Homemade Refried Beans Recipe 47

It took me years to find a refried bean recipe that my family loved. These are the winner!

Over the years I’ve tried repeatedly to make refried beans from scratch, but my family has been only lukewarm about my attempts, preferring their old standby Rosarita brand refried beans. Rosarita beans are sold in cans that have bpa in the lining. Not cool. But my kids love refried beans, so I found myself torn every time I shopped. Buy the beans they love and subject them to endocrine disruption or suffer the consequences of grumbling, hungry teens at home? Poison them or starve them do death? (Okay, I jest.)

My friend Jane and I had discussed our inability to replicate Rosarita beans at home, so when she told me she’d found a great recipe that her family liked, I had to try it. I changed it up a tiny bit and increased the size of the recipe so that I’d have plenty left over. I prefer pinto beans, but Jane uses black beans, kidney beans, and small red beans, too. Mix or match, as you like.

Refried Beans Recipe


6 cups dry pinto beans
3 small onions, quartered
4 cloves garlic
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
1 tablespoon each salt, ground cumin, and chili powder

Put dry beans in a large pot and add enough water to cover the beans by 4-5″ or so. Soak eight hours or overnight. Drain beans then add onions and garlic to the pot. Add water to cover beans by 3″. Cover the pot, but tilt the lid so that air can escape to prevent boil overs. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about an hour and a half until beans are tender.

Use a slotted spoon to scoop out the cooked beans, onions, and garlic, and whir in a food processor until beans are a creamy consistency. (I like to leave some beans whole and toss them in at the end.) If you don’t have a food processor, get out your potato masher – that’ll work, too. If the beans are too thick for you, add some of the cooking liquid until you’re happy with the consistency. Stir in remaining ingredients. Refrigerate or freeze for later use, or serve immediately. Makes approximately the equivalent of 10 – 16oz cans of refried beans.

Pressure Cooker alternative:

I’ve just recently acquired an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker and I adapted this recipe to work in the smaller capacity; you can find that here.

If you use a stovetop pressure cooker, simply put the beans, onions, and garlic in the cooker covered by 2″ of water. Be certain that the level of ingredients doesn’t go above the level recommended by the manufacturer. You can’t fill these cookers up to the top. Each model is different, but once you have the ingredients in your cooker and it’s properly sealed, set it to “high pressure” and cook over high heat until they reach full pressure. Lower the heat to medium, and maintain high pressure for ten minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool until pressure is released naturally. Proceed with the recipe, as above.

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47 thoughts on “Homemade Refried Beans Recipe

  • Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart

    OMG. I’m bookmarking this right away because I love refried beans (as does my DH), and I would love to try this. Thank you, thank you, for including an option for those of us who do not have a food processor.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      It’ll take a little longer with a potato masher – and you’ll build muscles – but they’ll turn out fine!

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Jennifer, do you use the vinegar? I think that’s the secret ingredient that makes them good.

  • Sheryl

    Thanks for posting this~! I love refried beans, but never had a clue how to make them. It surprises me that it is so easily done.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      REALLY easy. It does take time if you’ve not got a pressure cooker, but beans are something we can all make at home.

  • Christine

    These look amazingly good! I am putting pinto beans on my list the next time we go to the grocery store.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Let us know how they turn out, Christine!

  • Living Large

    Thanks so much for posting this. We eat Rosarita refried beans and had no idea about the BPA. I’ll have to try this recipe!

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Almost ALL canned items have BPA in the lining. The only brand I know of that doesn’t have BPA in some of their foods is Eden. (I think they’re converting over to all of their products, too.)

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I’ve just started using a pressure cooker. What a difference!

  • Susan

    This sounds like a job for my hand blender. If you don’t have one, they’re incredibly versatile and much easier to clean than a food processor. I use it for smoothies, soups, pudding, even mixing cookie batter. Mine was only about $20 from Amazon and it’s served me well.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I used to have a hand blender, but don’t any longer. Thanks for the suggestion for people who don’t have a food processor!

      • Holly Hendrickson

        What about using a potato ricer? It seems like that would be easier than a potato masher and the consistency would be good.

