Refried beans are a staple in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines and consist of beans that are cooked and then mashed into a paste.
They are part of several main dishes such as bean tostadas, bean burritos, chimichangas, and nachos, and can also be served as a side dish accompanied by rice.
Packed with carbohydrates, protein, and fiber, refried beans mostly contain no cholesterol or trans-fat, making them a healthier alternative to meat.
You can make these delicious beans at home and can also find the canned variety in several supermarkets. They are incredibly easy to prepare, extremely delicious, and, if stored properly, can last a relatively long time.
So, how long do refried beans last in the fridge? Canned refried beans that have been opened will last in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days if stored at or below 40°F. If unopened, a can of refried beans can last up to 5 years.
Read on to find out more about how long an opened can of refried beans will stay good in the fridge, the best way to store them, and how to tell if they have gone bad!
How Long Do Refried Beans Last?
When it comes to canned foods, such as canned refried beans, the easiest way to determine their shelf-life is by referring to the best-before date printed on the container.
If unopened, they can last around 3-5 years at room temperature without affecting their quality. However, once opened, their life is shortened considerably and they need to be stored properly to prevent them from going bad.
Luckily, refried beans are incredibly easy to store and can last in the refrigerator for around 3-4 days.
If you have a bigger batch and need to store them for longer, you may put them in the freezer where they will retain their best quality for up to 2 months.
How To Store Refried Beans In The Fridge
There are different storage options for an opened can of refried beans. If you intend to use the leftover beans in a few days, you can simply put them in the fridge.
However, if you want them to last longer, freezing them is an excellent option.
When storing them in the fridge, there are a few steps to follow to ensure that they retain both their taste and quality. Here’s what you need to do:
- After you’re done using them, allow the refried beans to cool at room temperature since storing piping hot refried beans in the fridge may lead to spoilage.
- Once cooled, transfer them into an airtight glass or plastic container, or one that can be properly sealed. It is very important to keep the beans tightly covered.
- Store them in the refrigerator, making sure the temperature doesn’t exceed 40°F.
- Use within 3-4 days and reheat the refried beans when needed.
How To Store Refried Beans In The Freezer
Freezing refried beans is an excellent way to store them, particularly when you have them in bulk and want to save them for later use. Here’s what you need to do:
- Let the beans cool down before freezing them.
- If you have a large portion of refried beans that you either made at home or bought from the supermarket, divide them into small meal-sized portions to make the thawing process easier.
- Transfer the portions into airtight containers or freezer-safe bags. When using bags, make sure to squeeze out as much air as possible.
- Do not fill the containers because even though the beans don’t have any liquid in them, the paste will expand once frozen.
- Next, put a clear label on the storage bags or containers and put them in the freezer.
- If stored correctly, i.e., properly sealed and at 0°, the refried beans may last indefinitely in the freezer. However, for optimum freshness, it is best to use them within 2 months.
Note: never freeze refried beans in the original can they came in since, once opened, the container cannot be properly sealed and might expand at a low temperature, which is not safe.
How To Thaw And Reheat Refried Beans
The best way to thaw frozen refried beans is to transfer them from the freezer to the fridge for a couple of hours, or preferably overnight. You may notice the water being separated, but that is completely normal and expected.
Best used in soups, make sure to never refreeze refried beans as the freeze-thaw cycle may result in taste and textural changes.
If you want to reheat the thawed refried beans, you can use two methods: the skillet or the microwave.
Using A Skillet
For the first method, transfer the beans into a skillet and add a splash of either water or chicken broth in it. Let them cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the water evaporates and the beans are cooked.
Using A Microwave
Although an incredibly fast approach for reheating refried beans, you must be very careful when using the microwave since it tends to reheat the beans unevenly.
Transfer the beans into a microwave-safe bowl and place a damp paper towel on top of it. Turn the microwave on for 1-2 minutes on 50% power, or until the beans are warm enough.
To encourage even heating, make sure to stir the beans every 30 seconds.
How To Tell If Refried Beans Have Gone Bad
There are a couple of ways to tell whether your refried beans have gone bad or not. Luckily, you can easily tell by the way they look, smell, and feel.
The first step is to check the appearance of the refried beans. If you notice any moldy growth or white liquid surrounding the beans, it is safe to say that they have gone bad and it is best to throw them out.
It might be important to mention here that you must refrain from smelling beans that have mold growing on them as it contains mycotoxins that can enter your body through inhalation and make you sick.
Apart from their appearance, you can also check their texture. If they feel slimy and gooey to the touch, it means that the refried beans are not suitable for consumption and must be discarded.
You can also try taking a sniff test to check the quality of the refried beans. If they smell sour, and basically how refried beans should not smell like, you know what to do. Simply throw them out.
Lastly, when using canned refried beans, you can look at the condition of the can that they are in and if you notice a dent or leakage, or if the unopened can has a bulging lid or body, it is better to not use them.
Dents could mean that microbes may have found their way to the beans and spoiled them, making them unfit for consumption.
Now that you know all about storing refried beans in the fridge and how to tell if they have gone bad, here are a few additional questions we thought you might have!
What is the optimum temperature to store refried beans?
Since bacterial growth takes place at a faster rate at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, you should always store refried beans at a lower temperature at or below 40°F to preserve their freshness for a long time.
How long do refried beans last at room temperature?
Opened canned refried beans or leftover refried beans last for about 2 hours at room temperature, after which they become susceptible to bacterial growth and spoilage.
Refried beans that have been sitting at room temperature for more than 2 hours should be discarded since bacterial growth takes place at a faster rate at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F.
That being said, if the ambient temperature is about 90°F, the spoilage may take place at a faster rate and it is recommended to discard them after an hour of being left out at that temperature.
Can you use canned refried beans after their expiration date?
Yes, if they have been stored properly, the can is not damaged, and there are no signs of spoilage, you can use commercially canned refried beans after their expiration date.
These beans typically carry a “best by” or “best before” date (which are not safety dates but the manufacturer’s estimates of how long the refried beans will stay at peak quality).
How long do frozen refried beans last after being thawed?
If thawed in the refrigerator, frozen beans can stay there for about 3-4 days before being reheated and consumed.
However, if thawed in the microwave, it is recommended to use them immediately after their internal temperature rises to 165°F.
Can you eat refried beans out of the can?
Yes, you can eat refried beans out of the can because they are already cooked. According to the FDA, all canned foods, including refried beans, have to be cooked (unless they are pickled).
The canning process involves heating the refried beans to kill off any bacteria, making them perfectly safe and ready to be eaten.
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