Why should pintos get all the love? Refried black beans have a dense flavor & beautifully creamy texture.
Serve them with corn tortillas or alongside fried plantains. They’re packed with protein and fiber.
Plus, they’re vegan & gluten-free.
When I was in Ann Arbor, Michigan recently, I had brunch at the Detroit Street Filling Station. Part of my breakfast was a pile of refried black beans.
At home, I always make vegan refried beans using pintos. But I had to stop and ask myself why.
Sure, pinto beans are classic. They’re mild in flavor, which allows the spices to shine.
But black beans also make some beautifully creamy refried beans with an extra burst of flavor.
At restaurants, refried beans are often made with lard, which is a bummer.
But luckily, they’re easy to make at home without it. In fact, my version uses very little oil at all.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this recipe.
Oil: You’ll need a neutral flavored cooking oil to sauté onions and garlic. Avocado oil is my go-to.
If you prefer to keep this dish oil free, sauté in a Tablespoon of water instead.
Onions: Yellow onions are my favorite here, but red also works.
Garlic: Freshly minced garlic has the best flavor. But if you prefer, it can be replaced with ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder. If using powdered, add it at the same time as the other seasonings.
Black beans: Canned black beans are a convenient pantry staple. But if you’d prefer to use black beans that you’ve cooked from dried ahead of time, that works too.
Seasonings: Ancho chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt.
Ancho chili powder is made with just one ingredient – dried poblano peppers. It has a wonderful full-bodied flavor.
Ancho chili powder can be replaced with standard chili powder. But keep in mind that chili powder blends vary from one to the next, and may include varying amounts of cayenne.
Step by step instructions
Here’s how to make this recipe at a glance. For complete ingredient amounts & instructions, keep scrolling to the recipe card below.
Sauté onions & garlic in a lightly oiled skillet until translucent & fragrant..
(If you prefer oil-free recipes, you could easily sauté the onions & garlic in a little water instead of oil. Then it would be completely oil-free.)
Add the remaining ingredients:
- Ancho chili powder
Bring the water to a simmer. Then lower the heat.
Let the beans absorb & cook off most of the liquid.
When only a couple Tablespoons of water are left in the pan, it’s mash them.
You don’t need to physically measure how much liquid is left. Just use your best judgment by eyeballing it.
If you misjudge and end up with beans that are too watery, you can just cook them a little longer after blending to make them denser.
Conversely, if the beans are too dry, you can easily add more water.
To mash them, you have options.
- You can use a fork or potato masher.
- You can blend them in a food processor.
- Or you can use an immersion blender right in the skillet.
For easy blending, push all of the beans to one side of the skillet, so that you have as many beans in one area as possible. There may be a little bit of splattering.
If your refried beans look too dry, add a Tablespoon or two of water to get them velvety again.
These healthy black refried beans can go anywhere that pinto refried beans can.
- Use them as a dip with chips
- Slather them on vegan tostadas
- Put them in a refried bean quesadilla
- Put them on the base of a vegan taco salad or vegan taco pizza
- Use them as a bottom layer in vegan 7 layer dip
- Add dollops of it to your platter of vegan nachos
- Use them in your double decker tacos
- Add them to an Austin breakfast platter
- Serve them as a side dish with jackfruit carnitas tacos
Store refried beans in a covered container in the refrigerator.
They will keep for 3 to 5 days.
Or you can freeze them in a freezer-safe container for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to enjoy them, thaw in the refrigerator.
Reheat in the microwave.
If they are dry, add a splash of water, and stir before popping them into the microwave.
Refried black beans (Vegan & gluten-free)
- 1 teaspoon avocado oil or your preferred neutral flavored oil
- ½ cup chopped onions yellow or red
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 can (15 ounce) black beans drained and rinsed (1 ½ cups)
- ¾ cup water plus a few Tablespoons more if necessary
- ½ teaspoon ancho chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Bring a large skillet to a medium heat. Add oil to the skillet and sauté onions and garlic a few minutes, until fragrant and translucent.
- Add drained black beans to the skillet along with ¾ cup water, ancho chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt.
- When the water begins to simmer, lower the heat and continue cooking for about 15 minutes until most of the water has been absorbed, except for a couple of tablespoons.
- Using a fork, potato masher, or immersion blender mash the beans until smooth. If they are too dry, add 1 or 2 Tablespoons of water until they are soft and smooth like mashed potatoes, but not too watery. If they are too liquidy, keep cooking until they reach your preferred texture.(Or if you'd prefer, the black bean mixture can be blended in a food processor.)
- Taste for salt and add more if necessary. If desired, serve with optional toppings like diced onions, cilantro, jalapeno slices, non-dairy cheese, and/or hot sauce.