Delicious Refried Bean Chili Recipe for Your Next Meal

Hello there, fellow food enthusiasts! Welcome to my recipe for the ultimate comfort food – Refried Bean Chili. This dish always hits the spot and is a real crowd-pleaser, whether it’s served up for a cozy night in or a big family gathering.

Now, I know that some of you may be thinking that making chili takes too long and is too complicated to be worth it. But, oh, how wrong you are! Using a slow cooker makes this recipe foolproof and so easy. Plus, it’s impressive enough to serve your guests but also simple enough to whip up for an easy weeknight dinner.

One of the things that make this Refried Bean Chili recipe so special is its use of refried beans, which add an incredible richness and depth of flavor to the dish. They thicken up the chili beautifully while imparting their unique taste on the dish. Trust me; once you try it, you’ll never go back to regular bean chili again!

So, forget about heading out to your local restaurant for some refried beans and give this recipe a chance. I promise it will taste better than any restaurant refried beans you’ve ever had before. Let’s get started, shall we?

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Refried Bean Chili
Refried Bean Chili

Are you a fan of hearty and comforting meals that pack a punch of flavor and texture? Look no further than this refried bean chili recipe!

One of the reasons you’ll love this dish is its versatility. Swap out the protein for ground turkey or even a vegetarian option like green chiles, and customize the heat level to your liking with chili powder and chipotle. Plus, the addition of extra thick and chunky salsa adds an extra depth of flavor to this classic dish.

But what truly sets this chili recipe apart is the use of refried beans. Not only do they make for a thicker and more robust chili, but they also add an extra savory dimension. And let’s not forget about the convenience factor – no need to mash up beans yourself when canned refried beans do the job perfectly.

And if you’re worried about adding extra fat to your meal with refried beans, fear not! This recipe calls for lean ground beef and turkey, as well as kidney and black beans for added nutrition.

Overall, this refried bean chili is the ultimate comfort food that satisfies both your taste buds and cravings. So go ahead, give it a try – you won’t be sorry!

Ingredient List

 A hearty bowl of Refried Bean Chili, perfect for chilly days
A hearty bowl of Refried Bean Chili, perfect for chilly days

Get your kitchen stocked up with the following ingredients to make a scrumptious refried bean chili recipe.

| Ingredients | Amount |
| ———————-| ——————-|
| Lean ground beef | 1 lb |
| Ground turkey | 1 lb |
| Finely chopped onion | 1 cup |
| Minced garlic | 3 cloves |
| Diced tomatoes | 1 can (14.5 oz) |
| Chili beans | 1 can (15 oz) |
| Kidney beans | 1 can (15 oz) |
| Black beans | 1 can (15 oz) |
| Pinto beans | 1 can (15 oz) |
| Refried beans | 1 can (16 oz) |
| Beef broth | 2 cups |
| Thick & Chunky salsa | 1½ cups |
| Chili powder | 2 tsp |
| Ground cumin | 2 tsp |
| Red bell pepper | 1 large, chopped |

Don’t hesitate to add more herbs and spices to suit your taste buds!

The Recipe How-To

After gathering all the necessary ingredients, we can start making this delicious Refried Bean Chili. This recipe can be done in a slow cooker or a crockpot for extra convenience.

Step 1: Cook the Ground Meat

In a large skillet, brown 1 lb lean ground beef (or ground turkey/chicken) over medium heat until it is fully cooked. Make sure to crumble the meat as it cooks. Drain any excess fat or juices.

Step 2: Sauté the Vegetables

Add 1 cup finely chopped onion, 1 large red bell pepper chopped, and 2 teaspoons of minced garlic to the skillet with the cooked meat. Sauté them for 3-4 minutes or until they become tender.

Step 3: Combine All Ingredients

Transfer the meat and vegetable mixture into a slow cooker. Add one can each of diced tomatoes, chili beans, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, and thick & chunky salsa. Then add one can of beef broth and sprinkle 2 teaspoons ground cumin, and 3 tablespoons chili powder over the top.

Step 4: Make Refried Beans

Add one can of drained and rinsed refried beans to the pot. Stir everything together well so that all of the flavors are well combined.

Step 5: Let It Cook

Cook on low heat for about 6-8 hours or on high heat for about 4-5 hours. Stir occasionally during cooking to prevent any sticking or burning.

Step 6: Serve Hot

When it’s ready, ladle your hot chili into bowls and serve with your favorite toppings like sour cream, shredded cheese, diced onions, diced jalapeños, avocado slices or tortilla chips. Your friends and family won’t be able to resist this hearty, delicious Refried Bean Chili recipe!

