Can you freeze refried beans?

Refried Beans are cherished staples in Mexican and Latin American cooking. Contrary to the name, they mean ‘well-fried beans.’ Made from kidney, pinto, or black beans, this consistent recipe can be a main dish, taco filling, or a tasty nacho dip.

But they’re often spoiled due to improper freezing techniques.

So Can You Freeze Refied Benas, And If Yes Then How Do We Freeze It?

Yes, you can freeze refried beans. They’ll stay good for 3-6 months, preserving their taste and texture for future meals. To do so, cool them, portion them out, label them with the freezing date, and store them in the freezer.

How To Freeze Refried Beans?

Freezing refried beans is a convenient way to extend their shelf life and have a quick meal option on hand. Here’s a straightforward guide:

  • Cool Beans: Allow your freshly cooked refried beans to cool to room temperature. This prevents condensation inside the containers.
  • Choose Containers: Opt for airtight, freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. Divide the beans into portion-sized servings.
  • Seal Tightly: Remove as much air as possible from the containers or bags before sealing. This helps prevent freezer burn.
  • Label and Date: Write the date on each container or bag so you can keep track of freshness.
  • Store: Place the sealed containers or bags in the freezer. They’ll stay good for about 2-3 months.
  • Thaw and Reheat: When you’re ready to enjoy, thaw the frozen refried beans in the fridge overnight. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave, stirring occasionally.

How To Keep Refried Beans For Longer?

To extend the shelf life of refried beans even longer than the freezer, consider these tips:

  • Canning refried beans in mason jars yields a shelf-stable product that can be stored at room temperature for over a year. Follow a tested canning recipe to ensure safety.
  • Dehydrate leftover refried beans to create a homemade bean powder. Store in an airtight container for months. Rehydrate before use.
  • Freeze beans in ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer to bags for easy use of small portions.
  • Refrigerate beans for up to 4 days in a covered container. Use within this period for best quality.
  • Make adjustments when preparing a large batch of beans: increase salt slightly to enhance preservation and add lemon juice to boost acidity levels. Both help prolong shelf life.
  • Purchase commercially canned refried beans. Unopened cans can be stored for 2+ years. Refrigerate opened cans for faster use.
Also Read:   Can You Freeze Potato Salad? 2 Ways to do it

How To Thaw Refried Beans?

Refreezing thawed refried beans is not recommended as it poses safety risks. Here are some ways to properly thaw frozen refried beans:

  • Fridge thawing: This is the preferred method. Place your sealed frozen beans container in the refrigerator 1-2 days before use. The slower thaw helps maintain texture.
  • Cold water thawing: Submerge your bean bag or container (sealed) in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes to ensure it stays cold. Beans should be thawed in 1-2 hours.
  • Microwave thawing: Microwave frozen beans in short 15-second bursts, stirring between rounds. This is a quick thaw option but can alter the bean texture.
  • Stovetop thawing: Add frozen beans to a saucepan over low heat. Gently stir often as they thaw. Avoid letting them get too hot before fully thawed.

Once thawed, use refried beans immediately for best quality. You can generally keep thawed beans refrigerated for 3-4 days before use.

How To Tell If Refried Beans Gone Bad?

Check for these signs that refried beans have spoiled and should be discarded:

  • Mold growth – This is an obvious sign of spoilage. Toss moldy refried beans.
  • Strange odor – Refried beans that smell unpleasant or rotten should not be eaten.
  • Change in texture – If the beans are excessively runny, slimy, or mushy, throw them out.
  • Weird colors – Grayish, greenish, or other unnatural bean colors indicate spoilage.
  • Food poisoning symptoms – If eating the beans causes nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, they’ve likely gone bad.
  • Expired – Refried beans stored past recommended timelines (freezer, fridge) should be tossed.
Also Read:   Can you freeze Velveeta Cheese?

When in doubt, remember the motto: When in doubt, throw it out. Don’t taste-test suspect beans.

How To Store Refried Beans?

Proper storage preserves the quality and lengthens the shelf life of refried beans:

  • Pantry – Unopened canned refried beans can be stored in a cool, dry pantry for up to 2 years.
  • Fridge – Opened canned or homemade refried beans will last 3-4 days in the fridge. Use an airtight container.
  • Freezer – Frozen refried beans are kept for 2-3 months in airtight freezer containers or bags. Avoid temperature fluctuations.
  • Reheating – Only reheat the amount needed. Refrigerate leftovers immediately. Do not save reheated beans more than once.
  • Food safety – Practice good hygiene when preparing beans. Wash hands and surfaces before and after use.
  • Labeling – Label and date bean containers so you use the oldest first. Track fridge/freezer durations.

Proper storage slows bean’s deterioration and reduces food waste.

How To Use Frozen Refried Beans?

Frozen refried beans can be used in place of fresh in most recipes. Here are some great ways to use them:

  • Bean burritos – Thaw frozen refried beans and use as filling for burritos with rice, cheese, salsa, etc.
  • Nachos – Prepare nachos with thawed refried beans, shredded cheese, jalapenos, olives, etc.
  • Quesadillas – Sauté thawed refried beans with taco seasoning to stuff quesadillas.
  • Tostadas – Top crisp tostadas with thawed beans, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and queso fresco.
  • Enchiladas – For the filling, mix thawed beans with roasted veggies and corn.
  • Tacos – Thaw beans overnight then warm and use as the protein filling in tacos.
  • Soup – Blend thawed beans into vegetarian tortilla soup along with veggies and spices.
  • Dip – Mash thawed beans with garlic, chipotle pepper, and cumin for a tasty chip dip.
Also Read:   Can You Freeze Mozzarella Cheese?

So put your frozen refried beans stash to delicious use in tons of Mexican-inspired dishes.


Q1. How do you freeze leftover refried beans?

A1. Transfer leftover refried beans to an airtight freezer container or heavy-duty freezer bag, excluding as much air as possible. They can be frozen for 2-3 months.

Q2. Can you freeze unused canned refried beans?

A2. Yes, any unused portions of canned refried beans can be frozen in airtight containers or bags for up to 2-3 months with little texture change.

Q3. Can you freeze refried beans in Ziploc bags?

A3. Refried beans can absolutely be frozen in Ziploc freezer bags. Squeeze out excess air before sealing and freeze for 2-3 months maximum.

Q4. How do you store canned refried beans after opening?

A4. Once opened, transfer any unused canned refried beans to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. They can also be frozen.

Q5. Why are refried beans cooked twice?

A5. Refried beans are boiled and then fried which softens them into a thick, spreadable texture and intensifies the flavor. The double-cooking is traditional.

Q6. How long are beans good for in the fridge?

A6. Cooked beans last up to 5 days refrigerated in an airtight container. Canned beans last 4-5 days after opening.

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Melissa Baker

Melissa Baker

I am a food lover and the founder of FoodQueries. I have years of experience when it comes to food. I have been cooking since childhood and I know a thing or two about storing, cooking and freezing food in the right way.