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Are Refried Beans Keto Friendly?

Keto diets require extreme attention when it comes to the foods you consume. Ideally because keto diets are very sensitive in terms of the daily carbohydrate intake from foods.

With other diets, you can have cheat days. But unfortunately, keto diets are not ones to be messed with.

This is because exceeding your carb intake will substantially increase the chances of your body stopping the production of ketones and essentially going out of ketosis. No one on the keto diet would want their bodies to go out of ketosis.

Are Refried Beans Keto Friendly

Once you go out of ketosis, it will take about 2 – 4 days to get into the state of ketosis again. Now, this might not seem like a big deal but people who are conscious of their weight loss would think otherwise.

Due to this, keto diets require strict attention in terms of picking foods.

There are multiple food options to choose from on a keto diet as long as you stick to the rule of consuming 30 – 50 grams of carbs per day.

Talking of foods, you might think of refried beans which is a popular snack in the Mexican cuisine. But are refried beans keto?

To answer this question, let’s first look at what refried beans are and based on that determine whether or not they are keto-friendly.

What Are Refried Beans?

Refried beans originate from the Mexican regions and are a traditional side dish of the Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. Based on the region, each cuisine adopts a different way of making refried beans.

Apart from the Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, these are also popular in other parts of the world including the Latin American countries.

Now, to begin with, the term refried beans certainly does not mean that the beans are fried multiple times. Refried beans come from the Spanish term frijoles refritos, basically meaning well-friend beans.

Here is how refried beans are made:

In the Mexican and Texan Mexican cuisine, refried beans are made from different types of beans. The most commonly used beans include pinto beans. Whereas some regions of Mexico also use other types of beans including black, red kidney, and Peruano beans.

  • Initially, when the beans are sourced, they are thoroughly cooked either by simply cooking dry form of the bean or by soaking them in water overnight (for at least 8 hours) and then cooking them.
  • Afterwards, when the beans are fully cooked, they are stewed, and all of the water content is drained. The drained water is stored because it may be required in a later part of making the refried beans.
  • Next, the cooked beans are mashed to get a consistent paste. For mashing the means, either a potato masher or a mesh sieve is used -ideally, a consistent texture of the paste is required.
  • After making a paste, the water content is examined and in case it is too dry, the stored water content that was drained after cooking the refried beans is added to the paste. Or on the contrary a chicken or vegetable stock can also be added to tone down the dryness.
  • Next, the paste is prepared for frying. Small amounts of onion and garlic mixed with vegetable oil, butter, lard, spices, and salt is added as secondary ingredients.
  • After mixing all of the ingredients, it is fried again, and hence refried beans are made in this way.

How are refried beans typically consumed?

Refried beans are consumed in a number of ways. These include:

  1. Served as a side dish with a Texan and Mexican foods.
  2. Used as an ingredient in making bean burritos.
  3. Used as a dip sauce along with tortilla chips (corn-based).
  4. Used in different foods and recipes like tostada, pupusa, and chimichanga.
  5. Served as a sauce for nachos.

Now that you have an understanding of what refried beans are and how they are made, let’s look at whether or not they are keto friendly.

Are Refried Beans Keto?

For a food to be keto friendly it has to be low in terms of carbohydrates. Makes sense, right? Otherwise, it would simply negate the whole point of ketogenic diets.

Looking at the carb content of refried beans, a 100 gram serving contains over 14 grams of carbohydrates. 14 gram might not seem like much but just a 100 gram serving of refried beans will be more than enough to meet over 45% of the allowed carbs limit in keto diets.

So, based on this, we can conclude that refried beans have a high amount of carbohydrates and are not keto friendly per se.

Refried Beans Keto

However, this certainly does not mean you cannot have refried beans on a keto diet.

Yes, you read that correctly!

You can have refried beans on a keto diet as long as you keep your serving size small and pay close attention to your overall carbs consumption of the day. In that case, you will be able to enjoy refried beans on a keto diet!

But that’s not all. There is another way to enjoy refried beans while on a keto diet.

An easier alternative to enjoying refried beans on a keto diet is to simply make keto friendly refried beans! There are certain keto friendly recipes of refried beans with substantially lower number of carbs, yet still having the same taste and texture of refried beans!

All it takes is making refried beans using a keto-friendly recipe where the ingredients can be easily altered thus making them according to your carb requirements and fine-tuning them for your keto diets!

Don’t worry, we have got you covered. We have mentioned some keto-friendly recipes for refried beans in the later part of this article for you to follow. 

