Are Refried Beans Low Carb? 5 Healthy Alternatives to Try 2024

Hello, culinary adventurers! Ever glanced at a dish of refried beans and pondered, “Well, these hardly look like fine dining, do they?” You’re in good company! I concede, refried beans may not be the belle of the ball when it comes to looks, but their appearance is deceiving. These small bean marvels pack a lot more than what initially appears. Today, we’re plunging into the realm of refried beans to tackle a vital query: Are refried beans low in carbs?

And to spice things up, I’ve got 5 delicious alternatives that might just steal the limelight from our unassuming beans. So, grab your fork, and let’s get ready to uncover the truth about refried beans and explore some tasty low-carb options – because in the culinary world, looks can be deceiving!

Are Refried Beans Low Carb?

The short answer is: No. While they are a good source of fiber and protein, they are not considered low carb because they contain a significant amount of carbohydrates. One cup of refried beans contains around 40 grams of carbohydrates, which is more than the daily limit for many low-carb diets.

However, if you are following a moderate or flexible low-carb diet, you may be able to incorporate refried beans in your meals in moderation. You can also consider making your own refried beans using some alternatives I present to you later.

Carbs in Refried Beans

Refried beans are made from cooked and mashed beans, typically pinto or black beans. The carb content of refried beans can vary depending on the recipe and the brand. Generally, refried beans contain around 20-25 grams of total carbs per half-cup serving. However, the net carb content is lower because refried beans are high in fiber.

Nutritional Value of Refried Beans

Refried beans are a good source of protein, fiber, and several vitamins and minerals. One half-cup serving of refried beans contains approximately:

  • 7 grams of protein
  • 6 grams of fiber
  • 15% of the daily value (DV) for iron
  • 10% of the DV for magnesium
  • 8% of the DV for potassium

While refried beans are not necessarily low carb, they can still be included in a balanced diet in moderation. However, if you are on a strict low-carb or keto diet, there are several healthy alternatives to refried beans that you can try.

Health Benefits and Risks

Nutritional Benefits

Refried beans are a good source of fiber, protein, and minerals. They contain iron, folate, and vitamin C, which are essential for maintaining good health. They are also low in calories and sodium, making them a healthy addition to any diet. The fiber in refried beans helps to keep you feeling full, which can aid in weight loss.

Potential Risks

Refried beans are high in carbohydrates, which can cause blood sugar levels to spike. This can be a concern for people with diabetes or those who are trying to control their blood sugar levels. Additionally, some brands of refried beans may contain added sugar or unhealthy fats, such as trans fats. It is important to read labels and choose brands that are low in sugar and trans fats.

Consuming large amounts of refried beans can also lead to digestive issues, such as bloating and gas. This is because they contain oligosaccharides, a type of carbohydrate that can be difficult for some people to digest. It is important to start with small portions and gradually increase the amount of refried beans in your diet to avoid digestive issues.

Low Carb Alternatives to Refried Beans

Unfortunately, traditional refried beans are typically made with pinto beans, which are relatively high in carbs. However, there are several low-carb alternatives that you can enjoy instead. Here are my 5 favorite healthy options to consider:

Black Soybeans

low carb refried beans alternative black soybeans

Black soybeans are a great low-carb alternative to traditional refried beans. These beans are high in protein and fiber, and they have a delicious nutty flavor. Plus, they’re a good source of vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, and potassium. To make refried beans with black soybeans, simply mash them up with some spices and a bit of olive oil. You can also use them as a base for dips or spreads.

Mashed Avocado

Mashed avocado is another great low-carb option that can be used as a substitute for refried beans. Avocado is high in healthy fats and fiber, which can help keep you feeling full and satisfied. To make mashed avocado, simply mash up a ripe avocado with some lime juice, salt, and pepper. You can also add in some chopped tomatoes, onions, or cilantro for extra flavor.

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice is a low-carb alternative to traditional rice that can be used in a variety of dishes, including refried beans. To make cauliflower rice, simply chop up cauliflower into small pieces and pulse it in a food processor until it resembles rice. You can then cook it in a pan with some spices and a bit of olive oil. Cauliflower rice is a great option if you’re looking for a low-carb, low-calorie alternative to traditional rice.

Baba Ganoush

Baba ganoush is a delicious dip made from roasted eggplant, tahini, and spices. It’s a great low-carb alternative to traditional refried beans, and it’s packed with flavor and nutrients. To make baba ganoush, simply roast an eggplant in the oven until it’s soft and tender. Then, mash it up with some tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and spices. You can serve it with veggies or low-carb crackers for a healthy snack.


Low carb refried beans alternative guacamole

Guacamole is a classic dip made from mashed avocado, tomatoes, onions, and spices. It’s a great low-carb option that’s packed with flavor and nutrients. To make guacamole, simply mash up a ripe avocado and mix it with some chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic, lime juice, and salt. You can serve it with veggies or low-carb chips for a healthy snack. Have a look at the comparison of several low carb chips to buy, I created for you.

Preparing Low Carb Refried Beans

As someone who follows a low-carb diet, I searched for an alternative cooking method for a low carb version of refried beans. The following recipe worked best for me and I can highly recommend it.


To make low carb refried beans, you will need:

  • 1 can of black soybeans
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of chopped onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until they are soft and fragrant.
  3. Add the can of black soybeans to the pan and stir to combine.
  4. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper to the pan and stir to combine.
  5. Use a potato masher or immersion blender to mash the beans until they are smooth and creamy.
  6. Continue to cook the beans over low heat until they are heated through and have reached your desired consistency.

This low carb refried beans recipe with black soybeans is a great alternative to traditional refried beans. It’s easy to make and packed with flavor. Plus, the black soybeans are high in protein and low in carbs, making them a great addition to any low-carb diet.


Are refried beans low carb?

No, they are not low carb. One cup of refried beans contains 26g of net carbs which is high for a low-carb diet.

What are alternatives to refried beans for a low-carb diet?

Some alternatives include roasted cauliflower, zucchini, eggplant, mashed avocado, or guacamole.

Can you make low-carb refried beans?

Yes, you can make low-carb refried beans by using black soybeans or black soybean flour instead of pinto beans and using a low-carb oil like avocado oil instead of lard.

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Leon Rudolph
Articles: 215

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