If you’re staring at a soupy, watery bowl of refried beans, you require a equipment – and fast!

I have personally experimented with 9 different thickening techniques, to check out what delivers the ideal consistency, without impacting the flavor.

You are watching: How to thicken refried beans

Say hello to perfect thick and creamy refried beans! No soupiness in sight!

In a rush? Here’s the quick answer.

The best means to thicken refried bean is to cook them for longer. Warm the bean in a saucepan ~ above a low heat, stirring frequently until your wanted consistency is reached. Other methods for thickening refried beans encompass frying the beans, using a cornstarch slurry, and adding extra beans.

A keep in mind on my experiment


I cooked increase a huge (delicious) batch the refried bean making certain to add an ext water than recommended for this reason they ended up a tiny soupy. 

Then i tested nine various ways the thickening the beans up.

9 methods to thicken refried beans:

Cooking the beans because that longerFrying the beans in a skilletAdding a cornstarch slurry (can be subbed because that flour or arrowroot powder)Adding a beurre manie (mixture of flour and also butter)Adding part extra mashed beansAdding part xanthan gumAdding potato flakes (instant mash)Leaving the bean to thicken in the fridgeStraining the bean in a cheesecloth or sieve

My favorite choices were adding more beans, cooking the bean for much longer (either in a pan or a skillet), or making use of a cornstarch slurry.

Xanthan gum is fast and effective, but you need to be cautious not to include too much.

Adding a beurre manie or potato flakes worked well yet dulled the flavor of the beans.

Leaving the bean to thicken in the fridge will only job-related if you don’t need much thickening.

Straining the beans simply left me through a load of skins and also onions.

Results summary

MethodThickening powerVerdictRating
Cook for longerMediumVery easy but reasonably slow9/10
Fry the beansMedium-strongGives the beans a bit of crunch8/10
Cornstarch slurryVery strongWorks well, options include flour and arrowroot powder8/10
Beurre manie (flour and butter)StrongWorks well, require to cook off the flour flavor7/10
Extra beansMedium-weakCan use any type of beans yet need a decent amount7/10
Xanthan gumExtremely strongQuick and effective, however potential to go wrong8/10
Instant mash (potato flakes)StrongWorks bests because that light thickening, deserve to dull flavors6/10
Leave the beans in the fridgeWeakSlow and also not very effective2/10
Strain the beansWeakDifficult if the beans are currently mashed1/10

Thickening refried beans by food preparation the beans for longer


Rating: 9/10

Thickening power: medium

Taste/texture: spices became more concentrated, no structure change

Cooking the beans for longer allows the excess liquid to evaporate, leaving you through thick, creamy beans.

How to thicken refried bean by food preparation them because that longer:

Transfer the bean to a saucepan and also heat lock on a low heat with no lid.Stir every minute or two to avoid the beans from burn or sticking to the pan.Keep heating and also stirring the mixture till it will your preferred consistency.

It deserve to be tempting to rotate the heat up to obtain the liquid to evaporate faster, however this massively rises the chances of her beans burning.

Also, you could find the the moisture evaporates off also fast, and your beans will dry out.

How long you need to warm the beans counts on just how watery they are. 5 minutes will certainly be sufficient for a irradiate thickening, but you might be wait 15-20 minutes for a considerably thicker mixture.


This to be the simplest of all the methods I tried.

It no involve any extra ingredients or much effort which is why I gave it the highest possible rating.

However, that isn’t prompt like some various other methods.

Thickening refried bean by frying them in a skillet


Rating: 8/10

Thickening power: medium-strong

Taste/texture: spices became much more concentrated, slight crunch

A quicker alternative to food preparation the beans for much longer is to fry them in a pan.

How come thicken refried bean in a skillet:

Heat part neutral-tasting oil or butter in a skillet on a tool heat.Add the refried beans a few scoops at a time and fry castle in the pan till they’ve got to your wanted consistency.Stir continuously.

This method works better with smaller sized quantities. You want to have the ability to stir all the bean easily, for this reason nothing gets burnt.

If you have a the majority of beans come thicken, fried food them in batches. 

You could even pick to only fry fifty percent the mixture and also reduce it till it’s yes, really thick, then stir this back into the initial runnier mixture to reach a center ground.


This method gave the beans more of a ‘just-fried’ taste and added some structure in the form of crispy bits that bean.

The just annoying point was having to dirty one more pan (the skillet).

Thickening refried beans through a cornstarch slurry


Rating: 8/10

Thickening power: an extremely strong

Taste/texture: no readjust in taste, no adjust in texture uneven you include a lot

Cornstarch is a well-known thickener, you must mix it with water very first and then include it to warm beans. It won’t thicken a cold mixture.

Flour and also arrowroot flour are an excellent substitutes if friend don’t have actually cornstarch.

