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Plant-Based Refried Beans (Vegan)

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Plant-based vegan refried beans are one of the best delicious side-dishes so quick, easy and super flavourful. And incredibly good-for-you. No oil or additional fat is required to prepare this recipe.

Refried beans are also great as a dip, spread, pate or for enriching buddha, taco or salad bowls.

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Plant-based vegan refried beans in small white enamel bowl with blue rim, wooden spoon, and cooking skillet to side, all sitting on yellow tea towel.

Contrary to traditional refried beans these plant-based refried beans are low in cholesterol and saturated fats, and have no added salt, oil or fats.

Vegan refried beans are a savoury umami delicious bowl of plant-based goodness.

This recipe is so good that my son literally eats the beans by the bowlful. Which I am more than happy about as a serving of these beans provide an estimated 4mg iron and 18g protein. And as these beans have lots of fibre (16g per portion) they can help keep us full up for longer, something which is difficult to achieve with a teenage boy!

What are refried beans?

Refried beans originate in Mexico and have been around for about 100 years. They are also a traditional dish in many Latin American countries. As well as being a popular Tex-Mex dish.

Tex-Mex is a blend of Texan, from the Tejanos people of Texas who are descended from Hispanic settlers, and Mexico cuisine.

The ingredients for refried beans are slightly different depending on the region. But the basic preparation remains similar.

Contrary to the name refried beans are not actually fried twice. Which is what I always presumed.

Instead beans, commonly pinto, black or kidney beans, are cooked until soft then mashed, seasoned and fried in lard or oil.

For my vegan refried bean recipe I use whatever beans I have to hand such as kidney, pinto, black, chickpeas, haricot, cannellini, borlotti, etc.

Sometimes I use a single bean or a mix. I have even used a can of bean salad which had pieces of chopped pepper and sweetcorn and the result was delicious.

plant-based vegan refried beans

Recipe notes and FAQs

How do I store refried beans?

Store the beans in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Serve chilled or gently reheat in a pan, may need a little splash of liquid to avoid sticking to your pan.

These beans can also be frozen in a freezer-proof container for 4-6 months. Defrost at room temperature before storing in the fridge. Give the beans a good mix before using.

What can I add refried beans to?

  • Use refried beans as a base or spread for enchiladas, burritos, wraps, pitta breads, sandwiches, romaine lettuce wraps, etc.

  • Spread some refried beans on to whole-wheat crackers or use as a topping for my easy Scottish oatcakes.

  • Salads and buddha/taco bowls are delicious with a dollop of refried beans.
  • Top a veggie burger with some refried beans.

  • Prepare these fat-free easy delicious carrot-dogs and use refried beans as a topping.

  • Create a Tex-Mex inspired pizza. Either add little scoops to your finished pizza or sub out the tomato sauce base and use vegan refried beans instead
  • ..
  • Prepare some refried bean quesadillas which is essentially a tortilla toastie. Add veggies and some plant-based cheese and cook on a non-stick pan until toasted.

  • Use refried beans as a dip for veggie sticks, bread sticks, homemade crispy tortilla chips, etc.

  • Refried beans can be the starter for a special meal. Use refried beans to replace pate. Serve the refried beans in little pots or tiny jars.

  • Add a scoop of refried beans to your favourite veggie chilli or campfire stew recipe for a flavour and nutrition boost.

  • Serve alongside this delicious Mexican rice casserole (with a cheesy nacho topping).

    How do I reheat leftovers?

    Leftover refried beans can be reheated in a pan, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until piping hot. Add a tablespoon or two of veggie stock if necessary to loosen up the sauce.

    Alternatively refried beans are tasty chilled especially with crackers or no-oil cheesy Scottish oatcakes.

    Are refried beans gluten-free?

    Yes. This recipe can easily be prepared gluten-free. Simply ensure that your liquid aminos or soya sauce is gluten-free as well as the veggie stock used. Tamari soya sauce is generally gluten-free.

    Can I add anything extra?

    Yes. Some suggestions:

    * cooked sweetcorn
    * diced, cooked bell peppers
    * cooked onions and/or garlic
    * top with sautéed or fried onions
    * cooked fine chopped mushrooms
    * chopped spring/green onions scattered over finished dish
    * pieces of cooked vegan bacon/sausages
    * mix through roasted cherry tomatoes just before serving
    * tsp or two of liquid smoke for a smoky flavour
    * few drops of hot sauce
    * sprinkle of grated vegan cheese
    * top with grated vegan cheese and place under a grill to melt (in a heat-proof bowl)
    * a swirl of vegan sour cream
    * toss over some crushed tortilla chips/crisps
    * garnish with chopped coriander

    Can I substitute any of the ingredients?

