Refried beans can be used for so many different purposes. Sometimes you use them to make a special dip for a big party, but they can also become part of a fantastic dinner.
No matter what, it’s going to be important to ensure that the beans turn out properly. After all, no one is going to be pleased if they turn out too thin.
Thin refried beans can wind up being way too runny. They won’t have the satisfying consistency that refried beans should have, and it’ll wind up throwing the entire dish off.
If you’re making some right now and they seem to be a bit too thin, you might be worried. You don’t necessarily have to start from scratch, though.
It’s possible to thicken the refried beans to make them turn out thicker. You just need to know how to approach things.
1 – Try Cooking Them More
The first thing that you should do is keep cooking them a bit more. It’s possible that you stopped cooking the beans too soon and this is why they turned out runny and thin.
Simply continue heating the refried beans in a saucepan. Put the stovetop on low heat and then keep stirring the beans. Eventually, they should reach the proper consistency if all goes well.
If you feel that the beans are a bit too thin still, you can try adding other ingredients. Just know that it’s possible that you can fix things just by cooking the beans some more.
Be patient and see if you can thicken the beans by cooking them for several more minutes. Cooking them at low heat will lessen the likelihood that you will burn them.
Hopefully, this little trick will work out. Most culinary experts say that this is the best approach to take, but you do have other options available to you.
2 – Add a Cornstarch Slurry to the Beans
Adding a cornstarch slurry will be the next option that you should look into. If you don’t know how to do this, you don’t need to worry because it’s very simple.
You just combine one tablespoon of water and one tablespoon of cornstarch. You keep mixing things together until everything is homogeneous.
It’s possible that you might need more than just one tablespoon of each. Just use the same ratio to make as much of the cornstarch slurry as you need.
You’ll wind up creating an incredibly strong thickening paste that can be mixed into the refried beans. It’ll certainly thicken everything up, but you will need to be careful.
Using this method will make it easy to make the refried beans too thick. This is why you should add a bit of the slurry at a time and then check the consistency.
Stop adding the cornstarch slurry when you’ve reached the desired consistency. So long as you’re paying attention, it’ll be easy enough to get things right with this method.
3 – Flour Will Also Work
Using flour will also work fine to thicken the refried beans. If you don’t have any cornstarch that you can utilize, it might be more practical to use flour.
Just use some all-purpose flour that you have in your pantry. Add a bit of flour and water together so that you can make a simple slurry.
You’ll basically be doing the same thing that you would if you had cornstarch. Make a slurry and add a bit at a time to the beans to thicken things up.
It’ll be easy enough to get things as thick as you need them to be. Just don’t go overboard and you’ll be able to get great results.
4 – Try Frying the Beans
Have you thought about frying the beans? This is actually a pretty satisfying way to turn things around when you have refried beans that are runny or very thin.
Just fry them up and you’ll be able to make them a lot thicker. It is going to change the beans a good bit, though.
For example, refried beans that have been fried will wind up having a bit of a crunch. Many find this to be very satisfying, and you might even think of it as an improvement.
However, not everyone is going to find this to be ideal. If you want to keep the beans as normal as possible, cooking them longer is a better bet than frying them.
5 – Add Instant Mashed Potatoes to the Mix
One popular option involves using some instant mashed potatoes to thicken up the refried beans. This can indeed work, but it isn’t as good as using cornstarch or flour.
This is a good option when you only need to thicken the beans a little bit. You have to be careful too since it can wind up dulling the flavor of the refried beans a bit.
You’ll just need to stir some instant mashed potatoes into the refried beans and keep heating them up. It should make the beans a good bit thicker than they were before.
This likely won’t be the best option if the beans are runny, though. Only use instant mashed potatoes when the beans are a bit too thin.
6 – Try Using Xanthan Gum
Xanthan gum is something that can be used when you have incredibly thin beans. If your beans are so runny that you would never dream of eating them, xanthan gum might be the key to getting them to become thick enough.
Typically, xanthan gum isn’t going to be something that you’ll keep around in your kitchen (you might consider these alternatives as well). It might be worth keeping around because of how useful it can be, though.
This is a thickening agent that is going to be able to get the job done quickly. It’ll certainly be able to make your refried beans thicker.
The problem is that you can easily cause things to go wrong by using too much of it. For this reason, it’s not really considered to be the best option for something such as this.
If you want to have an easier time, you should stick to using cornstarch or flour. This doesn’t mean that xanthan gum won’t work out wonderfully in your situation, but it does mean that you need to pay attention to avoid making mistakes.
You’ve learned everything that you need to know about thickening refried beans. If you want to get them to turn out perfectly, this information will help you.
There’s no reason to put up with thin refried beans when you have many options that can fix the situation. Simply decide which of the methods laid out above will suit you the best.
Often, you’ll be able to get things thickened up nicely just by cooking the beans more. You can also fry them to make them thicker and give things a bit of a crunch.
Using a cornstarch slurry to make sure that the beans are sufficiently thick will work. You can also easily use flour to get the job done.
Be careful if you choose to use options such as instant mashed potatoes or xanthan gum. They work well, but you can make mistakes and throw things off if you do things wrong.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.