How to thicken refried beans with a cornstarch slurry:

Mix together equal components cornstarch and cold water (e.g. One tablespoon of each) until they type a smooth paste. Utilizing one tablespoon of each will offer you sufficient slurry to thicken 1-2 cups of liquid.Heat her refried bean to the point of simmering.Slowly mix the cornstarch slurry into the beans, continually stirring to store it lump-freeAllow the slurry to occupational for approximately 2 minutes prior to assessing the thickness the the beans.If the bean aren’t thick enough, include some much more slurry.

Don’t heat the beans for too long after you’ve added the cornstarch slurry due to the fact that it will ultimately thin the end again.

The same goes for heating the beans past boiling allude – this reverses the thickening effect of the cornstarch.

Be aware that using a most cornstarch can give the bean a glossy end up and an ext of a gooey texture.

Also, stop using cornstarch if you want to freeze the refried beans since it gets a funny structure after freezing.

If friend don’t have actually cornstarch (or desire to freeze the mixture), you have the right to substitute it for a various starch-based thickener.

Arrowroot powder has a similar thickening ability, so it’s a 1:1 sub. It’s a great gluten-free alternative. Potato starch is one more 1:1 substitute.Flour is a well-known option, however you’ll need to use double the amount, for this reason a one tablespoon slurry will certainly thicken a maximum of one cup that liquid.Rice flour or tapioca flour are an excellent alternative flour options. Again, you’ll have to use twin the amount.

All of these substitutes room fine because that freezing. Through the flour options, you’ll have to chef the refried beans for an extra few minutes to cook off any kind of raw flour flavor.


Cornstarch functioned well for me.

It was easy to do the slurry, and also the mixture thickened quickly. Cornstarch doesn’t taste of lot so the didn’t influence the smell of the beans.

Thickening refried beans v a beurre manie


Rating: 7/10

Thickening power: strong

Taste/texture:Taste contempt richer due to the butter, no change in texture

A beurre manie is a 1:1 mixture that flour and also butter. It’s similar to a roux, but you don’t need to chef it before including it to your mixture.

How to thicken refried beans through a beurre manie:

Measure out equal parts flour and also softened butter through volume (e.g one tablespoon of each, which will be sufficient to thicken 1 cup the liquid). Don’t microwave the butter. Soften it with your hands if needed.Mix the flour and also butter with each other until you have actually a smooth paste. This is her beurre manie.Heat her beans till the allude of simmering.Take a couple of tablespoons the the refried bean mixture and mix it right into the beurre manie until there space no lumps.Then take this mixture and slowly mix it earlier into the key pot of refried beans.Wait 2-3 minutes because that the thickener to take effect prior to deciding if you require to include more.Simmer the mixture because that 5 minute after including the last of the beurre manie to chef off any raw flour odor (or do this by taste).

Making a smaller mixture with few of the refried beans and the beurre manie help ensure the last product is smooth and also doesn’t have lumps that flour in it.

Always taste the mixture before you finish food preparation it come make certain you can not taste any raw flour. If girlfriend can, store heating it until the smell cooks off.

You can be wondering…

What’s the difference between a flour and also water slurry and also a beurre manie?

There space two key differences:

A beurre manie is less likely come clump than a flour and water slurry since the butter coats the flour particles help incorporate them right into the dish.The butter in the beurre manie adds a hints of richness.


This method thickened the mixture well, and also the extra butter added a quite richness to the beans which i enjoyed.

If you require to include a the majority of flour be aware it have the right to dull the other flavors slightly.

Thickening refried beans by including extra beans


Rating: 7/10

Thickening power: medium-weak

Taste/texture: dilutes flavors, no texture change

If you have actually a spare deserve to of beans in the cupboard, you can use these to thicken her refried beans.

How to thicken refried beans v extra beans:

Drain a deserve to of beans (or cook some and also drain them).Mash or puree the beans, utilizing some olive oil to assist get a smooth texture if needed, yet don’t include too lot liquid.Mix the dried mashed beans right into your refried beans.Taste the mixture and include some more seasoning to taste.

It doesn’t matter what sort of bean you add at this stage due to the fact that they’re not going to make up the bulk of the dish. Simply use whatever’s in her cupboard, whether that’s black beans, kidney beans, butterbeans, chickpeas, etc.

A downside of this solution is that it’s only convenient if you have canned beans. If girlfriend only have dried beans, you’ll have to wait an additional hour or two for them come cook.

Also, adding extra unseasoned beans will certainly dilute the flavors and could an outcome in a dull dish. Constantly taste the dish after you’ve included the beans and also see if it needs some much more flavor.


This method had one substantial upside – much more refried beans!

But, it involved a fair little of effort because I had to mash the extra beans by hand.

I’ve rated that weak effectiveness due to the fact that you require a the majority of beans to do a big difference. This method’s best if your beans only require a slim thickening.

Thickening refried beans through xanthan gum


Rating: 8/10

Thickening power: extremely strong

Taste/texture: no readjust in flavor, no texture readjust (unless you add too much)

Xanthan gum is a renowned keto-friendly thickener and also is supervisor powerful.

So an effective that the main danger is over-thickening her sauce. Too lot xanthan gum will turn your refried beans horrible and gummy.

