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Homemade vs Canned Refried Beans

I have been wondering what people's thoughts are related to canned vs homemade refried beans. I don't live in the US, so I have been figuring out various ways to make my own Tex-Mex food. While I can get canned refried beans where I am, I have also made my own - but I'm not sure if my own are every really worth the extra time compared to just doctoring up the canned variety.

Other thoughts?

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  1. There's a third alternative. I buy canned black beans at Trader Joe's, pour off (and save) some of the liquid, heat 'em up and then smash them. Add back in liquid to get the right consistency.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Sharuf

      I use mashed black beans, too -- I can't stand refried beans- to me, they taste like eating lard.

      1. re: Sharuf

        Another +1 for smashed blacked beans. Been doing that for years. Makes great filling for home made burritos. I season mine up with Adobo, cumin, coriander. Usually use Progresso black beans since they're in all the grocery stores here.

        1. re: njmarshall55

          I use homemade but have also used canned. Smash and dry them out to form a paste. I never use much fat if at all.

          If using homemade they are already seasoned. If canned they will need all of the above.
          Fresh cilantro at the end

      2. I used to use refried beans more than I do now. I also used to make my own with Sharuf's method (sometimes black beans, or kidney, or pinto). I felt the effort was not worth it...lot easier to just pick up a can of re-fried.
        However, pre-made is made with lard - this may be important to some from a diet point of view.

        2 Replies
        1. re: porker

          I prefer them with lard, which is why I used to get canned ones, as I seldom have lard handy. However, there are lardless ones available, and Mrs. O has gone veggie on us, so now those are the ones I'm buying. I do know how to make them, but to me it's a lot like making a pot of chili just for chili dogs, when good canned chili works better. Refried beans around here are more often a component of some dish than a dish all their own: bean burritos, bean dip, whatever. The canned ones, sometimes with a little spicing up, are perfect for this kind of thing.

          1. re: Will Owen

            I make mine with bacon fat, not sure how authentic that is but I'll have to say it's a flavor you'll never find in canned!

        2. We use canned refried beans a lot for quick tacos/burritos. But when we're having a full Mexican meal my husband makes the beans and they are much, much better. Does anybody know if they freeze well?

          2 Replies
          1. re: escondido123

            They freeze just fine. They usually need a little thinning when they are reheated.

            1. re: escondido123

              To make beans for a group, I use the slow cooker. A pound of beans and seven cups of water works for me. If you use black beans, no need to add pork or lard (they are good plain and simple on their own.)

            2. My homemade beans are better (to me - I like the irregular texture more of the homemade and the mix of creaminess and toothiness that I get), not to mention much, much cheaper - I can make a whole giant pot of beans for about 25 cents - we're up to about 30 cents if I want to get fancy and add jalapeno peppers. Stores well, but they usually don't last too long once I have made them. I haven't made them with lard but if I did it would be even cheaper than with oil!
              I feel a little guilty when I forget to plan ahead and have to spring for the small $2 can of refried beans (they're always expensive when I have to buy them in a pinch, for some reason).

              1. For most purposes, Rosarita vegetarian refried beans work great for me. While I am not vegetarian, I find that I like the taste of this product better than their versions that contain lard.

                2 Replies
                1. re: laskiblue

                  I like the vegetarian too. I have never had success making my own- sure they cook and we eat them, but I cannot get the taste and consistency I prefer, down withmy homemade.

                  1. re: laskiblue

                    I like the veg. version too - I just add a hit of lime and a few diced jalapenos. Much better than the lard version.