A Comprehensive Guide to Dehydrating Refried Beans: Step-by-Step

How to Dehydrate Refried Beans: A Step-by-Step Guide

Refried beans are a versatile and popular food commonly used in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. While you can easily buy canned refried beans at the grocery store, making your own refried beans allows you to customize the flavors and eliminate the excess water typically found in canned options. Additionally, if you’re looking to store refried beans for an extended period of time or make them more convenient for travel or outdoor activities, dehydrating refried beans is a great option. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to dehydrate refried beans using both a dehydrator and an oven.

Make Your Own Refried Beans

Before we delve into the process of dehydrating refried beans, let’s briefly discuss how to make your own refried beans. While there are various recipes available, we will provide a general guideline that can be adjusted to suit your preferences. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Canola Oil
  • Garlic cloves, minced garlic, or garlic powder
  • Pinto beans, cooked (you can make your own or buy canned)
  • Cumin Seeds
  • Chili Powder
  • Table Salt
  • Lime juice (½ fresh lime is recommended)

Making refried beans is a relatively simple process. Follow these steps:

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet.
  2. If using fresh garlic, sauté over medium heat, then mash.
  3. Stir in pinto beans.
  4. Season to taste.
  5. Cook until beans are heated through, stirring occasionally.
  6. Mash the bean mixture with a potato masher.
  7. Squeeze ½ lime over bean mixture and stir well.

Now you have homemade refried beans ready to dehydrate.

The Dehydration Process

Dehydration is a common method of preserving food, allowing it to last longer and take up less storage space. While traditional methods involved sun drying, modern technology has introduced dehydrators and ovens as more efficient options. Here we will discuss both methods of dehydrating refried beans.

Drying Refried Beans in the Oven

If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can still dehydrate refried beans in your oven. Follow these steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Spoon the refried beans onto the pan or spread them out in a thin layer.
  4. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes or until beans are dry.
  5. Once dry, use a food processor, rolling pin, or other tool to grind and crush the dried refried beans.
  6. Store the dried beans in an airtight container, such as a vacuum-sealed bag or airtight container.

Dehydrate dried beans in a dehydrator.

If you have a dehydrator, follow these steps to dehydrate refried beans in your dehydrator:

  1. Layer your dehydrator trays with plastic wrap for easy cleanup.
  2. Spread the refried beans evenly on the trays.
  3. Run the dehydrator at 135 degrees Fahrenheit (57 degrees Celsius) for 2-4 hours, checking the beans periodically.
  4. When the beans are dry and crisp, remove them from the trays.
  5. Crush the dried beans in a food processor, mortar and pestle, or by hand.
  6. Store dehydrated refried beans in an airtight container, such as a vacuum-sealed bag or an airtight container.

Rehydrating Dehydrated Refried Beans

Once you’ve successfully dehydrated your refried beans, you may be wondering how to rehydrate them before eating. Here’s an easy process to follow:

  1. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. When water is boiling, add dehydrated refried beans and whisk to mix.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Stir the mixture while reheating.
  5. Add shredded cheese and season to taste.

If you’re planning to use the beans on hiking or camping trips, you can pour the dehydrated refried beans into a bottle of water at the beginning of the day and let them soak and rehydrate over time. This won’t heat the beans, but it will make them edible.

Bottom line

Dehydrating refried beans is an easy and effective way to preserve this versatile food. Whether you want to store them for an extended period of time, pack them for travel, or prepare them for outdoor activities, dehydrated refried beans can be a convenient option. By following the step-by-step instructions above, you can easily make your own refried beans and dehydrate them using either an oven or a dehydrator. Remember to store the dehydrated beans in an airtight container to preserve their freshness. When you’re ready to enjoy them, rehydrate the beans by following the simple instructions provided. With this knowledge, you can explore the possibilities of dehydrated refried beans and add them to your culinary repertoire. Enjoy the convenience and flavor of homemade refried beans wherever and whenever you like.


Can I use store-bought canned refried beans for dehydration?

Yes, you can use store-bought canned refried beans for dehydration. However, homemade refried beans offer better control over flavor and texture.

How long do dehydrated refried beans keep?

When stored properly in an airtight container, dehydrated refried beans can last from several months to a year.

Can I rehydrate beans without cooking them?

While boiling is the most common method of rehydration, you can also soak dehydrated refried beans in water or broth for an extended period of time until they become softer.

Can I season refried beans before dehydrating them?

It is recommended that refried beans be seasoned after they are dehydrated. Seasoning prior to dehydration may result in uneven flavor and may affect the shelf life of the dehydrated beans.

Can I dehydrate refried beans in the microwave?

It is not recommended to use a microwave to dehydrate refried beans as it may result in uneven drying and may change the texture and flavor of the beans.

Are dehydrated refried beans suitable for vegetarians and vegans?

Yes, dehydrated refried beans are suitable for both vegetarian and vegan diets because they are made with plant-based ingredients and contain no animal products.