Cheese for Refried Beans

Cheese for Refried Beans (Recipe)

Making refried beans at home that taste as creamy and delicious as the ones you get at your favorite Mexican restaurant is easier than you think. By adding a few simple ingredients, such as sour cream and cheese, to canned refried beans, you can elevate the flavor and texture to create a cheesy and satisfying side dish. In this article, we will share a recipe for cheesy refried beans and explore the best types of cheese to use for that extra cheesy goodness.

Key Takeaways:

  • Adding sour cream and cheese to refried beans can enhance their flavor and creaminess.
  • Using the right type of cheese is crucial for achieving the perfect cheesy refried beans.
  • Monterey Jack, cheddar, Cotija, and queso fresco are popular cheese options for refried beans.
  • Cheesy refried beans can be enjoyed as a side dish, dip, or topping in various Mexican dishes.
  • There are ways to make cheesy refried beans healthier by using low-fat cheese and reducing added fats.

How to Make Cheesy Refried Beans

Are you ready to learn how to make deliciously cheesy refried beans at home? Look no further! This simple recipe will guide you through the process, and the end result will have your taste buds begging for more. Let’s get started!


  • 1 can of refried beans (e.g., Taco Bell brand)
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • Your favorite hot sauce, like Valentina, to taste
  • 1/4 cup of diced onion (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup of grated Monterey Jack cheese or a cheddar/jack blend


  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the refried beans, sour cream, hot sauce, diced onion (if using), cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt.
  2. Stir the ingredients until well combined.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish.
  4. Top the mixture with the grated cheese.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  6. Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes.
  7. Serve your cheesy refried beans as a side dish, a dip, or as a topping for tacos, nachos, or burritos.

Enjoy the creamy and flavorful goodness of these homemade cheesy refried beans!

Type of Cheese Flavor Melting Properties
Monterey Jack Mild and creamy Excellent melting properties
Cheddar Sharp and pronounced Good melting properties
Cotija Salty and crumbly Does not melt, best used as a topping
Queso Fresco Mild and soft Does not melt, adds creaminess

The Best Types of Cheese for Refried Beans

When it comes to topping your refried beans with cheese, choosing the right type can make all the difference. Not all cheeses are created equal when it comes to flavor, melting properties, and how well they complement the deliciousness of refried beans. Here are a few types of cheese that are considered the best for creating a cheesy refried beans topping:

Cheese Flavor Melting Properties
Monterey Jack Mild and creamy Excellent melting properties
Cheddar Sharp and pronounced cheesy taste Good melting properties
Cheddar/Jack Blend Combines the sharpness of cheddar with the creaminess of jack Great melting properties
Cotija Salty and crumbly Does not melt, but adds a delicious texture
Queso Fresco Mild and soft Softens but does not fully melt, adds a creamy element

Experimenting with different types of cheese is the key to finding your perfect combination. Whether you prefer the mild creaminess of Monterey Jack or the sharpness of cheddar, adding the right cheese to your refried beans will take them to the next level of deliciousness.

Variety in Cheese, a Gourmet Delight

Each type of cheese brings its own unique character, adding depth and complexity to your cheesy refried beans. While Monterey Jack, cheddar, and cheddar/jack blends are popular choices, don’t be afraid to try more adventurous options like Cotija or queso fresco. By stepping outside of the conventional cheese choices, you can create a truly unforgettable cheesy refried beans experience.

Serving Ideas for Cheesy Refried Beans

Cheesy refried beans are a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in many different ways. Here are some serving ideas to inspire you:

  • Taco topping: Use cheesy refried beans as a delicious and creamy topping for your tacos. Spread a generous layer of beans on your tortilla, then add your favorite fillings like seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa. The combination of the smoky refried beans and the fresh taco ingredients will create a flavor explosion in every bite.
  • Nacho delight: Create a mouthwatering plate of loaded nachos by spreading a layer of cheesy refried beans onto a bed of tortilla chips. Top with shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, jalapeños, and sliced black olives. Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly, then finish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro for a tantalizing appetizer or snack.
  • Quesadilla filler: Take your quesadillas to the next level by spreading a layer of cheesy refried beans between the tortillas. Add some shredded chicken or beef, sautéed onions and bell peppers, and plenty of gooey cheese. Cook the quesadilla on a skillet until golden and crispy, then slice into wedges and serve with salsa and guacamole for a satisfying lunch or dinner.
  • Dip for chips: Serve cheesy refried beans as a flavorful dip alongside tortilla chips. Warm the beans in a saucepan, then transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with a sprinkle of shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, and chopped green onions. Encourage your guests to dip their chips and savor the creamy and cheesy goodness.

