Homemade Refried Beans

May 5, 2022 | Recipes

Refried Beans. The name alone can evoke feelings of gastrointestinal issues in people who’ve only ever had them in a fast-food place or from a can. However, homemade refried beans make a healthy side dish, taco topping, or chip dip. They are flavourful and chocked full of protein, iron, calcium and fibre. What’s not to love about them? So, please set aside your misconceptions and join me to learn how to make a simple dish that you’ll come back to time and time again. Let’s get to it!

What Are Refried Beans?

The traditional way to make refried beans is to soak and boil dried beans. Then, mash the beans, and fry them with spices. However, the term refried is kind of misleading because the beans are not fried twice. From what I can tell, refried is just the best way to translate the Spanish word “refritos” into English. If you’d like to read more about refried beans, have a look at this Wikipedia article. My version of refried beans uses canned beans, so the soaking and cooking is already done. And I cut down on preparation time by mashing the beans while frying them.

Refried Bean Ingredients

The ingredients for this refried bean recipe are oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, smoked paprika, salt, pinto beans, water and lime. You can substitute the smoked paprika for sweet paprika. You can also use two tablespoons of Mexican Chile powder instead of all the other spices if you’d like. Finally, you can use other beans such as black beans or even kidney beans in place of the pinto beans.

How To Make Refried Beans

First, drain and rinse the beans. Next, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add a few teaspoons of olive oil. Add the beans and fry for about two minutes. Add in the spices and fry for another minute before adding the water. Bring the pan to a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for ten minutes. Keep an eye on the pan, as you will likely need to add a little more water as they cook. Finally, mash the beans, then season them to taste with lime juice and salt.

How To Use Refried Beans

These beans make a fantastic dip for tortilla chips. They also make an excellent topping for tacos or burritos. You can even make a delicious quesadilla with refried beans and cheese. Essentially, if a tortilla is involved, refried beans can play apart.

The Wrap-Up

You can find canned refried beans in most grocery stores, but they are much better when you make them yourself. As you can see from the recipe above, they don’t take long to make. Once the beans are completed, you can store them covered in the fridge for four days. I’ve never tried, but I’m sure you could freeze them. If you liked this post, check out last week’s post about homemade Pico de Gallo.

That does it for today. Thanks for reading. I hope you’ve enjoyed the post. Remember to share this on Facebook or Pinterest and leave a comment below. I love to hear from you. Finally, remember to sign up for my mailing list so you don’t miss out on exclusive recipes and cooking tips. Members of the mailing list also get a sneak peek at all the upcoming posts. Sign up below. Have a great day! I’ll see you back here next Thursday.

Refried Beans

Refried beans make a great dip for tortilla chips or the perfect topping for a taco or burrito.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Dip, sidedish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Mexican Food, refried beans
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly


Refried Beans

  • 1 can Pinto Beans
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup water or stock + more as needed
  • 1 lime, juiced


  • Drain and rinse the pinto beans.
  • Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and the drained beans. Sauté for a minute or two.
  • Add the spices to the beans and sauté for another minute.
  • Pour in the water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. You can add more water if the level gets too low.
  • Using a wooden spoon or potato masher, mash the beans into a smooth paste.
  • Season to taste with salt and lime juice.
  • Serve hot, or store in the fridge for up to four days.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!



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