This homemade refried beans recipe is excellent, and way less expensive than the canned version. Serve them with your favorite Mexican dinner, roll them up in a burrito, or spoon up a warm bowl of goodness.
Over the years I’ve tried repeatedly to make homemade 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 these refried beans; 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.)
Not really refried beans
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 her homemade refried beans recipe up a tiny bit and increased the size of the recipe so that I’d have plenty left over. I prefer using dried pinto beans, but Jane uses black beans, kidney beans, and small red beans, too. Mix or match, as you like.
Let’s be honest though: We love them, but these are not authentic refried beans.
Homemade refried beans
These refried beans are made on the stove top. When cooking beans on the stove top, soaking them overnight can really speed the cooking process. There are some other reasons to soak the beans in advance, though. Doing so can help reduce the embarrassing side effects of eating beans. And soaking beans overnight helps to remove the phytates. (More on that here.)
Soaking does require a bit of planning ahead, but there’s not really any extra time involved on your part. Just set them to soak and go on about your business. I tend to let them soak overnight. When you are ready to start cooking these homemade refried beans, be sure to drain the soaked beans and use fresh cooking water.
There’s no need to chop the onion and garlic; they’ll end up cooked and mashed in the end, saving you precious time.
How to enjoy these beans
These beans are lovely served in a bowl topped with a bit of sour cream or shredded cheese, of course. But they’re a favorite here for spreading into quesadillas. Beans and a bit of cheese between two tortillas? It doesn’t get much easier than that for a nice hot lunch! My husband uses these as the base for his favorite seven layer dip. And of course we serve them alongside tacos or wrapped up as burritos.
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Homemade Refried Beans
Make taco night even better with these homemade refried beans! Wrap them up in a burrito, spread them in a quesadilla, or pair them with Spanish rice for a vegetarian fiesta.
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
Whir beans 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 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.
There's no need to chop the onion and garlic; they'll end up cooked and mashed in the end, saving you precious time.
If you don't have a food processor, get out your potato masher - that'll work, too. So will an immersion blender.
Originally published May 2011; this post has been updated.