These easy vegan refried beans are perfect for tacos, tostadas, burritos, and as a side dish. (No blender or food processor needed!)
God, I love me some beans. They’ve been a major part of my diet since I transitioned to eating primarily plant-based over six years ago, and I happily eat them basically every day. They’re cheap, easy to incorporate into nearly any meal, and one of the healthiest sources of protein on the planet. They’re also just delicious and filling, and work with so many different flavors.
Mexican refried beans are one of my go-to’s for weeknight dinners and meal prep. They’re fast, made with ingredients I always have, and create the foundation for so many great meals (suggestions below). My easy vegan refried beans are made with canned pinto beans, onions, garlic, and spices. Let’s dive in!
Ingredient Notes + Substitutions
- Beans: I love the fluffy texture of pinto beans here but you can also go for black beans. Use canned or cooked-from-scratch.
- Onion + Garlic: Form the base flavor of refried beans. You can use red or yellow onion.
- Cumin: The signature seasoning for this dish.
- Smoked Paprika: Adds a smoky, savory taste that’s essential for vegan refried beans.
- Chili Flakes: Adds a bit of a kick. If you like things spicier, substitute the paprika and chili flakes with chili powder, OR use half paprika and half chili powder.
- Lime Juice: Balances everything out. Lemon juice works too.
Vegan Refried Beans Step-by-Step
Sauté the Aromatics: To start, heat some oil in a large skillet and cook the diced onion with salt until translucent, about 5 minutes. Then stir in the garlic and spices, and cook for about 30 seconds, just until fragrant.
Mash Half of the Beans: Meanwhile, drain and rinse one can of beans. Transfer to a shallow bowl/dish and, using a potato masher or large fork, smash the beans until most of them are crushed.
Add the Beans: Drain and rinse the second can of beans. Add the mashed and the whole beans to the skillet, along with some water. (Using half mashed and half whole creates creamy refried beans that still have a bit of texture to them.)
Simmer the Beans: Turn the heat down to low and gently cook the beans until they’re slightly thickened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Recipes Using Vegan Refried Beans
There are so many ways to eat these delicious beans, including…
- As a side dish for rice and/or plantains
- On tacos
- In burritos
- On tostadas
- In quesadillas
- On toast with sliced avocado and a squeeze of lime
- In a grain bowl
- As a dip for tortilla chips
These homemade vegetarian refried beans are great for meal prep; you can keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days. If they thicken over time, you can thin them out with a splash of water during reheating.
More beans from around the world…
- Mexican Rice and Beans Casserole
- Lobio (Georgian Bean and Walnut Stew)
- Chana Masala (Indian Chickpea Stew)
- Tuscan Beans on Toast
Let me know if you try this recipe! Give it a rating below and leave a comment, and don’t forget to tag @thenewbaguette on Instagram with your creation.Print
These homemade vegan refried beans are perfect for tacos, tostadas, burritos, and as a side dish.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow or red onion, finely diced
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika* (see note below)
- Pinch of chili flakes*
- Two 15-ounce cans pinto beans OR 3 cups home-cooked beans
- 1–2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice, to taste
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook until the onion is translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prep the beans. Drain and rinse one of the cans, and transfer the beans to a large shallow dish. Using a potato masher or fork, smash the beans until most of them are crushed.
- To the onions, add 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon each of paprika and cumin, and lots of black pepper. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Drain and rinse the remaining can of the beans and add to the skillet, along with the crushed beans. Add 1/2 cup water (see note below) and stir to incorporate. Add a splash more water if a saucier consistency is desired.
- Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes, until thickened, stirring occasionally.
- Add lime juice to taste and season with salt if needed.
- Smoked paprika adds a smoky, savory taste that’s essential for vegan refried beans. If you like things spicy, substitute the paprika and chili flakes with chili powder, OR use half paprika and half chili powder.
- If you have leftover vegetable broth, feel free to use it instead of plain water.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
- Calories: 170
- Fat: 5.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 24.4 g
- Fiber: 8.2 g
- Protein: 7.9 g
Keywords: homemade, refried, pinto, beans