Give Canned Refried Beans A Restaurant-Worthy Upgrade With Taco Seasoning

Mexican refried beans topped with cheese
Mexican refried beans topped with cheese - Bhofack2/Getty Images

While canned refried beans are a convenient option to save you the trouble of making them from scratch, they often lack flavor. Worse still, they might even take on the metallic taste of the can they come in. Luckily, taco seasoning is another accessible commodity that can transform bland store-bought refried beans into a restaurant-worthy side dish for your next Mexican food meal at home.

Taco seasoning mix is widely available at any major grocery store nationwide, featuring a blend of classic Mexican spices like savory cumin and oregano, smoky paprika, chili powder, onion, and garlic powder. It will liven up the hefty earthiness of the beans just as it breathes zesty life into ground beef. You can simply add a packet of your favorite brand of taco seasoning to a standard 16-ounce can of refried beans when you heat them on the stove. The beans will become softer and creamier with the heat, allowing you to stir them more easily, which also helps you blend in the seasoning. Of course, if you're feeling mildly ambitious, you can make your own taco seasoning using this smoky taco seasoning recipe from Tasting Table recipe developers, with smoked paprika and red chili flakes for an extra spicy punch.

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More Tips For Adding Flavor And Seasonings To Refried Beans

refried beans stirred in a skillet
refried beans stirred in a skillet - Zkruger/Getty Images

Taco seasoning will impart a depth of flavor and fragrance to a can of refried beans, but it's also a delicious ingredient in seven-layer dip; it's added to sour cream along with a squeeze of lime juice. Since refried beans are the first layer of seven-layer dip, the combination of beans, sour cream, and taco seasoning is proven to be a winner.

You could stir in a packet of seasoning along with a dollop of sour cream or Mexican crema to provide a tangy complement and fluffy creaminess to the beans. If you're avoiding dairy, you can cut through the richness of your refried beans with a squeeze of lime. If you plan on making a bean dip, refried beans and taco seasoning provide the perfect foundation to add shredded Jack cheese and red salsa.

Many Mexican families and professional chefs get restaurant-worthy refried beans by using lard, a rendered pork fat that is used in place of butter in some Mexican recipes. To bring canned refried beans closer to the authentic Mexican recipe, you could bloom taco seasoning mix in a little olive oil or bacon grease before stirring it into the refried beans. Top them with a sprinkle of cotija cheese for a salty finish.

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