Refried beans are a staple in any college student’s diet, and for good reason: they’re ridiculously easy to make and packed with flavor.
But did you know that you can add tons of extra flavor to your refried beans by adding different ingredients?
If you’re looking for something to add a little more flavor to your refried beans, you can try adding spices such as chili powder, cumin, or smoked paprika. You can also try adding shredded cheese, diced onions, or diced tomatoes.
Still looking for ideas?
Then keep scrolling!
What to Add to Refried Beans for Flavor
From shredded cheese to diced tomatoes, there are plenty of options for adding extra flavor to your beans.
Here are 14 different ways to add flavor to your refried beans:
Whether you make your own salsa or buy it premade, there is no wrong way to top your refried beans.
I like to add a layer of fresh salsa on the bottom of my bowl, followed by some of the shredded cheese (queso fresco or pepper jack are my favorites), and then finally the beans.
This allows each element to soak up the flavor of the salsa and cheese while still being able to enjoy a hearty bowl of refried beans.
2. Add Some Canned Chipotles
If you have some canned chipotles on hand, you can add them to your refried beans as a way to add some heat and flavor.
These canned chipotles come in adobo, which is a sauce made from smoked jalapeños and vinegar.
The smoky flavor is perfect for adding depth to your refried beans, but if you don’t have any canned chipotles on hand, you can also use a tablespoon of smoked paprika or chili powder instead.
3. Mix in A Little Leftover Taco Meat
Leftovers are often forgotten in the fridge, but they make a great addition to refried beans.
Adding shredded or chopped cooked meat (taco, chicken, pork) will add tons of flavor and a hearty texture.
You can also add in some diced fresh vegetables like bell peppers, onions, or tomatoes if you have them on hand.
Be sure to use a moderate amount of spices, as too much can overpower the flavors of the leftover ingredients.
4. Stir in Some Sautéed Onions or Garlic
Adding sautéed onions or garlic to refried beans gives them great flavor and makes them extra tasty.
Stir them in early on before the beans start to cook, and they’ll impart their own deliciousness to the dish while ensuring that they don’t get too mushy or soggy.
5. Top with Some Crumbled Queso Fresco or Cotija Cheese
I’ve always had a weakness for cheese.
It’s in my genes, I think.
And no matter what I do, I can’t help but add a little cheese to just about everything.
From simple things like shredded cheese on toast or melted cheese in my scrambled eggs, to more complex dishes like refried beans and enchiladas – I love adding some cheesy goodness to my food.
Adding a little crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese to your refried beans will give them the perfect balance of flavor and texture.
These cheeses are both mild and slightly salty, which means they’ll complement the beans without overpowering them.
Plus, they’re both affordable and easy to find at most grocery stores.
So if you’re looking for a way to elevate your basic beans dish, these two toppings are definitely worth trying out.
6. Add a Dollop of Guacamole or Sour Cream
If you like Mexican flavors in your refried beans, try adding a dollop of guacamole or sour cream to the mix.
Guacamole is a classic addition, and it will add tons of flavor and creaminess while sour cream gives the beans a nice tang.
For an even richer flavor, you can also add diced avocado or shredded cheese to the mix.
7. Sprinkle on Some Chopped Fresh Cilantro
Why not add some freshness and crunch to your beans by sprinkling them with chopped fresh cilantro?
This herb, which has a slightly pungent and slightly sour taste, is a great way to add some extra flavor and texture to the beans.
It can also be used as a garnish or even as part of the recipe itself. Simply chop up a handful of cilantro and sprinkle it over the refried beans before serving.
8. Stir in A Can of Rotel Tomatoes
Who knew that canned food could add so much flavor to refried beans?
I always add a can of diced tomatoes to mine for extra zing. Not only does it give the beans a delicious tomato flavor, but it also helps thicken them up.
Just make sure you don’t overdo it—you don’t want the beans to turn into tomato soup!
9. Add a Spoonful of Your Favorite Salsa Verde
Do you have a favorite salsa verde recipe? If so, add a spoonful of that to your refried beans for a little extra flavor.
This is a great way to use up leftover salsa or to jazz up your beans for a special meal.
Simply mix together the salsa verde and refried beans, heat through, and enjoy!
10. Mix in A Can of Drained and Rinsed Pinto Beans
If you don’t mind a little extra work, you can add a lot of flavor to your refried beans by mixing in a can of drained and rinsed pinto beans.
Not only will the beans get a boost in flavor, but the added texture will help to thicken the mixture.
Just be sure to mix everything well before serving so that everyone gets their desired level of consistency.
11. Top with Some Crispy Bacon Bits or Crumbled Chorizo
Bacon pretty much makes anything taste better, and that’s especially true when it comes to refried beans.
The smoky flavor of bacon really brings out the best in these simple ingredients.
To make them even more delicious, I like to top them with some crispy bits of bacon or crumbled chorizo.
Not only do they add a delicious flavor, but they also give the beans a nice crunchy texture.
Mole sauce is known for its complex flavor and intense heat, but that’s not all it can do.
If you’re looking for a way to give your refried beans a little more flavor, try stirring in a spoonful of the sauce before serving.
Mole sauce is typically made with a variety of spices and herbs, so it will add a unique twist to your beans.
Mexican cuisine has always had a bit of a savory edge to it, and that’s thanks in large part to the amazing enchilada sauce.
This sauce can be added to refried beans for an extra layer of flavor.
Just add one can of enchilada sauce to a pot of cooked refried beans and you’ll have a dish that’s just as delicious as anything from a restaurant but way easier to make at home.
14. Make Them Extra Cheesy by Stirring in Some Shredded Cheese
I love cheese, so I know that adding cheese to refried beans is a great way to boost their flavor.
Not only will the cheese add some amazing flavor, but it will also help to bind the beans together and make them extra creamy.
To make things even more delicious, I like to stir in some shredded cheese right before serving.
This not only adds extra richness and creaminess, but it also gives the refried beans a nice texture.
What to Add to Canned Refried Beans?
There are a few things you can add to canned refried beans to give them more flavor. This includes adding onions, garlic, green chilies, cheese, and sour cream. You can also add some spices, such as chili powder, cumin, and paprika. If you want a heartier dish, you can add ground beef or sausage.
What to Add to Refried Beans for Flavor (14 Best Options)
- Top with Some Delicious Salsa
- Add Some Canned Chipotles
- Mix in A Little Leftover Taco Meat
- Stir in Some Sautéed Onions or Garlic
- Top with Some Crumbled Queso Fresco or Cotija Cheese
- Add a Dollop of Guacamole or Sour Cream
- Sprinkle on Some Chopped Fresh Cilantro
- Stir in A Can of Rotel Tomatoes
- Add a Spoonful of Your Favorite Salsa Verde
- Mix in A Can of Drained and Rinsed Pinto Beans
- Top with Some Crispy Bacon Bits or Crumbled Chorizo
- Stir in A Spoonful of Mole Sauce
- Add a Can of Enchilada Sauce
- Make Them Extra Cheesy by Stirring in Some Shredded Cheese
- Pick your favorite ingredient from this list to add to your refried beans.
- Prepare the rest of your delicious meal.
- Enjoy in no time!