Bust Out the Beano: These Are the 5 Best Canned Refried Beans

Canned refried beans are one of the tastiest and most versatile foods on your pantry shelf. Nuke ’em in a bowl with some cheese 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 do a big shop, whether or not I already have some at home. They’re the staple of all staples. Gas be damned.

For this taste test, the Sporked crew was joined by Mythical senior segment producer and bean expert Davin Tjen. We dug our spoons into more than a dozen bowls of beans to find refritos with good bean flavor (some of them really struggle to taste like beans!) and a nice rib-sticking texture. None were perfect tens (give me lard or give me death), but these are five we loved all the same.

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trader joe's traditional style fat free refried beans

Best of the Best

Trader Joe’s Traditional Style Fat Free Refried Beans

Say what you will about a fat-free can of beans taking the top spot (I literally just asked you to murder me for lard), but these refried guys from Trader Joe’s had the most bean flavor of any can we cracked. Sporked staff writer Danny Palumbo especially loved their texture. “It’s not just one very smooth, homogenous mixture—they’re really creamy,” he said. “I like the variance in texture. It makes for a great bean burrito.” Indeed, these would be a great base for a basic bean and cheese burrito with with big gobs of melted sharp cheddar. (If you need help picking tortillas, we have you covered on that front too.)

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

amy's organic refried beans

Best Vegetarian

Amy’s Vegetarian Refried Beans Traditional

Seeing as these are, you know, vegetarian, we sort of ruled out the possibility that they would have that nice fatty flavor that animal shortening can contribute to refried beans. Somehow, Amy’s pulled it off anyway. “It’s really savory and fatty somehow,” Danny said, joking that maybe they fibbed about leaving out lard. Whatever they did, it works. These are delicious, have a great texture, and don’t have the weird metallic bitterness we detected in some other cans of beans.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

bush's traditional refried beans

Best Texture

Bush’s Refried Beans Traditional

I’ve long assumed all 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 behavior. 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. Davin really liked the chunky texture that whole beans contribute and could picture these making a killer burrito. Agree.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

ducal refried beans

Best Black

Ducal Refried Beans Black

Try to figure this one out: I generally prefer pinto beans to black beans (I always go with pintos at Chipotle, for instance), but I think I might ultimately prefer refried black beans to refried pinto beans. These refried black beans from Ducal 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. Give these a shot!

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

a dozen cousins refried beans

Best for a Dip

A Dozen Cousins Classic Refried Pinto Beans

To be perfectly honest, I don’t prefer for my refried beans to come pre-seasoned. 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 bag o’ beans wouldn’t be my first pick as a pantry staple, but if you don’t wanna futz with the spice rack and want something you can heat up and go to town on with a bag of tortilla chips, these beans from A Dozen Cousins are a good option. Must. Love. Cumin. You’ve been warned!

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

Other Products We Tried: 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

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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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  • 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 .

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