Vegan Refried Beans

These vegan refried beans are the perfect addition to any plant-based meal. Creamy, flavorful, and versatile, they can be enjoyed as a side dish, a dip, or stuffed into tacos and burritos!
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Vegan refried beans in a bowl topped with cilantro leaves and limes wedges.
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When I was younger, I never liked refried beans. There was something about the texture that threw me off. As I grew older, I promised myself that I would create a vegan refried beans recipe that my entire family would love. Finally, I think I’ve done it!

My dream beans must be somewhat smooth, terrifically tasty, and overall outstanding. Above all, I want my recipe to be eaten in a flash with everyone begging for more. This recipe is not only easy to throw together, but I promise it will become a solid family favorite!

Vegetarian refried beans in a bowl, topped with cilantro le aves and lime wedges.

Ingredients Needed

  • Dry Pinto Beans: Pinto beans are the traditional choice for refried beans. If preferred, you can substitute with other beans like black beans or kidney beans for variation.
  • Chipotle Powder: Adds a smoky and slightly spicy flavor to the refried beans.
  • Cumin: Enhances the savory and aromatic profile of the beans, adding depth of flavor to the dish.
  • Cayenne Pepper: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, cayenne pepper can be added to the beans for an extra kick. This is optional but highly recommended for extra spiciness.
  • Vegetable Broth: Provides the liquid base for cooking the beans, infusing them with flavor. You can use homemade or store-bought vegetable broth. Or use water and vegan bouillon if preferred.
Gathered ingredients for this vegan refried beans recipe with labels.

How To Make Vegan Refried Beans

Advanced Prep: The evening before preparing the recipe, place the dry beans in a large bowl and cover them with cool water, ensuring the water level is about 2 inches above the beans. Allow them to soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. After soaking, drain and rinse the beans thoroughly.

By Slow Cooker

Step 1: Plug in your slow cooker and transfer the rinsed beans to the pot. Add 4 cups of vegetable broth and the spices to the pot, mixing well.

Step 2: For a shorter cooking time, set the temperature to HIGH and cook the beans covered for 3-4 hours. Alternatively, for a longer cooking time, set the temperature to LOW and cook the beans for 6-8 hours or overnight.

Step 3: Once cooked, you can choose to retain or drain any excess liquid before mashing the beans, depending on your desired texture. To achieve a smoother consistency, I recommend keeping about ½ cup of liquid with the beans before blending or mashing.

Vegan refried beans in a slow cooker with a potato masher.

By Stovetop

Step 1: Return the rinsed beans to the pot and add the vegetable broth and the spices. Mix well.

Step 2: Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer, covered, for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the beans are tender. Stir occasionally and add more broth if needed to keep the beans submerged.

Step 3: Once the beans are cooked and tender, use a potato masher or immersion blender to mash them to your desired consistency. For a smoother texture, you can also blend the beans in a food processor or blender. If the beans are too thick, you can add more vegetable broth to reach your preferred consistency.

Vegan refried beans in a bowl with chips.

Expert Tips

How to Serve Up Your Vegetarian Refried Beans

There are so many ways to enjoy your refried beans! Sometimes, simpler is better, but I always like to go out on a limb with beans. Here are a few of my favorite meal ideas:

  • Tuck Into a Tortilla – Clean and classic. Fill your flavorful tortilla with anything you like! A family favorite is to spread the surface with a layer of beans, add some vegan Mexican rice, and top with romaine hearts, a few sweet potato fries, and a spoonful of salsa. Sooo good!
  • Make the Most Out of Toast – Start with a pair of crusty sourdough toasts, a few slices of avocado, and add a scoop of refried beans. Shake on a little crushed red pepper and a super satisfying lunch is all set to go!
  • Creamy Crudité Concoction – A delicious dip for your crunchy carrots, cool cucumber, and chunks of bell pepper. Add a side of crispy tortilla chips and some tomatillo salsa and you’ll have a protein packed, fiber-filled savory snack.
  • Perfect Mexican-Inspired Pizza – Cover your pizza dough with a thin layer of refried beans and then build it up with toppings. Sliced cherry tomatoes, diced red onion, plant-based meat crumbles, baby spinach, and lots of vegan shredded cheese. Garnish with a sprinkle of hot sauce or fiery salsa. It’ll knock your socks off!