Substitutions and Variations

 The ultimate comfort food, ready in minutes
The ultimate comfort food, ready in minutes

There are several ways you can customize this refried bean chili recipe to suit your taste preferences or dietary restrictions. Here are some substitution and variation ideas for you to try out:

– Vegetarian Option: If you’re looking for a meatless option, you can skip the ground beef and substitute it with pinto beans or black beans. You can also add more veggies, like diced carrots or green peppers, for added flavor and nutrition.

– Turkey Chili: To make a turkey chili version of this recipe, simply use ground turkey in place of the ground beef. Turkey is leaner than beef, so you may need to add a bit of extra fat or oil to thicken your chili.

– Three Bean Chili: Add extra beans to your chili by including three types of beans such as kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans. They provide plenty of vitamins and minerals, fiber and plant protein.

– Spicier chili: Chipotle’s are great for adding smoky heat to any dish. If you want spicier chili, use hot salsa instead of mild or medium. You can also add chopped jalapenos or green chiles.

– Vegetarian Refried Beans: To make this recipe vegetarian, avoid beef broth and use vegetable broth instead. Swap the lard traditionally used in refried beans with vegetable oil or butter like Earth Balance.

– Beef Chorizo: Want more flavor? Substitute half-pound ground beef with Mexican chorizo allow the spices from this variety of sausage plus some pork fat make up for less meat.

These substitutions and variations will give your refried bean chili that extra kick that you may be craving. The essence of cooking is creating new things out of what we already have readily available to us; therefore, experiment as much as possible until you find what works best for you!

Serving and Pairing

 The combination of spices and beans make this chili a flavor-packed meal
The combination of spices and beans make this chili a flavor-packed meal

When it comes to serving this delicious Refried Bean Chili, you have an array of options to choose from. This chili is perfect on its own as a filling meal, or you can pair it with your favorite side dishes for an indulgent and satisfying feast.

First up, let’s talk about the usual chili accompaniments. Try serving it with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese, and a handful of salty tortilla chips on top. The sourness of the cream, combined with the tangy cheese flavor and the crunchy texture of tortilla chips create a tasty and satisfying combination.

For those who prefer a spicier kick, add some sliced jalapenos or even pickled red onions for an extra pop of flavor. You can also serve this Refried Bean Chili with hot sauce on the side for those who like it extra spicy.

For a healthier option, consider pairing your Refried Bean Chili with fresh greens such as chopped iceberg or romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes, and sliced avocado. It adds a refreshing crunch and balances out the warm and comforting nature of this chili. A drizzle of lime juice or even guacamole can be used as a wonderful dressing to elevate your healthy bowl.

Lastly, pairing your Refried Bean Chili with crusty bread or fragrant rice adds an entirely new dimension to your meal experience. The bread provides an excellent vehicle for soaking up all that warm and hearty goodness while the lightly-spiced rice acts as a base for which to pile on heaps of this mouthwatering chili.

No matter how you choose to serve your Refried Bean Chili, be sure to get creative and make it your own!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Top it off with sour cream, avocado slices, and tortilla chips for a perfect finish
Top it off with sour cream, avocado slices, and tortilla chips for a perfect finish

Are you planning to make a big batch of refried bean chili and wondering how to store and reheat it? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. This refried bean chili recipe is perfect for making ahead of time and storing for later use.

To make things easy, I recommend using an airtight container to store your chili. This will keep it fresher for longer and help prevent any mishaps in the fridge or freezer. Depending on how much chili you have left over, you can store it in portions that suit personal preferences.

If you want to freeze the chili, consider using freezer-friendly containers. These will help protect the flavor and color of the chili. Remember to add a label with the date and name of the dish so that you can quickly find it later.

When reheating your refried bean chili, the best way is to thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating it on the stovetop. However, if you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to thaw your chili overnight, don’t panic. You can safely reheat frozen chili on medium-low heat until it’s heated through completely.

Moreover, if you are feeling adventurous or just simply want to mix things up and add some variety, you could try using this refried bean chili as a dip with chips or as part of a vegetarian three-bean soup variation of this recipe.

In conclusion, this refried bean chili recipe is an ideal dish that can be made ahead of time and stored easily making it very convenient for busy individuals or families who are wanting to eat nutritious homemade food.

Tips for Perfect Results

 The aroma of this Chili will make your kitchen smell amazing
The aroma of this Chili will make your kitchen smell amazing

Perfecting the Refried Bean Chili Recipe can be a bit tricky, but with these tips, you’ll cook up a savory masterpiece that will leave your guests licking their bowls.

