Homemade Refried Beans

Homemade Refried Beans Recipe

by Amber on January 20, 2013

I’m a little bit embarrassed. I’ve regularly purchased canned or freeze dried refried beans for years. Of course I knew on a high level that refried beans weren’t hard to make, but I still had a mental block that it was an added step on the way to tacos that I didn’t need to take.

I feel pretty silly. For a start, the minute I started cooking the beans, my entire kitchen filled with the scents of every Mexican restaurant I’ve ever frequented in San Antonio – in other words, my kitchen filled with the scents of home.

Making your own refried beans is way easier than you imagine. It honestly didn’t take me any longer than heating up canned refried beans would. And I got to customize the flavor in the beans to exactly my liking. Truth be told, they tasted more like restaurant refried beans than anything I’ve ever managed previously.

If you want a true taste of Tex-Mex, skip the canned refried beans, and make your own. You still start with a can, but you can make them as spicy as you want, as garlicky as you want, and as creamy as you want with minimal effort. It’s worth that effort, trust me.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Aimee @ Simple Bites January 20, 2013 at 4:47 PM

I loved your writing here, Amber, it’s obviously a subject close to your heart and home.

Mmm, now I feel like putting on a pot of beans.


Amber January 20, 2013 at 4:55 PM

Aimee, you should try making Borracho Beans – there’s a recipe here on the site. They’re called that because “Borracho” means drunk in Spanish. They’re made with beer, and the yeasty goodness adds some depth of flavor that are hard to rival!


Mike January 20, 2013 at 11:52 PM

I’m about to go broke buying the Lays Hot Bean Dip; I had researched some recipes, but wondered how they got the skins of the beans out of them. After reading your post and looking a little closer at the last can of bean dip I had bought, I could see bits of the skin but they’ve just been ground up so fine as to not be readily visible. Doing some quick estimating, I reckon I can make two or three times the amount I’ve been buying for less than half the cost. Thanks f/ the recipe!


Amber January 21, 2013 at 11:13 AM

Mike, that’s a great idea! I didn’t even think about that bean dip – with Fritos, of course! Let me know how it turns out!


Casey@Good. Food. Stories. January 21, 2013 at 10:02 AM

If wanting refried beans for breakfast is wrong, I don’t want to be right. (Breakfast taco, anyone?) Now that I have the pressure cooker, I think I might take a stab at doing this with dried pintos. Will report back!


Amber January 21, 2013 at 11:13 AM

Refried beans ARE a breakfast food where I come from, so don’t worry about that! Would love to make these from dried pintos, but that’s a little long for me when all I want is a taco. :)


Casey@Good. Food. Stories. January 21, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Ah, but that’s the beauty of a pressure cooker – presoak beans overnight? Pshaw. PSHAW, I SAY.


Andrea {From the Bookshelf} January 21, 2013 at 3:47 PM

I’ve often wondered how this was done! Now I have to give it a try.


Karly January 21, 2013 at 8:25 PM

Alright, so this is where it becomes evident that we are not in fact long lost sisters. Beans and I are not friends. We are quite the opposite actually.

It’s just…I can’t get past the feeling that the insides of beans are made of mushed up insects. I know. I completely totally know that this is insane. But, yeah. I can’t help it.

Anyway! I’ve been trying realllllly hard to like refried beans and I’m slowly working my way up to eating a few bites here and there. Probably these are better than the freaky canned version I’ve previously tried.


Amber January 21, 2013 at 8:36 PM

Okay, Karly, that IS weird.

The way I like to think of it, I have two favorite foods: mashed potatoes, and refried beans. And when you think about it, they actually have pretty identical textures. Does it help if you think of them as tiny, flavorful little potatoes? :)


Karly January 21, 2013 at 8:41 PM

That was a brilliant comparison. I really did try for a moment to imagine that they were little potatoes, but no. I don’t think it’s helping. I’ll try to think of that next time I try eating them, though.


Karly January 21, 2013 at 8:42 PM

Also, I’m really not THAT weird. I mean, you read about my strange post office phobia today and now you’re hearing about my bean phobia. I swear, that’s (mostly) it. I’m pretty normal.


megan @ whatmegansmaking January 25, 2013 at 7:17 AM

Can I just jump in and say that i think you are completely crazy for your post office phobia, but that I am so totally with you on the bean phobia?? You aren’t alone, friend. But Amber, I still think it’s pretty cool that you made them homemade – maybe that would make me like them more? :)


shelly (cookies and cups) January 22, 2013 at 12:04 PM

I haven’t ever made refried beans! Tragic!
I must fix that asap.


Amber January 22, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Shelly, unless you want me to confiscate your Texan card, get to it!


Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction January 24, 2013 at 3:26 PM

Hmm… I have never made my own refried beans. I will give this a try very soon.


Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out February 12, 2013 at 10:19 PM

Confession: I also have never made my own refried beans, although I have been thinking about it recently! These look so amazing, I am craving them like crazy now and it is well past 9 pm.


Louise Newren May 21, 2013 at 3:33 PM

when making your own refried beans,, to get the ultimate flavor, add just one teaspoon of lard…..yes, lard…..that is what is used in the authentic recipe of the spanish people to get that fantastic flavor…..


Fay July 16, 2013 at 11:25 PM

Lard? You mean, like Crisco? To be used in the fried beans.


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