Cheater Restaurant Style Refried Beans

You are going to LOVE these “cheater” restaurant style refried beans.  They are the perfect dip and so good with Mexican dishes.

Cheater Restaurant Style Refried Beans Recipe

Have you ever noticed that when you get refried beans at a restaurant they are creamy and smooth and easy to dip your chips in, but the canned stuff is so thick, breaks your chips, and doesn’t taste nearly as good?  Well this is my “cheater” recipe to make the canned stuff have that restaurant like consistency and flavor.  In fact, I like the flavor of these refried beans even better than anything I have had at a restaurant.


They have a little more intensity and kick, which I love.  They aren’t too spicy but definitely have a little spice. You can amp up the spice by adding more hot sauce, or tone it down by adding less — whatever your family prefers! Make sure to use the Valentina brand of hot sauce! It is the best! You can find it with the Hispanic food at most grocery stores.


We like to use the Taco Bell brand of refried beans. They seem to fit this recipe the best. However, if you’re looking to make this recipe a little lighter you can use the low-fat or non-fat refried beans. You may have to alter the amount of sour cream you add, depending on the consistency of the beans you buy. The Taco Bell brand is pretty thick so we add 1/3 cup of sour cream, but if your beans are more runny to begin with then you might want to only add 1/4 cup or less.


I use these restaurant style refried beans (and our Restaurant Style Mexcian Rice) for sides every time I make Mexican food at home, we honestly never make a Mexican dish without these two sides anymore. Some of my favorite dishes to serve these with are our Carne Asada Burritos and our Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas.  It also makes a much better base for 7 layer bean dips (it’s perfect for our 9 layer bean dip HERE). You can also spoon these beans right into a burrito or taco or on top of a big, cheesy pile of nachos. Whatever you do, just get these on your table next time you eat Mexican food!  Check out our how to video below:


Cheater Restaurant Style Refried Beans

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  • 1 can refried beans (I like the Taco Bell brand)
  • 1/3 c. sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. Valentina hot sauce
  • 3/4 c. grated monterey jack cheese (or a cheddar/jack blend)


  • In a small sauce pan combine the refried beans, sour cream, and hot sauce over medium-low heat. Stir constantly and when the beans are heated through (don't bring it to boiling) remove from heat and pour into a glass pie pan or 9x9 dish.
  • Top with grated cheese and heat in the oven or microwave until cheese is melted.


  1. Elaine says:

    I made these for dinner as a side dish for tacos, and it was fantastic! I had the leftovers for lunch the next day, and they were just as good.

    • Sherry says:

      I love just plain canned refried beans, LOL , in my tacos right from the can. Wish they made small cans, we are a retired couple and only one in this house likes stuff like this. My husbands Idea of a taco it meat and cheese. 🙁 However, I love every thing on top. Now I am in to avacadoes and wondering if there is a dip to make with the two. Would love the recipe if you have one to offer.

      • Echo says:

        We do have a delicious 9-layer bean dip using canned refried beans and guacamole (which can be as simple as mashing an avocado with a fork and some lime or lemon juice and a dash of salt). Thanks for asking! Here is the link to the recipe:

      • Cat says:

        Try a little white corn black bean salsa mixed into your mashed avocados. I use Walmart brand salsa. Or even cantina salsa is very good with it. Great over fa heita chicken I also use Wal-Mart brand fa heita mix.

  2. Kimberly says:

    Saw the recipe and added the refried beans to a homemade taco salad. The outcome was uber delicious. Have left overs and looking forward to another taco salad tonight. Yummy!!!

  3. BST5401 says:

    Seriously, the best recipe I have found. So simple, unlike other websites.

  4. Kathy says:

    I just discovered and LOVE Valentina hot sauce. I will have to try these beans.

  5. Nikkole says:

    Making these tonight 🙂

  6. Agen Bola Tangkas says:

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added”
    checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several e-mails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

    • Erica says:

      In the emails that you are getting is there an “unsubscribe” button?

  7. Cheryl says:

    Where do you find Valentina hot sauce?

    • Emily says:

      In the Hispanic food section of the grocery store.

  8. Jasey says:

    Sour cream, huh, who would have thought:) Sharing on my Facebook page 🙂

  9. gina says:

    Valentina hot sauce and I have a love affair going. 🙂

  10. Julia says:

    What size can of refried beans do you use?

