Homemade Refried Beans

  • Cooked Pinto Beans (or other beans, see note below)
  • Fat for frying (margarine, oil, shortening, lard, bacon grease etc.)

You can use any amount of beans to make this recipe. The best way I’ve found is to make a double batch of My Best Pinto Beans. On the first day have the beans in large bowls with onions and cornbread. On the second day, reheat the beans and “fry” them. Serve on homemade tortillas or as an accompaniment to Mexican Style Rice.

To prepare the beans, take them cold from the fridge. If they are very juicy, then drain off some of the juice. If they are not very juicy, then don’t worry about it. Place the beans in their pot on the stove. Use a potato masher to mash them while they heat. You do not need to get them smooth. Just turn most of them to mush. As the beans heat they will thicken and bubble. Add a little bit of fat to give them flavor and to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. If they already some fat in them, then you don’t need any more. Simmer the beans over medium heat until they are thick enough to spoon out. They won’t be as thick as canned refried beans. Canned refried beans are thicker than they should be. If you ever reheat canned refried beans, then add about 1/4-cup of water and 1 or 2 tablespoons of fat to beans and they will taste a lot better.

When the beans are thick and hot, they are done. Some people like their beans topped with cheese. If you don’t have any cheese, then they are excellent served with a topping of sliced onions that have been fried in a little margarine or bacon grease. Hot sauce or salsa are good if you like your beans spicy.

NOTE: If you don’t have pinto beans, don’t worry. Other dried beans can be used instead. Kidney beans, black beans, and pink beans all make great refried beans.

How about another great bean side dish? Try baked beans with tomato next. Of course there are plenty of other easy bean recipes here.

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brianna - May 12, 2009

my fiance and i have been cooking and eating everything made from scratch. i am going to do a mexican dinner night and realized i am going to need a few days to prepare all the food! this was a great recipe, simple, and no fancy stuff. i cannot wait to try it!

Cheap Yankee - April 1, 2010

We grow and dry our own jalapeno peppers and mince/add one to canned refried beans. I can’t wait to try your from-scratch recipe (and add my own “heat”). :-)

sheila @ Elements - December 15, 2010

Easy as pie!! Well…WAY easier than pie!! Thanks so much! I’m makin’ a batch right now. :)

Mommyof4Kelleys - May 16, 2011

I made your recipe as above, but added a little minced garlic for more flavor. Was GREAT! So easy! Thanks!

kkezir - May 18, 2011

I can’t remember where I found this recipe, but it was online. We really love it and that way I don’t have to keep a can of refried beans on hand.
3 c dried pinto beans
3 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp chili powder
3 tsp salt
3 tsp onion flakes (dried)
crushed red pepper (flakes to your liking)

Grind dry pinto beans in blender, food mill, food processor, or coffee grinder. You might need to do it in small batches so everything gets ground. Add remaining seasonings, stir and store in air tight container.

To make refried beans from mix.
3/4c dry mix
2-1/2c boiling water
Cook over low/med heat till bubbling. Continue to cook and stir to thickened (4-5min).

    janet - June 27, 2011

    this sounds intriguing – I’m just curious though – you don’t worry about the dried beans being dirty? I know packaging always says to rinse beans before cooking – but I don’t see how you could rinse them first using this idea.

rett - May 18, 2011

We do not use lard or any type of pork products so we just add some shredded cheese to our beans as we are mashing them. This also thickens them up. Makes great tostadas.

Lori H. - February 7, 2012

I hope all the people that eat these refried beans know that they do have alot of sugar in them. I found that out when my husband turned Diabetic. I never knew that I slowed way down on eatin them & lost 20 lbs. in a month potatoes r the same. Of course all my favorite foods.

Kristin - March 27, 2012

if I made a double batch (or more) of this, could I freeze it? We use a lot of beans.
Thanks in advance! :)

Rebecca - April 3, 2012

Can I use canned pinto beans?

mike morell - January 17, 2013

Add chorizo. In Europe, probably Spain, before refrigeration, they lengthened life of pork making it into chorizo. Cook portion of pork chorizo in pan, add two cans of refried beans, add olive oil, cook to a paste. Cover with slices of cheese of your choice. Good bean dip accompanied with Fritos.

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