Refried Beans

If you’ve never made your own refried beans, you may be surprised that it’s much easier to make than you expect. (Also, it’s not really fried.)

Refried Beans

My recipe came from the Heirloom Beans cookbook. It calls for Rio Zape, Anasazi, or Pinto Beans. I used Red Kidney Beans because that’s what I had available.

I don’t think the amounts are critical. I used the entire pound of dried beans. I suppose you could skip the first step and just start with canned beans but I haven’t checked that out.



  1. Rinse and sort the beans and soak them in plenty of water for 2 - 6 hours. Overnight soaking is fine.

  2. Sautee one of the onions, the carrots, celery, and garlic until soft and fragrant. Add the beans and soaking liquid. Add more liquid if you need it to cover the beans and allow for some expansion. Stir to mix everything together and bring to a boil.

  3. Boil for five minutes then reduce the heat as much as you can to still get a simmer. Cover the pot and cook until the beans are soft. If you need to add water, do so. I left the beans cool to room temperature at this point but you don’t need to.

  4. In a second pan (or move the beans over to a bowl and rewash this pan and reuse it), heat 4 tsp of lard or oil. Sautee the remaining onion until it is fragrant and soft. Be patient - this takes longer than you think (say 10 minutes).

  5. Use a slotted spoon and add the beans to this pan along with 1 cup of broth from the cooked beans. I found that it’s not a big deal if you add extra broth.

  6. Cook the beans over medium heat and mash them with a potato masher. Take your time. In the first pass try to break the beans up. You can rest for a couple of minutes and then mash some more. Now you are trying to mash the beans and incorporate the onions. The longer you repeat this mash and rest the smoother the refried beans will be.

  7. I didn’t try it but other similar recipes call for taking half of the mixture and smoothing it with an immersion blender and then return this to the pot. Again, I haven’t tried it but that could speed things along.

  8. Add salt to taste and serve warm or cold. I loved the home made version so much more than the canned product and you can control exactly what’s in it.