Frozen Frijoles: How to Freeze Refried Beans for Future Snacking


Jan. 11 2024, Published 4:13 p.m. ET

A bowl of refried beans.
Source: iStock

Bean burritos are a quick and easy dish to serve for lunch or dinner. Refried beans can be healthy and even vegan if you make sure to get fat-free beans that don’t contain lard.

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But what do you do when you’ve made more refried beans than you and your family can eat? No one probably wants to eat bean burritos all week, and throwing the extra out is just wasteful. Can you freeze refried beans? Let’s look at whether you can freeze refried beans and, if so, how.

A freezer stocked with food.
Source: iStock
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Can you freeze refried beans?

Yes, it’s perfectly okay to freeze refried beans. According to the Freeze It blog, refried beans can last 12 months in your freezer. That goes for both canned refrieds you buy at the store and those you make yourself.

But you shouldn’t just put a can of refrieds in the freezer and call it a day. There’s a specific process to freezing refried beans correctly so they last as long as possible.

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Here's how to freeze refried beans.

If you are going to freeze refried beans, you’ll first have to take them out of the aluminum can. Or, if you’re freezing leftovers, they will have to cool off before you put them into a freezer container. Here are other tips on how to freeze refried beans.

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1. Portion them out - If you don’t plan on using all the leftover refrieds at once, it makes sense to portion them out in smaller containers and freeze them, per This will make it easier to take some out and use if you crave a quesadilla for lunch.

2. Use freezer bags or air-tight containers - It’s up to you whether you want to store leftover refried beans in freezer bags or plastic containers. Freezer bags may take up less room in your freezer. According to, regardless of which you choose, bags or containers, you should make sure that they are specifically designed for storage in the freezer. Otherwise, you could get freezer burn on your refried beans and have to throw them out.

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If you are using air-tight containers, recommends adding “a thin layer of oil” on top of the beans, which can help prevent freezer burn.

3. Label the beans - You don’t want to lose the refrieds in the depths of your freezer and then toss them months down the road when you pull them out and do not know what they are or how long they’ve been there. This can easily be avoided by labeling your containers with their contents (refried beans) and the date you first put them in the freezer, per

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Refried beans and other fixings for nachos.
Source: Getty Images

Here's how to thaw frozen refried beans.

When you’re ready to use the frozen refried beans, there are several ways to thaw them. Per, you can let them thaw overnight in your refrigerator, defrost in your microwave, or place the freezer bag or container in hot water to soften the beans.

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