But if you nothing overdo it, xanthan gum is the fastest and most effective an approach you have the right to use.

How to thicken refried beans with xanthan gum:

Weigh her refried beans and make a note of the results (see notes below if girlfriend can’t weigh the beans)For a light thickening, weigh out 0.5% of the full weight that the beans in xanthan gum. Because that a heavy thickening, you can use as much as 1% the the full weight of the beans.Create a vortex in your refried beans through a whisk and also sprinkle the xanthan gum right into the vortex as you continue to whisk (alternatively, use a blender).Continue whisking because that 20-30 seconds. The sauce should have actually thickened. If you desire it thicker, add some more xanthan gum.

If friend don’t want to bother with weighing, then just go pinch through pinch. As a general guide, 1/8th the a tespoon of xanthan gum will moderately thicken 1 cup the sauce. A ¼ of a teaspoon will offer you a heavier thickening.

A far-reaching advantage that xanthan gum is the it functions with warm or cold liquids, for this reason there’s no require to heat your refried beans before including it.

It’s essential to include the xantham gum if the beans are moving because the powder will clump as shortly as it access time liquid. If you sprinkle it end the beans and also stir slowly, the xanthan gum won’t disperse properly, and also you’ll acquire gummy lumps in her beans.


Xanthan gum is a magic ingredient. That thickened my beans instantly and didn’t influence the taste in ~ all.

I’ve provided xanthan gum before so i knew no to include too much, however if you do, then you’ll damage your refried beans. Yes no coming earlier from too lot xanthan gum.

If you’ve never ever used that before, I indicate practicing ~ above a small portion of bean first, so you gain an idea of just how much you need to add to view an effect.

Thickening refried beans v potato flakes


Rating: 6/10

Thickening power: strong

Taste/texture: dulls odor slightly, include too much and the texture deserve to turn grainy

I never ever eat instant mashed potatoes, however I constantly have a packet of instant potatoes in my cupboard scheduled for emergency thickening.

When you add potato flakes come a liquid, lock absorb claimed liquid and also expand, thickening the sauce.

How come reheat refried beans v potato flakes:

Heat your beans to the suggest of simmering.Add in a tiny amount the potato flakes and stir until well incorporated. One tablespoon of flakes will thicken one cup the sauce.Wait 2-3 minutes because that the potato flakes come take complete effect.Check the thickness that the beans and also add much more potato flakes if needed.Taste the mixture and and season.

Potato flakes have actually the potential to dull the spices of your dish, yet you can constantly add much more spices and also seasoning to against this.

What friend can’t adjust is the texture of the potato flakes. If you add too many, they’ll provide your refried beans a grainy mouth-feel.


This an approach works well for light thickening, but I don’t recommend that for hefty thickening.

Too countless potato flakes will change the texture of your beans and also dull the flavor.

Thickening refried bean by leaving lock in the fridge


Rating: 2/10

Thickening power: weak

Taste/texture: no change in taste or texture

Refried beans naturally dry out and also thicken together they cool. The effect will be an ext pronounced the more fat you have actually in the beans due to the fact that the fat will certainly harden together it cools.

One pointer for thickening the beans to be to leave them in the refrigerator for a bit. So ns tried this, yet after one hour nothing had actually really happened, therefore I placed the beans in the freezer for a blast the cold air.

20 minutes later the beans to be slightly thicker, yet nothing really noticeable.


If friend don’t arrangement on eating the beans until the following day and also you only want a light thickening – the fridge might work.

But if you desire to eat the bean soon and they need a fair bit of thickening, the fridge isn’t walk to reduced it.

Thickening refried beans by straining them


Rating: 1/10

Thickening power: weak

Taste/texture: no readjust in taste, leaves several onions and also bean skins behind

If the beans space really watery, a good start is to put them into a sieve or cheesecloth and also let the overabundance water drain out.

But this method only functions if your beans aren’t fully mashed yet. If you’ve already mashed or pureed the beans, i don’t introduce this method.


This an approach didn’t work for me.

It thickened the bean mixture, but all i was left with was bean skins and also onions. If I’d pureed mine beans, I would certainly have had nothing left!

Tips for following time (how to prevent soupy refried beans)

The main reason people end up through ‘soupy’ refried bean is making use of too lot liquid, so here’s a pointer for next time.

To have complete control over the thickness that the beans, drainpipe all the cooking water into a different bowl and slowly add it earlier in while you mash or puree the beans.

It’s pretty difficult to add too much water this means because you deserve to see just how the consistency establishes as friend go.

If you desire to have actually the liquid and also the bean all all set to go, ns suggest having the water level just slightly over the beans.

You should have the ability to move the beans about easily, however they do not do it be drowning.

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My refried beans room too thick

If her refried beans space too thick, simply thin them out through some extra water. The bean food preparation water is best due to the fact that it has actually the many flavor, but plain water is well if you offered canned beans or have just run out of cooking water. Girlfriend could likewise use share to gain some extra flavor right into the beans.