Refried Beans


This recipe for a tasty low sodium Mexican side dish is so easy to make! This low salt recipe is far superior to store-bought refried beans in both taste and sodium content. In just a few minutes you’ll have a protein-rich batch of refried beans perfect for low sodium tacos or enchiladas.

Pinto beans make for the best-refried beans because they are so buttery. However, feel free to swap the pintos for black beans. Walmart and Sprouts both have a wide selection of affordable “no salt added” canned beans, so experiment with different beans. But start with the pintos!

I use onion flakes because it is faster and easier than chopping onions into very very tiny, super small pieces. If the onions are too large your bean dip will be crunchy and lack that signature creamy texture.

Fresh lime juice makes a difference! Sure you could use bottled lime juice, but nothing amps up the flavor like a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Looking to make a burrito? Use no salt added homemade flour tortillas. Click here to get that low salt recipe.

Easy Low Sodium Refried Beans

Easy Low Sodium Refried Beans

Yield: 4-6 Servings
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt-free chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) of no-salt-added pinto beans - rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice


  1. In a medium saucepan, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion flakes and stir occasionally until they begin to get fragrant (around 2 minutes). Don’t let them burn! You want to bring out the flavor, but if you let them get scorched you’ll have a carbon flavor in your beans.
  2. Add chili powder and cumin. Stir for about 30-60 seconds. Then pour in drained beans and water. Stir mixture, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Now uncover and use a potato masher to mash about 75% of the beans are smooth. (Tweak based on your desired consistency.) Continue to cook beans, uncovered, for 3 additional minutes. You’ll want to stir frequently during this stage.
  4. Remove pan from heat and stir in lime juice. If beans seem a bit dry, add water one teaspoon at a time and stir to combine.


You could experiment with different no-salt-added beans. Try this recipe with black beans for a different and tasty twist.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1 Amount Per Serving Calories 107Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 0mgSodium 13mgCarbohydrates 16gFiber 6gSugar 0gProtein 5g

Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. Nutritional content may vary due to several factors such as how much of an ingredient is used vs. how much will actually be eaten, brand differences, and more. To ensure the most accurate nutritional information, the reader should make calculations based on the ingredients actually used, using their own preferred method, or consulting with a licensed nutritional expert. This Website is not intended as a source of nutritional or food safety advice, and its readers assume full responsibility for any decisions made regarding their own health and safety. Nutritional information calculated by Nutritionix

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  1. This is the first recipe that has actually worked for me and tasted wonderful. Since being diagnosed with high blood pressure AND high cholesterol, the challenge of creating a meal has been overwhelming. At least I can put together a simple wrap with these beans and anything else I have in the fridge. Thank you so much for posting this!

    1. You are welcome, Janet! I’m glad you liked it. I totally understand the overwhelming feeling you are describing. When you have to begin this new lifestyle it can seem like everything is a big NO. But trust me, it gets easier with time. You’ll begin to build a collection of recipes that fit your dietary needs and your palate. I promise, after a while that overwhelming feeling will diminish and you will be a pro at making meals that help keep your blood pressure and cholesterol low. If I can ever lend support, feel free to reach out. Remember, YOU GOT THIS!!

  2. I just found your website, and I’m so pleased to find a resource for low sodium recipes. I find it appalling how much sodium is in processed foods and in so many recipes. Most TV chefs seem to say that salt is an essential seasoning in many dishes. I hope your recipes reduce salt and still result in flavorful dishes that everyone can love.

    1. Hi Penny,
      Yes, the amount of sodium in prepared food is insane. Salt can be used to enhance the flavor of a dish, but a small pinch goes a long way. I find most TV chefs abuse the salt. For whatever reason, it seems that a lot of recipes seem to call for “a teaspoon of salt” just out of habit! Perhaps it is a call back to an earlier time when salt and pepper were the only seasonings most families had in their home. In any case, it is possible to make a low sodium dish that uses other ingredients to provide flavor.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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