How long can you keep refried beans in the fridge?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long can you keep refried beans in the fridge?”, and how to store refried beans?

How long can you keep refried beans in the fridge?

Refried beans are best stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. An unopened can of refried beans last 5 years. Freezing enhances the shelf-life of the beans up to 2-3 months. 

How to store refried beans in the fridge?

First, let the refried beans cool down. It is important to let the steam escape to prevent it from collecting in the storage container and giving rise to bacteria.

Then transfer the refried beans to a glass or plastic container. Canned beans should not be refrigerated in their original metallic cans. Empty the can into a non-metallic container (glass or plastic etc). 

Alternatively, you can also use a plastic resealable bag for this purpose. However, inspect the bag for any tears or holes before you put the beans inside it. 

Refried beans should be refrigerated within 1 hour of cooking to preserve their freshness for longer in the fridge.  

How to freeze refried beans?

Let it cool: Let the beans cool before you attempt to freeze them. Storing piping hot refried beans will lead to spoilage and thawing of the nearby items in the fridge due to heat.

Divide into portions: If you are working with a large portion of refried beans that you made at home or emptied from cans, it is best to divide them into meal-sized portions. 

Bag up: You can use a non-metallic air-tight container or a heavy-duty freezer bag to bag up refried beans. When using a bag, squeeze it to remove as much air as possible.

Label and freeze: Put a clear label on the storage bag or container and put it in the freezer. The label will help keep track of the freshness of the beans.

How to thaw refried beans?

The best and the safest way to thaw frozen refried beans is to leave them in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. The presence of separation water in the thawed beans is natural. 

Thawed refried beans are best used in soups. Refried beans cannot be refrozen as the freeze-thaw cycle significantly damages the texture and taste of the beans. 

How to reheat refried beans?

In the skillet

Transfer the beans into a skillet and add a splash of water or chicken broth in it. Cook on medium heat until the moisture evaporates and the beans are thoroughly cooked. This shall take about 5 minutes. 

In the microwave 

Microwaving is a fast approach to reheating beans. But you must be careful because microwaving tends to reheat the beans unevenly. Transfer the beans onto a microwave-safe plate and place a damp paper towel on top. 

Microwave on 50 percent power for 1-2 minutes or until the beans are warm through. Do not forget to stir after 30 minutes intervals to promote even cooking.

How to tell if the beans are bad?

Band refried beans have a bad smell that is hard to ignore. If the odor is fine, inspect for the presence of mold. 

It may be present in colored fuzzy patches or spots on the surface of the beans. Surface slime is also a sign of spoilage. 

It is best to err on the side of caution and discard the refried beans that have been sitting in the fridge for more than 5 days even if they look and smell alright. 

In the case of canned refried beans, inspect the can first. Reject the beans if the can is dented, is bloated, or is leaking. 

How to make refried beans?


  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped yellow or white onion (about ½ small onion)
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained, or 3 cups cooked pinto beans
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (about ½ medium lime), to taste


  1. In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat and cook the salt and onions until translucent for 4-8 minutes.
  1. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, and cumin, cook until fragrant or for 30 seconds. Pour in some water followed by the drained beans. Cook for 5 minutes. 
  1. Cook the beans on low while you mash almost half of the beans using a potato masher or a fork. Cook the mashed beans for another 3 minutes with continuous stirring.
  1. Empty the pan onto the serving plate. Sprinkle some fresh cilantro on top and squeeze some lemon. 


In this article, we answered the question “How long can you keep refried beans in the fridge?”, and how to store refried beans?


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.