Vegan Refried Beans in pan with tacos

Easy Vegan Refried Beans

Looking to switch things up from your usual Taco Tuesday routine? Try these easy vegan refried beans! They are so versatile, easy to make and easy to customize. Oh, they’re delicious too! These refried beans can be used for tacos, nachos, burritos, a side dish, as a dip and even burrito bowls. I know you’re going to love them just as much as i do!

Vegan Refried Beans Ingredients (with substitutions)

  • olive oil – this will be used to sauté your diced bell peppers and onions. No olive oil? You can substitute with another neutral oil instead. For an oil-free version, try sautéing your veggies in water, additional vegan chicken or vegetable broth.
  • yellow onion – you could also substitute for red onion if you’d like.
  • red bell pepper – any color bell pepper will work, or you can omit all together.
  • canned pinto beans – not a fan of pinto beans? you can also substitute for a different type of bean such as red beans or black beans.
  • taco seasoning – take this opportunity to use your favorite taco seasoning, or make one from scratch!
  • vegan chicken broth – don’t have any vegan chicken broth? You can also substitute with vegetable broth instead. Don’t have any vegetable broth? You can use water as an alternative, but your vegan refried beans may require a bit more seasoning.
  • fresh cilantro – we’ll use this to stir into the beans and garnish. If you don’t like cilantro, feel free to omit (just know you’re missing out!)
Vegan Refried Beans in pan

How to Make Vegan Refried Beans

Making these easy vegan refried beans is super simple. The first thing you’ll want to do is start by rounding up all of your ingredients. There’s nothing worse than starting a recipe only to realize that halfway through you don’t have everything you need.

Once all of your ingredients have been gathered, go ahead and start warming a large pan over medium heat along with one to two tablespoons of a neutral oil. I chose to use olive oil but you can also substitute for avocado or vegetable oil.

Vegan Refried Beans in pan

Once the oil has warmed, add your diced red bell peppers and diced onions to the pan. Sauté the onions and peppers until they are cooked through and the onions are mostly translucent. Be sure to season these with a little bit of salt and pepper to taste.

Next, add your pinto beans to the pan. It’s important to make sure that you drain your pinto beans before adding them to the mixture. We don’t want too much liquid! Stir the pinto beans into the bell pepper and onion and mix to combine. Next, stir in your taco seasoning of choice.

Brown hand scooping vegan Refried Beans in pan

Feel free to use a homemade blend or even a store-bought version that you enjoy most. Every taco seasoning is different so i would err on the side of caution in terms of not adding too much. I’d recommend starting with one tablespoon and then adding more if needed after tasting.

Grab your potato masher and begin to mash the beans to create the perfect refried bean texture.  Don’t have a potato masher? You can also use the back of a fork as a substitute. Now that the beans have been mashed, stir it in your vegan chicken broth until it’s well combined. If you don’t have vegan chicken broth, feel free to substitute with vegetable broth instead. 

Finally, stir in your chopped cilantro, then garnish with an additional amount. Serve your vegan refried beans however you’d like and enjoy! 

Vegan Refried Bean tacos

Vegan Refried Beans FAQ

Why are refried beans not vegan? 

When shopping in the grocery store you might automatically assume that refried beans are vegan, which makes sense. Because why wouldn’t they be? They’re beans! Unfortunately a lot of companies will use lard in their recipes which is not vegan. Companies may notate that their recipe is vegetarian which indicates that there is no lard present. This also typically makes them safe for vegans.

What is the difference between normal refried beans and vegan refried beans?

Vegan refried beans do not contain a lard and are purely plant-based. 

What is the best substitute for lard in refried beans?

If you absolutely must, the best substitute for a lard is typically vegan butter or shortening, however this recipe doesn’t contain either and it is just as good without them. 

Vegan Refried Bean tacos

I can’t find pinto beans. What other beans could I use to substitute?

What’s great about making refried beans at home is that you can make them to your liking! This includes using different beans. In the past i have tried refried beans with black beans as well as red kidney beans. Both turned out really well. So if you’re in a pinch, I’d encourage you to give one of these a try if you can’t find pinto beans. 

How long do these vegan refried beans keep?

These vegan refried beans can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You can also freeze them in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

What should I serve with the vegan refried beans?

There are so many great ways to serve vegan refried beans. Here are a few recipes that would pair well with them. 

Are refried beans gluten free?

Absolutely! These vegan refried beans are naturally gluten-free and you could pair them with corn tortillas to make tacos and top them with your favorite ingredients for a complete meal. 

How can I make them spicy?

If you are looking to spice things up a bit try adding some red pepper flakes to your vegan refried beans. Careful not to add too much though! It’s easy to make something spicy but not so easy to remove the spice so be careful and only add a little at a time. 

Vegan Refried Bean tacos

Vegan Refried Beans Tips:

Dice well. Be sure to dice your onions and bell peppers small and cook them until they are  mostly translucent.  If the onions are not cooked well enough,  the texture of the refried beans will be compromised.

Create your own desired consistency. Some people prefer refried beans that are chunky, while others would rather have them be totally smooth and the beans completely undetectable. I personally like to choose a texture that’s somewhere in the middle, however you can choose the texture that you prefer most by mashing as much or as little as you’d like.

Stir them frequently. If you don’t keep an eye on them, these refried beans could stick to the pan. Be sure to keep an eye on your vegan refried beans during the cooking process to make sure that they don’t have an opportunity to do so. 

I know you’ll love this easy vegan refried beans recipe. It’s simple to make, only requires a few ingredients, and tastes delicious! Give this recipe a try and let me know how it goes in the comments below! 

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Easy Vegan Refried Beans

A simple refried beans recipe that's made using pinto beans and seasoned to perfection with your favorite taco seasoning.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword pinto beans, refried beans
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Servings 4



  • Add neutral oil of choice to a large pan over medium heat.
    1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • Once warm, add diced red bell peppers and diced onion. Sauté until onions are mostly translucent. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    ½ yellow onion, ½ red bell pepper
  • Add pinto beans and stir.
    2 cans pinto beans
  • Stir in taco seasoning, then mash the beans with a potato masher or the back of a fork until desired consistency is achieved.
    1½ – 2 tbsp taco seasoning
  • Stir in vegan chicken broth until combined.
    ¼ – ½ cup vegan chicken broth
  • Stir in chopped cilantro, then garnish with additional amount.
    ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • Serve as desired. Enjoy!

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