Sour Cream Gives Canned Refried Beans The Smooth Texture They Deserve

Even the best canned food can be a little lackluster. That is because canned food is, with some exceptions, an ingredient. It isn't a dish. Of course, it's fine to remove the lid from a can of refried beans and plop them into a bowl or a pot to heat in a microwave or on a stovetop. You get an adequate side dish. But if you want to elevate those refried beans to a restaurant-worthy experience, you need to zhuzh them up a little. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do that is to add sour cream.

When you add sour cream to refried beans, it blends with the water, salt and starch to create a creamy consistency that is more appealing than the one refried beans have straight out of a can. But beyond texture, the sour cream introduces a slight acidic tang that gives your refried beans a broader and more satisfying flavor profile.

Tips for enhancing the texture of refried beans

Adding sour cream changes the texture (and the taste) of a can of refried beans. It also lightens the color. Ultimately, the best part of this addition is that you're in complete control over how creamy you want those refried beans to be. The trick is to start small — maybe just one-quarter or one-third cup of sour cream — and blend it together. If that's not enough, add more until you reach the consistency that is most appealing to you.

If you don't have any sour cream on hand, you can use Greek yogurt. Tangy, creamy Greek yogurt is very similar to sour cream, and can be an especially good choice if you want a low-fat substitute. Alternatively, you could add Mexican crema or cream cheese as a stand-in for sour cream, and if you don't have either of those, you can mix heavy cream with some lemon juice or vinegar, then add a bit of whole milk. However, that option is only for people who like to plan in advance, as your heavy cream mixture needs to sit for a day in order to get tangy and thick.