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How do you reheat canned refried beans on the stove?

Canned refried beans are a quick and convenient staple to have on hand. They’re pre-cooked and mashed, making them ready to heat and eat in a matter of minutes. However, the best way to reheat canned refried beans is on the stovetop rather than the microwave. Using the stove allows you to reheat the beans evenly while retaining their texture. Here’s a step-by-step guide to reheating canned refried beans on the stovetop.

Can You Microwave Canned Refried Beans?

While it’s possible to reheat canned refried beans in the microwave, it’s not recommended. The microwave tends to heat things unevenly. Parts of the beans may end up scalding hot while other parts are still cold in the center. The texture also tends to become mushier and less appealing after microwaving.

Heating the beans on the stovetop allows you to gently warm them through without overcooking. The beans will retain their texture better. Stirring also helps distribute the heat evenly for thorough, consistent reheating. The stovetop takes a bit longer but yields better results.


  • 1 can (16 oz) refried beans
  • 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil, bacon fat, or butter (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce, salsa, shredded cheese, sour cream, etc. for serving (optional)


  • Small pot with lid
  • Wooden spoon for stirring
  • Ladle

Steps to Reheat Canned Refried Beans on the Stove

  1. Open the can of refried beans and empty the contents into a small saucepan. Rinse out any stuck-on beans from the can with a bit of water and add to the pan.
  2. Place the pan of beans over medium heat. Add a tablespoon or two of oil, butter, bacon fat, etc. if desired. The small amount of fat will help retain moisture as the beans cook.
  3. Heat the beans, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, 5-10 minutes. If the beans start spattering, turn down the heat slightly.
  4. Once hot, season the beans with salt and pepper as desired. Add any other mix-ins like hot sauce, salsa, shredded cheese, or sour cream.
  5. Serve the reheated beans warm. Top with desired accompaniments.

Tips for Reheating Canned Refried Beans

  • Check that the beans are hot all the way through before serving. Give them a good stir to distribute heat evenly.
  • Add a splash of water or milk if the beans become too thick while reheating. The starch can absorb moisture as they cook.
  • For extra flavor, stir in spices, herbs, garlic, onion, etc. Cumin, chili powder, oregano all pair well.
  • Garnish with shredded cheese, diced onions, avocado, cilantro, jalapenos, etc. after reheating.
  • Make quick bean dip by reheating with milk or cream. Thin with water if too thick.
  • For faster reheating, portion beans out into smaller amounts rather than the whole can.

Common Questions

Can you eat cold canned refried beans?

It’s possible to eat refried beans straight from the can without heating them, but it’s not recommended. Canned refried beans have the best flavor and texture when heated through. Eating them cold tends to make the beans dense, starchy, and less palatable.

How long do canned refried beans last in the fridge?

An opened can of refried beans will last 3-4 days when properly stored in the refrigerator. Keep the beans in their original can or transfer to an airtight container. Make sure to refrigerate within 2 hours of opening. Look for signs of spoilage before eating like an off smell or mold.

Can you freeze canned refried beans?

Yes, you can freeze refried beans for longer term storage. Allow the beans to cool completely after opening, then transfer to freezer bags or containers leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Seal tightly and freeze. The beans will keep for 2-3 months frozen. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.

How long does it take to reheat beans on the stove?

It typically takes 5-10 minutes to reheat a can of refried beans on the stovetop over medium heat. Smaller batches may heat faster. Be sure to stir the beans frequently to distribute the heat evenly throughout. Check that they are fully hot before serving.

Can you reheat refried beans in a slow cooker?

Yes, you can reheat canned refried beans in a slow cooker. Empty the beans into the slow cooker and cook on low for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Add seasonings as desired. Keep the lid on to retain moisture as the beans cook.

Storage Guide

Properly storing canned refried beans is important for preserving freshness and preventing spoilage or foodborne illness. Here are some key storage tips:

  • Store unopened cans in a cool, dry pantry away from direct sunlight.
  • After opening, transfer beans to an airtight container and refrigerate.
  • Refrigerate opened canned beans within 2 hours of opening.
  • Use within 3-4 days for best quality and to prevent spoilage.
  • Look for signs of spoilage before eating like off odors, texture changes, or mold.
  • Freeze for longer storage up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight before reheating.

Nutrition Information

Canned refried beans are a good source of plant-based protein and fiber. Here is the nutrition breakdown for a 1/2 cup serving (130g):

Nutrient Amount
Calories 110
Fat 2g
Sodium 380mg
Carbohydrates 18g
Fiber 7g
Sugars 1g
Protein 7g

As you can see, refried beans are low in fat and high in fiber and plant-based protein. They make a nutritious addition to any meal when reheated properly. The key is following the proper techniques to retain moisture and prevent overcooking when you reheat canned refried beans on the stovetop.


Reheating canned refried beans on the stove is simple and yields the best results. Just empty the beans into a saucepan, warm them over medium heat for 5-10 minutes while stirring occasionally, and season them to taste. This prevents uneven cooking and keeps the beans from becoming too dry or mushy in texture. With the proper reheating method, canned refried beans can be an easy and healthy pantry staple. Adjust seasonings to taste and enjoy their convenience in all types of Mexican recipes.