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These refried bean tacos are the perfect fast and easy dinner recipe! They come together in just 15 minutes and are endlessly customizable.

Refried bean tacos
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The question we get asked the most: what’s the best fast, easy and healthy dinner recipe? Here’s one that we make on the regular: and it’s so simple, we often forget to think about it as a “recipe.” Try these Refried Bean Tacos! The filling is as simple as opening a few cans of refried beans, always a staple in our pantry. And the toppings are endlessly customizable based on what you have on hand. You can whip these up in just 15 minutes, making them even faster than fast food.

More great taco recipes? Try our Black Bean Tacos, Vegan Street Tacos, Epic Breakfast Tacos or Avocado Tacos.

How to make refried bean tacos…fast!

These refried bean tacos are the very definition of a fast dinner recipe! There are a few different ways you can get to the end goal: but our primary path is with canned refried beans you can get at the store. Here’s what to know about this easy recipe:

  • First, heat and flavor the refried beans. Canned refried beans generally need some added flavors for them to really pop. Add a little fresh garlic, sauteed for 30 seconds, and a hint of cumin and salt: that’s it! If you really want to move fast, substitute garlic powder for the fresh garlic.
  • Chop your toppings. Then assemble your toppings! You can customize these as well (see below), but the main theme is: make sure to pair crunchy veggies with texture!
  • Warm the tortillas. This is a key step in tacos: there’s nothing worse than a cold tortilla! See below for our quick and easy warming methods.

And that’s it! You should be able to assemble these in no time. They are easy to customize based on the ingredients you have on hand!

Refried bean tacos

Some notes on the toppings

The thing to remember about refried bean tacos: refried beans have a soft texture, so pairing them with crunchy veggies is imperative! Here’s what to know about the taco toppings:

  • Romaine lettuce and bell peppers: Some of our favorite crunchy veggies for taco toppings are romaine and bell pepper: they give a great crunch! Other ideas: radishes or sliced red onions.
  • Taco sauce or salsa: required! You’ll need a nice tangy or acidic element, with a little heat. Either taco sauce or salsa fits the bill.
  • Pickled red onions are optional (make in advance). We love Pickled Onions on a taco: they add a zing of tangy flavor and a crunch at the same time. They take 1 hour so make in advance and refrigerate.

Optional toppings for refried bean tacos

These refried bean tacos we designed to be fully plant-based and vegan tacos: so they’ve got no dairy at all! But we love adding cheese and sour cream to these: tacos are always better with those in our opinion! If you eat 100% vegan, there are some easy substitutes. Here’s what to know:

  • Sour cream or cashew cream: Throw on a dollop of sour cream, or make vegan cashew cream in advance: it’s delicious!
  • Cilantro sauce: We’ve got two versions of this tasty sauce too! Try our Vegan Cilantro Sauce made with cashews, or our easy Cilantro Lime Sauce.
  • Cheese! Try it with shredded Mexican cheese, feta cheese crumbles, or Cotija or queso fresco cheese (the more authentic Mexican taco topping).
Vegan refried beans

Make homemade refried beans if desired!

Here’s another option for these tacos: make homemade refried beans! Why? Well, our homemade refried beans recipe is incredibly delicious. And if you make the homemade version, you can skip the flavoring portion of this recipe. Make up a batch in advance and then just heat it in a skillet before serving. Here are a few options for refried beans:

Refried bean tacos

How to warm tortillas

The last step in these refried bean tacos is warming the tortillas. If there’s one thing to know about tacos, it’s make sure to warm your tortillas! No one likes a cold, tough tortilla with their taco fillings. There are two methods, but one is our favorite:

  • Char them over a gas burner. This is our preferred method! Lightly charring the tortillas gives them a light flavoring and a lovely look, and heats them perfectly. Go to How to Warm Tortillas.
  • Heat them in the oven. Don’t have a gas stove? That’s ok. You can easily warm them in the oven or microwave. Go to How to Warm Tortillas.

And that’s it! Let us know what you think of this simple dinner recipe and what you use for toppings!

This refried bean tacos recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free (with corn tortillas).

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Refried bean tacos

Refried Bean Tacos (15 Minutes!)

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 tacos (4 servings) 1x


These refried bean tacos are the perfect fast and easy dinner recipe! They come together in just 15 minutes and are endlessly customizable.




  1. Make the filling: Mince the garlic. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds until fragrant but not yet browned (or skip this step and use garlic powder instead). Heat the refried beans, cumin and kosher salt until warmed, about 3 minutes. Taste and adjust flavors as desired. 
  2. Prep the veggies: Chop the lettuce. Dice the bell pepper. Prep the other toppings as desired. (If using pickled red onions, it’s easiest to make them in advance.)
  3. Warm the tortillas: Warm and char the tortillas by placing them on an open gas flame on medium for a few seconds per side, flipping with tongs, until they are slightly blackened and warm. (See How to Warm Tortillas.)
  4. Serve: Place the refried beans in the tortillas, then top with toppings and enjoy. 


*Look for cans marked as vegetarian refried beans, which means they’re made without lard (or check the ingredient list). You can also make homemade refried beans, refried black beans, or Instant Pot refried beans in advance, and reheat: in that case, skip Step 1 and simply reheat them in a skillet.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican inspired
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Mia says:

    Made it – so simple and delicious!!! Thank you

  2. Sara Olson says:

    Sounds delicious. I’ll be sure to make this in the near future. Will add cilantro and a squeeze of lime. I’m vegetarian so I will be adding pepper jack cheese and Greek yogurt.