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These quick and easy vegan refried beans are perfect for dipping, served as a side dish, or stuffed into burritos. Ready in minutes and full of flavor!

When I was growing up, mom always keep a can of refried beans on hand for me. I was the only vegetarian in the house, and when you’ve got vegetarian refried beans, you’ve usually got a meatless meal that can be assembled in minutes.

Nowadays, I don’t bother keeping cans of refried beans on hand. I just hang onto this recipe, because it’s almost as easy as cracking open a can!

Aren’t All Refried Beans Vegan?


Be really careful when buying premade canned refried beans or ordering them at a restaurant, because refried beans often contain lard. Not only are they not vegan, they’re not even vegetarian!

If you do choose to buy premade refried beans, look for cans labeled “vegetarian.” They’ll be made with oil instead of lard (and are generally also vegan).

Vegan Refried Bean Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Olive oil (or any kind of high-heat oil)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Canned pinto beans
  • Water
  • Lime juice
  • Salt

How to Make Vegetarian Refried Beans

Start by heating up your oil in a large skillet, then add an onion. Sauté the onion for about 5 minutes, just to soften it up and brown it a bit. Now add your garlic, cumin and oregano. Cook everything for about a minute to toast the garlic and spices.

Add the beans and water. Bring the liquid up to a simmer and let it cook for about 10 minutes, to soften up the beans. You can add more water to the skillet if it gets too dry while cooking.

Now take the skillet off of the burner and grab a fork or potato masher. Mash your beans as much or as little as you like! I like to keep mine a little chunky, but feel free to mash the heck out of them if you prefer super creamy beans. You can even puree them in a blender or food processor if you like.

Reheat the beans for a minute after mashing, and add more water if needed.

Season the beans with some salt and lime juice after they’ve finished cooking.

Refried Bean Tips & FAQ

  • Are these beans gluten-free? They sure are!
  • Can these beans be made oil-free? I haven’t tried making oil-free refried beans, but I don’t see why not! Try sautéing your onion in some water or broth instead of oil.
  • Storage and shelf-life: homemade refried beans will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for about 3 days, or in the freezer for about 3 months.
  • How are refried beans served? Refried beans make a great side dish with any Mexican-inspired meal. They’re also awesome for dipping chips in or topping nachos with. You can also wrap them in a warm tortilla to make a burrito, pile them onto tostadas, or stuff them into tacos.
  • Can these be made with a different variety of bean? Absolutely! Black beans work particularly well, but you could also use navy beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans. You can also try my refried black bean recipe, which has a slightly different spice profile from this one.

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5 from 8 votes Print

Easy Vegan Refried Beans

These quick and easy vegan refried beans are perfect for dipping, served as a side dish, or stuffed into burritos. Ready in minutes and full of flavor!

CourseSide CuisineMexican Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 15 minutes Total Time 25 minutes Servings 6 Calories 174 kcal Author Alissa Saenz


  • 2tablespoonsolive oil(or high-heat oil of choice)
  • 1medium onion,diced
  • 3garlic cloves,minced
  • 2teaspoonsground cumin
  • 1teaspoondried oregano
  • 2(14 ounce or 400 ml) canspinto beans,drained and rinsed
  • 1cupwater(or as needed)
  • 1tablespoonlime juice
  • ½teaspoonsalt,or to taste

US Customary – Metric


  1. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with the oil and place it over medium-high heat.

  2. Give the oil a minute to heat up, then add the onion. Sauté the onion for about 5 minutes, until soft and beginning to brown.

  3. Add the garlic, cumin, and oregano to the skillet. Cook everything for about 1 minute, until the garlic becomes very fragrant.

  4. Stir in the beans and water. Raise the heat and bring the water to a boil.

  5. Lower the heat and allow the water to simmer for about 10 minutes, until most of it has evaporated and the beans have softened a bit. You can add more water to the skillet if it becomes too dry while cooking.

  6. Remove the skillet from heat. Mash the beans as much as you like with a fork or potato masher — they can be made creamy or left somewhat chunky. It’s up to you!

  7. Return the skillet to the burner and reheat the beans if needed. You can also add more water if needed.

  8. Remove the skillet from the burner and season the beans with lime juice and salt.

  9. Serve.

Nutrition FactsEasy Vegan Refried BeansAmount Per Serving (0.5 cup)Calories 174Calories from Fat 54% Daily Value*Fat 6g9%Saturated Fat 0.9g5%Sodium 609mg25%Potassium 394mg11%Carbohydrates 24.3g8%Fiber 7.1g28%Sugar 1.2g1%Protein 7.3g15%Calcium 79mg8%Iron 3mg17%* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.« Dijon & Herb Potato Salad”Beefy” Vegan Burritos »

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DELICIOUS, my first time preparing this, truly amazing.


  • I have dietary restrictions and cannot eat dairy, soy, gluten, or eggs which obviously makes it hard to find things to eat but this recipe is absolutely DELICIOUS!

    Im in college and this is a staple I will put into my routine of easy foods! It’s so versatile yet so good on its own.


  • This was so good! I needed to use up some canned beans and came across this recipe. I wasn’t sure about the lime, but recently I have been using it more instead of lemon. I have to say it gave it an extra flavor that was excellent! I am eating it out of the pan as I type this. I was really surprised by how flavorful this was. Definitely a keeper!


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