Smoky 1-Pot Refried Lentils

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Wood and marble cutting board with a bowl of Smoky Refried Lentils and plantain chips

Isn’t it time refried beans got a makeover? That’s what I was thinking. Say hello to these Smoky, 1-Pot Refried Lentils! They’re ready in less than 30 minutes, made in 1 pot, and incredibly creamy and delicious. Let’s do this!

Wood cutting board with ingredients for making Smoky Refried Lentils

This recipe is inspired by the concept of refried beans, but the base is lentils instead of pinto beans and it’s faster and more flavorful! You can learn more about the origins of refried beans here.

We tested this recipe with green, black, and canned lentils and they all worked well. For the sake of time and convenience, we recommend using canned lentils.

However, if you’ve got the time, just about any lentil will do. We even think red lentils would be especially beautiful given their vibrant color.

Bowl of cooked lentils for making our Smoky Refried Lentils recipe

Once your lentils are cooked (or drained from the can), simply sauté onion and garlic until translucent, add your lentils, spices, chipotle peppers*, and vegetable broth, and simmer covered for about 10 minutes.

*Note: you can learn more about chipotles in adobo here.

Using a wooden spoon to stir a pot of lentils and spices for making Smoky Refried Lentils

Now it’s time to focus on texture. You have three options for making these lentils creamy:

  1. Mash with a potato masher
  2. Smash with the back of a spoon
  3. Purée two-thirds of the lentils in a blender

Our preference is option 3, as it’s quick, efficient, and gets the lentils super creamy before they’re added back to the pot so a hit of lime juice can be stirred in before serving. Swoon!

Using a wooden spoon to scoop up Smoky Refried Lentils

We hope you LOVE this dish! It’s:

Quick & Easy
Incredibly flavorful
& SO delicious

This would make the perfect side dish, appetizer, or dip for Mexican night! Think tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and more!

Into beans and dips? Be sure to check out our Mediterranean Lentil Dip, Easy 1-Pot Black Bean Soup, Easy 1-Pot Pinto Beans from Scratch, Easy 1-Pot Black Beans from Scratch, 1-Pot BBQ Baked Beans, and Best Ever 5-Minute Hummus!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Plantain chips beside a bowl of Smoky Refried Lentils

Smoky 1-Pot Refried Lentils

These flavorful, creamy refried lentils are infused with smoky spices and chilis and made in 1 pot in less than 30 minutes! Say hello to the perfect side for Mexican night.
Author Minimalist Baker
Top down shot of a bowl of Smoky Refried Lentils topped with cilantro and surrounded by plantain chips
5 from 25 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 (1/2-cup servings)
Course Dip
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Mexican-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 4-5 Days


  • 1 ½ cups cooked lentils (~1 15-oz (425-g) can, drained as recipe is written // we tested green and black lentils as well as pinto beans and all worked well. We also suspect red lentils would be a win!)
  • 2 Tbsp avocado or coconut oil (if avoiding oil, sub water)
  • 1/2 cup diced shallot or white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 tsp ground smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried Mexican oregano (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp coconut sugar (or maple syrup or organic brown sugar)
  • 1-2 small chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (from a can // roughly chopped — adjust according to preferred spice level)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth, plus more as needed (or store-bought — we like Imagine brand)
  • 1-2 Tbsp lime juice

FOR SERVING optional

  • Chips (corn or plantain)
  • Cilantro


  • If cooking your lentils from scratch (not reflected in cook time), do so now by bringing twice the amount of water (or vegetable broth) as lentils to a boil. Then add lentils and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until tender — depending on type of lentil and if they were soaked, anywhere from 7-20 minutes. Then drain and set aside. If using canned lentils, simply drain, rinse gently, and proceed with recipe.
  • Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add oil and onion. Sauté until tender, about 4 minutes, then add garlic and continue sautéing until both are slightly golden brown and tender. Season with a pinch of salt, stir, and proceed to next step.
  • Add cooked (drained) lentils, sea salt, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano (optional), coconut sugar, chipotle peppers (starting with 1 small pepper and adding more to taste), and vegetable broth (starting with recommended amount and adding more to achieve desired consistency). Hold off on adding the lime juice until the end of cooking.
  • Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more vegetable broth as needed if it gets too dry.
  • Mash lentils with a potato masher, the back of your spoon, or (our preferred method) scoop out two-thirds of the lentils and, in a small blender or food processor, blend into a loose purée for a creamier texture. Then add back to saucepan and stir to incorporate.
  • Add lime juice and stir. Then taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lime for acidity, paprika for smokiness, salt to taste, coconut sugar for sweetness, vegetable broth to thin, or chipotle peppers for heat.
  • Serve with plantain or corn chips, or add to tacos, burritos, and more! Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Serve warm or cold. Reheat in a microwave or on the stovetop until hot, adding more vegetable broth or water to rehydrate as needed.