These are just a few ideas to get you started, but feel free to get creative and come up with your own unique ways to enjoy cheesy refried beans. Whether as a topping, a filling, or a dip, the combination of creamy refried beans and melted cheese is sure to satisfy your cravings for comfort food.

Health Benefits and Tips for Making Cheesy Refried Beans Healthier

While refried beans can be a delicious and satisfying addition to your Mexican dishes, it’s important to be mindful of the ingredients and cooking methods to make them healthier. Here are some tips:

1. Choose Low-Fat Cheese Options

When selecting cheese for your cheesy refried beans, opt for low-fat or reduced-fat varieties. These types of cheese contain less saturated fat and cholesterol, making them a healthier choice. Good options include reduced-fat cheddar, low-fat Monterey Jack, or part-skim mozzarella.

2. Use Homemade Refried Beans

While canned refried beans are convenient, they often contain added sodium and preservatives. Consider making your own refried beans using dried beans, which allows you to control the amount of salt and additives. Homemade refried beans can be just as flavorful while being healthier.

3. Incorporate Fresh Ingredients

Add fresh ingredients to your refried beans to boost their nutritional value and enhance their taste. Consider adding diced tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, or cilantro for added flavor and texture. These ingredients also provide additional vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

4. Use Avocado as a Topping

Instead of using traditional toppings like sour cream or cheese, try using sliced avocado as a healthier alternative. Avocados are rich in healthy fats and provide a creamy texture that pairs well with refried beans. Plus, they offer additional health benefits such as fiber, potassium, and vitamins.

5. Control Portion Sizes

While refried beans can be nutritious, they are also calorie-dense. To make them healthier, control your portion sizes. Serve refried beans as a side dish or use them as a filling for tacos or burritos rather than eating them in large quantities. This allows you to enjoy the flavors without consuming excessive calories.

6. Add Spices Instead of Excess Salt

Rather than relying on excessive salt to flavor your refried beans, experiment with spices and herbs. Use spices like cumin, chili powder, paprika, or oregano to add depth and complexity to the dish. This reduces your sodium intake and adds a healthier punch of flavor.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the taste of cheesy refried beans while making healthier choices that benefit your overall well-being.

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Health Benefits of Refried Beans

Health Benefit Description
Excellent Source of Protein Refried beans are rich in plant-based protein, making them an ideal choice for vegetarian or vegan diets.
Rich in Fiber Refried beans are high in dietary fiber, which aids digestion and helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Good Source of Essential Nutrients Refried beans contain essential nutrients such as iron, magnesium, potassium, and folate, which contribute to overall health and well-being.
May Aid in Weight Management The high fiber and protein content of refried beans can help promote feelings of fullness and prevent overeating, supporting weight management goals.
Supports Heart Health Refried beans are low in saturated fat and high in fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.


Cheesy refried beans are a simple and satisfying dish that can elevate any Mexican meal. By adding sour cream, cheese, and other flavorful ingredients, you can create a creamy and cheesy texture that will impress your friends and family. Experiment with different types of cheese to find your favorite combination, and don’t be afraid to get creative with serving ideas. Whether as a side dish, dip, or topping, cheesy refried beans are sure to add a delicious and cheesy goodness to your Mexican culinary adventures.


What is the best type of cheese to use for refried beans?

The best types of cheese to use for refried beans are Monterey Jack, shredded cheddar, cheddar/jack blend, crumbled Cotija, or queso fresco. Each type has its own unique flavor and melting properties, so feel free to experiment and find your favorite combination.

How do I make cheesy refried beans?

To make cheesy refried beans, combine canned refried beans with sour cream, your favorite hot sauce, diced onions, and spices. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish, top with grated cheese, and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

What are some serving ideas for cheesy refried beans?

Cheesy refried beans are a versatile dish that can be served as a side dish, used as a dip for tortilla chips, or even used as a topping for nachos, tacos, or burritos. Get creative and enjoy them however you like!

Are there any tips for making cheesy refried beans healthier?

To make cheesy refried beans healthier, opt for low-fat sour cream and use less cheese or choose lower-fat cheese options. You can also add more vegetables, such as diced tomatoes or bell peppers, for added nutrition.

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