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Can You Freeze Refried Beans? Indeed, The Guideline Is Here

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If you are a fan of Mexican or Tex-Mex dishes, you are familiar with refried beans. As the name suggests, the main ingredient of refried beans is the beans themself, mostly pinto beans.

This delicious part of Mexican cuisine can be used in various ways, but it is most frequently topped with cheese and served as a side dish for many types of dishes, alongside rice.

Aside from their versatile nature, refried beans are also quite affordable and easy to find. You can easily make them at home.

There are a few ways to store your refried beans and they are quite shelf-stable if you handle them properly. But, people still tend to ask the question “Can you freeze refried beans?”. Here, I will just say that you absolutely can.

However, if you want to know more about freezing refried beans, continue reading.

Can You Freeze Refried Beans?

top view of refried beans in a bowl

Ever since the freezer was invented, people have been using it to extend the shelf life of various types of food, from cooked chicken and other types of meat to various types of fruits and vegetables.

But, in this case, lovers of beans and refried beans tend to ask many questions and one of them is, “Can I freeze refried beans?”. The answer is absolutely positive. You can freeze refried beans and they are in fact really freezer-friendly.

However, you still have to know which type of refried beans you are dealing with, what you want to do with them, how to go through the freezing process properly, and how to defrost and reheat refried beans the right way.

You will be able to answer all these questions much easier after you carefully read this article, so I warmly suggest that you continue with it.

Can You Freeze Store-Bought Refried Beans?

store-bought refried beans

If you don’t have any fresh beans or you just don’t have time to make your own homemade refried beans, you can always buy yourself a can of store-bought refried beans and enjoy them any way you like.

As I already said, all types of refried beans can be frozen and the same goes for canned refried beans. The only question is how to do that properly.

Well, when it comes to canned refried beans, the most important thing that you should know is the fact that refried beans contain water that will expand during the freezing process.

So, it is essential to avoid freezing refried beans in the can. Instead, it is best to transfer it to a heavy-duty container, add a little oil to keep it from thickening and leave a bit of space in the container for expansion.

If you do this, your refried beans will be perfectly fine in the freezer and you will be able to consume them freely after the freezing process.

Can You Freeze Homemade Refried Beans?

refried beans meal

Homemade refried beans are my favorite ones. I can make them according to my own easy recipe, they are much healthier, and they can be frozen quite easily as well. They are also very freezer-friendly and that is the most important thing.

So, if you have any leftover homemade refried beans, you can always transfer them to the freezer to enjoy later. The only problem is that homemade refried beans don’t contain any preservatives, unlike store-bought refried beans, so they may be more prone to spoilage.

But, don’t worry. If you follow the simple guidelines for freezing refried beans explained below, you won’t have any problems with your favorite food from Tex-Mex cuisine.

Freezing Refried Beans The Right Way

close-up photo of refried beans

Freezer meal options are always a great thing because they make cuisine-life easier. You can prepare your favorite dish ahead of time, freeze it, reheat it, and use it whenever you want. Refried beans are a perfect choice if this is your plan. So, here are the steps that you need to follow.

STEP 1: If you just made a large batch of refried beans, you first need to let them cool to room temperature because it is never a good idea to freeze warm food.

STEP 2: After it is cooled, refried beans must be separated into several smaller portions so that you can handle them more easily once you decide to use them.

STEP 3: After making the small portions of refried beans, you have to transfer each portion into separate heavy-duty freezer bags or airtight containers.

• If you are using heavy-duty freezer bags or Ziplock bags, it is essential that you suck out all the excess air and seal the bag properly.

• If you are using an airtight container, on the other hand, it is not a bad idea to place a layer of plastic wrap on the top of the container and then seal it with the lid properly to protect your refried beans from air the best possible way.

STEP 4: After the refried beans are stored properly in the bag or the container, your final task is to label the bag or the container with the exact date of storage and put it deep in the freezer.

How Long Are Refried Beans Good For In The Freezer?

Generally speaking, refried beans are quite shelf-stable if stored in a freezer-safe container or bag somewhere deep in the freezer. Some people even say that they can stay there forever.

However, the USDA says that leftovers should be frozen for 3 to 4 months. “Although safe indefinitely, frozen leftovers can lose moisture and flavor when stored for longer times in the freezer.”

I personally am an advocate of freezing refried beans for no longer than 3-6 months, especially if it is a homemade refried bean because it doesn’t contain any preservatives that can extend its shelf life.

How To Reheat Refried Beans?

refried beans in a bowl with lime in background

One great thing when it comes to freezing refried beans is that you don’t even have to thaw them after the freezing process. You can reheat them directly from frozen and there are several ways to do that.

The best way to reheat your refried beans from frozen is to transfer them from the freezer directly to a skillet or pan. Start on low heat and then, after some time, transfer it to medium heat to accelerate the process.