    • Erica says:

      Just the typical 12oz-ish one. 🙂

  11. Sandy says:

    My refrained beans take just a few minutes longer but are not just a bowl of goo. Melt 1 tablespoon of bacon grease in a 10″ frypan. Pour in 1 can of pinto beans. Add 1/2 can of water. Start on high heat then lower to simmer once they begin to boil. Stir occasionally. After half the liquid is cooked away, mash the beans with a potato masher leaving some beans roughly mashed (not smashed all the way). If they get too thickened add a little more water. You can add chili powder, ground cumin, or your favorite spices if you wish.
    Use as is for a side with a sprinkle of shredded cheese, or pour into a serving bowl and pour some Tostitos salsa con queso on top for a nacho dip. Add sour cream if you wish, or your favorite chunky tomato salsa works well too.

    • Sandy says:

      I meant to say refried beans, so much for auto correct.

    • Stephanie S. says:

      Perhaps you should have your own blog & submit your own recipes there instead of cluttering up this comment section with your unsolicited recipes.

      • Cheyenne W. says:


        • JoyDee says:

          Amen again!

      • Mochafondue says:

        Wow, pretty rude….
        I’m going to try both recipes….

        • Jamie says:


    • Jesi says:

      I make my beans the same way. Can not stand the stuff that the restaurants try to pass as refried beans.

  12. Ann says:

    Why can’t I print this recipe? The recipe comes up, but the heading says “about.blank” and won’t print when I hit my print tab

    • Erica says:

      I’m not exactly sure– the recipes print through ZipList so I will check it out. Thanks for letting us know!

  13. Stephanie S. says:

    Can o’ beans and some sour cream….brilliant! Made these for a big family bbq to go with my carne asada. These are so simple & delicious!

  14. Kathie says:

    Looks like and easier version of Sonoran style refried beans. The long version involved making beans from scratch then blending them with a bit of milk and adding dried chilies and cumin then baking them with a bit of veg oil. They are to die for. But your version is much quicker and tastes great!

  15. Leney says:

    My family loves this! Also great as a cold bean dip for chips. So light and fluffy. Thanks,Leney

    • Echo says:

      Thank YOU, Leney! I have always served it hot. Thanks for sharing the idea of serving it cold!

  16. Morgan W. says:

    How many servings do you think this makes? Thanks!

    • Emily says:

      I would say 4 to 6 servings.

  17. bob says:

    I love the idea of adding sour cream; however, I followed your recipe to a tee, and I made refried bean soup. I don’t think 1/3 cup sour cream to 1 can of refried beans is the right measurement. I’d probably go with 1/4 cup or maybe even just 1 TBL. No disrespect intended. Just adding my experience when following your recipe. God bless.

    • Jennifer says:

      I have found that the consistency of different brands of refried beans varies from almost solid to runny. So, if you start out runny, you’ll end up “runnier”.

  18. Betsy says:

    Loved these. Delicious.

  19. Bev says:

    Love this! I make something similar. I start with canned pinto beans that I rinse thoroughly and then either mash them with my potato masher (when I want more texture) or put them in my Bullitt or food processor. I sauté a couple tablespoons of chopped onion and a clove of garlic til soft in either olive oil or a little bacon grease. Then I add the mashed or processed beans along with the sour cream, hot sauce and cheese. I also usually add a couple dashes of chili powder and smoked paprika.

  20. Echo says:

    Thank you, Bev! It’s always fun to get new ideas and variations on recipes.

  21. Dore' says:

    I just open a large can of pinto beans, dump them undrained into a large frying pan, heat them up and mash with a potato masher.. let them simmer till they thicken a little. Sprinkle with a little grated cheese and turn off. They will thicken even more after they are turned off. So creamy and delicious!

    • Echo says:

      Thank you for sharing!

  22. Riley says:

    This is exactly what I have been searching for! Quick and easy way to make canned refried beans, much better! Thanks for sharing!

  23. JoyDee says:

    Please stop pushing your own recipes on another’s recipe. Thank you!

    • Steve says:

      amen. I know they mean well but its kind of rude.

