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White Refried Beans

These homemade white refried beans are made at home without the soaking and long cook time. They taste just like the real thing and are ready in 5 minutes.

These homemade white refried beans are made at home without the soaking and long cook time. They taste just like the real thing and are ready in 5 minutes.

A few Christmases (I just spent 10 minutes trying to figure out how to pluralize that word correctly…no idea if it’s right, it still looks weird to me but I’m moving on) ago, I got Ulysses a subscription to Men’s Health magazine.

He liked it and read it but honestly, I was the one waiting for it in the mailbox every month.

From the ridiculous questions women would write in about their guy asking the dude that looked like a bartender in the beginning section (basically a men’s version of Dear Abbey) to the Eat This! Not That! meal of the month to the best part, which was the recipes with only 5 ingredients purely enforcing the stereotype of men not being able to cook.

I friggin’ LOVED those recipes.

There were some amazingly delicious combinations in there that most would probably overlook because of their simplicity.

My favorite was this smashed bean and rosemary combination (it actually inspired this smashed white bean quesadilla) which obviously had 3 other ingredients that I can’t remember now.

But, it was basically refried beans meets baked beans except without the nasty tomato-sauce baked bean flavor (sorry if that’s your thing, but I just can’t get behind the canned baked bean thing) and all sophisticated up with rosemary.

So simple, so quick, so good.

Homemade white refried beans make an easy and delicious side dish to any dinner.

These beans were inspired by that recipe.

I love refried beans in restaurants but I’ll be honest with you all, I’ve never once in my life bought dry beans.

Update – I now have and made these Instant Pot tomato white beans. Delicious!

The whole soaking overnight and cooking for hours thing just doesn’t appeal.

Yes, they may be like 20 cents cheaper per serving but no, I’m not that cheap to care.

Canned beans are a convenience that is just always going to win that battle for me.

So that being said, these are a very loose translation of “refried beans”.

A Men’s Health quickie version if you will.

I used cannellini beans because I’m just partial to them. They’re soft and I love their flavor more than any other bean. That said, this really could be made with any bean.

No soaking, no long cook times and yet pretty much all the flavor of traditional refried beans just in a white refried bean version.

Serve these easy white refried beans with your favorite grilled meat or protein for an easy and quick dinner.

I guess men do get some things right.

You can pair them with any of your favorite Mexican inspired meals like Mexican stuffed onions, carne asada nachos or slow cooker shredded Mexican beef bowls.

Or, sub them out for baked beans alongside some air fryer brats for an easy meal.

Homemade white refried beans

Homemade White Refried Beans

These homemade white refried beans are made at home without the soaking and long cook time. They taste just like the real thing and are ready in 5 minutes.
4.3 from 43 votes
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Servings 2 servings


  • 15 ounce can of cannellini beans drained with liquid reserved and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot minced
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro chopped


  • Add drained & rinsed beans to a medium bowl.
  • Heat a small skillet over medium high heat and saute oil and shallots together for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add spices and salt and continue to saute for another 30 seconds.
  • Add brown sugar and cook for another 30-45 seconds until sugar starts to melt and caramelize.
  • Remove from heat and add to the bowl with the beans.
  • Using a fork or a potato masher, mash beans and shallot mixture until coarsely combined.
  • Add in 2 tablespoons of the reserved liquid to help mash further and smooth out the beans (add more liquid if you want the beans creamier/smoother)
  • Mix in the chopped cilantro last and finish by seasoning with salt & pepper to taste (it may not need any depending on your taste).

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1SERVING | Calories: 379kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 83mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 4g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Cuisine Mexican
Course Side Dishes
Keyword homemade refried beans, refried white beans, white refried beans


Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

Elise Noel

Wednesday 20th of October 2021

You made me laugh.. made me seriously consider getting a subscription to Mens Health.. and gave me an awesome new bean recipe...what more can I ask for :-)

Saturday 20th of April 2019

Buy Mesos

Monday 17th of March 2014

What's up, just wanted to mention, I enjoyed this post. It was practical. Keep on posting!


Sunday 8th of December 2013

Simple enough, sounds tasty, but for those of you who need to watch their sodium levels, anything that's canned, including beans, are just ridiculously high in sodium. I recommend making your own white beans in the pressure cooker, takes 10 minutes and they're done. Not rocket science folks. Stop being lazy now and avoid the consequences down the road.... you've heard it before and I'm sure you'll hear it many times over before complications begin.


Tuesday 16th of October 2012

I just made these for my 20 month old, in my attempts to be more creative with lunch time (instead of just chicken nuggets!) I only had an onion, so that's what I used, but the beans turned out SO YUMMY! They are a little sweet, but a touch of spice. I slathered them on a tortilla, grated some cheese, and browned it (like a quesadilla). She LOVES it, and she's pretty picky! Thanks for the recipe. Do you think these would freeze well, if I made a big batch?

Running to the Kitchen

Tuesday 16th of October 2012

So glad you both liked them! I haven't tried freezing them but it's worth a shot...I've frozen other beans before without any problems.

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