Ridiculously easy and perfect for game day, refried bean dip is a hearty appetizer that everyone loves. Perfect with tortilla chips!
Why you’ll love it: This recipe really is very easy. The dip is so creamy and delicious, everyone loves it.
How long it takes: 10 minutes to prep, 35 minutes to bake
Equipment you’ll need: mixing bowl, electric mixer, shallow baking dish
Servings: 12 (makes about 6 cups of dip)
Warm creamy bean dip is the sort of thing that people can’t seem to get enough of. It’s the perfect match for crisp tortilla chips. Refried bean dip is party food!
My kitchen has a big island that everyone congregates around and there’s a good open flow between the kitchen, dining room, and living room. I love to arrange a few appetizers on the island and enjoy all the conversation as friends munch on all their favorites.
I know if I add this refried bean dip to the roster, along with my chipotle salsa and slow cooker queso, everyone will be happy. I like to round out the appetizer fiesta with vegetarian nachos and creamy cilantro lime drizzle.
Why You’ll Love This Bean Dip
Easy to make: This dip is very easy. There’s no chopping, dicing, or monkeying around. Unwrap a package of cream cheese, open a few cans, dump in a few spices, mix it all together and heat it up. Easy peasy.
Fast: Prepping the dip will take you about ten minutes. It needs about 35 minutes in the oven to get good and hot. That will give you a chance to prepare a knockout cocktail or two. Try a spicy Paloma or strawberry margarita punch.
Stays warm: I like to use a cast iron skillet for baked dips. The dip stays nice and warm for a long time after you take it out of the oven which is ideal for serving. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, any heavy casserole dish will have similar qualities.
You can make your own refried beans: If you prefer to make your own refried beans instead of using canned beans, that takes a little more effort. The good part is that refried beans freeze really well so you can make them a month in advance, thaw them in the fridge overnight, and you’re good to go. You’ll find a link on the recipe card for making refried beans in your slow cooker or Instant Pot refried beans. Both recipes are easy and delicious.
I’ll run you through the recipe here and give you a few extra tips. Look for the printable recipe card near the bottom of the post. It has complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- Refried Beans: You’ll need two 16 ounce cans of refried beans or the equivalent of homemade refried beans (about 3 ½ cups).
- Cream Cheese: Choose a block of regular cream cheese or lower fat cream cheese. Avoid nonfat cream cheese because it contains a lot of additives. Allow the cream cheese to soften at room temperature before using.
- Canned Chopped Green Chiles: You’ll need a 4 ounce can. Don’t worry that a dip made with green chiles will be too spicy; they are very mild flavored.
- Lime: Fresh lime juice brightens up the dip, giving it just a touch of acidity.
- Chili Powder: Chili powder is a blend of herbs and spices, usually with added salt.
- Cumin: Ground cumin is a warm spice that is common in many cultures, including Mexican. I reach for my jar of cumin frequently; it’s one of my most used spices.
- Cayenne Pepper: Ground cayenne pepper powder can be pretty spicy so there’s only a quarter teaspoon added to the dip (you can add more if you like!).
- Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese: The brand I use is a mixture of Monterey Jack, cheddar, queso quesadilla and asadero cheeses.
- Toppings: The toppings are optional and are arranged on the dip after it bakes. Some good choices are chopped fresh cilantro, sliced green onions, jalapeño peppers, pickled red onions, pickled radishes, chopped tomatoes, or diced avocado.
- Tortilla Chips: The best dippers for this dip! Make your own fresh tortilla chips if you like. It’s super easy and they are so fresh and warm, and healthier too. Try oven baked tortilla chips or air fryer tortilla chips. Only three ingredients: corn tortillas, oil spray, salt.
How To Make This Appetizer
Are you ready to get started? Unwrap the cream cheese and put it into a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, whip the cream cheese until it’s smooth and a bit fluffy.
Add the two cans of refried beans, green chiles, lime juice, and seasonings.
Again with the mixer, blend all the ingredients together until the mixture is combined and fairly smooth.
Fold in a cup of the shredded cheese. Save a half cup to sprinkle on top.
Spread the mixture into a shallow baking dish or cast iron pan. I usually spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray for easy cleanup.
Sprinkle the reserved cheese on top.
Bake the bean dip for about 35 minutes or until it’s nice and warm. The cheese should be all melty and delicious looking.
Serve your refried bean dip just as it is or garnish it with a few toppings. It’s totally up to you! Be sure to have plenty of tortilla chips. It would be very sad to have dip left over because you ran out of chips.
While refried beans are good on their own, they make a great side dish for tacos, burritos, or fajitas. Add a spoonful of Mexican rice to the plate and you have a complete meal.
Refried beans can be garnished with chopped fresh cilantro, sliced green onions, jalapeño peppers, chopped tomatoes, or diced avocado.
And who doesn’t love refried beans with crisp tortilla chips?
While refried beans are the main ingredient in bean dip recipes, most bean dips also contain some type of cheese and seasonings. Bean dips are softer and creamier (more dippable) than plain refried beans.
There are recipes for both hot and cold bean dip. If you like a cold dip, try this healthy Southwestern black bean dip (it has a secret ingredient which amps up the protein) or creamy black bean dip made with avocado instead of cheese.
My seven layer dip is pretty fabulous, too.
Make It Your Own
- For a fun alternative, serve the bean dip in individually sized tortilla boats. Put a dollop of bean dip in each boat, sprinkle with cheese, and place the boats on a baking tray. Bake the dip right in the boats (350°F for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted) and let guests choose their own toppings.
- There are many varieties of canned refried beans. Choose your favorite.
- Try different types of cheese in your dip. Good choices are cheddar, Monterey Jack, colby jack, or Oaxaca.
Refried bean dip can be made a day ahead, unbaked, and refrigerated. Add about five minutes to the baking time since the dip is chilled.
Although I haven’t tried it yet, I’m quite sure you can freeze the unbaked dip without toppings. I would thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before baking it.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Baked bean dip that is left over can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Please keep in mind that if your dip has been sitting on the counter for a few hours with lots of people dipping into it, it should probably be discarded.
To reheat, warm small portions in the microwave until heated through.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 cans (16 oz. each) refried beans (see note)
- 1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chiles
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (from ½ lime)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder (more or less to taste)
- 1 ½ cups Mexican blend shredded cheese, divided
- Toppings as desired: cilantro, green onion, jalapeño, tomato, avocado
- Tortilla chips, for serving
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 11 x 7 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until smooth and slightly fluffy. Add refried beans, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne powder. Beat until combined. Stir in 1 cup of shredded cheese (reserve 1/2 cup).
- Spread evenly in prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until cheese is melted and dip is heated through.
- Garnish with desired toppings and serve.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.