Refried beans are one of those foods that don't really look like much on your plate, but they pack a whole lot of flavor into one bite.
We've been eating refried beans out of a can for a long time. Too long. Mostly because they were convenient and I honestly had no idea how to even get started making my own. But those canned beans are full of things we really shouldn't be eating. Nearly every brand I looked at had partially hydrogenated oils and don't even get me started on the salt!
I finally decided that I had to find the time to learn to make these. I'm so glad I did!! I can't even begin to tell you how much better these taste than the canned ones. In fact I would dare say that these rival even some of my favorite Mexican restaurants.
Making your own at home is easy. It only requires time and a little bit of effort and tastes so much better.
Homemade Refried Beans
1 1/2 cups dried pinto beans
3 tbls. fat or oil for sauteing (Butter, coconut oil, leftover bacon grease, or lard would all work here. Avoid olive oil as it isn’t stable at high temperatures.)
1 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
Preparing the beans:
Place the beans in a large bowl, cover with enough water that the beans can easily double in size and not run out of water. Allow to soak overnight.
The next day, drain and rinse the beans. Place the beans in pot or dutch oven with plenty of room for them to move around. (I like my 3 qt. dutch oven). Cover them generously with fresh water and simmer for several hours or until tender.
You can set the pot aside for a few hours at this point if you are not ready to finish the beans. I only refrigerate them at this point if it will be the next day before I need them.
Finishing the beans:
In a large pot or saucepan, saute the onions in the fat until they are soft and translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
Add the beans along with enough of the cooking liquid to keep them from sticking. You don't want the beans swimming but a little liquid is good. Set aside the rest of the liquid just in case you need to add a little more if the beans start drying out.
Stir in the cumin, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a slow simmer and allow it to cook on low heat for 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If the mixture is dry, you can add a little more of the cooking liquid. Only a little at a time if needed. You don't want soupy beans!
Once the beans have cooked down for a while and the flavors have had time to incorporate, mash them with a potato masher, fork, or my personal favorite: an immersion blender.
For freezing: Beans can be frozen either mashed or unmashed. Place the beans in your desired container (ziplock bag, plastic dish, etc.). I like to freeze mine in 16 oz. packages because that makes them roughly the same as canned refried beans. Freeze for up to 3 months.
PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.
Welcome to Homemade Wonders!
I love cooking with real food, knitting with good yarn, sleeping in (when the kids let me), staying up late to finish that last chapter, DIY projects, and most of all enjoying life.
This post may contain affiliate links.
Click here for Disclosure Policy.