Refried Beans: Nutritional Profile 

A 100 gram serving of traditional refried beans contain the following nutrients:

Calories90 Cal
Total fat2 g
Saturated fat0.6 g
Sodium370 mg
Total carbohydrates14 g
Dietary fibers3.7 g
Sugars0.5 g
Protein5 g
Calcium29 mg
Potassium319 mg
Thiamin (vitamin B1)0.072 mg
Riboflavin (vitamin B2)0.075 mg
Niacin (vitamin B3)0.349 mg
Vitamin B60.098 mg
Folate (vitamin B9)10 mcg
Vitamin C5.7 mg
Vitamin E0.09 mg
Vitamin K2.1 mcg
Choline21.2 mg
Iron1.44 mg
Magnesium35 mg
Phosphorus92 mg
Selenium5.80 mcg
Zinc0.58 mg

Generally speaking, refried beans are packed with vitamins and minerals, allowing you to meet some portion of the nutritional requirements of your body.

This can lead to a number of health benefits including an improved immune system, protection against diseases, and an overall healthy development of your body. More on the health benefits of refried beans are mentioned in the later part of this article.

The key focus is on the carb content of refried beans. You will either have to consume a small amount keeping your overall per day consumption of carbohydrates. Or, alternatively, you will have to prepare your own refried beans using a keto friendly recipe that has lesser carbs.

Why Are Refried Beans a Good Option for Low-Carb Diets?

Refried beans might be a good option for low carb diets considering the fact that they are certainly low in calories. Although the carb content is slightly concerning but if refried beans are used as a dip sauce for keto friendly snacks, it can be an excellent option for low carb diets!

This is because it has a fair number of vitamins including B vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, proteins, dietary fibers, iron, choline and so many more essential minerals. Due to the nutritional profile of refried beans, they will be perfect for your weekly diet plan!

Refried Beans Keto Friendly

Summing up, just by using refried beans as a sauce, you will be opening up the pathways to receiving decent nutrition. Surprisingly, refried also contain choline which is often overlooked in the foods that we consume.

According to the NIH, choline is a crucial requirement of your body and has a great deal of benefits including:

  • Choline helps regulate memory
  • Improves moods
  • Aids in muscle control and other bodily functions
  • Choline also aids in forming membranes that typically surround the cells in your body

All you need to do is minimize your portions of refried beans and you will be well under the allowed limit of carbs and at the same time get to benefit from the nutrients in refried beans!

If you’re looking for some keto friendly refried bean recipes, here are our top picks:

Keto Friendly Refried Bean Recipes  

Recipe 1 – Keto Refried Beans With Lupini Beans

Refried Keto Beans Recipe

This is a substitute recipe for refried beans which uses lupini beans but is as delicious as the original refried beans made with pinto beans.

For this recipe, you can get lupini beans from a jar, with the skins removed. Similarly, shallots or even normal white and red onions, vegetable stock with no added sugars, spices like chipotle, cumin, oregano, and lime juice will be required for this recipe.

To put this in numbers, here’s what you would need for the recipe:


  • Butter – 2 Tablespoons
  • Shallot Chopped – 1x
  • Garlic Minced – 3 Cloves
  • Lupini Beans – 3 cups
  • Vegetable Stock – ½ Cup
  • Chipotle Powder – 1½ Teaspoons
  • Cumin Powder – 1 Teaspoon
  • Oregano – ½ Teaspoon
  • Lime Juice – 1 Tablespoon
  • Salt – ½ Teaspoon
  • Black Pepper – ¼ Teaspoon


  • Take the lupini beans and remove their skins. Once removed, thoroughly wash the lupini beans.
  • Grab a medium sized pan, add some butter and heat it up.
  • Next, add the garlic and shallots or white/red onion (whichever you prefer). Cook and mix for over 3 to 5 minutes. Ideally, you need to cook them until the shallots and garlic turn completely soft.
  • Next, add and mix the lupini beans, stock, and all of the spices. You can alter the number of spices and adjust them according to your liking.
  • Cook for 4 – 5 minutes.
  • Taste the flavor and add more spices or salt if required. For best results, add more chipotle powder because a chipotle flavor would do wonders for the recipe and make it even more luscious.
  • After you get your desired taste, turn off the heat and let it cool for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Next, take the mixture and add it to a food processor. Sprinkle lime juice, salt, pepper, and pulse the food processor. Make sure to get a consistent texture.
  • If the texture is thick, you can add more vegetable stock to even it out.
  • Once you get your desired consistency, serve it as a side dish or store it for using it as a dip sauce or as an ingredient in other keto friendly recipes.

Recipe 2 – Keto Refried Beans With Cheese

Keto Refried Beans With Cheese

This is another keto friendly but luscious recipe for keto refried beans with a slightly different set of ingredients for a unique and tasty flavor!


