This quick and healthy recipe will teach you how to make black refried beans from a can of black beans without added fat or oil. Cuban-inspired seasonings like cumin, onion, garlic and red wine vinegar impart loads of flavor perfect for tostadas, tacos, nachos and more!
Black beans are popular throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. They are delicious cooked whole and also mashed or pureed into refried black beans.
Authentic Cuban black beans are cooked with onion, garlic, green bell pepper, cumin, cilantro or oregano and red wine vinegar.
🧄 Ingredient notes
- Ground cumin - Crucial, in my opinion, to this recipe. Use the best (and freshest) ground cumin you have.
- Fresh cilantro - Optional, if you don't care for cilantro. But, if you have it, I highly recommend adding it for that fresh pop of flavor.
- Red wine vinegar - Imparts a sweet acidity to the beans that brightens it up
📋 Substitutions and variations
Don't have everything for this recipe? Here are some possible substitutions you can make:
- black beans: substitute with pinto beans for refried pinto beans. Or, use homemade black beans (1.5 cups, drained and rinsed).
- sea salt: substitute with other salt of your choice or omit for salt-free refried black beans
- garlic powder: substitute with 1 clove chopped fresh garlic
- fresh cilantro: can substitute with 1 teaspoon dried cilantro but it will not be as bright and flavorful. A better option would be ½ teaspoon dried oregano, as this is authentic for Cuban black beans.
- red wine vinegar: substitute with white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
- water: substitute with vegetable broth or liquid from cooking black beans.
Adjust the seasonings or beans you use to shift the flavors in this homemade vegan refried beans recipe. Here are some ideas:
- Make it spicy: add a few dashes of cholula hot sauce (or your favorite hot sauce) or chopped jalapeño pepper when blending the refried beans
- Chipotle Black Refried Beans: add 1-2 chipotles in adobo sauce (or ½ teaspoon chipotle powder) to the food processor before blending. Blend until smooth.
- Use pinto beans vs. black beans = Here's how to cook canned refried beans the fat free vegan way
- Use homemade black beans instead of canned, if you have them
- Reduce water to 2 tablespoons and omit cooking on the stove for a 5-Minute Vegan Black Bean Dip!
Step 1: Add drained black beans to mini food processor.
Step 2: Add all spices (ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, salt) to food processor
Step 3: Add red wine vinegar, water and cilantro to food processor
Step 4: Process until smooth
Step 5: Check texture (it should be thinner than a dip and will thicken on the stove). Taste and adjust salt, as needed.
Step 6: Transfer beans to a small pan or skillet on the stove. Heat beans over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the beans are hot, bubbling and thickened slightly.
🧯 Food safety
- Wash hands with soap and water before cooking
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
⭐️ Expert tips
- When heating on the stove, be sure to simmer it and stir frequently, so the beans don't sputter and make a mess everywhere!
- Mini food processor to puree the black beans with the spices and cilantro.
A regular-sized food processor could work, as well. You will just need to stop to scrape down the sides more frequently. You could easily make a double batch in a regular sized food processor, as well.
🥡 Make ahead and storage tips
Refried black beans can be made ahead a day or two. Store the prepared beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Good for up to 5 days.
They also freeze well! Keep in the freezer, in an airtight container with a little empty room at the top so they can expand. Will keep for up to 3 months.
👨👩👦👦 Serving suggestions
- Black Bean Avocado Tostadas with avocado, lettuce, tomato and cashew cream for a simple and delicious weeknight meal your family will love.
- Use in place of refried pinto beans in any recipe
- Serve with white rice and cooked plantains for a Cuban-inspired dinner
- Add to tacos
- Add to burritos
- Top nachos
- Reduce the water in this recipe to make Homemade Vegan Black Bean Dip in 5 minutes
☕️ Tea pairing
These vegan black refried beans would be delicious paired with iced tea, hibiscus tea, mango tea, pineapple green tea or vegan horchata.
Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will last for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.
Not normally, no. Traditional refried beans are made with lard, which is animal fat. For vegan refried beans, look for fat free or vegetarian versions at the grocery store. Or, make your own using canned beans!
You can easily make refried beans from a can of black beans by pureeing them in a food processor with spices and then heating them in a pan on the stove.
💜 More recipes you'll love
If you love this vegan refried black beans recipe, check out these other plant-based vegan TexMex and Latin American recipes!
Vegan Refried Black Beans (fat-free, oil-free)
- Mini food processor or regular sized food processor
- Add drained and rinsed black beans to a mini food processor, along with ground cumin, sea salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, red wine vinegar, cilantro and water.
- Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times.
- Transfer pureed black beans to a small pan or skillet on the stove. Heat beans over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the beans are hot, bubbling and thickened slightly.