*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with lesser amounts of coconut sugar, chipotles, and lime juice and without optional ingredients.
*Inspired by the refried lentils at Suerte in Austin, Texas.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 half-cup servings Calories: 178 Carbohydrates: 21.6 g Protein: 7.9 g Fat: 7.5 g Saturated Fat: 0.9 g Sodium: 210 mg Potassium: 387 mg Fiber: 5.5 g Sugar: 3.3 g

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My Rating:

  1. Nicole says

    Loved this! I used dried red lentils as they cook the quickest and I don’t have canned lentils around. They were mushy enough that I didn’t need to mash the final product. Thanks for another lovely easy recipe! It made a great taco filling.

  2. Bonny says

    I can’t tell you how many times I have made this! One of my top ten favorite recipes, for sure. Good as a dip with chips, in burritos, on nachos, in tacos, etc. etc. etc.!!

  3. Moira says

    Used red lentils and chicken broth because that’s what I had, and upped the chipotle but otherwise, followed the recipe exactly. UH.MAY.ZING. I’m making this every week.

  4. Diana says

    Made this for our New Year’s Eve celebration. It was a HUGE hit! GREAT flavor! This is officially on my list of “best of the best” recipes!

  5. Krista says

    Made this with dried red lentils. Cooked them up quickly and substituted/added:
    -Chipotle powder sub for chipotle peppers in adobo
    -Sundried tomatoes to add some adobo tomato flavor
    -Cilantro stems for flavor
    -lemon juice for lime

    It was super tasty. Will def make again!

  6. Danielle says

    Amazing flavour – didn’t have lentils so used canned pinto beans instead. We loved them and served it alongside guacamole and nacho chips. The beans were by far our favourite part of the meal.

  7. Chloe says

    I knew this would be delicious like every other MB recipe, but yum! I am in love with this it’s sooooo good. Didn’t have the pepper in adobo, so swapped it for some smoky bbq sauce. New staple in our house!!

  8. Kristine says

    Looks like a great recipe! I was going try this for meatless night. I found another recipe on Pinterest for lentil tortillas. I was thinking of adding a little lard and butter. No chipotle peppers unless I can find it in glass with clean ingredients ?. Making burritos of sorts. My kids are the GAPS diet so a lot of meat. Expensive! If they tolerate the lentils maybe I’ll try your recipe with white beans too!

    • Danelle says

      To sub for the chipotle you can quickly char a couple of jalapeño or a Padilla pepper over a gas flame on the stovetop, put them in a closed up paper bag for about 10-15mins to finish cooking and then stem, seed and chop. Hope that helps!

  9. Luke Taggart says

    Just finishing eating this and it turned out great. I doubled the recipe, mostly wanted to use up more chipotles and have less waste, and it was a good decision as I ate a lot. I added a little adobo sauce to my servings as I like the heat

    I will be making these often as I love Mexican style food and this is affordable, easy and delicious.

  10. Amy says

    This was incredible! Made it alongside your quinoa taco meat and everyone was blown away. Will 100% make again!

  11. Rebecca says

    Made this with red lentils and it’s made a tasty, filling lunch all week in a wrap with lettuce. I was out of garlic and it worked without, and omitted the chipotle peppers as I didn’t have, topped my wrap with some jalepeno peppers I had on hand instead! I have leftover wraps which means I’m making another batch of this tomorrow. Thanks for a great recipe!

  12. Kathy says

    DELICIOUS! I should have doubled the recipe. Next time, I will for sure! Thank you for another amazing, healthy, simple recipe.

  13. Meg says

    I accidentally put in too much liquid, so I ended up using it as more of a sauce for some roasted potatoes and it was terrific! Will make again.

  14. Holly says

    Wonderful, followed recipe exactly. Used the blender as you recommended. Will be a staple in our home along with your guacamole ?

  15. Laurie says

    I just made these and they are amazing! So delicious and tasty! Next time I would definitely double the recipe! Yum! ❤️

  16. MCR says

    Looks delicious, planning to make tonight! Reminds me a lot of your vegan barbacoa recipe, which I make all the time. For that I scoop everything into a stainless steel bowl and then use a stick blender to blend half – plan to do that here too!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review and sharing your modification. We are so glad you enjoy both of these recipes! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! xo

  17. Susan Wente says

    Ok, this is to tell you how much I liked this recipe, I got back on site to leave a comment as I was finishing my second taco. OMG sooooooo good. I took a few liberties in using mexican seasonning instead of the cumin and not using any sugar. My red lentils came out mushy from the rice cooker for some reason (made 1.5 cups to 3 cups water). So I did not even have to smash much or blend. This recipe has inspired me to have a taco-theme party! Thanks so much. Did I say how much I like this recipe My husband was just saying “I want to eat more lentils.”

  18. Luci says

    I made this again today for the 2nd time. It was a big hit at a neighborhood potluck. This is an easy and delicious meal. Thank you again!

  19. Arndrea Scott says

    I did this with dried lentils so it took longer to soften the lentils but I had time.
    What I didn’t have was canned chipotles. What I learned is chipotle powder is powerful. LOL.
    I would make this again and again.
    It’s so delicious!

