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Canned Refried Beans Recipe

Updated on December 30, 2014

Canned Refried Beans

Making Canned Refried Beans Delicious
Making Canned Refried Beans Delicious

Refried Beans Recipe

This recipe will give you quick and easy way to make refried beans out of a can taste absolutely wonderful. Those beans you get at your favorite Mexican restaurant won't be able to hold a candle to these beans, I promise you.

I have listed the prep and cook time at thirty minutes but you a=could actually make this meal in probably fifteen minutes or less start to finish if you used a micowave. The results won't be anywhere near as good if you do, but it is still pretty tasty. I live on a boat so I don't have a microwave at my disposal and the simple truth is that this meal tastes MUCH better when cooked slowly in a pot or pan.

Because you will be using canned ingredients, they need to be cooked out for a while to remove that slightly metallic? taste. Also the longer this recipe cooks the more the flavors blend together and the better the taste.

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Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: One to three poeple

Tasty Refried Beans

Easy To Make Refried Beans
Easy To Make Refried Beans

Why Canned Food

I love to cook and we all pretty much agree that fresh, scratch-made produce tastes better than canned foods so why would I choose to write so many recipes based on canned ingredients? Part of it is the challenge to be sure. Transforming canned food into something delicious is not always that easy so it takes some creative thinking to bring out all the right tastes and flavors.

But mostly it's a necessity for my life-style. I am a liveaboard which means that I live on my boat. I am on a mooring ball just off the end of Shelter Island in San Diego, California, in a place the locals affectionately refer to as Rock-N-Rolla because it is quite turbulent with all the boat traffic going by (or nearly ramming you as happened a few days ago). While I am that close to shore, getting fresh supplies is an easy matter of a quick kayak ride to shore and then a little walk to Rosecrans street to the local Ralphs grocery store. But I'm not always this close to shore and sometimes, like when I am sailing from one place to another, I can't just run down to the local supermarket to get what I want.

Living on a boat means you have to be able to make tasty and nutritious meals from canned foods. Just like camping or homesteading. Or if you just don't enjoy cooking like most of my female friends and you just want to be able to make something quick, easy and tasty.


  • 1 x Can Refried Beans, (Any Brand)
  • 1 x Teaspoon Cumin
  • Evaporated Milk
  • 1 x Can Devilled Ham
  • Chili Powder
  • 1/2/ x Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 x Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 x Can Salsa

Nutritional Yeast

The Nutritional Yeast Cookbook: Recipes Using Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula
The Nutritional Yeast Cookbook: Recipes Using Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula

If you don't know what nutritional yeast is, don't worry, I had never heard of it either until a few years ago and now I can't get enough of the stuff.



  1. Open the can of peppers and onions or salsa (see Amazon suggestions below) and pour them into the pot that you will be using to cook this entire recipe in. Bring the contents to a simmer and cook for at least ten minutes to cook out the 'canned' flavor.
  2. While you are simmering the contents from step 1 above, add the cumin. It is good to add dried herbs and spices early so that they have time to release their flavors. Cumin, incidentally is the flavor that you probably associate with your favorite refried beans on the local Mexican restaurant.
  3. Add the chili powder to the simmering mix. As much as you want. I like it spicy so I add a lot. it also help add a nice red color to the beans which I prefer the the pale, brown color that canned beans often have.
  4. Add a little paprika (about half a tea spoon). Keep stirring these dried spices into the simmering mix and add a little of the condensed (evaporated) milk if you have to so that it doesn't burn. The milk adds a creamy texture to the beans too that is quite pleasant.
  5. Add the nutritional yeast and stir that in too. Nutritional yeast is often used as a cheese substitute because it has kind of a cheesy, almost nutty flavor. I like my beans with cheese but, in keeping with the theme of only canned, jarred, dried or preserved foods in this recipe, we are using nutritional yeast.
  6. Open the can of deviled ham and stir that in. The ham is quite salty so you won't need to add any additional salt to this recipe. The deviled ham just adds another layer of flavor to the beans and keeps the carnivores happy. You can skip it if you are a vegetarian and it won't lessen the flavor of this meal at all.
  7. After you have stirred in all the dry ingredients and simmered the contents of the canned salsa (or whatever you chose), pour in the can of refried beans and mix it all together. The longer you cook it (on low heat obviously) the better it will taste because the flavors will develop and blend together. When you are finished cooking it, serve it and eat it (see serving suggestions below).

