Can You Freeze Refried Beans?

There is no need to stress over leftover refried beans whether homemade or canned that you don’t intend to use in the near future. Although you can refrigerate them they can only last for 4-5 days before they start going bad.

For long-term storage, You can freeze refried beans especially if you intend to store them for longer than a month. To freeze them, use an air-tight container or a freezer bag to retain their quality better. Simply use a vacuum sealer or a straw to remove excess air when using a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn.

If you bought canned refried beans, ensure to check for any visible dent or leakage before storage and transfer to an airtight container if need be.

Rich in protein, refried beans are a healthy side dish commonly served with any Mexican meal. Many prefer to eat them as a bean dip or with tortilla chips. Though not much of it is used, you may need to refrigerate or freeze any leftovers for long term storage.

How to freeze refried beans

Once you open canned refried beans, transfer them to an airtight container before freezing as the can tend to rust easily once exposed to air. To freeze homemade refried beans:

  1. Allow them to cool completely at room temperature
  2. Portion them in airtight containers or zip lock bags  depending on the exact amount you will need for your recipe so that you are able to defrost only what you need in the future
  3. Seal the zip lock bags removing excess air possible to prevent freezer burn
  4. Label to avoid over freezing
  5. Put them in the freezer

If stored this way, refried beans can retain their best quality in the freezer for up to 1-2 months.

Other ways to store refried beans


If you have leftover refried beans that you plan on using soon, it is best to store them in the refrigerator. You can start by allowing the beans to cool at room temperature. Put them in an airtight container or a zip lock bag and seal properly then put them in the refrigerator. Re-fried beans can last for up to 4-5 days in the refrigerator.

How to know if refried beans have gone bad

Refried beans will go bad at some point no matter how well it is stored. However, labeling them to prevent over storage and safe handling is a sure way to minimize food wastage and avoid food poisoning.

Here are some traits of spoiled refried beans:

  1. Change in color. They start to discolor especially if not well sealed. Therefore, when using canned refried beans, it is best to remove them from the can once you open and store them in an airtight container. 
  2. A watery texture.
  3. An off smell
  4. Mold growth

Dispose off any package with the above traits to prevent food borne diseases.

How to use frozen refried beans

Defrosting refried beans is easy since there are several ways you can choose from. Since refried beans tend to dry out in the freezer, there are methods that may call for water when thawing.

Below are ways on how you can best defrost your frozen refried beans.

1.In the refrigerator

Simply leave your frozen refried beans in the refrigerator to thaw over night.

2.In a pan

Put the frozen refried beans in a pan, add little water(to get your desired consistency) then put on low heat until completely thawed.

3.In the microwave

Transfer the beans to a microwave-friendly bowl, microwave for three minutes, or until completely thawed.

How to Make Homemade Refried Beans

Re-fried beans are simply boiled mashed beans. Usually, pinto, kidney, or black beans are commonly used in the preparation of this meal. This protein-packed meal is a traditional staple of Mexican and Latin American cuisine.

Here’s a step by step process on how to prepare re-fried beans.

  1. Boil the beans until they are soft. You can use a pressure cooker to fasten the process.
  2. Heat oil in a pan
  3. Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, and salt and cook  for 5 minutes while you stir
  4. Add boiled beans and stir
  5. Let them cook on medium heat for 10 minutes
  6. Mash the beans completely using a potato masher
  7.  Add little lime juice and mix together.
  8. serve

What to do with leftover refried beans

Re-fried beans are versatile. Most people use it as a Mexican side dish, burrito filling, and casserole filler. Others opt to grill the tortilla or spice it up by adding some heat. Options are endless and depend on how you want to prepare your meals with the leftover refried beans.

Here are some delicious meals that go well with the addition of leftover refried beans:

  1. Enchilada Stuffed Shells. These are jumbo pasta stuffed with leftover refried beans, baked in the oven, and topped up with cheese
  2. Baked burrito casserole which is very filling just from one serving
  3. Mexican Lasagna. In this recipe, add your re-fried bean to the minced beef filling.
  4. Re-fried Bean- Taco Pizza. It tastes as delicious as it sounds. Mix your toppings with the beans and spread on your prepared pizza crust
  5. Deep- Dish Beef and Bean Taco Pizza has a tasty thick crust and is prepared in a deep- dish giving a delicious taco taste
  6. Bean Dip. It goes well with tortillas
  7. Bean and Salsa Stuffed Pizza. Enjoy your Mexican cuisine in one slice with this outside-in pizza
  8. Brisket and Bean Burritos. This recipe is packed with smoky bacon and tender beef brisket filled with refried beans
  9. Black Bean and Beef Tostadas. Spread your leftover re-fried beans on your tostadas and fill them up with beef and cheese

Re-fried beans are a healthy dish, especially when homemade. They are a great source of protein, vitamin c, and potassium. Canned refined beans can be high in sodium and not as healthy as homemade ones. These beans are also low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

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