How long do refried beans last in the fridge? Here’s your answer:
Without spoiling, refried beans can last in the fridge for about 4 to 5 days— store refried beans in an airtight, non-metallic container, such as plastic or glass.
Now, let’s take an in-depth at storing refried beans and reheating options.
Storing Refried Beans in the Fridge
If you plan on using leftover refried beans within a few days, it is okay to refrigerate them for reheating when you are ready to use them. Take the following steps when storing refried beans in a refrigerator:
- Let refried beans cool down to room temperature.
- Place refried beans in a non-metallic, airtight container, such as glass or plastic.
- Place the container flat in the refrigerator until ready to use.
If desired, a zip-locking plastic bag will also work. However, it is important to be careful as the bag may still open up or get a hole in it, causing a mess in the fridge.
Below are some additional tips to help with storing refried beans in the fridge:
- Do not store the refried beans in the opened metal can. It is best to remove refried beans from the can immediately after opening it.
- Refried beans should be put in the fridge immediately after they have hit room temperature.
- Store continuously in the fridge, without removing, until you are ready to use.
- Only take what you need and return the leftovers immediately to the fridge.
- If you are not going to use the refried beans within five days, it may be best to freeze them. If freezing, use a plastic storage bag or container designed to store food in the freezer.
- Do not leave beans out on the counter for more than an hour.
You should use your refrigerated refried beans within five days; here are some ways you can use your leftovers:
- Top with cheese and serve as a side dish.
- Use as a replacement for meat.
- Use as a dip by adding cheese, sour cream, onion, and other spices/toppings.
- Plan a Mexican dinner night featuring burritos, tostadas, and nachos.
Storing Refried Beans in the Freezer
If you need to keep refried beans longer, let them cool to room temperature, then place them in an airtight, non-metallic container or freezer bags and store them in the freezer. Frozen refried beans can last anywhere from two to three months while still maintaining their best quality. Refried beans last longer in the freezer, but the longer they are frozen, the less they will retain their flavor. When ready to thaw, place the container in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight).
Once completely thawed, the refried beans may be a bit watery, which is normal. Frozen refried beans may be best suited for soups, dips, or a mixture/base for a recipe.
If you made a bulk batch of refried beans, it is best to divide the beans into smaller portions before freezing. This way, you do not have to unfreeze the entire batch when you need a small portion. Once thawed, refried beans cannot be refrozen. To extend the life of homemade refried beans, especially when made in a bulk batch, consider canning the beans yourself.
Reheating Refried Beans
There are different ways to reheat refried beans, including in the microwave or on the stovetop. Microwaving refried beans is the fastest method to use but sometimes does not heat everything evenly. To microwave, place the beans in a microwave-safe container and cover it with a damp paper towel. Heat the beans using 50 percent power for about one to two minutes, stirring every 30 seconds to ensure the beans reheat evenly.
Using the stovetop to reheat refried beans is another way to reheat leftovers but will take more time than a microwave. For this method, place the beans in a pan and a small amount of water or chicken broth. Reheat the beans on the stovetop, consistently stirring, until evenly heated. Refried beans should be fully reheated by cooking on a stovetop within five minutes.
Canned Refried Beans Shelf Life
An unopened can of refried beans have a shelf life of two to five years. To ensure refried beans last this long, store the can in a cool, dry pantry and avoid exposure to extreme hot or cold temperatures. Once opened, a can of refried beans can last up to five days if refrigerated or up to two months if frozen.
The package’s expiration date is typically the manufacturer’s estimate of how long the refried beans will remain in their peak condition. It is always best to use canned refried beans before or close to the expiration date to ensure the best taste and quality. If the can for the refried beans becomes damaged, excessively dented, rusted, bulging, leaking, or the seals are splitting, discard immediately and do not consume.
Spoiled or Bad Beans
Though not desirable due to the smell, the best way to tell if opened refried beans are spoiled or bad is to take a whiff of them. It is best to discard refried beans immediately if they have developed a strange smell. Refried beans should also be disposed of immediately if they do not taste correct, have a strange appearance or color, or if mold is present.
Canned refried beans may spoil if the can has been opened, damaged, rusted, extremely dented, or leaking. If any of these signs are present, toss the can out immediately. Refried beans may also be spoiled if left in the refrigerator for more than the recommended five days or was stored in a container that was not airtight.