Storing Your Leftover Beans

If you have any vegan refried beans left in the pot (we almost never do in our house!), simply place them in a covered glass container and put them in the fridge. They should stay fresh for about three days. After that, you might want to make another batch.

You can freeze them, but I find that they’re not quite the right texture when defrosted. If you don’t mind this, then feel free to put them into a freezer safe container. They’ll be good for 2-3 months, if stored properly.

To reheat, I have two methods: either I put a bowl of beans into the microwave for two minutes (depends on the power of your microwave) or, if I have time, I heat them up on the stovetop. Just spoon your vegan crock pot refried beans into a small saucepan and cook over medium heat for a few minutes, being careful to stir frequently and adding a little water or veggie broth if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are refried beans vegan?

No, not all refried beans are vegan. Oftentimes it’s made with pork lard, especially at a restaurant. When buying store-bought, look for cans labeled “fat-free” or “vegetarian” which are usually vegan-friendly.

Can you use a bean other than pinto for refried beans?

Yes, technically, any type of bean could work! While pinto beans are the most common choice for traditional refried beans, you can also use black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, or any other variety you like. Each one will impart its unique flavor and texture so adjust seasonings accordingly to complement the flavor profile of the beans you choose.

Vegetarian refried beans in a bowl, topped with cilantro le aves and lime wedges.
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Vegan Refried Beans (Slow Cooker or Stovetop)

Author: Gina House | World of Vegan
5 from 5 votes
These vegan refried beans are incredibly flavorful and go so well with red or brown rice, tortillas, and a side of salsa. If you’ve never tried making your own refried beans, this is the time! You won’t believe how rich and creamy your beans will be. Your family and friends will be begging for more!
Vegan refried beans in a bowl topped with cilantro leaves and limes wedges.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings 6 cups

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces dry pinto beans, or 2 cups
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

Instructions

  • The night before you want to make the recipe, place the dry beans into a large bowl and cover with cool water until the level reaches 2 inches above the beans. Let sit at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • Drain the bean water and rinse the soaked beans thoroughly.

By Slow Cooker

  • Plug in your slow cooker and add the rinsed beans to the pot.
  • Pour in 4 cups of vegetable broth and add in spices. Mix well.
  • If you’d like a shorter cooking time, place the temperature on HIGH and cook for 3-4 hours covered. If you don’t mind waiting a little longer, cook on LOW for 6-8 hours (or overnight).
  • When the beans are done, you can either keep the beans as they are or drain any excess liquid before mashing the beans. It depends on how smooth and creamy, thick and chunky you would like the texture. I like to keep some liquid (around ½ cup) in with the beans before blending or mashing them for a smoother texture.

By Stovetop

  • Place the rinsed beans back in the pot and add the vegetable broth and the chipotle powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Mix well.
  • Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Allow it to simmer gently for approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the beans are tender. Stir occasionally and add additional broth if necessary to ensure the beans remain submerged.
  • Once the beans are fully cooked and tender, use a potato masher or immersion blender to achieve the desired consistency. If the beans are too thick, you can add more vegetable broth as needed.

Notes

  • If you don’t have pre-made or homemade vegetable broth, feel free to use 2 teaspoons of vegetable bouillon paste mixed with 4 cups of water instead.
  • Vary the amount of spices to your taste, adding more spices if you like your beans with tons of flavor or less if you’d like the beans to be more bland.
  • Add a few drops of Cholula Hot Sauce for extra spiciness when the beans are done.

Nutrition

Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 642mg | Potassium: 1066mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 454IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 4mg
Course — Side
Cuisine — Mexican
Love this Recipe? Leave a Rating!And follow @Vegan on Instagram for more.

Vegan Refried Beans photos by JJ Steele, copyright of World of Vegan™, all rights reserved.

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5 from 5 votes

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Recipe Rating




5 comments
  1. Andrea White says:

    5 stars
    YUMM! This looks amazing!!

  2. 5 stars
    Thanks so much Gina for the recipe! its looks amazing I will definitely try it for my family!

  3. 5 stars
    Thrilled to be able to share my recipe with everyone! We make this all the time at home and my non-vegan family loves them. They’re just the right texture and flavor with just a touch of spice. I hope you’ll love this recipe as much as we do ;D

  4. 5 stars
    Perfection! I usually make the pressure cooker version, but these are EVEN better, if you can believe it!

  5. 5 stars
    Oooo, these look so good! Perfect for a taco or burrito night!

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