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How many calories in a cup of cooked refried beans?

Refried beans are a staple ingredient in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. They are made by mashing pinto beans and cooking them with oil or lard to make a smooth, thick paste. A cup of cooked refried beans contains approximately:

Calories in 1 Cup of Refried Beans

A 1 cup serving of canned, traditional refried beans contains approximately:

  • 245 calories
  • 10g protein
  • 4.5g fat
  • 40g carbohydrates
  • 12g fiber

The number of calories can vary slightly depending on the specific ingredients and preparation methods. Homemade refried beans may be lower in calories if cooked with less oil or bacon fat. The calorie content also depends on whether lard or vegetable oil was used.

Nutritional Profile of Refried Beans

In addition to being high in calories, refried beans are packed with protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and various vitamins and minerals. Here is an overview of the nutritional profile of 1 cup of canned refried beans:

  • Protein: 10g. Refried beans are an excellent plant-based source of protein.
  • Fiber: 12g. The high fiber content supports digestive health.
  • Carbohydrates: 40g total; 4g sugar, 36g complex carbs. The complex carbs provide sustained energy.
  • Fat: 4.5g total; 2g saturated fat. Refried beans are relatively low in fat.
  • Vitamins: Provides thiamin, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, and potassium.
  • Sodium: 900mg. Canned varieties tend to be high in sodium; rinse and drain to reduce the sodium content.

Ways to Reduce Calories in Refried Beans

If you are looking to cut back on calories, here are some tips for lower calorie refried beans:

  • Make your own from dried beans instead of using canned. Homemade tends to be lower in fat, calories, and sodium.
  • Use chicken or vegetable broth instead of oil or lard when mashing the beans.
  • Try black beans or pinto beans instead of traditional refried beans made from pinto beans.
  • Use reduced-fat cheese in bean recipes.
  • Cut back on any extra oils, cheeses, creams, and sour cream added to refried bean dishes.
  • Rinse and drain canned beans to remove some of the oil or grease.
  • Enjoy refried beans in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet.

High Calorie Ingredients in Refried Beans

Most of the calories in refried beans come from the beans themselves. However, traditional refried bean recipes call for ingredients that boost the calorie and fat content:

  • Oil or lard: Used to cook and mash the beans; adds about 120 calories per tablespoon.
  • Cheese: Often mixed into refried beans; adds 80-110 calories per ounce.
  • Bacon or pork: Used to flavor beans; adds about 40 calories per slice of bacon.
  • Sour cream: A common topping; adds about 30 calories per tablespoon.

To lighten refried beans, use less of these high calorie mix-ins or find lower calorie substitutions.

Serving Sizes

Pay attention to serving sizes when planning refried bean dishes:

  • 1/2 cup of refried beans is considered one serving size.
  • The full calorie and nutrient counts are for a 1 cup serving size.
  • Burritos, tacos, nachos, etc. often contain 1/2 cup refried beans or more per serving.
  • A side dish of refried beans may easily add up to 1 cup or more.

Be mindful of portion sizes to keep calories under control. Measure out 1/2 cup servings to avoid overeating high calorie bean dips and sides.

Calorie Comparison to Other Bean Varieties

How do refried beans compare calorie-wise to other bean types?

Bean Type Calories per 1 Cup Cooked
Black beans 227
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) 269
Kidney beans 225
Lima beans 216
Navy beans 255
Pinto beans 245
Refried beans 245

As you can see, refried beans are very comparable in calories and nutrition to other common bean varieties. When enjoyed in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet, they can be a healthy addition to your meal plan.


A 1 cup serving of refried beans contains about 245 calories, with 10g of protein, 4.5g of fat, and 12g of fiber. The number of calories can vary depending on specific ingredients used. To lighten refried beans: make your own, use less oil/lard when cooking, and limit high calorie mix-ins like cheese and sour cream. When paying attention to portion sizes, refried beans can be part of a healthy diet.