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BEST Vegetarian Refried Beans

Sharon Palmer

Home-made frijoles (aka refried beans) just can’t be beat! Plus, you can make them up quite simply with ingredients you probably have in your pantry right now: dried beans, vegetable broth, spices, garlic, onion, and EVOO. Just soak them overnight, cook with seasonings, and mash with sautéed onions and garlic. Yum! One advantage of making your own refried beans is that you can control the health qualities:  make them 100% plant-based (no nasty lard, please!), lower in fat and salt, and higher in flavor and health. You can even try different types of beans. While pinto beans are a classic, try black beans or heirloom beans, which are unusual varieties passed down through the generations. I used an heirloom Rojo Bean for this batch, but the sky is the limit! Make this recipe for BEST Vegetarian Refried Beans ever, which also happen to be vegan and gluten-free, as the star of your plate, or as an addition for tacos, burritos, salads, and more.

Just soak beans overnight, then cook with seasonings until tender. Sauté onions and garlic with EVOO, then add beans with bean broth and mash to achieve your desired texture.
Serve these amazing refried beans right out of the skillet!



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BEST Vegetarian Refried Beans

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(2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: The Plant-Powered Dietitian
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 10 hours (including soaking time)
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Make the best batch of home-made, 100% plant-based Vegetarian Refried Beans ever with just a few simple ingredients to star on your plate, or to serve with tacos, burritos, or salads.




  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Place dried beans in a pot and cover with water. Soak overnight. Drain and discard water and place in a large pot.
  2. Add 6 cups fresh water, vegetable bullion broth cube, and bay leaf.
  3. Cover with a lid and cook until very tender (about 1 ½ – 2 hours), stirring occasionally. May replace liquid lost to evaporation. Should not be overly dry, should have a nice broth of liquid when done cooking. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside.
  4. When beans are almost done cooking, heat olive oil in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet.
  5. Add onions and garlic and sauté for about 10-12 minutes over medium heat, until translucent and soft, stirring frequently.
  6. When beans are done cooking, remove bay leaf, and spoon beans from the pot into the hot skillet with a slotted spoon to drain off liquid into the pot of beans, reserving bean cooking liquid in the pot. Continue to spoon them into the skillet with the onions and garlic until they are all transferred. Use a masher to mash the beans while they are cooking over medium-low heat. Ladle bean liquid, one ladle at a time, while mashing the beans until you achieve your desired mashed texture and moisture level. Beans should be soft, with some chunks of whole beans, with a moist, stiff texture. Note: Beans will continue to dry while you serve them, so you may want to make them a bit moister than you desire.
  7. Garnish with chopped cilantro (optional) and serve immediately with tortillas, as a side-dish, or with tacos, burritos, and salads.
  8. Makes 8 servings (3/4 cup each)


Instant Pot Instructions: To use an Instant Pot, omit step 1, and follow Steps 2-3 in Instant Pot, pressing “beans/chili setting”. Remove from Instant Pot, and follow steps 4-8.

Slow Cooker Instructions: To use a Slow Cooker, follow step 1, and follow Steps 2-3 with a slow cooker, heating on high for 4-6 hours, or low for 8-10 hours. Remove from Slow Cooker, and follow steps 4-8.

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Mexican, American

Keywords: vegan refried beans, best refried beans, easy vegetarian refried beans

For other plant-based bean dishes, check out:

BEST Vegetarian Baked Beans
Provencal Bean Salad
Curried White Bean Oat Veggie Burgers

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