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Oil free refried beans with diced tomatoes.

Homemade Oil-Free Refried Beans (Vegan)

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Allie
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Simple, creamy, vegan, and oil-free refried beans.  This homemade version is made with easy-to-find ingredients and is so much better than the canned stuff.  


  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 jalapeno, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (blend not cayenne pepper)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup salt-free vegetable broth (plus more if the beans get too dry)
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste


  1. For oil-free cooking: In a medium preheated non-stick saucepan, add the onion and jalapeño.  Cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent, about 5-8 minutes.  If you don’t have a non-stick pan, add ¼ cup of water to the saucepan with the onions and jalapeños.  Add a splash of water if the onions start to stick to prevent burning.
  2. Flavor: Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, and oregano and stir to coat the onions and jalapeño.  Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. 
  3. Deglaze: Add the cup of vegetable broth and deglaze the pan.  Scrape off the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  A wooden spoon works well for this.
  4. Beans: Add the pinto beans, bay leaf, and salt.  Stir to combine.
  5. Cook: Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 10-15 minutes for the flavors to blend.
  6. Mash: Remove the bay leaf.  There should be some liquid left, mash some of the beans into the liquid with a potato masher or blend with an immersion blender, keeping some whole for texture.  If the beans get dry after mashing, add more vegetable broth or water to reach your desired consistency.  If the beans are too thin simmer them with the lid off, stirring frequently until they thicken.
  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then serve with your favorite toppings.


Optional toppings: fresh cilantro, diced tomatoes, and salsa.

I use salt-free vegetable broth, if yours is not you may need to decrease the salt.

I like my beans on the creamy side.  If you prefer thick refried beans, start with ¾ cup of vegetable broth.  You can always add more if you need it.

If the liquid is not simmering, then it will take longer for the liquid to cook out.  Alternatively, if you boil you may lose too much liquid.

Two cans of pinto beans can be replaced with 3 cups of cooked pinto beans.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Main Course, Side Dish
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican inspired