  24. Anne says:

    I didn’t have refried on hand, but I did have cans of pinto beans in the pantry. (when I have more time I’ll use dried) Anyway I dumped 2 cans in a pot and added homemade chicken stock, garlic, onion powder, cumin, and bacon drippings. Let that sit on the stove and simmer a while. After all the flavors were blended and beans were soft, I mashed them then put in a blender. Once they were a smooth consistency I mixed in the sour cream. I used this in a taco lasagna and it was to die for.

  25. Jill says:

    Why not use real pinto beans instead of canned? So much better for you and cheaper!

  26. Jamie says:

    Can someone tell me where I can get the hot sauce or a good substitute for it because I cannot find the Valentina hot sauce anywhere! Thanks in advance! 😉

  27. Haley says:

    going to make tonite, sounds delicious and simple to make im all about quick and simple since I’m a very busy mom, thanks for sharing!! Also I don’t think is very polite for others to push recipes on others blogs, please get your own!! God bless and thanks again for sharing.

    • Erica says:

      Thank you so much for your nice comment! Hope you liked the refried beans!

  28. Andrea (Quest for Delish) says:

    We just love this dish. My son gets so happy when I make it. I just added it to my blog. Come by and check it out.

  29. Samuel YOUNG says:

    I love this recipe! I usually add a packet of taco seasoning to the mix as well.

  30. connie says:

    So glad I found your recipe. I am cooking up a crockpot full of pinto beans and ham for dinner a couple times this week. I had put way too many beans into soak last night which means I will cook excess on stove top for refried bean dip….perfect timing with SUPER BOWL this Sunday!

    • Erica says:

      Great idea! So glad you you were able to rescue the excess beans!

  31. Steve says:

    I just wanted to let you know, I’m hosting SuperBowl 50 party, and am doing a Messican Fiesta theme.. Im making these beans and your rice dish for sides. Your site and recipes are awesome, and I must come back and check out more.. Thank you so much.

    • Erica says:

      Thanks so much! How did you like them? I made burritos out of the beans and rice today too. Great minds think alike 😉

  32. deni says:

    Valentino hot sauce can be found on the Mexican aisle at Walmart. They also make an extra hot version, which I will be using tonight! Can’t wait to try this along with your Spanish rice recipe and tacos.

  33. Krishna says:

    What degree do you put the oven on and for how long

    • Emily says:

      Around 375, and just until the cheese melts- maybe 5 minutes.

  34. Breeannah says:

    So simple, I hope it’s good. I Will be making this tonight with some homemade chicken and cream cheese taquitos.

  35. Pat says:

    I have ditched the can. I make mine from dried pinto beans in the slow cooker. It’s cheaper, I can control how much to make, and it’s lower in sodium. Well worth it.

  36. Tara says:

    Have you ever tried it with Greek yogurt instead of sour cream? I’m am thinking of trying your recipe in the morning for huevos rancheros and our of sour cream

    • Erica says:

      We haven’t used Greek yogurt before but I am sure it would be fine! Let us know how it turns out if you try it!

  37. Emma says:

    If there were a star rating, I’d give it 5/5! I just made it and my husband and I gluttonly ate it all! (Granted that’s all I made for dinner). Anyway, it was great and very much like restaurants. And, I have now discovered Valentina sauce! (Btw, we use the sour cream you find by the Mexican cheeses- it’s Cacique brand, called Crema Mexicana: Agria Sour Cream– I highly recommend for all your sour cream needs.)

    • Erica says:

      Ooh I love Crema– great idea to use that as a substitute! So glad you liked this recipe 😀 Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  38. Mireya says:

    Would it come out the same if I put it together the night before, refrigerate, then warm up the following day?

    • Emily says:

      Yes, that should work great!

  39. Lifesaver says:

    Taco Bell refrid beans are the best besides homemade.
    I’ve always thinned mine with water but I will differently try the sour cream.

    • Echo says:

      Thanks for the tip, Lifesaver!

  40. Ann B says:

    We are hosting a fiesta bridal shower serving tacos and want to have refried beans a as side item. Will this recipe work for that or is it more of a dip for chips? I know that may be a silly question, but I don’t care for refried beans myself so I really know. 🙂

    • Erica says:

      Yes, we usually serve it as a side dish. 🙂 You can use it as either a dip or a side

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