According to the USDA, “foods should be reheated thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165 °F or until hot and steaming.”

If you find your refried beans to be too dry, you can freely add a bit of olive oil (or some other similar type of oil), stir the mixture a little bit, and its consistency will be perfect again.

If you don’t have much time, you can also reheat your refried beans in the microwave. The process is simple. You just need to put it in a microwave-safe bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and heat it for 3 minutes.

After that, you can stir it and add a bit of oil or water to get the preferred consistency. Put the bowl back in the microwave and let it heat for an additional 1 minute.

One more note. If you are a fan of defrosting your food before heating it, you can still do that with refried beans, although it is not necessary. You just have to transfer them from the freezer to the fridge and let them thaw overnight.

After that time frame, they should havedefrosted properly.

What To Do With Leftover Refried Beans?

refried beans in a bowl on a table

There are really tons of ways to use leftover beans and leftover refried beans. Since we are talking about refried beans in this article, I will reveal to you a few different dishes in which you can incorporate your leftover refried beans. So, here are some uses for refried beans.

• If you want to simplify things, you can just serve your refried beans as a side dish for almost any type of Mexican food. Just top it with some cheese, add rice, and enjoy.

• One of the most popular ways of using refried beans is as a chimichanga or burrito filling. Personally, this is my favorite one and I would recommend you to try it.

• Similar to a burrito, you can also spoon some refried beans onto a tortilla and add a bit of sour cream and cheese to it. You can also add other seasonings and even heat it a little bit to spice things up.

• Refried bean quesadillas are also a great way to use your refried beans, especially if you are a fan of Mexican cuisine. You only need five ingredients including flour tortillas, salsa, some cheese of your liking (I recommend Monterey Jack), and a few tortilla chips to add a bit of texture to the quesadillas.

• Use refried beans as a side for sandwiches.

• Alongside other ingredients like cheese, sour cream, chili powder, and cumin, you can use refried beans to make an extraordinary bean dip and enjoy it with your friends at the party with some spicy Mexican food.

• And, finally, there is another interesting way to use your refried beans. You can use it to make bean-taco pizza. I haven’t tried this pizza before, but according to my food-lover friends, it is definitely worth trying.

Freezer-Friendly Refried Beans Recipe

Freezer-Friendly Refried Beans Recipe

Finally, here is my culinary gift for all you home cooks. It is a simple refried beans recipe that is very freezer-friendly. So, if you like to consume refried beans in various ways throughout the year, here is one simple recipe from my Tex-Mex cuisine.

Prep Time: 5 min

Cook Time: 10 min

Total Time: 15 min


• 4 cups of cooked pinto beans in liquid

• 1/2 tsp cumin

• 1/2 tsp onion powder

• 1/2 tsp garlic powder

• 1/4 cup olive oil

• 1/4 tsp black pepper

• 1/2 tsp salt

Step-By-Step Instructions:

STEP 1: You first need to mash your cooked beans with a potato masher until you achieve the desired consistency. You can also use a blender, but that is up to you to decide.

STEP 2: After that, you are free to add the right amount of listed spices and oil and stir the mixture properly.

STEP 3: Put the mixture in a skillet and cook it for about 5-10 minutes while stirring it a little bit. Stir until the beans are fully warmed.

STEP 4: After that time frame, you can remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool for a while. The mixture will thicken while it cools. If it becomes too thick, you can add a bit of water or chicken broth to solve that problem.

STEP 5: Serve your delicious refried beans and enjoy them however you like.


delicious refried pinto beans

How Long Can Refried Beans Stay In The Fridge?

Aside from freezing them, you can also refrigerate your refried beans and extend their shelf life for a few days. If you store refried beans in the fridge properly, i.e. if you store them in an airtight container or a storage bag that seals well, they will remain good in the fridge for up to 5 days.

How Long Are Black Beans Good In The Fridge?

If you are dealing with an opened can of black beans, it is best to transfer them from the can to a glass or plastic container and place those containers in the fridge.

If you store them that way, your black beans will remain good in the fridge for up to 3-4 days, as stated by the USDA.

Can You Freeze Canned Black Beans?

When it comes to freezing canned black beans, things are quite clear. Just like with all other types of beans, canned black beans can also be frozen.

You just need to transfer the beans from the can to a freezer bag or freezer-safe container, fill it with water until the beans are fully covered, seal the bag or container properly, label it with the exact date of storage, and put it somewhere deep in the freezer.

Black beans that are stored this way in the freezer will remain good for up to 6 months there.

Final Verdict On Freezing Refried Beans

So, the question was, “Can you freeze refried beans?” and the answer is, “Yes, you definitely can!”.

All types of beans and all types of refried beans are quite freezer-friendly, so I would always recommend you freeze your refried beans, no matter if they are store-bought or homemade.Just make sure that you follow the right guidelines for freezing store-bought and homemade refried beans and you will be able to use them whenever you want throughout the year.