Cheater Restaurant Style Refried Beans

4.86 from 47 votes

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Cheater Restaurant Style Refried Beans taste exactly like what you get at your favorite Mexican restaurant! Creamy, flavorful, and easy to make, this is a perfect side for any homemade Mexican dishes.

Chip scooping up Restaurant Style Refried Beans and melted cheese.
Featured with this recipe
  1. Ingredients in Restaurant Style Refried Beans
  2. How to Make Canned Refried Beans Better
  3. Authentic Refried Beans (Using Dried Beans)
  4. Recipes Using Restaurant Style Refried Beans
  5. Frequently Asked Questions about Restaurant Style Refried Beans
  6. More Mexican Food Recipes
  7. How to Make Restaurant Style Refried Beans
  8. Cheater Restaurant Style Refried Beans Recipe

You are going to LOVE these “cheater” restaurant style refried beans. Easy to make and so flavorful, they’re the perfect dip for chips, and make the best side dish to all your favorite Mexican recipes. 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 delicious? 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 beans even better than anything I have had at a restaurant.

Ingredients in Restaurant Style Refried Beans

Your friends and family will be amazed at how delicious and restaurant-like these beans are, but only you will know they are made with four quick ingredients! Here’s what you need:

  • Refried beans – one can. I like the Taco Bell brand but you can use any brand you like.
  • Sour cream – about a third of a cup, depending on how creamy you want your beans.
  • Valentina hot sauce – one tablespoon or so. I like a good kick to my beans, so I tend to add a little extra. 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.
  • Monterey Jack cheese – You can also use shredded cheddar cheese or any cheddar/jack blend. Avoid using pre-grated cheese because it doesn’t melt as well as freshly shredded cheese from a block.
Refried beans, Valentina salsa picante, sour cream and Monterey Jack cheese for Restaurant Style Refried Beans.

How to Make Canned Refried Beans Better

  • To get a better flavor and creamy consistency from canned refried beans, adding sour cream and cheese is the answer! You can add more or less sour cream, depending on your desired consistency.
  • These cheater Restaurant Style Refried Beans have a little more intensity and kick, which I love. They aren’t too spicy, but definitely have a little more spice than a regular can of refried beans. You can amp up the spice by adding more hot sauce, or tone it down by adding less — whatever your family prefers!
  • Dice onion and add to the refried beans for more flavor.
  • Add a dash of cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt.
  • Garnish with cilantro to improve refried beans taste.

Authentic Refried Beans (Using Dried Beans)

Have a little more time on your hands and want to try a more authentic recipe? Try our easy guide on How to Make Refried Beans. Make restaurant style refried beans by starting with dried pinto beans. This is truly a more classic and authentic version that you don’t want to miss!

A bowl of refried beans on a colorful placemat

Recipes Using Restaurant Style Refried Beans

Retired beans are the perfect side dish all on their own, but they are also great as an ingredient in a wide variety of recipes! Use them to add flavor, creaminess, and a protein boost to your favorite dishes, including:

  • Burritos and Tacos: Spread a layer of refried beans on tortillas before adding your choice of protein, veggies, cheese, and toppings for delicious burritos or tacos.
  • Enchiladas: Use refried beans as a filling for enchiladas along with shredded chicken, beef, or cheese. Top with enchilada sauce and bake until bubbly.
  • Quesadillas: Spread refried beans on one tortilla, top with cheese and another tortilla, then cook until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are crispy.
  • Bean Dip: Warm up refried beans and serve as a dip with tortilla chips. Add toppings like melted cheese, jalapeños, sour cream, and salsa. You can also serve cold and make a 7-Layer Bean Dip.
  • Tostadas: Spread refried beans on crisp tortillas and add toppings like lettuce, diced tomatoes, cheese, and salsa for a tasty tostada.
  • Navajo Tacos: Much like tostadas, you can layer the refried beans with some chili and toppings on some Indian Fry Bread for a delicious meal.
  • Nachos: Layer tortilla chips with refried beans, cheese, and toppings like sliced olives, jalapeños, and guacamole for loaded nachos.
  • Bowl or Plate: Create a bowl or plate by layering refried beans with rice, protein (like grilled chicken or beef), sautéed vegetables, and garnishes like avocado and cilantro.
  • Dip for Vegetables: Serve refried beans as a dip for raw veggies like carrot sticks, celery, and bell pepper strips.
  • Huevos Rancheros: Top corn tortillas with refried beans, fried eggs, and a zesty tomato-chili sauce for a hearty breakfast.
  • Mexican Pizza: Use these refried beans to make your favorite taco pizza or Mexican-style pizza.
  • Mexican Lasagna: Layer corn tortillas with refried beans, cheese, and a meat or veggie filling to create a Mexican-style lasagna.
  • Use as a Chili Thickener: This is one of my favorite secrets for thickening chili! Add refried beans to chili for extra thickness and flavor. They work particularly well in Mexican-style chilis.
Restaurant Style Refried Beans with melted cheese in a glass round baking dish. Salsa and tortilla chips on the side.

