• Homemade Refried Beans

    7 votes
    Homemade Refried Beans
    Prep: 5 min Cook: 20 min Servings: 6
    by John Spottiswood
    300 recipes
    I'm ashamed to say that though I LOVE refried beans, this is the first time I've ever made them myself. It's just so easy to buy them in a can, or at a mexican restaurant, that I haven't bothered. But this recipe is simple and it is definitely worth the effort in my mind. I figure my kids are the true test, since they aren't that picky, and even they said they much preferred them. I adapted this recipe from one in Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen, and spiced them up a bit. I kept adding and tasting and adding more...and I think the cumin is the most important ingredient I added. If you like cumin, I think you'll find this yummy.


    • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (what I used, or substitute lard, bacon, or chorizo drippings for more flavor)
    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 3 (15 oz) cans whole beans (I used one can pinto and two cans white kidney beans - feel free to mix up, but this was a great combo)
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp paprika
    • 1/2 cup crumbled mexican cheese (queso fresco or queso anejo) - optional


    1. In a large, non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
    2. Add the first can of beans, reserving about half of the liquid, and mash the beans gently (being careful not to damage the non-stick) with a potato masher or the back of a spoon (a potato masher is MUCH easier). Don't worry about leaving a few whole or half beans. They'll look homemade and taste great. Add the next can of beans, again reserving about 1/2 the liquid, and slowly mash. Repeat with the 3rd can of beans. Continue cooking so that the total time from the start of adding the first can totals about 10-15 minutes. Add more of the reserved bean liquid as necessary to keep the beans moist. You should end with the beans slightly more soupy than you want to serve them as they will harden on the plate.

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    • Nancy Miyasaki
      Nancy Miyasaki
      These were light and fresh tasting, not nearly as dense as the canned refried beans we normally eat. The garlic, onion, and cumin flavors really give these a yummy flavor. It takes a few minutes longer than just reheating canned beans, but not that much more and definitely worth it if you're serving at a dinner party or making for a lot of people.
      • Sissy37
        Trying it next week as we are going camping tomorrow so no time to do these now. I bet they would freeze as in the past I have froze some and it worked just fine. Thanks.
        • John Spottiswood
          John Spottiswood
          Thanks Sissy. I hope you'll update the review after you've tried them...and that they live up to your 5 heart rating!
        • Gloria
          I really don't measure when I cook(Mexican style) but just to give you an idea of what this recipe takes, more or less. My husband won 2nd prize at a cookoff with this recipe.
          Frijoles a la Charra
          2 lb pinto beans
          1/2 lb. pork skins
          3-4 garlic cloves
          1 small onion
          2 med. tomatoes
          2-4 large serrano peppers
          1/2 bunch cilantro
          3-6 tbsp. chicken buillion
          salt if needed.
          Boil beans and drain the brown water, add more water, pork skins and garlic. Bring to a boil, add chicken buillion, cover and simmer on med.-low heat until tender. Add chopped onions, tomatoes and serrano peppers, simmer 5-10 minutes. Add cilantro to last boil and you are ready to enjoy your Frijoles a la Charra.
          Freeze and reheat or refry at any time you want to enjoy again, if you have any leftover.
          • John Spottiswood
            John Spottiswood
            These sound great. I will try them! When you make refried beans from them later, do you add extra ingredients like garlic/cumin/salt? Or do you just mush and fry in oil?


          • Wendi Taylor
            Wendi Taylor
            Sounds good... but if I'm going to make homemade refried beans I'm going to start with fresh pintos instead of canned :-)
            • Claudia lamascolo
              Claudia lamascolo
              I always make my beans in the crockpot over night so easy... this is a must try recipe for us we love refried beans and the many things you can make with them like burrito's, bean dips etc. this recipes a winner for us Thanks John great job!
              • John Spottiswood
                John Spottiswood
                Thanks Claudia. I'm going to try the overnight crockpot idea. It's cheaper and probably would taste better too. I just need to start planning more than 4-6 hours ahead of time!
              • Gloria
                Although this recipe sounds yummy I prefer fresh pinto beans cooked from scratch 'A la Charra'. Even though I put pork skins with all the other ingredients(garlic cloves, onions, tomatoes, serrano peppers, cilantro, chicken buillion, salt to taste) I still mush the leftovers and I get the most delicious refried beans ever. I use an iron pan to avoid scraping a nonstick pan.
                • John Spottiswood
                  John Spottiswood
                  I hope you'll post a recipe for this Gloria, with quantities. These beans sound really yummy and I'm always looking for better bean recipes! Please let me know if you post it.

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