The Best Canned Refried Beans Don’t Come in a Can

The best canned refried beans are among the tastiest and most versatile foods in your pantry. Nuke ’em in a bowl with some shredded cheese and sour cream on top and, voila, you have dip. Slap a few dollops on a flour tortilla and, with just a few more toppings, you’ve got yourself a burrito, baby. If you’re like me, you always have a can on hand. Actually, I usually have between two and five cans on hand because I tend to just throw one in my cart every time I go to the grocery store, whether or not I already have some at home—but don’t take for granted that the best refried beans come in a can. In fact, we found a refried beans pouch that just might change your shopping habits for good.

Over the course of two separate test tests, we tasted and retasted all the best refried beans at the grocery store. This time around, we added low sodium refried beans to this mix—hey, people with dietary restrictions deserve easy burritos, too—and actually found a product that bested our previous number one. Grab the rest of your taco Tuesday fixin’s—these are the best refried beans.


best refried beans for dip

Best for a Dip

A Dozen Cousins Classic Refried Pinto Beans

To be perfectly honest, I don’t prefer pre-seasoned refried beans. I can handle salt and maybe some garlic powder, sure, but in general, let me be the master of my spice destiny. For that reason, this extremely cumin-heavy refried beans pouch wouldn’t be my first pick as a pantry staple, but they just may be the best refried beans if you don’t want to futz with the spice rack and instead just want something you can simply heat up and dig into with some tortilla chips. Must. Love. Cumin. You’ve been warned!

Credit: Merc / Target

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

best low sodium refried beans

Best Vegetarian

Amy’s Light in Sodium Vegetarian Organic Refried Black Beans

Even if you don’t think that refried beans contain a lot of sodium because they generally taste pretty bland, these sodium refried beans from Amy’s taste way different from the other best canned refried beans on this list. These are bland to the max, but in a totally pleasant way—I think you could argue that the lack of sodium helps the flavor of the earthy beans shine through a little more. We also tried Amy’s Light in Sodium refried pintos, but the less sodium refried black beans just have a slightly beanier and more significant flavor. If you’re watching your salt, these are the best refried beans.

Credit: Merc / Amy’s

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

best refried beans

Best Texture

Bush’s Refried Beans Traditional

Before I embarked on a career as a professional food taste tester, I’d long assumed all canned beans are created equal. If a store brand is cheaper than a name brand, that’s what I’m buying. But I gotta tell ya, we’ve had a couple of Bush’s products recently that made me rethink that position. Bush’s makes good commercials (you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think I said “roll that beautiful bean footage” at least three times during this taste test) and they really make a quality product. That goes for these refritos, too. If you like your refried beans to contain actual, discernible beans rather than being a straight-up smooth puree, these are the best store bought refried beans.

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best refried black beans

Best Black

Ducal Refried Beans Black

Besides giving me extremely bad gas, this taste test taught me that some of the best refried beans are refried black beans. I generally prefer pinto beans to black beans (I always go with pintos at Chipotle, for instance), but there’s something so smooth and satisfying about refried black beans. These Ducal beans are smooth, tasty, and have a creaminess that a lot of the refried pintos we tried do not. What a fun, benign way to mix things up. If you want to give refried black beans a shot, these are the best canned refried beans to toss in your cart. I remembered these fondly from our first taste test and they didn’t disappoint in our second one.

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best fat free refried beans

Best of the Best

Trader Joe’s Traditional Style Fat Free Refried Beans

The best refried beans on this list (spoiler: Isadora Traditional Refried Beans) are not fat free. In fact, they specifically contain pork fat, which is part of the reason they taste so damn good. That said, these Trader Joe’s refried beans manage to taste great without any fat whatsoever. They’re pretty dense—I’ve taken to watering down my canned refried beans for burrito-making purposes—but there’s a creaminess that I think is surprising in a fat free product. These are definitely the best fat free refried beans, but they’re pretty close to being the best canned refried beans period, and that’s really something. These would be a great base for a basic bean and cheese burrito with some reduced fat shredded cheese. 

Credit: Merc / Trader Joe’s

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best refried beans

Best of the Best

Isadora Traditional Refried Beans

You know when you taste something and you’re like, wow, this must contain an ingredient that makes it taste extra good? That’s what I experienced eating the delicious mush inside this refried beans pouch. The flavor is just so complex. There’s a hint of smokiness and an extra savory flavor that almost reads as cheesiness—I checked the ingredients and the culprit is lard! Literally, if you’ve ever had extremely delicious refried beans at a restaurant, dollars to doughnuts, they contained lard. And a little fat goes a long way in this packet of Isadora refried beans. They’re so creamy, but they have a little bit of beanie texture, too, minus the bean skins. As I said, I have a tendency to loosen my canned refried beans with a splash of water, but these don’t need it—they’re smooth and restaurant quality in both flavor and texture right out of the pouch. These are definitely the best refried beans I’ve ever had from the grocery store. Bonus: Isadora refried beans were cheaper than a lot of the canned refried beans we tried.

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

Other Products We Tried: Amy’s Light in Sodium Tradition Vegetarian Organic Refried Beans, Amy’s Organic Refried Black Beans, Goya Rancheros Refried Beans, Amy’s Organic Refried Beans with Mild Green Chiles, Amy’s Vegetarian Organic Traditional Refried Beans, Goya Traditional Refried Beans, Isadora Black Refried Beans, Ducal Rojos Refried Beans, Rosarita 30% Less Sodium Traditional Refried Beans, Rosarita Traditional Refried Beans, Old El Paso Traditional Refried Beans, Old El Paso Vegetarian Refried Beans, Rosarita Vegetarian Refried Beans, La Preferida Authentic Refried Beans, Ortega Traditional Refried Beans, Good & Gather Refried Beans, Good & Gather Fat Free Refried Beans


About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.

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  • The hands down best are WinCo store brand. The key ingredient is that they use lard!

    Reply
  • Too bad they discontinued the Trader Joes black refried beans. So sad, they were a staple

    Reply
  • If you’re still looking for a “possible” 10, Maybe Gebhardt’s or Rosartia’s? Typically I just add sour cream to my beans if I want them to taste more like a restaurant .

    Reply