Storing Refried Beans In The Fridge (Does It Really Last?)

Refried beans are a delicious addition to tacos, and tortilla chips, and can even be eaten alone.

They are mostly made using pinto beans and are the primary ingredient in a variety of pupusa and chimichanga recipes.

They can be purchased in a can or even made at home and most of the time there are leftovers. This may leave you to question how long refried beans can last in the refrigerator. 

Refried beans last in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days whether canned or homemade and 2 hours on the counter. They can also be frozen for 3-6 months in a shallow freezer or over a year in a deep freezer. If you store canned beans in the pantry, they’re good for 3-5 years. 

Sometimes you may not be able to eat all of your refried beans and may not be sure how long you can make them last under certain circumstances.

We have some tips and tricks that can help you keep your refried beans as fresh as the day you made them. 

 FreezerDeep FreezerRefrigeratorPantry/Room Temperature
Store-bought/UnopenedN/AN/AN/A3-5 Years
Opened/Homemade3-6 months12+ months3-5 days2 hours

How Long Do Refried Beans Last In The Refrigerator

Whether homemade or canned, refried beans can last 3-5 days in the refrigerator once opened or cooked.

Before you put your beans in the refrigerator, it’s important that you let them cool down to room temperature.

To preserve their deliciousness for longer, place them in an airtight bag or container that can be sealed completely. Within 5 days, they should be eaten. 

If 5 days have been reached, you may wonder how to tell if they’ve spoiled. 

How To Tell If Refried Beans Have Spoiled

When refried beans are spoiled, whether canned or homemade, they’ll have an odd odor, flavor, appearance, and may develop mold.

If you have a can of refried beans and it’s undented and unopened, it’s probably not going to spoil anytime soon, unless it has exceeded the expiration date. 

You certainly shouldn’t consume beans after the estimated shelf life. If the can of refried beans is dented, leaky, rusty, or bulging, it’s possible that the beans inside are spoiled.

If you notice mold on your beans, do not consume them. This can cause a foodborne illness called botulism. Botulism, though rare, still happens.

It’s an illness caused by a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It can cause weakness, blurred vision, trouble speaking, fatigue, and more. 

If you notice your refried beans are dry or even more liquidy than normal, it’s best not to consume it.

Additionally, your beans may smell sour or even moldy, this is a bad sign. Our rule is anything that smells sour that’s not supposed to be sour, is spoiled. Mold is also a no-no.

If you accidentally consume a small amount of mold, it’s probably not going to hurt you. However, in some cases, mold can cause disease and death.

It can cause gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration. 

To avoid premature spoilage, there are certain ways to store your beans. 

Properly Storing Refried Beans

Canned and homemade refried beans should be stored in an airtight container or applicable Ziploc bag.

If your canned beans are unopened, they can be stored in the pantry until after its expiration date.

However, keep the can away from direct light or heat because it can cause the can to swell and leak or explode. 

If you plan to store opened or homemade beans in the refrigerator, you should put them in an airtight container and place them in the back of the refrigerator.

If they’re in the back of the refrigerator, they won’t be exposed to constant warm air when the door is opened.

This can cause them to spoil sooner than you would expect. Generally, you can get 3-4 days out of the leftover beans. 

If you really want to keep them for a long time, you can freeze them. 

Freezing Refried Beans

You can freeze refried beans for 3-6 months or longer rather than a few days if placed in the refrigerator.

If you plan to freeze your canned refried beans you have to remember to not completely fill the container or freezer bag.

The paste will expand and if there’s too much in the storage container, it will leak or even explode. This goes for the can as well. Never freeze the beans in the can. 

We like to mix a little bit of water in with our beans before freezing because then it won’t become too thick. We don’t have to do this with homemade refried beans, though.

You should also note that canned refried beans are going to last longer than homemade beans because the canned beans already have preservatives in them and the homemade ones don’t. 

If the container isn’t airtight, cover the lid with plastic wrap to protect the contents from air exposure.

Be sure to label the container or bag so you know exactly when they were put in the freezer and how long they have until they need to be consumed. 

Once you’ve frozen them and need to thaw them out, there are a couple of methods you can follow. 

Thawing & Reheating Frozen Refried Beans

It’s simple to thaw and reheat your canned or homemade refried beans. Simply toss them in the refrigerator and allow them to thaw overnight.

If you can’t wait that long, you can put them in a bowl of lukewarm water to speed up the process.

refried beans

If you have to, you can also put them in a skillet and allow them to thaw overheat. If you’re using the skillet method, make sure you are stirring them occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. 

Alternatively, you can use your microwave. Place your beans in a container and cover it.

Put the container in the microwave and set it to high for roughly 4 minutes. After this time, the beans should be warm enough to consume. 

If you find your beans are a little dry, you can add some oil or water to them to obtain the consistency you like. 

If you’ve thawed your canned or homemade refried beans but are unsure of what to do with them, we have some great uses for them. 

What To Do With Leftover Refried Beans

If refried beans are one of your favorite Mexican side dishes like ours, then you may be wondering what exactly you can do with them other than eating them plain.

Sure, you can just warm up and serve them as a side dish with a nice steak or chicken, but where’s the fun in that? Here are some of our favorite ways to use refried beans. 


We love nachos! We make our nachos with Tostitos, Mexican cheese, and pulled pork. We then add the refried beans on top of everything for an amazing taste. 

Enchilada Casserole

This is another one of our favorites. It’s a delicious enchilada casserole that has onions, enchilada sauce, green chiles, cheese, corn, cilantro, tortillas, adobo sauce, and our leftover refried beans.

Between cooking and prep, the total time is about an hour and ten minutes.


One of our favorite ways to make eggs is to top them with some salsa, cheese, and refried beans.

We like to wrap everything up in a tortilla to make it kind of like a wake-up wrap that you would get from Dunkin’ Donuts. 


It sounds weird, but it tastes delicious. We actually use it more like a sauce than a topping.

You can turn a simple pizza night into a Tex-Mex pizza night with a few ingredients such as pico de gallo, lettuce, cilantro, sour cream, refried beans, and cheese. 


Refried beans are great for burritos. Warm the beans up, slap some on a tortilla, throw on some cheese and maybe some lettuce, and you have yourself a quick burrito.

Refried Beef with Burritto

We like to use avocados in our burritos. It gives it a little bit of a different taste. 

Taco Salad

Who doesn’t love a nice taco salad? It’s a great way to use up leftover taco fillings as well as refried beans.

We use Tostitos and crumble them on the bottom of a bowl, add the leftover taco ingredients, and top it with leftover refried beans and sour cream.

If you don’t have leftover burger meat, the refried beans make a great substitution.


Admittedly this one is a little funky but tastes great. After you’ve cooked a nice, juicy burger, top it with your favorite garnish, and then add some refried beans to the top. They’re amazing on a green chile cheeseburger. 

Final Thoughts

Refried beans are great with just about any recipe, whether fresh or reused. We love to use them on burgers, tacos, pizza, and more.

They store well in a deep freezer for over a year and 3-6 months in a regular freezer. In the refrigerator, they’re good for 3-5 days. Use them as soon as you can if you want the best taste and quality. 

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