How to Make Homemade Refried Beans

[ 6 ] January 14, 2014 |

How to make the perfect homemade refried beans

Who loves Mexican food? Making homemade refried beans adds incredible taste, texture, and frugality over the canned version. Face it, anything that comes in a can has been processed, with hydrogenated oils, preservatives, and who knows what else added. I prefer healthy, cheap, and delish over canned food any day. So get ready to make the switch from boring to exciting, full-of-flavor, homemade refried beans.

 How to make the perfect homemade refried beans

By the way, you can start with canned pinto beans, but again…it’s from a can. The result is so much better when making the refried beans from scratch—from old-fashioned, better-for-you dry beans.


This recipe requires cooked beans, with directions for cooking the beans included here.

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How to Make Homemade Refried Beans
  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans (directions follow below)
  • 2 T. healthy fat for sautéing (butter, coconut oil canola oil, or lard would all work here)
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Water or vegetable broth as needed
  1. Keep in mind that 1 cup of dry beans equals approximately 3 cups of cooked beans.
Directions for cooking dry beans:
  1. To prepare dry beans, place the beans in a large bowl, after rinsing them in lots of cool water and checking them for small bits of debris. Cover them with an ample amount of water and allow to soak overnight.
  2. The next day, drain and rinse the beans. Cover them generously with fresh water in a large pot or saucepan,. Bring to a boil, and keep the beans at a boil for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and simmer for several hours or until tender. Reserve some cooking liquid for later.
Directions for refrying beans:
  1. In a skillet, heat the fat and cook the onions until they are soft and translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1–2 minutes more.
  2. Add about ½ cup of the beans and mash them up with a potato masher, a wooden spoon, or an immersion blender.
  3. Add more beans, mashing after each installment, Stir in the cumin, paprika, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper.
  4. Add about ¼ cup of the cooking liquid or vegetable broth (or water if you’re using canned beans) if they seem dry.
  5. Keep stirring and mashing, adding more liquid if necessary, until you have a skillet of fairly smooth, well-fried beans. It should be about the consistency of mashed potatoes or a little thinner.
  6. They will continue to thicken after you take them off the heat.
  7. If serving at a later time, finish and garnish the beans before serving. Heat the beans on medium-low, stirring in a little water or broth if needed. Serve on a warm platter, sprinkled with cheese and decorated with tortillas chips.
Marie Poulin
Marie Poulin is a passionate food blogger and professional personal chef who enjoys sharing her healthy, inventive, recipes. You can find her on social media and subscribe to her blog to receive instant blog updates and receive a free ebook, Tasty Quinoa Recipes!

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Category: How To's & Tips, Side Dishes

Comments (6)

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  1. I’ve eaten my weight in refried beans but I’ve never done a lot of Mexican cooking. It’s tough to find all the ingredients over here and because we don’t see it much I don’t think about it. I’m thinking about it now and these beans look fantastic.

  2. Carole says:

    This recipe is so good and easy. I cheat and use canned low sodium pinto beans. If you use reg beans, dont add the salt. They come out too saly. I live in LA (CA)!and these are great!! We know Mexican food here in So Cal!!

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