  • Eggplant – 1 Medium (approx. 700 grams)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 1/4 Cup
  • Salt/Pink Himalayan Salt – 1/2 Tsp Sea
  • Mexican Chorizo – 1 Tube
  • Lupini flakes – 1 Cup
  • Baking Soda – 1/4 Tsp
  • Ground Cumin – 1 Tsp
  • Garlic Powder – 1 Tsp
  • Lime – 1 small (extract juice)
  • Cream Cheese – 1/4 Cup


  • Set the temperature of the oven to 450 degrees F and let it preheat.
  • Prepare the eggplant by cutting it into small 1 inch pieces. Mix with olive oil and season with some salt to taste.
  • Line a parchment baking sheet and toss the eggplant on it. Let it roast for over 25 – 30 minutes and ensure you flip the eggplant mid way.
  • While you wait for the eggplant to be roasted thoroughly, prepare the chorizo.
  • Take a saucepan, add 3 cups of water and let it boil. Once the water is boiled, add lupini flakes and baking soda. Cook it for 5 minutes and wait for the foam to appear on it. Make sure to stir it constantly and once the foaming is over (it will be over in approximately 5 more minutes of cooking), turn off the heat.
  • Let the mixture sit for a couple minutes to cool off. Once cooled off, strain it.
  • In the meantime, take out the eggplant and let it cool down. Make sure it is not cooled off completely because it needs to be warm for the next steps.
  • Grab a large food processor and add the eggplant along with chorizo, lupini flakes, lime juice, cheese, and the spices. Pulse it until you get a thoroughly mixed and consistent texture.
  • After getting your desired consistency, you can either reheat it or serve it right away!

Health Benefits of Refried Beans:

Refried beans are extremely beneficial for your body but with one condition that you only consume them in a small amount. Otherwise, you will be risking your ketosis.

Here are some health benefits of refried beans that you can receive despite consuming them in small portions!

1.    May regulate blood sugar levels:

Refried beans are essentially on the lower end of the glycemic index which is basically a measure of how a certain food affects your blood sugar levels and increases it.

Ultimately, lower GI foods are preferred as they help maintain normal blood sugar levels in people that are suffering from type 2 diabetes. On the contrary, foods that are on the extreme end of the GI and have a higher value are associated with increased blood sugar levels.

So, just by eating refried beans (pinto based) you will be able to manage your blood sugar levels better specifically if you have type 2 diabetes.

To further add, refried beans are also a good source of magnesium. It is also a crucial mineral that is responsible for insulin resistance.

2.    Aids in improving gut health:

Beans are a good source of fiber, whether it is pinto or other types of beans. Foods rich in fibers can help improve the digestion of food and promote healthy bowel movements.

Due to this it leads to an improvement in your overall gut health and your body can extract nutrients from foods better. Furthermore, fiber is also known to be a form of prebiotic.

It helps in the production and growth of healthy gut bacteria which is responsible for improving immune health.

3.    Aids in fighting diseases:

Refried beans contain are a decent source of antioxidants and include polyphenols. Antioxidants are another crucial requirement of the body due to their role in fighting free radicals which essentially aids in fighting off diseases.

In fact, with the number of free radicals decreased in your body, it will lower the risks of cardiovascular complications, cancer, and certain age related complications as well.

Keep in mind, different types of beans used in refried beans have varied number of polyphenols with kidney beans having the highest amount, followed by black beans and then pinto beans.

4.    Substantially improves cardiovascular health:

Refried beans contain a wide range of minerals like potassium, magnesium, and fibers. Collectively all of these minerals lead to a substantial improvement in your cardiovascular health due to the effects of these minerals in terms of:

  1. Supporting healthy muscle contraction
  2. Relaxing the blood vessels throughout your body

5.    Other general benefits:

Refried beans contain a wide number of nutrients including iron. The iron content of refried beans is associated with an improved ability of the cells in terms of carrying oxygen to different parts of the world. Ideally, due to raised oxygen levels it keeps you active and less fatigued.

Furthermore, refried beans also contain B-vitamins and vitamin C. These are also a form of antioxidants that provide support to your immune system by fighting off free radicals from your body and help in reversing their negative effects.

Wrapping Up 

Are refried beans keto? Generally speaking, refried beans are not entirely keto friendly due to the fact that a 100 gram serving of refried beans contains over 14 grams of net carbs. This is an alarming figure and is more than enough to meet half of your allowed carb limit per day.

So, in terms of being keto friendly, refried beans are not keto friendly per se. However, if you are interested in adding refried beans to your keto diet plan, there are two ways you can do so.

First, you can either incorporate refried beans in your keto diet but only allowing a small portion -thus keeping your carbs intake in check. Secondly, you can make your own keto friendly refried beans by changing the type of beans and certain ingredients.

If you'd like to learn more about keto friendly foods, please click on one of the links below:

Is Corn Starch Keto Friendly?

Is Coffee Keto Friendly?

Is Vodka Keto Friendly?


Founder of The Art Of Keto.

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