Homemade Refried Beans
This easy Refried Beans recipe is a must have whenever you are having Mexican! Forget the weird smelling canned refried beans from the store and start making your homemade version in a few simple steps. With only a few ingredients you can cook up this protein rich healthy side dish in no time.
Cinco de Mayo is upon us and it is time to learn how to make all your dishes from scratch cause it is so much better!
Refried beans are the perfect side dish for so many Mexican meals. In this post we will show you how to make the delicious bean paste at home using both canned and dried pinto beans. Alternatively you can use black beans.
What are refried beans?:
Refried beans are a classic Mexican side dish typically made out of pinto beans. Pinto or black beans are getting cooked with onions and garlic and then refried in oil or butter. The now twice cooked beans will get smashed to make a delicious bean paste and then seasoned with salt, pepper and cumin.
Why you will love this recipe
This yummy side dish will soon be a staple on your table when you are having Mexican food!
- Easy: Making this Mexican side dish yourself is suuuper simple!
- Few ingredients: All you need are beans, onions, garlic and spices!
- Impress your guests: Make your guests jaws drop by preparing all your ingredients from scratch! It is so easy to make all your sides instead of buying them and everyone is gonna love it!
- Better than store-bought: Have you ever tried store-bought refried beans? It ain’t good! I honestly do not know anyone that likes the canned version. However, homemade refried beans are an amazing flavor experience and a must in your tacos!
- Healthy: Beans are a great source of plant-based fibers and proteins. Therefore it is great for vegetarian and vegan diet
Ingredients needed to make refried beans
To make this delicious Mexican side dish you will need:
- Beans: Many different kinds work but make sure they are high quality. Check out the paragraph below to learn about them.
- Onion: medium sized
- Garlic: garlic makes everything better
- Olive Oil: use extra Virgin, any other works too tough
- Cumin: gives it the main flavor
- Salt and Pepper: to season
The different kinds of beans
There are so many different kinds of beans out there but not all beans work well to make refried beans. We have tested many different beans but these 2 kinds of beans worked well:
- Pinto Beans: Typically refried beans are made with pinto beans. They are super butter and therefore make a super rich and creamy bean paste
- Black beans: Alternatively you can use black beans. They won’t be as creamy as the pinto beans but they still work just fine. If you love black beans and do not care about some chunks you will love this version!
Dried or canned beans?
You can use both canned or dried beans. However, dried beans will get you a better texture and flavor and make really authentic refried beans. So if you can get dried pinto beans definitely go for them.
Here what you have to do to make refried beans with dried beans:
Simply rinse your dried beans and then soak them in water over night, drain them before using. They will need longer when cooking (about 1-2 hours).
As it is so hard to come by dried pinto beans here in Switzerland this recipe works with canned beans. You can replace them with 125g / 4.5 ounces dried beans tough.
If you can not find dried or canned pinto beans check out a specialty store or replace them with black beans. In the US you can usually find them in the Mexican isle at the store.
How to make Mexican refried beans from scratch
Making homemade refried beans could not be any easier! Plus it barely takes up any of your time as most of it is just waiting for it to cook.
Here is how it is done:
Dice the onions.
Add water to a a medium sized pot. Then add the beans, onions and garlic and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover with a lid and let cook for 20 minutes on medium high heat.
Drain the beans trough a sieve.
Add olive oil to the pot and turn the stove onto medium high heat.
Add the beans mixture back into the pot once the olive oil is hot. This is now the refried part as we cook the beans again by frying them in the oil.
Fry the beans in the oil for a few minutes and stir them from time to time.
Mash everything with a potato masher or any other tool you can find to mash the beans well.
Cook for a few more minutes and then turn off the heat.
Season with salt, pepper and cumin to your taste and serve warm.
Storage and reheating
Store your finished refried beans in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or for up to a month in the freezer.
Reheat the bean paste in a pan with olive oil and some water to rehydrate
Use for refried beans
Refried beans are super versatile and are the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal! So, make sure to plan a Mexican themed dinner night! Here are some ideas:
- With any tacos
- With fajitas
- With huevos rancheros
- On tostadas
- In burritos
- In quesadillas
- With rice and some protein like chicken
- As a dip with tortilla chips
Make it the perfect tacos bar with the following recipes:
- Cheesy: Add some of your favorite cheese (even better if it is a Mexican cheese like Cotija) to the finished bean paste and stir till the cheese is melted. Sprinkle some extra cheese on top before serving.
- Spicy: When refrying the beans add some thinly cut chili or jalapeno to the pot and cook them with the rest until fragrant.
- Cilantro: Serve them with some cilantro either sprinkled on top or mixed into the finished bean paste.
- Bell Peppers: Add finely chopped bell peppers to the pan with the oil before adding he beans back in.
Frequently asked questions
Q: Is this dish vegan / vegetarian?
A: Yes, refried beans are completely vegan and vegetarian
Q: Are refried beans gluten-free?
A: Refried beans are naturally gluten free. As long as you stick to this recipe and do not add anything containing gluten you are good.
Q: Is this side dish healthy?
A: Yes, refried beans are a protein rich healthy side dish!
Q: Can I substitute the cumin?
A: You can easily replace the cumin with broth powder if you do not have it around or just do not like cumin. We have switched it out many times and everyone always loved it.
Homemade Refried Beans Recipe
- 1 Pot medium sized
- 1 Potato Masher (or something similar)
- 1 can Pinto Beans (234g when drained) or 125g / 4.5 ounces dried beans soaked over night
- 1 Onion red
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil Extra Virgin
- Salt and Pepper
- Dice the onions very small and get all the other ingredients ready. If you use canned beans make sure you wash them under running water using a sieve before you start cooking them. If you use dried beans you will have to soak them over night.
- Add water to a a medium sized pot. Then add the beans, onions and garlic to it and bring everything to a boil.
- Cover with a lid and let the mixture cook for 20 minutes on medium high heat.
- Once cooked drain the beans trough a sieve discarding all the liquid.
- Add olive oil to the pot and turn the stove onto medium high heat.Once the oil is shimmering add the beans mixture back into the pot once the olive oil is hot. This is now the refried part as we cook the beans again by frying them in the oil.
- Let the beans fry in the oil for a few minutes and stir them from time to time.
- Mash everything with a potato masher or any other tool you can find to mash the beans well.
- Once you have a paste let it cook for a few more minutes and then turn off the heat.If you want an extra smooth paste add the refried beans to a food processor or mixer and pulse till you get the consistency you are looking for. If it does not mix well add in some olive oil.
- Season with salt, pepper and cumin to your taste and serve warm.Enjoy!
- Beans: If you can’t get pinto beans you can substitute them with black beans.
- Dried or canned: You can use both canned or dried beans. However, dried beans will get you a better texture and flavor and make really authentic refried beans. So if you can get dried pinto beans definitely go for them. Simply rinse your dried beans and then soak them in water over night, drain them before using. They will need longer when cooking (about 1-2 hours).
- Oil: You really can use any oil. We usually use oil or butter. The butter will give you more flavor making them taste super rich and creamy.