  20. Cheryl Hicks says

    Loved this dish so much, big thanks Dana! I’m intolerant to sugar so left out the coconut sugar/maple syrup, also left out Mexican oregano and the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce as I didn’t have either, and it still tasted amazing. The whole family loved it!

  21. Kristy says

    Awesome! This did not disappoint. I used canned lentils and followed the recipe as closely as my spice drawer allowed. I plan to use these in my next big batch of rolled tacos for the freezer. Thank you!

  22. Bethan Strange says

    This looks so delicious! Sauce and dip is life – it’s such an awesome, versatile condiment(?) to brighten up a palate. I’m thinking a couple of sundried tomatoes and/or some miso paste would add an amazing umami-ness to this recipe, and maybe some chilli oil too. Thanks so much for sharing, Dana! I’ll be making this at the weekend to take to a picnic and will leave another review then.

    (On another note – I’m newly vegan but have been following MMB for years. I understand why people are disappointed, but I’m happy to see you’re making a choice that makes YOU happy. It’s so sad for me to see the unnecessary negativity you’ve been receiving, not only for you as a business but also as an individual. I follow many vegetarian and meat-eating bloggers, and recognise that sharing food is communal, and creative. While I wouldn’t eat dairy/animal products in a posted recipe, the flavours/concept of a recipe encourages me to be creative, and in that way I get to share your creation in my own way. Some times it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, I wish you and your family all the best, and I will continue to look forward to your posts!)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Ah, thanks for sharing! Your support means so much. Also, I think the addition of sun-dried tomatoes would be amazing here! Let us know how it goes :D

  23. Cassie Autumn Tran says

    Wow wow WOW, what an amazing recipe! Refried beans were actually one of my favorite side dishes for Mexican cuisine. I never really had them often because they’re not always vegan-friendly. Using lentils, however, is such an amazing idea! Definitely have to use this as a dip or as a filling for tacos and burrito bowls!

  24. Luci says

    I made thins recipe exactly as written and it’s delicious! I love your vegan recipes- thank you for posting. I am glad you are listening to your body and eating what is right for YOU. I loved your recipe video- very easy to follow.

    • Hannah says

      Hi Dana! Great to see your recipes as they should be- true to YOUR OWN TASTES AND LIFESTYLE CHOICES! It’s awesome that you’re able to use this platform to share some seriously BA and delicious recipes :)

  25. Amy says

    Thank you Dana this was delicious! I love retried beans but my digestive system isn’t up for them! I think using lentils is brilliant! I also love the substitution for times when you forgot to get beans but have lentils on hand! Thanks for the creativity!

  26. Fan says

    This is delicious! Loved by the whole family. I had never made lentils before making your coconut curry red lentils and now they’re a staple for us. Thank you.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      It’s avocado oil, not avocado. And it’s added before sautéing the onion (or shallot) and garlic. Hope that helps!

  27. Chelsea Bates says

    Looks delicious and adding to my future meal list! I know the Mexican oregano is optional, but if I skip that would you recommend putting anything else in its place? Regular oregano? (I didn’t even know there was Mexican oregano until today!)

  28. Sarah says

    “Isn’t it time refried beans got a makeover? That’s what I was thinking.”

    This opening line makes me cringe – refried beans have been a staple of many culture’s diets for generations, but instead of respecting that, let’s imply they’re not good enough for the sake of justifying an appropriated recipe that just swaps in another legume?

    Your lentil version looks tasty, but no thanks.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sarah, thanks for the feedback. I was certainly not suggesting anything is wrong with refried beans, or trying to disrespect their origins. In fact, I love and enjoy them frequently! I was just aiming to offer up an inspired take on the dish with lentils, which can be easier to digest for some than beans.

    • Ellie says

      Sarah, your comment makes me cringe! Refried beans are traditionally made with lard, which isn’t plant-based, so why you’re on this website anyway is kind of beyond me. You know coming on here that plant-based swaps/makeovers are going to be made right off the bat. Nobody has disrespected any other culture, either. Makeover doesn’t necessarily mean improvement. It’s ok to change things up and swap out legumes. Changing a recipe isn’t cultural appropriation, so calm down. Choosing lentils is inspired and also makes this quick to get on the dinner table if you’re like me and prefer to use dried beans. Plus, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! I’m sorry Dana spent any time at all responding to a bully like you.
      Dana, keep up the amazing work! We have tried so many of your recipes and they have become staples in our home. We love to share our table with friends from around the world, and have found that your creative recipes create a spread of food we all love to eat and talk about. You’re a star and we are so thankful for your innovative, thoughtful, and well-planned recipes that help us live a cruelty-free lifestyle!

    • Tiffany says

      @sarah I literally come to the comments first because for whatever reason there is ALWAYS someone outraged over a recipe or the description of a RECIPE???!!! Major eyeroll……..THAT is your outrage?? Do you really think the author of this site is that callous? You need to direct your outrage to a more worthy causes….there are PLENTY of actual injustices going on in our current administration. Have you read the latest headlines today? Women are back to the stone ages. GIVE ME A BREAK!