I Taste Tested and Found The Best Canned Refried Beans

Looking for the best canned refried beans? I’ve got you! 

As a dietitian and proud Latina, I’m all about healthy, convenient Mexican food! And from what I hear from my clients, this is important to you too!

While I’ll always love homemade beans best, having a convenient canned option sometimes makes all the difference when it comes to saving time and energy on meal prep

That’s why I decided to do a taste test and nutrition comparison of some of the most popular store bought canned refried beans on the market!

Keep reading for a taste test and nutrition comparison of canned refried beans, and see which one wins!

Let’s get started!

(This post contains affiliate links, I may earn a small commission if you click the links and make a purchase)

two cans of refried beans

Why refried beans

I decided to taste test and compare canned refried because you all asked!

One of my favorites posts I made last year was a nutrition comparison and taste test of different tortillas. So I asked my community on Instagram what other foods I should taste test and the most popular answer by far was refried beans!

But besides just being due to popular request, beans are one of the more confusing foods for my clients. This is doubly true for refried beans. 

People aren’t sure if they should treat beans like a carb or a protein, and they’re unsure if refried beans are too high in fat. 

So I thought more nutrition info on beans would be helpful. I already have a post comparing black beans to pinto beans, and one looking into the health benefits of refried beans. So now we’re looking at canned refried beans!

Taste Test Methods


I chose 5 brands that were available at my local supermarket (Ralph’s, to be exact). 

I wanted this taste test to be realistic to what you can actually find in a store without too much fuss, so I decided to just visit my nearest grocery store and whatever I could find there was a contender. 

No specialty orders, even though there are some great up-and-coming brands out there!

I also chose each brand’s “original” or “traditional” recipe, however they choose to define that. This means we’ll have a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.

Finally, I only selected refried beans made from pinto beans to try to compare similar items. There are so many refried black bean options out there they could be their own post. 

But this eliminated one of the most popular brands–Ducal. My local grocery store only had red beans and black beans from Ducal, no pinto beans. 

Test Method

To taste test the beans, I followed these steps:

  • I heated the refried beans in a cast iron skillet until they were simmering. I did not add any extra fat. 
  • I tasted the beans while they were still hot
  • I tasted a bite of the beans alone
  • I tasted a bite of the beans spread on a tostada


I rated each bean from a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the lowest score, 10 being the highest) on the following criteria:

  • Taste: quite simply, does it taste good? I was looking out for balanced seasoning and no tinny aftertaste (something my clients complain about with canned beans).
  • Texture: this one’s kind of subjective. But overall, is the texture appealing? This includes visual texture (are there visible lumps or is it completely smooth), as well as mouthfeel. 
  • Nutrition: I am a dietitian, after all! I considered calories, protein, fiber, sodium, and fat content when ranking these beans by nutrition. 


Goya is one of the most popular brands of Latino foods! So I wanted to give their refried beans a taste. 

The can of traditional refried beans from Goya that I found at my store was also labeled “vegan.” The fat source in these refried beans is soybean oil instead of lard.

Goya Traditional Refried Beans (Vegan).


Unfortunately, I really did not enjoy the taste of these refried beans. 

These beans had an acrid aftertaste that it was hard to ignore. Weirdly, the aftertaste was stronger when I ate the beans with a tostada than by themselves. 

That’s pretty concerning to me when you consider that refried beans are meant to pair with corn tortillas and corn products. 

These would be fine to eat as part of a larger mixed dish, but I wouldn’t serve it as a side dish (or on tostadas). 

Taste score: 5/10


The texture was surprisingly creamy given that these are pretty low fat!

Texture score 7/10


Here are the nutrition facts for Goya Traditional Vegan Refried Beans: 

½ cup serving:

130 calories

1.5 g fat

0 g saturated fat

23 g carbohydrates

6 g fiber

8 g protein

460 mg sodium


Next up was Rosarita’s Traditional Refried Beans. These beans use lard!


These beans tasted really good! 

They had some additional seasonings, but they weren’t overpowering. They taste good on their own, but also blend well with other foods/flavors. 

Taste score: 8/10


The best word to describe the texture was “silky.” This was definitely because of the lard!

In my opinion, this is exactly the texture you want out of refried beans!

Texture score: 9/10


Here are the nutrition facts for ½ cup of Rosarita’s traditional refried beans:

½ cup serving:

100 calories

2.5 g fat

1 g saturated fat

15 g carbohydrates

5 g fiber

5 g protein

470 mg sodium

It’s interesting that these beans were noticeably lower in calories and carbohydrates than most of the other options. This is likely because they have more water in them. 

But if you need to watch your blood sugar, these might be the best choice for you!

La Preferida

Next I tried La Preferida Authentic Refried Beans. These beans also use lard as the fat source.


