Refried Beans Recipe
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This refried beans recipe is easy to make and adjusts for using either dry beans or canned/pre-cooked beans.
I had never made refried beans before, and now I’m wondering why. It’s such a simple process! I guess it’s just one of those things that you tell yourself is really complicated when in reality, it’s really simple. Funny how that works. But thankfully, my first attempt turned out really well!
The nice thing about this recipe is that it’s completely adjustable to your needs (which I imagine, most refried beans would be. But I’m jussayin’.)
Add water for beans that are not as thick or add spices to suit whatever dish you are making. For chunky beans, simply use a potato masher. For smoother beans, use a food processor or hand blender.
If you use a lot of refried beans, just double the batch and put some in the freezer. Defrost as needed!
MORE HEALTHY MEXICAN RECIPES:
REFRIED BEANS RECIPE:
If cooking from dry beans:
- 2 cups dry pinto beans
- 6 cups water
- 4 cups pinto beans (cooked or canned that are drained and rinsed)
- 2 tbsp. oil
- ½ cup water (or more to adjust consistency)
- ½ tsp. salt
For cooking from dry beans:
- I cook my beans in a slow cooker because I ALWAYS burn them in a regular pot. So combine the 2 cups beans and 6 cups water in a crock pot and turn on the crock pot. Cook until beans are soft. About 6-8 hours. (You can do it in a pot if you want. Just know I'll be jealous if you can do it without burning the beans.)
For refrying beans:
- In a large pan, place all other ingredients and warm over medium heat, while smashing the beans with a potato smasher.
- This recipe makes very thick and mildly flavored beans. If you want the beans to be thinner, add more water. (You can also use chicken broth if you want some additional flavor for serving the beans by themselves as a side dish).
- Note: If you want to make these fat-free, simply omit the oil and use some extra water.
Who knew it could be so easy. I love refried beans and now will never buy them from a can again. How long will these stay edible? (BTW, I am glad I am not the only one to call it a potato smasher – my husband teases me.)
Beverly – LOL! Does it have another name?? We ate these pretty quickly, but I would imagine they would stay good for up to 2 weeks at most.
You read my mind…I’ve been wanting to tackle beans this month and now since you have, I feel like I can too 🙂 Thanks for posting!
CiCi – Fantastic!!! You’ll love it. It’s sooooo very easy!
Tiffany, refried beans are awesome, and even easier/faster in a pressure cooker. I can have refried beans in approx. one hour from start to finish with dry beans, and they don’t burn. Once they are cooled I just use a hand blender to semi-squish them and if there is still too much liquid I turn the heat on (without pressure) to cook some of the water out. Have you ever used a pressure cooker for your meals? It is a great way to have clean food, quickly.
Brenda – It’s a funny thing. I’m terrified of using a pressure cooker. I’m not sure why. I think once, a long time ago, I read something about them exploding if not used correctly and I’ve avoided them every since. Just one of those things I guess. Maybe some day I’ll work up the courage! lol!
I just wanted to tell you what a good job you are doing with your website. I am a registered Dietitian and am impressed with your dedication and also your sense of reality with such a food plan. Great job and I know you will make a very good RD!
Noreen – Wow! What a great compliment! I’m so flattered, thank you!!! 🙂
I’ve made my own refried beans for years! I’ve never put oil in them, but I always add 1/2-1 tsp of garlic powder, depending on taste. Guess fresh garlic would work, too. One hint though; I cook mine on stove top, so I always add salt at the end of cooking. Adding it at the beginning may keep beans tough.
Love your website!
Jan – What a great tip! If I ever learn to cook them on the stovetop without burning them, I will give that a try. Thanks! 🙂
Wow! These look like the ones my grandma used to make. I’m glad there is a healthy alternative, as she used to use lard instead of oil. I have only attempted to make homemade beans once and I burned them badly. But maybe with my crockpot I have a chance at making them without burning them! I’ve heard you can freeze the beans as well.
Donna – Yes! You can definitely freeze them! I imagine they would hold up for quite a while in the freezer. Hope you enjoy them!
Beans are one of my most favorite things to make, especially black beans. Now I must try refried beans!
Paula – It’s amazing how simple they are. I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner. Enjoy!
Don’t forget you can cut down on the cooking time significantly by soaking the beans in water overnight. No 8-hour wait!
Amacuba – Really? I’ve never found that to be the case. I’ve soaked beans in the past and still have to cook them forever. Wonder if there is a trick to it?
Why fool with a stovetop when there’s a microwave conveniently located?! I rinse and drain canned pintos, then put them in a tempered glass bowl. Next, I add a little water, no-salt-added tomato sauce, ground cumin, garlic, crushed red pepper and fine sea salt. Loosely cover the bowl, and microwave for 3-5 minutes to cook through. Remove from microwave, mash with a fork or potato masher. To turn it into a fat-free bean dip for baked corn chips, I add additional water or tomato sauce if needed and mash-mash-mash to smooth it out more. It’s also good smeared on a corn or whole wheat flour tortilla baked in the oven until crisp, and topped with shredded lettuce, low-fat cheddar cheese and chopped tomatoes–like a tostada. 🙂
Charlena – That’s great! Though I try to avoid the microwave as much as possible. But in a pinch, that would work great!
