The BEST Recipe for Refried Beans

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This easy recipe makes creamy refried bean sauce with canned or dried pinto beans or black beans.

What’s better than a Mexican food classic like ground beef tacos that taste just like Taco Bell, chicken fajitas, or enchiladas? When it’s served with a scoop or three of these easy-to-make, super creamy refried beans.
Despite its name, “refried” beans don’t actually mean the beans have been fried twice. The name is derived from frijoles refritos, meaning “well fried.” Instead, refried beans are actually just beans that have been cooked until tender, then cooked again in small quantities of their own bean liquid—or bean liquor—while mashing them, adding more liquid as you mash—turning them into creamy spoonfuls of refried beans.

What’s in These Refried Beans

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Dried pinto or black beans—or use canned if time is an issue
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Bay Leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • Refried Beans: What to Do

    Start by cooking a few pinto beans or black beans. You don’t need to do much in this master pinto bean recipe. To make the beans tender, soak them a day in advance. Cook for between 2 and 2 1/2 hours. These refried beans can be made with high-quality canned beans if you are short on time.
    You can reserve the liquid (aka cooked beans liquor) for later use. You can cook the beans without using fats or oil. Simply add 1/2 cup of the cooked beans stock to the saucepan and continue mashing until the liquid evaporates.

    Mashed Beans = Creamy Beans

    Mix the beans and then add some bean liquor to make it mashable. The time it takes to boil and then mash the beans will depend on their softness. You can expect to cook the beans for anywhere between 15 and 45 minutes. If you are unable to find bean liquor, water is an option.
    Mix to the desired consistency. Refried beans should have a slightly thicker texture than mine. These refried beans can be made as thick or creamy as you wish.
    For a creamier texture, add oil, butter or lard. Fat equals flavor, but It’s totally up to you to add some or keep these beans au natural.

    Refried beans are considered healthy

    When refried beans aren’t made with lots of salt and fat or smothered in cheese and sour cream, they’re actually pretty healthy for you. That’s because refried beans are a great source of fiber, folate, magnesium, and iron.

    What type of beans are best for refried beans?

    It is up to you which bean variety you choose for refried beans. Refried beans can be made from pinto beans or black beans. I like both, depending on how moody they are. You want the best quality beans, so make sure to buy fresh. I like the heirloom beans from Idaho’s own Zursun.

    Refried Beans Made with Caned Beans

    You can drain the beans and keep the liquid in the container. You’ll use the liquid to help thin the beans, adding water as necessary.
    Sauté the onion and 2 cloves garlic in the oil before adding the canned beans. If you’re starting with my pinto beans recipe, the onion and garlic have already been cooked into the beans. If using canned beans, you’ll need to add these flavor enhancers before adding the beans to the skillet.

    Flavor additions to Refried Beans

  • Top with grated cotija cheese, Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese.
  • To add tang to the beans, mix lime juice with them
  • Mix chopped cilantro with white onion.
  • Mix in two tablespoons Mexican cream or Mexican crema to give it an even more luxurious feel.
  • How to use Refried Beans

    Please let me know if you try this recipe! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.

    Print

    The BEST Recipe for Refried Beans

    This easy recipe makes creamy refried bean sauce with canned or dried pinto beans or black beans.

    Course main courseCuisine MexicanKeyword: refried beans

    Prep time 10 minutesCook time 2 hoursSoaking time 8 hoursTotal time 11 hours and 13 minutes

    Serves 8.
    Calories 281kcal

    Ingredients

  • Pinto beans dried to 1 lb, washed in a colander
  • 4 to 6 cups water
  • 1/3 cup additional virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled then smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher Salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oils
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Instructions

  • For this recipe, you can use canned beans of high quality or dried beans. Add the dried beans to a bowl. Cover with 2 inches of cold water. Allow the beans to soak on the counter for at least 8-24 hours. Rinse the beans and then drain them. Add 4-6 cups cold water to cover the beans, or until they are covered by 3 inches. Mix in the chopped onion, garlic and bay leaves. Finally, drizzle the olive oil over the top. Season the dish with kosher Salt. Bring the beans to boil. The foam will be skimmed and thrown out. Turn down the heat and simmer covered for approximately 2 hours. If necessary, cook longer. If necessary, add more water to ensure the beans are fully submerged.
  • When the beans have become tender, but not mushy, take them off the heat. Check the seasonings and adjust salt as needed.
  • Can beans can be used in a variety of ways. You can save the liquid and add it to your beans while they are mash.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil on medium-high heat. Then, add the beans using a spoon or strainer. The beans should be cooked until softened. Stir the beans with a wooden spoon to mix the liquid. Continue cooking for another 1/4 cup. Do not let the beans dry, or they will turn pasty. You can use water to replace the bean liquid if they dry out. Allow them to cook for between 15-45 minutes or until you are satisfied with their texture. To taste, season with kosher salt or freshly ground black pepper.
  • Notifications

    Refried Beans are made with canned beans 

    You can drain the beans and keep the liquid in the container. You’ll use the liquid to help thin the beans, adding water as necessary.

    Sauté the onion and 2 cloves garlic in the oil before adding the canned beans. If you’re starting with my pinto beans recipe, the onion and garlic have already been cooked into the beans. If using canned beans, you’ll need to add these flavor enhancers before adding the beans to the skillet.

    Nutrition

    Vitamin A: 2IU | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 885mg | Potassium: 806mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 3mg

    Refried beans: What do you serve with them?

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