Can You Freeze Refried Beans?

Refried beans make a wonderful snack and it makes sense to make a large batch for your next Tex-Mex feast. But can you freeze refried beans? Yes, You can freeze refried beans! The best part? No need to worrying about significant changes in flavor, texture, or nutritional value after freezing the dish! It’s worth noting that all types of beans are freezer-friendly too!

Do note, however, that frozen refried beans will become much thicker than normal after it’s been thawed and reheated. That’s okay. You can restore the original consistency of the dish by adding a little water or olive oil as you reheat it!

Easy (and Freezer-Friendly) Refried Beans Recipe

While you can always buy canned refried beans, nothing beats homecooked refried beans! But if you’d like to try a freezer-friendly recipe, try this one:

You will need:

  • 4 cups cooked pinto beans
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. salt


This recipe is more freezer-friendly because 1) it doesn’t have butter, milk, or lard and 2) most of the ingredients are dry. You can, of course, season the refried beans with lard or butter when reheating the dish.

You can start by soaking the pinto beans or not soaking them at all, it’s your choice. Pour the beans into a pot of water, season and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the beans are nice and tender, season with salt and drain the water. Mash the cooked blender using a potato masher or a blender until the mixture is thick.

Stir in the spices and the oil until the ingredients are well incorporated. Pour the refried beans in a pot and simmer over medium heat until the liquids are reduced. Turn off the heat and leave the refried beans to cool completely before prepping the dish for freezing.

Image used under Creative Commons from Justin Smith

Cooking Tips and Suggestions

Faster Cooking Time

Pressed for time? Here’s a great hack that will cut the cooking time in half: use canned pinto beans instead of dried beans! Just reheat and mash the canned pinto beans according to the instruction and prepare the dish as you normally would! You’ll be able to finish up in 15 minutes or less!

Creamy Consistency

If you want to give the refried beans a creamy, velvety consistency as well as a richer flavor, add milk instead of water. If you’d rather not add dairy to the dish, swap the water for chicken or vegetable stock!

Keep it Covered

It might be tempting to check the dish as it cooks every few minutes but keep the lid on if you want the refried beans to cook perfectly! This is the kind of dish that needs uninterrupted time to cook. Just leave the dish to simmer until you’ve achieved the perfect consistency (about 2 hours or so)

Robust Flavors

Want to give the refried beans a delectably robust flavor? Add sliced onions and several cloves of garlic to the cooking pot. The amazing flavors and aroma will add dimension to the dish!


Do note that refried beans may become a hazardous food and is prone to cross-contamination when it is not heated or served properly. For your safety, serve the beans at  140 degrees F to avoid any food-borne illness.

Freezing Leftover Beans

Got leftover beans? If you cook more beans than needed, don’t worry. You can save the rest for later use! Just store the cooked beans in resealable plastic bags, seal, and stick in the freezer. Now you have more cooked beans to use to make more refried beans!

How to Freeze Refried Beans

How you prep the dish for freezing depends on the state of the refried beans. Homemade refried beans must be prepped carefully to extend its shelf life.

Freezing Homemade Refried Beans

Once the refried beans have cooled completely, prepare several freezer-safe containers. Scoop the refried beans into your desired container. Pour a little oil over the top of the dish to keep it from drying out or developing freezer burns. If you’re using a resealable plastic bag, use a double bag to prevent freezer burns.

Cover the container with a heavy-duty aluminum foil prior to sealing. Remove the excess air then seal. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Freezing Store-Bought Fried Beans

Store-bought refried beans are usually sold in cans. That means you have to transfer the product in a freezer-safe container prior to freezing. Just open the can, scoop out the product into a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid. Do not fill the container all the way, leave a couple of inches of space in case the dish expands as it freezes.

Pour a little oil over the top of the dish to keep it from drying out or developing freezer burns. Cover the container with a heavy-duty aluminum foil prior to sealing. Seal the container, write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Image used under Creative Commons from Glory Foods

Shelf Life, Thawing and Reheating Suggestions

Canned refried beans will keep in the freezer for at least 4 to 6 months. This goes especially if the temperature is kept at a steady 0 degrees Farenheight. But for optimal flavor, consume your supply immediately. On the other hand, homemade refried beans should keep in the freezer for 2 to 3 months.

To thaw the frozen refried beans, just leave the dish to thaw in the fridge for several hours to overnight. Once thawed completely, the consistency might be on the watery side, that’s normal. Just stir in a little oil or water to restore the dish’s original consistency. You can reheat the dish on the stove or in the microwave after thawing.

Serve the refried beans immediately and do not refreeze the leftovers. Again, the dish could become a hazardous food once it’s been left sitting at room temperature for hours. If the leftover has been left sitting on the counter within 48 hours, discard it.


Can you freeze refried beans? It’s great to know that this yummy dish keeps so well in the freezer! Now you can prepare make-ahead refried beans for later use. For best results, keep all the storage tips we’ve outlined in this post in mind when prepping the dish for freezing.