    * substitute the liquid aminos for soya sauce either regular or tamari soya sauce.
    * any cooked bean or bean mix can be used for this recipe
    * onion and/or garlic powder can be switched out for pre-cooked onion or garlic
    * use regular paprika instead of smoky paprika
    *switch out nutritional yeast for vegan grated cheese, although the flavour won’t be as strong

    Very Simple And Quick Method

    Plant-based vegan refried beans

    Plant-Based Refried Beans

    Print Recipe
    The easiest, tastiest side-dish, dip, snack or spread.
    Plant-based refried beans are amazingly good-for-you and bursting with flavour.
    This recipe is sure to become a new favourite as it is just so versatile and can provide any meal with an instant flavour and nutrition boost.
    Course Side Dish, Snack, Starter
    Cuisine American, Mexican
    Prep Time 5 mins
    Cook Time 20 mins
    Total Time 25 mins
    Servings 4
    Calories 253
    Author Jacq


    • Sauté pan/skillet pan/frying pan.
    • Potato masher or fork


    • 720 grams mixed beans, cooked Use 2-3 400 gram (15oz) cans, drained which will provide around 600-720g (4 ½ cups) cooked beans. If cooking dried beans cook about 2 cups dried beans then proceed with the recipe.
    • 375 ml bean water Use the canned bean water or cooking liquid from pre-cooked beans. Although if the canned water has added salt you may prefer to use plain water.
    • 2 tsp onion powder
    • 2 tsp garlic powder
    • 2 tsp smoky paprika or 1 tsp + of chilli powder for an extra spicy refried beans.
    • 1 tbsp liquid aminos try 2 tsp at first and add an extra if desired. Or use tamari soya sauce or regular soya sauce.
    • ½ vegan stock cube or 1/2 tsp of vegan stock powder/paste
    • 25 grams nutritional yeast flakes (about 6 tablespoons) add more or less to taste.

    Optional addition (add after cooking finished)

    • 2 tsp liquid smoke I do recommend this addition as it adds so much flavour.


    • Add everything to a pan.
      Mix well.
      Bring to a simmer.
    • Lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
      Stir frequently.
    • Mash the refried beans. I like to keep some beans semi-mashed for texture.
      Cook while stirring frequently for a few more minutes.
      Add a tiny bit more liquid if required.
    • Taste the seasoning.
      Add more nutritional yeast or aminos to taste.
      Also 1 or 2 tsps of liquid smoke mixed through after cooking brings so much flavour.
      The refried beans generally don't need added salt but add some if liked, as well as some black pepper.
    • Serve or cool and keep in the fridge for later.


    Recipe notes:
    1.  Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not an exact calculation as ingredients vary. Data is analysed used computerized nutrition apps.
    2. For less sodium content use low-salt vegan stock.
    3. Refried beans can be prepared gluten-free is your liquid aminos or soya sauce is gluten-free and your vegan stock is gluten-free. Tamari soya sauce is usually gluten-free.
    4. Store refried beans in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Serve chilled or warmed through. Place in a pan, add a tiny splash of liquid if needed, and gently heat through.
    5. Use as a spread or bean pate for crackers, oatcakes, bread, tortilla wraps, pitta breads, etc. 
    6. Refried beans are an amazingly tasty dip for salad sticks, tortilla chips, potato wedges, etc.
    7. Add a dollop to taco bowls, buddha bowls, filled tortillas, enchiladas, fajitas, etc.
    8. This recipe serves 4 as a side dish, but will provide more than 4 if used as a spread or dip.


    Calories: 253kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 329mg | Potassium: 830mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 493IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 4mg

    More tasty vegan side-dishes to discover

     World War 2 Vegan Champ A tasty economical British traditional mash of potatoes, carrots and cabbage. So yummy.

    Vegan Traditional Scottish Skirlie A skillet/fry-pan dish prepared with pinhead oatmeal, onions, nutritional yeast, herbs and stock. No additional fat necessary for this recipe.

    Vegan Rice-A-Roni A classic rice and pasta dish that has been enriched with kidney beans and bell peppers. One of our all-time family favourites.

    20 thoughts on “Plant-Based Refried Beans (Vegan)”

    1. 5 stars
      LOVE refried beans and eat them all the time, but had never thought of making my own – thanks for a great recipe!

      1. Your welcome! Making your own is so much more enjoyable and tastier. And if you use already cooked beans it is so quick to prepare a batch 🙂

      1. Awesome! So glad you enjoyed the refried beans. They are certainly a flavour bomb and super quick and easy. Great for a side-dish if your a little stuck on what to make and don’t have much fresh ingredients in 🙂

      1. Glad you loved the refried beans. This recipe is my sons favourite he literally eats several bowlfuls in the one sitting! 🙂

      1. Yummy! So do I. And my son loves these refried beans spread on a tortilla wrap with salad and veggies added for school pack lunch. So good!

    2. Marie-Charlotte Chatelain

      5 stars
      Vegan refried beans? This sounds amazing! What an amazing idea – love how savory it sounds

      1. Thanks! These re-fried beans are amazingly savoury with deep umami flavours. This recipe even wins over those who are not that keen on beans 🙂

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