  • Jeanine Barone

    I adore refried beans. And I spend way too much money eating Mexican food in restaurants. Time to start preparing some at home. Thanks for this.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I think to completely rival the beans you get at a Mexican restaurant you’d need to add a bit of lard…

      • Sharon

        Amen. The lard is a glaring omission. Makes all the difference in the world.

        • Kris Bordessa Post author

          You are certainly free to add lard. The recipe as it came to me did not include it and we loved them just as they were. We might have to try adding lard one of these times, though.

  • MyKidsEatSquid

    I’ve been wanting to get a pressure cooker. My mom used it all the time growing up. We make our refried beans by using a bit of bacon grease or lard–as you might imagine it makes them creamier:) But not healthier…

  • Heather Anderson

    I am really looking forward to trying these. I just gave up on refried beans because I couldn’t get them right. We had settled for whole beans in our burritos rather than buying canned. Thanks.

  • Joan Lambert Bailey

    I’ve been giving some serious thought to making refried beans again. We made them often, along with tortillas, when we lived in Kazakhstan. It was loads of work (no blender or food processor there), but so pathetically tasty. I’m inspired! I may even try them with some of the beans I find at the farmer’s markets here. Thanks!

  • merr

    This may sound funny but I always wonderful HOW refried beans were made but never looked it up. Now, no need! Thanks, Kris!

  • Donna Hull

    I always thought refried beans were unhealthy but not the way you’re cooking them. I’ll be trying this recipe.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I think you’ll like them, Donna. We’ve gone through tons of recipes and this is the one – my kids think they’re *better than Rosarita!

  • Melisa

    Has anyone tried making these beans and adding a little coconut oil in lieu of lard or bacon grease? I am thinking of trying.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Melissa, the recipe itself doesn’t call for lard or bacon grease. However, there’s no reason you couldn’t add a little coconut oil. I may try that the next time I make them, actually!

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Melisa, the recipe itself doesn’t call for lard or bacon grease. However, there’s no reason you couldn’t add a little coconut oil. I may try that the next time I make them, actually!

  • Madeleine @ NZ Ecochick

    Thank you so much for linking this fantastic and informative post to NZ Ecochick. We’ve made these and they are super easy and so yummy. I always look forward to your posts. All the best M xx

  • Rebecca Glenn

    Yes, I have. I forgot to mention it, and thank you for this recipe, at your blog. I made a full batch last week and have some stocked in the freezer. We go through beans quickly around here.

  • Cathie

    I make them in a similar fashion, but in the crock pot. They are so much tastier than canned! I just made some yesterday, in fact.

  • Siobhan

    Wow…these are great. Just finished making it. I let the kids try and they were begging for more. 🙂 That’s always a plus. 🙂
    Blessings today

  • Kathleen Schoen

    Has anyone tried making these in a slow cooker?

  • Larry

    This may be a healthy bean recipe, and it may be a tasty bean recipe, but it is not a recipe for refried beans.  Refried beans are called “refried” because they are cooked twice.  First they are boiled, and then they are fried in lard.  If you cannot bring yourself to make the authentic product because of the fat content, find another name for what you do want to make.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I’ve got no problem with fat. My problem has been replicating the Rosarita “refried” beans that my family loves. Are Rosarita’s actually refried? I don’t know, but that’s what they call ’em. I’ve tried a variety of methods – including lard and REfrying – only to find that this is the closest iteration, regardless of technicalities. Thanks for stopping by to point out my error.

  • Rebecca

    Another way to make “re-fried” beans is to whip them up in a kitchen aid using the whisk attachment.

  • Ginny

    I bottle beans in my pressure cooker. Then when I want refried beans I simply drain of the liquid and fry them up in a little fat. Smash them with a fork or potatoe masher. I add milk or cream to mine.

  • Denise Corriveau

    Just checking: if we use the pressure cooker, do we still have to soak the beans or do we skip that step? Thanks.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Depends on who you talk to! You can skip this step with regard to the beans getting *cooked. Some people like to soak the beans to remove the phytic acid for health reasons, though.

  • Rachel

    So excited to make these today! The beans have been soaking all night & the hubby will be home soon to finish the process with me! Thank you so much for this recipe!!

  • Katha

    Wow! This recipe is great! Thanks for sharing it! I hate having to run to the store for a can and I hate buying a box at Sam’s for a small fortune. Happy dance happy dance.