A Splash Of Acid Will Instantly Upgrade Canned Refried Beans

Bowl of refried beans
Bowl of refried beans - Bhofack2 / Getty Images

Refried beans are a staple of Mexican cuisine, the perfect creamy side to pair with arroz mexicano or hearty chicken enchiladas. While it's easy to order this savory item at a restaurant, it can take some time to simmer up a pot of refried beans at home, as they have to soak for multiple hours to achieve their signature soft texture. Luckily, that's what conveniently canned refried beans are for.

This canned good is perfect for those nights when you have to whip something up in a flash. These beans often stay good for multiple years, and while they might not taste as good as homemade, it's easy to bring them pretty close with just a few extra minutes — and ingredients.

If you're wondering how to make canned refried beans better, one of the simplest (and most delicious) ways to do so is to mix in some additional acidic ingredients. Refried beans are incredibly dense, and cutting that rich flavor with some intense acidity allows for a more balanced flavor overall. Plus, acid can help soften the beans' thick texture, giving them a silkier, creamier consistency. This is why you'll often see sour cream on a plate of refried beans — these ingredients feature opposite flavors that actually complement each other nicely.

Read more: 13 Tips To Make Your Shrimp Taste So Much Better

How To Elevate Your Canned Refried Beans With Acid

Two lime halves
Two lime halves - Quanthem / Getty Images

Refried beans may be delicious, but there's a reason they're rarely served by themselves. Their signature heavy protein flavors taste best when paired with something light, and brightening acids are especially suited to this task. Some acidic ingredients that work wonderfully inside refried beans are citrus juices like lemon or lime, apple cider vinegar, or sour cream. Simply pick the option that works best for you and your taste buds.

To fully reap the benefits of your chosen acid, make sure you use the right ratio. Specific measurements will vary by palate, but starting with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or ½ of a lemon or lime (which should yield about 1 tablespoon of juice) for each can is a good jumping-off point. These ratios will introduce mild levels of acidity to the beans, but you can always add more as needed. Just stir one of these acids into the pot while heating up your canned beans as normal, and taste the difference for yourself.

Other Ways To Enhance This Classic Canned Staple

Bowl of refried beans with chips
Bowl of refried beans with chips - Marcos Castillo / Shutterstock

Acid brings brightness and tang to bland dishes, but there are plenty of other ways to upgrade refried beans with additional ingredients. Try garnishing your beans with fresh herbs like cilantro or oregano to really lighten up those rich flavors. Similarly, adding some spice to the mix with chili powder will add a nice Tex-Mex edge and break up fatty flavors with notes of spicy cumin and garlic.

Once you've found a flavor combination that you like, it's time to plate and serve. To help your elevated refried beans shine, pair them with classic complementary foods like warm tortillas, sliced tomatoes, eggs, or juicy proteins like carne asada. You can even plate these beans alongside fried sweet plantains or roasted sweet potatoes for the perfect savory-sweet contrast.

While some culinary elites might frown upon using canned refried beans, it doesn't take much to make them taste homemade. Whether you're a home chef or a professional restaurateur, don't knock this hack until you try it.

Read the original article on Daily Meal