Making Refried Pinto Beans Quickly

Published on January 8, 2020 | Updated on February 11, 2022 | by Samantha

Refried pinto beans Featured image

Refried beans are indeed the ultimate time-consuming labor of love when it comes to cooking in the kitchen, but who has time for that these days? If you happen to be short on time, we’ve got some great news on how to make your own refried beans with some tips that can speed up the process. Plus, some other time-saving tips if you’re looking to make refried bean dip for that last-minute party idea.

How To Make Refried Beans At Home with Canned Pinto Beans

Refried beans Recipe

Refried Beans from Canned Pinto Beans

Every family recipe for refried beans will vary depending on the secret ingredients that go into the mix. And though it seems that this will take hours to make, this recipe can be completed in just 20 minutes total. Here1s what you’ll need:
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 238 kcal


  • Cast-iron skillet
  • Kitchen strainer
  • Metal potato masher


  • 2 Tablespoons Canola oil
  • 2 Garlic cloves (peeled)
  • 2 Cans Pinto beans (15-ounce can)
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili powder (or cayenne chili powder)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Lime (freshly juiced into the mixture)


  • The first step is to take a cast-iron skillet and add the canola oil over medium heat. Then you’ll cook the garlic cloves in the heated oil. The cloves only need to be turned ones, so you cook both sides until they are browned. This will take 4-5 minutes total.
  • Take a fork and mash the garlic cloves so they are squashed and opened up to release the flavor into the oil. Now you can add the pinto beans from each can. Be sure to empty the water that’s inside the cans or use a kitchen strainer to empty both of these cans and wash them under cold water and let them drain.
  • The beans are then added into the oil along with the chili powder, and salt and pepper into the mashed garlic and oil mix. This can be further cooked in the hot oil for another 5 minutes to heat the beans. Be sure to stir this mixture to get all the flavors to mingle.
  • After the reheating of the pinto beans is complete, you and use a metal potato masher to crush the pinto beans into a paste at the same cooking temperature. The texture is up to your liking if you prefer chunky or finely mashed refried beans. The last step is to squeeze the fresh lime over the entire mixture and mix this into the mash until it’s totally combined.
  • You can scrape this mixture into a bowl and then it’s ready to serve immediately. If you decide to add salsa or other ingredients to the refried beans, this is the time when it’s still nice and hot.


Calories: 238kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

The best time-saving tips for making refried beans from scratch

Refried pinto bean in bowl

If you have time to cook refried beans using fresh pinto beans, here are some tips that will give you fresher tasting results than using canned pinto beans.

Choose the right beans

While dry pinto beans are a great choice, black beans are also a solid choice if you like a robust flavored refried bean mixture. In a pinch, you can use white beans that are flavored with chipotle powder. Make sure that dry beans are presoaked the night before cooking them. This reduces the chances of the finished mixture causing gas and bloating.

Use a pressure cooker to cook the beans

If you use a standard pot or crockpot to boil your beans, it will take 2 to 3 hours for them to completely cook all the way through. Instead, use a pressure cooker that will reduce the cooking time to only 45 minutes!

Add baking soda to soften boiling beans

Another excellent tip is to add no more than 1/8th teaspoon of baking soda into the water before cooking the beans. This helps to make pinto beans even softer when they cook and saves you mashing time during the refried portion of cooking.

Reheat old refried beans in the skillet

If you have leftover refried beans, the last thing you want to do is put them into the microwave. It can go into a regular skillet or non-stick pan and add a little bit of water to get the beans rehydrated some more. It will come back to life and not taste as if it was another leftover in your fridge.

Is there a faster way to get refried beans?

If all else fails and you just don’t have any time to make refried beans, there is another solution that will be quite surprising. Trader Joe’s carries canned refried beans that are the next best thing to freshly-made. The real secret is to heat these beans in a non-stick skillet to bring them up to a temperature that will heat the bean mixture evenly.

If you add fresh ingredients such as mashed sautéed onions or garlic, this can give canned refried beans more homemade flavor. Sprinkling cheddar cheese over the top of heated refried beans will give even more flavor as it melts into the heated beans mixture.

What People Say About Trader Joe’s Refried Beans

Kristin Vel
Kids favorite meal is nachos and these help make them a little healthier!
This is a staple in our pantry. Very delicious for tacos, nachos, or my famous seven layer dip! Healthy and delicious!
I use these for a mexican themed dinner along with fish tacos or enchiladas. Great flavor
Alexa Sullivan
These are awesome and so low in fat. I use these beans often to make delicious burritos.
Alexa Sullivan
These are awesome and so low in fat. I use these beans often to make delicious burritos.
A pantry staple at a typically fair TJ’s price. These are good enough to eat plain.
These are, by far, the best canned refried beans I have ever had. The are convenient and flavorful. I make sure I always have some on hand!!!
Convenient, useful and inexpensive. I like the Cuban black beans better, but these are good for when you want something basic to go with your enchiladas. Best mixed with hot sauce and topped with cheese.
A staple in my cupboard! They can be used in so many dishes from appetizers to casseroles. Love them!
I always keep a can in my pantry!
Shhhhhhh! Don’t tell anybody…but these are the secret to my layer bean dip. I mix these with a can of organic pinto beans for the bottom layer and it is sooooo good.
Elisa Koranda
I’ve used these to make bean dip for my tortilla chips. I usually mix the beans with some TJ’s salsa OR sometimes I use the TJ’s cheese/salsa stuff that comes in a jar. Super tasty! Just like, if not better than, Rosarita and cheaper, too.
About the Author Samantha

I am Samantha, former sous chef, turned full-time blogger. I specialize in reviewing the latest in cookware. With a small team dedicated to researching appliances, cookware, and tech gadgets we bring you only the best selection to ensure you can spend your hard earned money confidently on the accessory that is best for your cooking, grilling or baking needs. With over 100 products reviewed, we are leading the way in cooking and home buyers guides. Happy Cookin’!

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