Frequently Asked Questions about Restaurant Style Refried Beans

What kind of beans to Mexican restaurants use?

Traditional refried beans are made from pinto beans, but you can make them from black beans as well.

Why do restaurant refried beans taste so good?

Most restaurants add extra fat, like bacon fat, bacon grease, butter, or other types of fat for all that yummy flavor. You don’t have to add extra fat to these homemade cheater style refried beans though!

Are restaurant refried beans healthy?

Refried beans in most Mexican restaurants are high in fat, calories, and sodium. So making restaurant style refried beans at home is a much healthier option because you control the ingredients.

READ MORE:75+ Best Mexican Recipes

More Mexican Food Recipes

I use these restaurant style refried beans and our Restaurant Style Mexican 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, 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!

How to Make Restaurant Style Refried Beans

Hand holding a tortilla chip with Restaurant Style Refried Beans and cheese.

Cheater Restaurant Style Refried Beans

4.86 from 47 votes
Cheater Restaurant Style Refried Beans have a yummy, restaurant-like, creamy consistency and flavor. I always use this for a side to our Mexican dishes.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican/Spanish
Servings 6



  • 1 can refried beans I like the Taco Bell brand
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Valentina hot sauce
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese grated (or a cheddar/jack blend)


  • In a medium-sized bowl combine the refried beans, sour cream, and hot sauce.
    Mixing bowl with refried beans, hot sauce and sour cream next to a wooden spoon to make Restaurant Style Refried Beans.
  • Pour into a glass pie pan or 9×9 dish and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, or until its hot and bubbly. Remove and stir well.
    Wooden spoon stirring Restaurant Style Refried Beans in a round baking dish.
  • Top with grated cheese and heat in the oven for 3 more minutes or until cheese is melted.
    Cheese on top of Restaurant Style Refried Beans.
  • Serve with tortilla chips and with our Restaurant Style Mexican Rice for a complete side dish to any Mexican meals.
    Restaurant Style Refried Beans with melted cheese in a glass round baking dish. Salsa and tortilla chips on the side.


  • You can use an immersion blender or a potato masher to get an even creamier consistency to your refried beans.
  • Heat refried beans in a crock-pot or even the instant pot.
  • Garnish with diced onion, cilantro or shredded cheddar cheese.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 162kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 9gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 743mgPotassium: 33mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 305IUVitamin C: 1.7mgCalcium: 188mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Emily Walker

Emily lives in Meridian, Idaho, with her husband, Beau, a physician assistant, and her three incredible children: a son and two daughters. Travel is one of her favorite ways to experience new cultures and cuisines, and she has a love for all things Disney.

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  1. 5 stars
    I worked in a hospital kitchen with several sous chefs and an executive chef. I learned all kinds of shortcuts and tricks. For refried beans the easiest way to make them is to chop some garlic, onion and maybe some cilantro and other spices and salt and pepper, and toss into a commercial food processor or blender with cooked beans and just puree them for 15 or 20 minutes. If you want some kind of fat, toss it in with everything else. Butter is always on hand and easy enough to throw in.

    When you’re making food for 800 patients you take as many shortcuts as possible.

  2. I do something similar with my canned refried beans. They really do suck straight out of the can. I add some spices, but use heavy cream at the end (not sour cream) when cooking. For the cheese, you can get creative, but a few spoons of Queso from a can is always a quick standby. I’d like to try to do them from scratch someday, but I usually put my energy and thought into my main dishes.

    1. I used to do something similar when I used canned refried beans. I would buy the one with the least amount of ingredients and then add my own fats and seasonings and stir it all in together in the sauce pan while heating it up.

  3. 5 stars
    Love these beans! I always get so many compliments when I make them too. So easy and so delicious! Thanks for a great recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    Been making my refried beans this way for years! Thank you for this great recipe. I often take this to family dinners and everyone loves it. So easy yet so good!

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