liquid from the canned beans (also known as aquafaba) and stir that in.
Lime ~ A squeeze of lime juice brightens up the dish and adds a punch of zing of flavor.
How to make the recipe
Please scroll down to the recipe card for exact ingredient measurements and instructions.
Sauté the onions in a bit of oil (or veggie broth or water for an oil-free option) until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and spices and sauté until fragrant.
Add the beans and about 1 cup of water. Stir well and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in the milk. Using a potato masher, mash the beans until mostly smooth. I like some texture to my vegan refried beans, but if you prefer them super smooth, you can transfer them to a food processor and purée until smooth and creamy.
Add more milk or water, as necessary, until the desired consistency is reached.
Stir in a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust seasoning before serving.
Storage and freezing
Fridge: Leftover vegan refried beans will last in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Freezer: These refried pinto beans freeze really well. They will keep for up to 4 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Reheat: Refried beans tend to dry out a bit when sitting. Add a few splashes of non-dairy milk when reheating and stir well until creamy.
How to serve
These vegan refried beans are great as a side dish or as a dip with tortilla chips. Or spread them on my homemade baked tostada shells and top with your favorite Tex Mex toppings to make Vegan Tostadas for a quick and easy dinner.
To complete your feast, try serving with these other vegan Mexican favorites:
- Vegan Mexican Burgers or Spicy Bean Burgers
- Vegan Enchiladas
- Vegan Burrito Bowls
- Healthy Taco Salad
- 3 Bean Corn Salsa
- Easy Homemade Guacamole
- Fresh Peach Salsa
- Homemade Vegan Queso
- Quick Pickled Red Onions
Pro tips and tricks
~ Use canned beans for convenience. Drain and rinse the beans before adding to the recipe.
~ Sauté the onions until soft so they mash easily into the beans.
~ Sauté the spices until fragrant to release their natural oils and bring out the best flavor.
~ Add non-dairy milk or extra water when mashing to create a creamy texture. You could also save some of the liquid from the canned beans (aquafaba) and stir that in instead of milk or water.
~ Mash the beans as much as you like until your desired consistency is reached. A potato masher works great for this! You could use the back of a wooden spoon or a fork if you don’t have a masher.
~ If you prefer perfectly smooth refried beans, use an immersion blender or transfer them to a food processor and purée until smooth.
~ Stir in a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of salt before serving. Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired.
~ Always taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
~ For an oil-free option, sauté in water or vegetable broth instead of oil.
Most authentic refried beans recipes, restaurant refried beans, and store-bought canned refried beans are not vegan or vegetarian as they contain lard. If you are buying pre-made canned refried beans from the store, be sure to read labels and choose a brand that says vegan or vegetarian. Most vegetarian beans will also be vegan.
Homemade vegan refried beans are a great source of healthy plant-protein, fiber, and minerals. Making them at home means you get to control how much salt and oil, if any, goes in to the recipe.
Pinto beans will result in the creamiest vegan refried beans. However, refried beans can be made from black beans or kidney beans, as well. Adjust the amount of added liquid when mashing to reach the desired consistency.
More vegan bean recipes
- Pasta with White Beans and Kale
- Kidney Bean Salad
- BBQ Chickpeas Sandwiches
- Vegan Black Bean Soup
- Sloppy Joe Cornbread Casserole
- Crockpot Vegan Chili
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you tried it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback.
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Vegan Refried Beans
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow or white onion diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 cans (15-oz) pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup water
- ⅓ cup non-dairy milk or more water or vegetable broth
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- juice from ½ lime about 1 tablespoon, or to taste
- fresh chopped cilantro for garnish, optional
- Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika. Stir to incorporate and sauté 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add the beans and 1 cup of water. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the milk.
- Using a potato masher, mash the beans well until your desired consistency is reached. I like them mostly smooth and creamy, but some texture is fine. Alternately, if you prefer a completely smooth texture, transfer the beans to a food processor and purée until smooth.
- Add the lime juice and salt. Stir well to incorporate.
- Serve garnished with fresh chopped cilantro, if desired.
Nutrition facts calculated based on ½ cup per serving.
Nutrition values are calculated using online calculators and are estimates only. Please verify using your own data.
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