Tip #1: Avoid Overcooking the Beans

To ensure that your beans have the perfect texture and flavor, it is important not to overcook them. Overcooking the beans can cause them to turn mushy and lose their flavor. The trick is to add the beans towards the end of cooking time.

Tip #2: Use Different Types of Beans

For added flavor and texture, you can experiment with different types of beans such as kidney beans, black beans or pinto beans. Not only will they add an extra depth of flavor but also make the dish much richer and tastier.

Tip #3: Spice It Up!

Adding various spices like ground cumin and chili powder can boost the flavor of this delicious dish. Consider adding chipotle pepper to give it more heat and smokiness.

Tip #4: Quality Ingredients Matters

When making refried bean chili, use fresh vegetables like onion, garlic, tomatoes, bell pepper and green chili for an authentic taste. Also using beef broth instead of water not only adds more layers of flavor but also enhances the savory aroma.

Tip #5: Bring In Some Texture

The texture can be livened up by adding some thick & chunky salsa to give it a heartier taste. Additionally, beef chorizo or ground turkey can be used instead of ground beef to achieve added richness in flavors without adding extra fat.

By implementing these tips while preparing your Refried Bean Chili Recipe will result in an authentic taste that will leave your guests amazed at your culinary prowess.


Now that you know how to make this delicious refried bean chili recipe, you might have some questions about the ingredients or the cooking process. In this section, I will address some frequently asked questions to help you troubleshoot any issues and ensure your dish comes out perfectly every time. So, let’s dive into some of the most common questions home cooks ask about this recipe.

Can you use refried beans to thicken chili?

Are you tired of soupy chili that lacks substance? Look no further than a trusty can of refried beans! With just a quick addition to your pot, these mashed up beans will thicken up your chili in no time. Plus, their savory flavor will add an extra dimension to your chili that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. So next time you’re in a bind, don’t forget the refries!

Why do restaurant refried beans taste so good?

Have you ever wondered why restaurant-made refried beans taste heavenly? Many eateries add unhealthy fats such as butter, bacon grease, or bacon fat to enhance the flavor. However, you can make your own deceitful version of this scrumptious dish without the extra fat.

What can I add to refried beans to make it taste better?

If you want to boost the taste of your beans dish, consider adding cumin to add a little bit of smokiness. Additionally, chili powder can also add a great layer of flavor to the beans. To give an extra pop of flavor and texture, try sprinkling shredded cheese on top. Colby and Monterey Jack blend or a cheddar blend are both great options to consider.

Why are beans not allowed in chili?

When it comes to authentic chili, beans are not a traditional ingredient. The original recipe for chili that dates back to the 19th century did not contain any beans. However, over time, many modern-day recipe variations have included beans in their ingredients list. For those looking to make traditional chili, it is important to omit beans from the recipe.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Refried Bean Chili Recipe is a perfect meal that I would encourage you to try. It is an excellent way to bring some delicious Mexican flavors to your table. The recipe offers various options for substitutions and variations that can help accommodate different dietary requirements and tastes.

Whether you choose to make it in a slow cooker or on the stovetop, this recipe is easy to follow and will produce great results if you follow its instructions. Additionally, this dish can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer for future consumption. With its incredible flavor and versatility, it can also be used in many ways such as a dip, soup or served alongside other dishes.

Overall, the Refried Bean Chili Recipe is a great addition to your recipe collection. Why waste money at restaurants when you can make the perfect refried beans chili at home? Try it now and discover why this dish has become increasingly popular in Mexican cuisine all over the world. Trust me; once you give this recipe a try, you’ll never go back!

Refried Bean Chili

Refried Bean Chili Recipe

Adapted from a recipe in the BH&G Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes. Use a 6 qt crock pot for stated amounts. Halve amounts for a 3.5 qt cooker. Can also be made on the stove top or simmered in a slow oven. Freezes beautifully.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 700.5 kcal


  • 1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans chili beans
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar thick & chunky salsa (use desired heat level)
  • 1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
  • 1 (14 ounce) can beef broth (or 1 12 oz. bottle beer)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (use desired heat level)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin


  • Brown ground turkey and onion until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat and add to meat and onion to crock.
  • Add remaining ingredients to crock and mix well.
  • Cook on low 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours.
  • Garnish as you desire. We usually set out shredded cheese, chopped onions and sour cream.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 484gCalories: 700.5kcalCarbohydrates: 90.2gProtein: 57.4gFat: 14.6gSaturated Fat: 3.9gCholesterol: 97.9mgSodium: 2216.8mgFiber: 21.1gSugar: 6.8g
Keyword Beans, Beginner Cook, Easy, Healthy, Low Cholesterol, Meat, Poultry
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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