Making homemade refried beans is easier than you might think and they are far superior in flavor and texture to canned refried beans. Refried beans are the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal.
What to Expect from this Recipe
Think of this recipe as the starting point. We show you how to make simple traditional refried beans which are delicious just as they are and are commonly served this way in Mexico. If you’d like, you can then add any of the optional ingredients as desired to build the flavor to your liking. Every cook has their variation.
Our base recipe is mashed beans fried in oil with white onion and garlic to which you can add minced jalapeño peppers or serrano peppers and cumin. You can top your beans with queso fresco and minced cilantro if you choose.
How You Can Use Refried Beans
Refried beans have an infinite variety of uses. Serve them as a side for almost any Mexican dish like huevos rancheros or chorizo and egg, Use them to top chicken tostadas, or stuff burritos, quesadillas, or fill tacos.
How to Make
Homemade beans or canned?
You will need cooked whole beans to prepare, homemade or canned. our first choice is cooking your own beans using our frijoles de la olla recipe. A slow cooker or instant pot are practical choices for cooking dried beans. You can also cook them on the stovetop in a large pot.
Canned are delicious too.
If you don’t feel like making home-cooked beans, our method of preparation works equally well with canned beans and the results are delicious too.
- 2 cups cooked beans. Use your favorite variety. Pinto beans, black beans, and bayo beans are good choices (Different varieties of beans give a different flavor. Experiment to find your favorite.)
- ½ cup finely chopped white onion
- 1 finely chopped garlic clove
- 2 tbsp. oil
- A pinch of black pepper
- Salt ½ tsp. + to taste
Chop the onion. Finely chop the garlic. Finely chop the optional jalapeño or serrano peppers.
In a medium-sized pan, heat the oil to medium-high heat and add the chopped onion. Sauté until the onion is just becoming transparent.
Add the chopped garlic and if you wish the optional peppers.
Cook for 1 or 2 minutes until the onion is just starting to brown.
Add the cooked beans with a little bit of the cooking water plus the salt and pepper to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes before mashing.
Using a bean masher, mash the beans to the desired consistency. A potato masher will work if you don’t have a bean masher.
Once they are mashed to your preferred consistency, cook for 5 minutes stirring continually. Turn off the heat and allow the beans to rest for 3 minutes before serving.
Adjusting Your Beans
If you prefer your refried beans thinner, use a blender or food processor to puree them before frying them. If you beans are too dry, try adding a couple of tablespoons of water at a time until the desired consistency is reached. If your beans are too thin add water and cook for a few extra minutes.
HealthierThan You Think
Normally, we don’t talk too much about calories and fats in our recipes but in this case, we think it is worth mentioning nutrition.
You might be surprised to know that they are not overloaded with lard. We prepare the recipe with 2 tbsp. of cooking oil. The more traditional preparation method calls for lard but this recipe substitutes cooking oil which is the way many people prepare beans today. This is perfect if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Many people are reluctant to make refried beans because they believe that the fat content is excessive and that they are really unhealthy. There are only 8 grams of fat per ½ cup serving. We think they are a healthy option.
Dishes Served with Refried Beans
To get you started here are some more of our favorite dishes served with refried beans.
Homemade Refried Beans Recipe
- Frying pan
- Cutting board
- Kitchen knife
- Bean masher or potato masher
- Kitchen spoon
- Airtight container for leftovers
- 2 cups cooked beans Use black beans, pinto beans, or bayo beans with a little cooking liquid.
- ½ cup white onion finely chopped
- 1 finely chopped garlic clove
- 2 tbsp. cooking oil regular or olive oil
- a pinch of black pepper
- salt ½ tsp. + to taste
- Chop the onion. Finely chop the garlic.
- In a medium-sized pan, heat the oil to medium and add the chopped onion. Cook until the onion becomes transparent.
- Add the chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute. Do not allow the garlic to brown which will give it a bitter taste.
- Add the cooked beans with a little bit of the cooking water plus the salt and pepper.
- Cook for 2 minutes before mashing.
- Mash the beans to the consistency you prefer.
- Cook for 5 minutes stirring continually.
- Turn off the heat and allow the beans to rest for 3 minutes before serving.
- Refried will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to five days.
- You can reheat your beans in a frying pan over low heat. Add a little water if the beans are too dry.
- You can also reheat them in the microwave.
- You can reduce the cooking oil by 1 tbsp. to reduce the fat.
- A few tbsps. of chicken broth
- Minced jalapeño pepper
- A pinch of cumin
- A pinch of chili powder
- A pinch of Mexican oregano
- Queso fresco to sprinkle on top
- Minced fresh cilantro to sprinkle on top
recetas mexicanas says
very delicious recipe !!! I love It !!!!
Julie H. says
You might want to edit out the word constituency and replace it with consistency!
If I use your frijoles de la olla recipe do I still need to add the onion and garlic called for in the refired bean recipe?
Douglas Cullen says
Michelle, yes you will want to add the onion an garlic that the refried beans recipe calls for. Let me know if you have any more questions. Always glad to help. Cheers!
Very easy and tastes great. Reheats well IF you have any leftovers.
Shari C says
Made these last night and they tasted so garlicy. Not like raw garlic, like sauteed garlic. It completely overpowered the dish and I used the exact amount suggested. I’m searching for that perfect refried bean recipe and this one unfortunately wasn’t for me. But it surely could be for others.
Craig Cooper says
Then, ummmm, reduce the garlic?
Did you mistake 1 garlic clove with an entire head of garlic? Because there’s no way your dish should have been overpowered with only 1 clove. Or maybe you don’t like garlic?
Abel A says
Ed Sadowski says
I like to add chopped jalapenos and chili powder!
Awesome! Tasted like real refried beans but not our of the can. Really loved and enjoyed it with my homemade tacos! I never made refried beans before and just had such a huge craving that I wanted to try to make them at home and this one really was the one. Thank you!
Just made this, very nice and much better that the ‘old el paso’ tinned stuff from the shop. I added a dash of Chipolte hot sauce to spice it up a bit.
Neil Zevenbergen says
That is a good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise info… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!
Shared! This is AWESOME stuff! Thank you!