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Until recently, I’d never considered making Homemade Refried Beans. Now I doubt I’ll ever do otherwise.
Have you ever wondered how to make refried beans? They are so easy and the flavor and texture is far superior to what you’ll eat from a can.
Most of the recipes I looked at for making refried beans have you mashing them with a potato masher and that’s a perfectly great method. But if you lean toward lazy **ahem**, toss them in the food processor and whirl them to just the consistency you’re after. Just a few pulses and you’ll have lots of little bean chunks, or continue pulsing until the beans are creamy. Then reheat on your stovetop.
I recommend cooking dried beans (pinto beans or black beans – like my Refried Black Beans) for this refried bean recipe, it’s really easy to do in your slow cooker (see instructions below or use my Slow Cooker Pinto Beans recipe). And you’ll want some fat in these to give them that creamy, smooth texture. I had some leftover bacon fat which infused these cooked beans with fabulous flavor. But stock or bean cooking liquid and non-hydrogenated lard or olive oil (for a vegan version) will also work well.
Refried beans freeze well. Once the beans have cooled, divide them into portions that suit how you plan to use them and freeze in freezer bags or freezer safe containers. Use within a couple of months.
How to Cook Dry Beans (2 Methods)
For every pound of dry beans, mix 3 tablespoons of salt with 4 quarts of water. Let the beans soak in this mixture overnight, and then rinse them well the following day. Transfer beans to a slow cooker, adding just enough water to cover them, and set the cooker on low until the beans are soft. The cooking time for dry beans can differ a lot, based on their age. It usually ranges from 3 to 6 hours, so it’s a good idea to check them often after the 3 hour mark.
You can also opt to bake them in an oven set at 300˚F for a similar length of time. Use an oven-safe pot with a tight-fitting lid. This method should give you around 6 ½ cups of soft beans. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Perfectly Paired With:
- Carne Asada (Authentic and delicious – it’s a house favorite!)
- Carne Asada Tacos (Layer the beans on the tortillas or serve them on the side!)
- Carne Asada Nachos (A perfect addition to all the other delicious toppings!)
- Shrimp Tacos (Easy to make and I bet they’ll be the best you’ve ever tasted!)
- Mexican Corn on the Cob (Traditional Mexican street corn!)
- Calabacitas (Buttery, flavorful side dish of zucchini, summer squash and aromatics.)
- Chicken Tostadas (Make them full size with these Tostada Shells that are crisp and baked not fried or make them bite-size, see post for directions.)
- Lamb Barbacoa (The juiciest, most flavorful shredded lamb with a simple slow cooker recipe!)
How to Make Homemade Refried Beans
Step 1: Finely chop onion and garlic cloves (ideally in a food processor). Soften in bacon grease; season with cumin and crushed red pepper.
Step 2: Add cooked pinto beans to onion mixture; cook and stir until softened and heated through. Transfer bean mixture to food processor and process to desired texture (or use potato masher), adding liquid as necessary. Serve.
Homemade Refried Beans
- 1/4 cup bacon fat non-hydrogenated lard, or olive oil
- 1/2 onion minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- pinch crushed red pepper
- 3 cups cooked pinto beans (freshly cooked or 2 15.5 ounce cans drained, reserving liquid)
- 1/2 cup bean cooking liquid or broth or more, see recipe note #1
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Heat fat or oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until softened and onion is nearly translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in cumin, smoked paprika and crushed red pepper. Add beans and bean cooking liquid or stock. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook and stir until beans are heated through and begin to break down, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer bean mixture to food processor and pulse until beans reach desired consistency and return to pan. Or mash beans in the pan with potato masher or back of a spoon to your desired consistency. Serve.
- To reach your desired consistency, feel free to add more broth or bean cooking liquid – I add as much as 1 cup as I like my refried beans very creamy. Also note that the beans will thicken as they cool. Adjust seasoning as needed.
- To cook beans with the salt soak method: soak dry beans overnight in a ratio of 1 pound of dry beans to 6 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of fine sea salt. The next day, give them a quick rinse and cover them by 1-inch in a slow cooker. Then cook on low until tender, creamy and flavorful.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.