how to: refried beans

refried beans

I used to stay away from recipes involving beans because they usually require you to soak them overnight. I would always forget and then I would be stuck scrambling to make something for dinner. I came across a recipe years ago that didn’t require an overnight soak, so I knew that I had to try it. I like to make a big pot of these beans then freeze them for later use. I usually do pinto beans, but I’ve also done black beans. You can try out different beans to see what you like. I also like to double the recipe – it takes the same amount of time and effort.

Refried Beans

from Simply Recipes


  • 2 1/2 cups of dry pinto beans (about 1 lb) // I usually buy a 4 lb bag and make half of it at a time
  • water
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 – 4 tbsp pork lard, bacon fat, or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salt to taste // Beans soak up a ton of salt, so you may have to use more than you are used to
  • Seasonings (optional) // I like to add a little taco seasoning to flavor the beans
  • cheddar cheese (optional)


  1. Rinse the beans in water and remove any small stones, pieces of dirt, or beans that are bad/split open.
  2. Put beans into a pot and cover with at least 3 inches of water.
  3. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer, covered, for about 2 1/2 hours. [Depending on the age of your beans, the cooking time will vary. The beans are done when they are soft and the skin is just beginning to break open]
  4. Strain the beans from the cooking water.
  5. Add onions and the lard/fat/oil to a sturdy frying pan on medium high heat. Cook until onions are translucent.
  6. Add the strained beans, 1/4 cup water, and seasonings (optional) to the pan. Using a potato masher, mash the bean in the pan, while you are cooking them, until they are a rough puree. Add more water if necessary to keep the fried beans from getting too dried out.
  7. Add salt and cheddar cheese, if using. When the beans are fully heated through, the beans are ready to serve.
  8. To Freeze: I place about 2 cups of beans into a freezer bag and add 1/8 cup water. This keeps the beans from drying out too much when you reheat them.

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