The Shelf Life of Refried Beans: How Long Do They Last in the Fridge?

How long do refried beans keep in the fridge?

Refried beans are a popular staple in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, often used in dishes like bean tostadas, bean burritos, chimichangas, and nachos. Not only are they delicious, but they are also packed with carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. Refried beans can be made at home or purchased in a can at the grocery store. If stored properly, they can last a relatively long time. This article provides information on how long refried beans will keep in the refrigerator, the best way to store them, and how to tell if they have gone bad.

Refried Beans Shelf Life

The shelf life of canned refried beans can be determined by the “use by” date printed on the container. Unopened cans of refried beans can be stored at room temperature for approximately 3-5 years without loss of quality. Once opened, however, the shelf life is significantly reduced and proper storage is required to prevent spoilage.

Refrigerator Storage

Once opened, canned refried beans will keep in the refrigerator for approximately 3-4 days if stored at or below 40°F (4°C). It is important to ensure that the temperature of the refrigerator does not exceed this limit. To store opened refried beans in the refrigerator, follow these steps:

  1. Allow refried beans to cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator. Storing hot refried beans in the refrigerator may cause spoilage.
  2. Transfer the cooled refried beans to an airtight glass or plastic container that can be tightly sealed. This will help keep them fresh and prevent odors from escaping.
  3. Store the container of refried beans in the refrigerator, making sure the temperature remains at or below 40°F (4°C).
  4. Use refrigerated refried beans within 3-4 days and reheat as needed.

Freezer Storage

Freezing refried beans is an excellent way to store them for an extended period of time, especially if you have a large batch. When properly stored in the freezer, refried beans can keep their best quality for up to 2 months. Here’s how to store refried beans in the freezer:

  1. Allow refried beans to cool before freezing. Freezing hot refried beans can cause them to retain moisture and affect their texture.
  2. If you have a large batch of refried beans, divide them into small, meal-sized portions. This will make the thawing process easier and avoid thawing more than necessary.
  3. Transfer portions of refried beans to airtight containers or freezer bags. If using bags, squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing.
  4. Avoid overfilling containers or bags as beans may expand slightly during freezing.
  5. Label storage bags or containers with the date and contents and place in the freezer.
  6. When properly stored at 0°F (-18°C), Refried Beans will keep indefinitely in the freezer. However, for optimum freshness, they should be used within 2 months.

Thawing and Reheating

When you’re ready to use frozen refried beans, proper thawing and reheating methods are essential to preserving their flavor and texture. Here are two suggested methods:

  1. Thawing in the refrigerator: Transfer frozen refried beans from the freezer to the refrigerator. Allow them to thaw slowly for a few hours, preferably overnight. It is normal to see some water separation during the thawing process. Once thawed, the refried beans can be reheated using the following methods:
    • Skillet method: Place the thawed beans in a skillet and add a splash of water or chicken broth. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and the beans are heated through.
    • Microwave method: Place the thawed refried beans in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel to prevent excessive drying. Microwave the beans at 50% power for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until heated to your desired temperature.
  2. Microwave thawing: If you need to thaw refried beans quickly, you can use the microwave. Be careful, however, because the microwave can heat the beans unevenly. Follow these steps:
    • Transfer frozen refried beans to a microwave-safe bowl.
    • Place a damp paper towel on top of the beans to retain moisture.
    • Place the beans in the microwave at 50% power for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until heated to your desired temperature.

Determine if fried beans have gone bad

It is important to know when refried beans have gone bad to avoid eating spoiled food. Here are some signs that refried beans may no longer be safe to eat:

  1. Mold or unusual growth: If you notice mold, discoloration, or unusual growth on the surface of the refried beans, it is a clear indication that they are spoiled and should be discarded.
  2. Foul odor: If the refried beans emit a strong, unpleasant odor, this is a sign of bacterial or fungal growth. In such cases, it is best to err on the side of caution and discard the beans.
  3. Slimy texture: If the refried beans feel slimy or have a sticky texture, this is a sign of bacterial contamination. Eating slimy refried beans can cause food poisoning, so it is best to throw them away.
  4. Off-flavor: If the refried beans taste sour, rancid, or generally off, it is a sign that they have gone bad. Trust your taste buds and avoid eating beans that taste off.

Remember, these signs indicate that the refried beans are probably spoiled and should be thrown away to prevent foodborne illness.

Bottom line

Refried beans can be a delicious and nutritious addition to meals, whether homemade or store-bought. By following proper storage techniques, you can ensure that refried beans will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator and up to 2 months in the freezer. Remember to keep them in airtight containers, maintain appropriate temperatures, and thaw and reheat them properly before eating. By knowing the signs of spoilage, you can enjoy refried beans with confidence.


How long do opened refried beans keep in the refrigerator?

Opened Refried Beans will keep in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days if stored at or below 40°F (4°C).

Can I store unopened cans of Refried Beans in the refrigerator?

It is not necessary to store unopened cans of Refried Beans in the refrigerator. They can be stored at room temperature, preferably in a cool, dry place.

Can I freeze Refried Beans to extend their shelf life?

Yes, you can freeze Refried Beans to extend their freshness. When properly stored in the freezer, they can maintain their best quality for up to 2 months.

How do I thaw and reheat frozen Refried Beans?

To thaw frozen Refried Beans, transfer them from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow them to thaw slowly. Once thawed, you can reheat them in a skillet on the stovetop or in the microwave.

How do I know when refried beans have gone bad?

Signs that refried beans may be spoiled include the presence of mold or unusual growth, a foul odor, a slimy texture, or an off flavor. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to throw the beans away.

Can I consume refried beans beyond the recommended shelf life?

It is not recommended to consume refried beans beyond their recommended shelf life due to the risk of foodborne illness. It’s always better to prioritize food safety and throw away any questionable or expired beans.