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How To Make Refried Beans


How To Make Refried Beans

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How To Make Refried Beans

How To Make Refried Beans

How to Make Refried Beans: A Comprehensive Guide

Refried beans, a staple in Mexican cuisine, are a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as a side, dip, or filling for tacos, burritos, and more. Their creamy texture and savory flavor make them a crowd-pleaser. While they can be found at most grocery stores, making them at home is surprisingly easy and allows you to customize them to your taste preferences.


For basic refried beans:

  • 1 pound dried pinto beans or 3 cups cooked pinto beans
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or lard)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For flavorful variations:

  • Add chopped fresh jalapeño pepper for a spicy kick.
  • Stir in diced tomatoes or green bell peppers for added texture and nutrition.
  • Enhance the flavor with a bay leaf or two while cooking the beans.
  • Sprinkle in shredded cheese or sour cream for a creamy and tangy twist.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Preparing the Beans:

  1. Soak dried beans: If using dried beans, soak them overnight in a large bowl of water. This helps soften the beans and reduce cooking time.
  2. Rinse and drain: The next day, drain and rinse the beans thoroughly.

Cooking the Beans:

  1. Sauté onions and garlic: Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. Add beans, water, and seasonings: Add the rinsed beans, 6 cups of water, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer: Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1-1.5 hours, or until beans are tender. Cooking time may vary depending on the age and type of beans used.
  4. Check and adjust: Check the beans occasionally and add more water if necessary to prevent scorching. If the beans are falling apart and becoming too soft, drain off some of the cooking liquid.

Frying the Beans:

  1. Mash the beans: Once the beans are fully cooked, remove them from the heat and use a potato masher or fork to mash them into a coarse puree.
  2. Sauté the puree: Return the mashed beans to the pot. Add a little more vegetable oil or lard if needed and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  3. Fry until creamy: Continue to cook and stir until the beans become thick and creamy, about 10-15 minutes. The frying process removes excess moisture and gives the beans their characteristic refried texture.


  • Serve refried beans warm as a side dish, dip, or filling for tacos, burritos, tostadas, and more.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream, or salsa as desired.

Tips for Perfect Refried Beans:

  • For creamier beans, use a food processor or blender to puree them instead of mashing them with a potato masher.
  • If you don’t have time to soak the beans overnight, you can use a quick-soak method. Bring the beans to a boil in a large pot, then remove from heat and let stand for 2 hours before draining and cooking as directed.
  • To make ahead, cook the beans and mash them as directed. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Reheat over medium heat before serving.
  • Refried beans are versatile and can be customized to your taste. Adjust the amount of seasonings or add other ingredients such as diced tomatoes, green bell peppers, or shredded cheese to enhance their flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Q: What type of beans are best for refried beans?
A: Pinto beans are the traditional choice for refried beans, but you can also use black beans, kidney beans, or navy beans.

Q: How can I make my refried beans spicy?
A: Add chopped jalapeño pepper or cayenne pepper to the beans while cooking. You can also serve them with a dollop of hot sauce.

Q: Why are my refried beans runny?
A: If your refried beans are runny, it means they haven’t been cooked long enough. Continue to fry them over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they thicken.

Q: Can I use canned beans to make refried beans?
A: Yes, you can use canned beans to save time. Drain and rinse canned beans before mashing and frying them as directed.

Q: How can I store refried beans?
A: Store refried beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Reheat over medium heat before serving.