Peppers and Onions

Furmano's Mixed Pepper Strips with Onions - #10 Can
Furmano's Mixed Pepper Strips with Onions - #10 Can

There are several different brands of canned peppers and onion combinations on the market, some even include corn (my wife's favorite). Choose your favorite and add it to the refried beans.


Can of Salsa

Embasa Salsa Mexicana, 7-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12)
Embasa Salsa Mexicana, 7-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12)

This can of Embasa salsa contains tomatoes, onions and jalapenos and really does a good job of adding some flavor to your refried beans. Canned tomatoes, for some reason, seem to retain the 'tinny' flavor more than most other canned foods so it it a good idea to cook the salsa out for a while before mixing with the beans. A low simmer for ten minutes should do the trick.


In Case You Were Wondering...

A Double Layered Taco
A Double Layered Taco

Serving Suggestions

Obviously refried beans make an excellent filling for tacos, pita pockets or burritos or the insanely decadent Double Layered Taco. That's where the soft taco is glued to the outside of a hard-shell taco with cheese.

These refried beans are great with rice but they need a little substance, a different texture in my opinion so I like to add some crunch in the form of toasted pita bread or corn chips or even crackers.

Tasty Refried Beans Recipe

Simple Refried Beans Recipe
Simple Refried Beans Recipe

One Pot Meals

One Pot of the Day (Williams-Sonoma): 365 recipes for every day of the year
One Pot of the Day (Williams-Sonoma): 365 recipes for every day of the year

I only have one burner on my boat 'stove' so I am always looking for meals that can be made in one pot. This is also very important when we go camping or kayak camping.


Cumin For Weightloss

Just moments after I published this hub, I read an article that outlines a dietary study showing good evidence that cumin promotes weight loss. Another great reason to try this refried beans recipe!


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    • lovetherain profile image

      lovetherain 3 months ago from Untited States

      Sounds interesting, I'll have to try it.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      We always keep a can or two of refried beans in our pantry. We also like it spiced up with salsa, etc. Good tip about the cumin.

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 3 years ago from The High Seas

      Get dried beans and make them from scratch, they are delicious!

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i have never try refried beans, too bad here we can't find these canned food

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 3 years ago from The High Seas

      Oh the years I wasted not knowing what nutritional yeast was!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

      These do sound delicious! Now I´m craving Mexican food. The double-layer taco looks yummy too. I agree that living on a boat would for a cook to be creative. I also like your use of nutritional yeast.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 3 years ago from New York

      LOL Yes we do!

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 3 years ago from The High Seas

      I added cilantro since I had fresh on board! Great minds...

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 3 years ago from New York

      I love refried beans and this recipe sound pretty tasty. I think the only thing I would change is to add a little coriander since we can't have any fresh cilantro and i would use cayenne instead of paprika. I am pinning this one.

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 3 years ago from The High Seas

      I LOVE using bean paste as a spread on bread! It's a staple in our sandwiches. I like to make it from scratch but I'm building a book of canned recipes for a passage to Hawaii and beyond next October. No fresh food on that journey since we are going to dawdle the high seas and take out time getting there.

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 3 years ago from The High Seas

      The problem with making cheese and bean dip is that you don't really want to do anything else. Hmm stay here and eat cheesy-bean-dip or....what was I thinking about again? Please bring another tub of the dip. No, no, just pour it down my throat. I swallow it like a duck.

    • aethelthryth profile image

      aethelthryth 3 years ago from American Southwest

      Great idea; I think maybe this just became supper for tonight. Although it is embarrassing being a native New Mexican and getting ideas for refried beans from somebody on a boat! In the American Southwest, refried beans is sometimes called "Mexican peanut butter" because, like peanut butter, it is cheap, spreadable, full of protein, and has a million uses.

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      I am a great fan of refried beans. Whenever I make chilli con carne or guacamole, I also make an easy cheesy dip. A can of refried beans in a pot over a low heat, then add handfuls of grated cheese. I'm not sure how it would rate on a health scale, but it is a wonderful dip to add alongside other dips ... with the right corn chips. :)