These beans tasted the most like restaurant refried beans to me. 

The flavor was pretty neutral, but they weren’t flavorless. A very classic tasting refried bean!

Taste Score: 7.5/10


These refried beans were completely smooth. If you want your refried beans with almost no whole bean pieces, these are the right choice for you.

These had that creamy, puree texture that you expect from refried beans at restaurants. 

Texture score: 8/10


Here are the nutrition facts for ½ cup La Preferida refried beans:

½ cup serving: 

130 calories

2.5 g saturated fat

1 g saturated fat

21 g carbohydrates

5 g fiber

6 g protein

470 mg sodium


Next up was a pouch of Isadora original refried beans


These beans were lower sodium, but they didn’t really taste like it. Impressive! 

I did note a slightly sour taste. It wasn’t bad, necessarily. Just … sour. 

Overall, I considered the taste of these okay. I’d eat them on a tostada with other toppings, but they weren’t my favorite. 

Taste score: 6.5/10


The texture of these was not completely smooth, but not clumpy. There were visible pieces of beans. But they didn’t have the same silky texture that some of the other beans had. 

Texture score: 7/10


Here are the nutrition facts for ½ cup Isadora refried beans:

½ cup serving

130 calories

4 g fat

0.5 g saturated fat

18 g carbohydrates

6 g fiber

6 g protein

310 mg sodium

What’s noteworthy about the Isadora beans is that they were the lowest sodium option of the bunch. If you’re watching your blood pressure but want the convenience of refried beans, these might be the right choice for you. 


Amy’s is a very popular brand of organic convenience foods. I decided to give their refried beans a try! Amy’s Traditional Refried Beans.


Amy’s used a lot of seasoning in their beans. 

This seems like it would be a good thing, but traditional refried beans usually have more subtle seasoning (not zero seasoning … but subtle). So this made them taste less authentic to me. 

But some people may like the use of a lot of seasonings! 

I also noticed a somewhat strong aftertaste from the seasonings.

But this aftertaste wasn’t as noticeable when I ate the beans on a tostada.

Taste score: 6/10


I don’t expect refried beans to be completely pureed, but these beans were a little too chunky for my taste. 

They also didn’t have the creamy mouthfeel that other beans had. 

Texture score: 6/10


Here are the nutrition facts for Amy’s Traditional Refried Beans:

½ cup serving

160 calories

3.5 g fat

0 g saturated fat

24 g carbohydrates

6 g fiber

8 g protein

450 mg sodium

What was noteworthy about these beans was that they had no saturated fat. So if you’re watching your saturated fat very closely, these might be the best option. 

Winner – Best Store Bought Refried Beans

The best canned refried beans were Rosarita’s traditional refried beans, in my opinion. 

They had the best texture and a good flavor. 

They may also be the best choice for people who are watching their blood sugar, since they have fewer carbs but maintain relatively high fiber and protein content. 


My biggest takeaway from this experiment is that refried beans are better with lard!

This may be surprising to hear from a dietitian, but I also have taste buds and I’m very picky about beans!

To be fair, I make refried beans at home with olive oil. Mostly because I can’t be bothered to buy a tub of lard and find somewhere to store it in my tiny apartment kitchen. I keep one bottle of cooking fat in my kitchen and it’s olive oil!

So I like vegetarian refried beans just fine, especially when I’m eating them as part of a tostada or something similar. 

But you really can’t beat the texture and richness that even a small amount of lard gives to refried beans. 

I was surprised to see how much of a difference the lard made in the final product, even when it only added 1 gram or so of saturated fat to the recipe (per serving). 

As a Latina dietitian, I’ve seen so much fear mongering about our cultural foods. 

I don’t want us to get hung up on 1 g of saturated fat in refried beans. While there are risks to excessive saturated fat intake, the American Heart Association recommends a limit of 8-13 g of saturated fat per day.

So if you absolutely love saturated fat with lard, and hate vegetarian ones, you can absolutely make room. If you prefer no saturated fat, or prefer other sources of it, then there are perfectly good vegetarian ones out there!

Final Thoughts

Canned refried beans are a convenient, affordable way to incorporate more beans into your diet!

Overall, I found Rosarita’s Traditional Refried Beans to be the best overall, but there are several good options on the market.

Looking for more evidence-based nutrition information about your favorite Latino foods? Sign up for my newsletter below and get a free copy of my 1-week Mexican meal plan!


3 thoughts on “I Taste Tested and Found The Best Canned Refried Beans”

  1. Taco Bell canned beans are the best! The seasonings and texture are way better than any other refried beans I’ve tried

  2. Try Bushes refried beans, my sons both can get them in their states and swear they are the best. We can’t get them in Michigan but purchased some in Wisconsin last week to be able to try them ourselves.

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