How many calories in a cup of fat free refried beans?

Refried beans are a staple in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. They are made by mashing pinto beans and cooking them until they reach a paste-like consistency. Traditional refried beans are made with lard or other fats, but fat free varieties use water or vegetable broth instead. Fat free refried beans are a great way to cut calories without sacrificing flavor. But exactly how many calories are in a cup of fat free refried beans? Let’s take a closer look.

Calories in Fat Free Refried Beans

According to the USDA, one cup (244g) of fat free refried beans contains approximately:

  • Calories: 218
  • Protein: 15g
  • Carbohydrates: 36g
  • Fiber: 13g
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Fat: 0.4g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.1g
  • Sodium: 477mg

So a single cup of fat free refried beans contains 218 calories. This is significantly lower than traditional refried beans made with lard, which can have up to 300 calories per cup. By using water or broth instead of fat, fat free refried beans cut out a significant number of calories while still providing protein, fiber, and key micronutrients.

Refried Bean Nutrition Facts

In addition to being low calorie, fat free refried beans are packed with nutrition:


With 15g of protein per cup, refried beans are an excellent plant-based source of this important nutrient. Protein helps maintain and repair tissues and is vital for building muscle mass.


A cup of fat free refried beans contains a whopping 13g of dietary fiber – over half of the recommended daily value. Fiber promotes digestive health, reduces cholesterol, and helps stabilize blood sugar levels.


Refried beans are high in iron, with 23% DV in each cup. Iron carries oxygen throughout the body and helps prevent anemia.


Fat free refried beans contain 12% DV for potassium per cup. This mineral is essential for heart health, muscle function, and fluid balance.


Also known as vitamin B9, folate is key for new cell production and growth. A cup of refried beans has over half the daily recommended value of folate.

So in addition to being low calorie, fat free refried beans deliver a powerhouse of important vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

Ways to Enjoy Fat Free Refried Beans

Here are some healthy and delicious ways to eat fat free refried beans:

Tacos – Fold fat free refried beans into warm corn tortillas along with veggies, salsa, and avocado.

Nachos – Pile freshly fried tortilla chips with refried beans, shredded cheese, tomatoes, peppers, and Greek yogurt.

Quesadillas – Stuff a tortilla with beans and cheese then grill until crispy.

Enchiladas – Roll corn tortillas around beans and your favorite fillings, then bake with enchilada sauce.

Burritos – Fill a large flour tortilla with seasoned rice, beans, meat or veggies, cheese, etc.

Tostadas – Top a flat crunchy corn tortilla with refried beans, lettuce, onion, avocado and cotija cheese.

Chilaquiles – Mix fried tortilla strips with beans, salsa, eggs, cheese, cilantro and sour cream.

Breakfast tacos – Wrap beans, eggs, cheese, and veggies in a soft tortilla.

Bean dip – Blend beans with salsa, garlic and spices for a protein-packed dip.

The possibilities are endless! Refried beans are incredibly versatile, so get creative with healthy toppings and accompaniments.

Low Calorie Bean Recipes

If you want more ideas for preparing low calorie bean dishes, here are some delicious recipes to try:

Black Bean Quinoa Salad


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
  2. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, black beans, bell pepper, tomatoes, avocado and cilantro.
  3. Whisk together olive oil, lime juice and cumin. Pour over quinoa mixture and toss to coat.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.

This flavorful salad has 14 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber per serving.

White Bean and Spinach Soup


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes until translucent.
  3. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  4. Add vegetable broth, beans, spinach and Italian seasoning.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Blend soup with an immersion blender or regular blender.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.

This hearty soup has 10 grams of fiber and 12 grams of protein per serving.

Three Bean Chili


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes until soft.
  3. Add garlic and bell pepper. Cook 2 minutes more.
  4. Add beans, tomatoes, chili powder and cumin.
  5. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, until thickened.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.

This vegetarian chili provides a whopping 24 grams of protein and 18 grams of fiber per serving.

More Tips for Reducing Calories

If you’re looking to further cut calories from bean dishes, here are some additional tips:

  • Use low sodium beans to avoid excess sodium.
  • Flavor with fresh herbs and spices instead of oil.
  • Go easy on high calorie toppings like sour cream, cheese, etc.
  • Choose corn tortillas instead of flour – they have about half the calories.
  • Bulk up dishes by adding extra veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, etc.
  • Use Greek yogurt instead of cheese for a protein boost.
  • Top with freshly made salsa rather than pre-made varieties.
  • Rinse beans before using to remove some of the sodium.

Making these simple swaps can help trim overall calories without compromising taste.

Health Benefits of Beans

In addition to being low in calories, increasing your intake of beans offers many benefits:

Weight Loss – Beans are high in protein and fiber, which helps promote fullness and manage cravings. Eating beans may boost weight loss.

Heart Health – The fiber, potassium, folate and antioxidants in beans support cardiovascular health and may lower heart disease risk.

Blood Sugar Control – The fiber and protein in beans helps prevent blood sugar spikes, making them excellent for diabetics.

Cancer Prevention – Compounds in beans may block cancer cell growth and tumor formation, reducing risk for certain cancers.

Digestive Health – As a high fiber food, beans regulate bowel movements and promote a healthy gut. The prebiotics in beans feed probiotic bacteria.

Cholesterol Reduction – Beans have been shown to lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels, reducing the risk for heart disease.

So by enjoying fat free refried beans and other bean dishes, you can reap impressive benefits beyond just cutting calories.

Calories in Different Varieties of Beans

While this article has focused specifically on fat free refried beans, calories can vary considerably among different types of beans:

Bean Type Calories per Cup
Black beans 230
Pinto beans 245
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) 270
Kidney beans 225
Cannellini beans 225
Navy beans 255
Lentils 230

As you can see, most varieties of beans range from around 220 to 270 calories per cooked cup. So while calories may vary slightly, all types of beans are great low calorie options.


Fat free refried beans clock in at 218 calories per cup. They are an excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. Enjoying refried beans and other bean varieties can help boost nutrition while cutting calories. Fill up on fiber-rich beans to lose weight, improve health, and prevent disease. Just remember to go easy on high calorie toppings to keep the calorie content down. Beans make a versatile, nutritious addition to any diet.

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