My grandmother used to boil her dry beans for about 20 minutes (up to an hour, depending on how big/tough they were), then turn off the heat and leave them there while she went to work. Whenever she’d get back home, she only had to cook the beans another 20-30 minutes to get them just right. I think she salted the water heavily. I know that adding some salt to boiling water actually raises its boiling temperature by a few degrees (only about 3-7 degrees Fahrenheit, though). Of course, it makes sense to salt the cooking water of beans and pasta because it’s your best chance to imbue some extra flavor into the ingredient itself.
Charlena – Wow! Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to give that a shot! 🙂
I’m making this tonight! My beans have been in the crock pot since this morning-my house smells amazing =) I’ve been making these for a long time, never from a recipe. It was kinda cool seeing that you make them just like I have been! They are super yummy in or out of a tortilla. The kids LOVE THEM! I will sprinkle some organic cilantro in them too and mmmmmmmm! Again, as always, I am so thankful I found your site! I have been trying SO many of your recipes! I made the almond butter cookies and my husband said they were the best cookies he’s EVER had! SCORE! THANK YOU!
Homegrowing – Fantastic! Sounds like you’re on a roll!
A quality grain mill can make a bean flour which cooks more quickly than whole beans. With water, oil and seasoning, you can have “refried” beans in no time at all. Others people prefer to just grind the beans to a rough consistency, preferring to cook them a little longer to cook out enzymes but I’ve never had a problem with the flour version.
Grain mills are wonderful period. You haven’t tasted *real* whole wheat bread until you’ve ground the wheat berries the night before (or morning of) baking.
I also sometimes add a bit of bean flour to my bread (not much) for higher protein content.
Sonora – What a wonderful tip! Thanks!
When I’m in a hurry, I’ll throw a can of beans (water and all) in a non-stick sauce pan and set it to low-medium heat. As the beans start to cook, I mash them with the back of a wooden spoon. Tastes great. To save on sodium, you could rinse the beans and throw in tap water – also delicious.
Vally – Wonderful! Thank you!
Who new making your own could be so easy! I split the batch in 2 followed your recipe for batch #1-they are so yummy. My husband wanted more spice so batch #2 I added 1/2 cup of chopped White Onions, 1/2 a Jalapeno chopped, 2 Cloves of minced Garlic, 1 3/4 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. cumin & 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt. Both are amazing! Love your recipes & your site-so much helpful information you truly are a life saver!
Mandasue – Wonderful! I’m so happy you enjoyed them!
Ok, I am going to do this ( never done it in a slow cooker just the other way) but I want to know what I can pair this with to make a meal lol. If you have some suggestions let me know. I’m doing Isagenix and so i eat one good meal a day, and I want it to be clean but good and filling!
Anything will work. Rice or other whole grain with a piece of meat would be yummy.
can you freeze these once cooked?
I’m new to Clean eating. My son will eat bean burritos, so it is a lunch we have often. I thought to myself, well canned refried beans can’t be all that bad…
Ingredient list; water, pinto beans, lard, salt.
so in this case is the clean eating about avoiding mass produced food? I thought it was to avoid added fats sugars and other chemicals commonly found in processed food.
I’ll try this recipe, basically because the “lard” scares me a bit.
Jennifer – Clean eating is about avoiding processed foods all together. I would also avoid the lard. I hope you enjoy the beans!
So excited to find this recipe. I gave up on refried beans after discovering the ugly truth about BPA in cans, ages ago.
Do you have a recipe for baked beans?
I have them in the slow cooker now but I’m not sure if I should cook them on high or low. Please help! 🙂
Kristin – I cook mine on high for most of the day. But you can cook them on low too, it will just take longer. There are BPA free cans on the market if you want that. I have a recipe for BBQ baked beans, but I’m not sure that’s what you’re looking for.
Thank you so much! 🙂 Yes, I’ll look for your BBQ baked beans recipe…yay!
Kristin – My pleasure! Enjoy!
I cook my pinto beans in my slow cooker without any additives except water. (Never salt beans until they have finished cooking; it can prevent them from softening.) Then I drain them and dry them in my dehydrator. A 4 Lb. bag of cooked beans fits perfectly on the leather tray inserts in my 4-tray Nesco. When dry, I use my hand held vacuum gizmo (The $20 one that Walmart carries) and the vacuum adapter for canning jar lids (from Amazon), and vacuum seal those dry beans in a quart canning jars. Then I store them in the pantry. I love to make pretty labels for my jars with my digital cutting machine. When I want refried beans, I mix equal amounts of beans and water, and put them on the stove to simmer while I cook some chopped onion in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. When those are soft, I stir them and the oil into beans, and season with a little salt and some chipotle Tabasco which is very flavorful but not hot. My Hubs of 48 years tells me I nailed this recipe and that these are the best beans he’s ever tasted. I’m sure the beans could be dried in the oven as well.
Barbara – Wow, sounds like a job! But I’m sure they are delicious! 🙂
I forgot to say that I put the bean mixture into the blender and puree it all after adding the onions! Sorry!
Can these be frozen for later use?
Shelly – Sure! But they have to be air-tight, and I wouldn’t freeze longer than about 4 months, just to be safe.