The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
Profile photo of HowSweetEats

Homemade Refried Beans

Posted by in Step-by-Step Recipes

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Refried Beans. Guest post by Jessica Merchant of How Sweet It Is, recipe submitted by TK member Julie of Table for Two.

 
If I could, I’d gladly eat Mexican food for the rest of my life. I’m pretty sure that I will never, ever, ever get sick of warm and fluffy tortillas, spiced chicken, melted cheese, warm chips dipped in warmer salsa, guacamole bowls the size of my head and ladlefuls of queso. Oh and margaritas! Who could forget margaritas? I’d like one right now, please and thank you.

Growing up, we ate tacos at least one night a week—many times twice with some makeshift leftovers. It wasn’t until I reached my teens that I discovered my love for refried beans, and this is years after my mom would heat a huge pot on the stove for herself that the rest of us wouldn’t touch. I’d ask her how on earth she could eat something that looks like … THAT … and then she’d stare at me like I had four heads.

I’m so glad I was wrong about that.

Obviously, the minute I saw Table for Two’s recipe for said beans, I bookmarked it that day. It fit in perfectly with our weekly Mexican feast (I mean, I can’t help but carry on that tradition) and is so simple that I can barely stand it.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Refried Beans. Guest post by Jessica Merchant of How Sweet It Is, recipe submitted by TK member Julie of Table for Two.

Here’s all your need! Pinto beans, salt, pepper, an onion, red pepper flakes, paprika and brown sugar. Oh and tons of water. About 3 quarts to be exact.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Refried Beans. Guest post by Jessica Merchant of How Sweet It Is, recipe submitted by TK member Julie of Table for Two.

The first step—soaking the beans overnight—is optional. I know, I know. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember to do such things at night when you really just want to smash your head onto your pillow and watch the four episodes of Friends on Nikelodeon. I get it! If you forget or simply don’t want to soak the beans, no worries. You will just cook them slightly longer and I’ll tell you more about that later. Whether you soak them or not, give them a really great rinse. K?

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Refried Beans. Guest post by Jessica Merchant of How Sweet It Is, recipe submitted by TK member Julie of Table for Two.

Next, throw your beans in a large pot and add 3 quarts (a little more or less is fine) of water. The key is to have about 3-4 inches of water above the beans. If you are a nerd like me, you might measure it with a ruler. If you are cool and don’t measure, I wish we were friends.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Refried Beans. Guest post by Jessica Merchant of How Sweet It Is, recipe submitted by TK member Julie of Table for Two.

Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. If you soaked your beans overnight, you are going to cook them for 1 1/2 hours. If you didn’t soak the beans, you are going to tack another hour on to the cooking time for a total of 2 1/2 hours. I did not cover my pot o’ beans, FYI. I’m sure it would be fine if you did. Just make sure to check them periodically and give them a stir.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Refried Beans. Guest post by Jessica Merchant of How Sweet It Is, recipe submitted by TK member Julie of Table for Two.

This part is important! Before draining your beans, reserve 1 cup of liquid and set it aside. And I mean before you drain your beans. Because, uh, someone I know once drained the beans, pouring all the delicious liquid down the sink. I don’t know who would do such a thing.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Refried Beans. Guest post by Jessica Merchant of How Sweet It Is, recipe submitted by TK member Julie of Table for Two.

After reserving the liquid, drain the beans, then throw them back in the pot and set them aside for a few minutes.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Refried Beans. Guest post by Jessica Merchant of How Sweet It Is, recipe submitted by TK member Julie of Table for Two.

Grab a skillet and saute your chopped onion, paprika (I used smoked paprika), brown sugar and red pepper flakes until soft, about 5 minutes.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Refried Beans. Guest post by Jessica Merchant of How Sweet It Is, recipe submitted by TK member Julie of Table for Two.

Add the contents of that skillet to the big pot of beans. Oh yes.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Refried Beans. Guest post by Jessica Merchant of How Sweet It Is, recipe submitted by TK member Julie of Table for Two.

And add the reserved liquid too.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Refried Beans. Guest post by Jessica Merchant of How Sweet It Is, recipe submitted by TK member Julie of Table for Two.

Next comes the mashing of the beans. To begin, I used a potato masher to smash everything together. You can also use a pastry blender or heck, even a few forks. That will give you a good arm workout, but it will work.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Refried Beans. Guest post by Jessica Merchant of How Sweet It Is, recipe submitted by TK member Julie of Table for Two.

After mashing the beans, I went to town with my immersion blender. This gave the beans a really creamy texture, so if you prefer a more rustic mix, continue mashing with your tool of choice. Additionally, if you do not have an immersion blender, an electric hand mixer also work, though it didn’t smoothen the beans out quite as much. Don’t freak if you can’t get the beans super creamy. They will still be delicious.

At this time, you also want to take a few tastes of your beans. They will taste pretty bland since we haven’t added any salt, so begin with an amount you feel comfortable with. The original recipe called for 4 tablespoons, but I began with 1 teaspoon and got away with about 1 tablespoon of salt for the whole pot. I also think this had to do with my use of the smoked paprika, as well as the pinch of salt I added to my sauteing onions.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Refried Beans. Guest post by Jessica Merchant of How Sweet It Is, recipe submitted by TK member Julie of Table for Two.

After seasoning, scoop the beans into a bowl (or your mouth) for easier consumption. Top with your favorites, like cheese, green onions and cilantro.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Homemade Refried Beans. Guest post by Jessica Merchant of How Sweet It Is, recipe submitted by TK member Julie of Table for Two.

Throw on burritos, tacos, nachos or salads. Even use as a delicious dip for blue corn chips! Die and go to heaven. These are fabulous.

Thanks so much to Julie for the recipe! Be sure to check out her blog, Table for Two, where she posts some of the most delicious comfort food I’ve ever seen.

 
 

Printable Recipe

Homemade Refried Beans

See post on Table for Two’s site!
2.20 Mitt(s) 5 Rating(s)5 votes, average: 2.20 out of 55 votes, average: 2.20 out of 55 votes, average: 2.20 out of 55 votes, average: 2.20 out of 55 votes, average: 2.20 out of 5

Prep Time:

Cook Time:

Difficulty: Easy

Servings: 10

10
x

Print Options

Page size Letter 3x5 4x6
Text Size Small Medium Large
Content Include description
Include prep time, etc.
Show image

Description

Homemade refried beans: you won’t ever go back to the canned stuff!

Ingredients

  • 2-½ cups Dry Pinto Beans
  • 3 quarts Water
  • 1  Onion, Chopped
  • ½ Tablespoons Red Pepper Flakes, Or More To Taste
  • ½ Tablespoons Paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons Salt, Or As Needed

Preparation Instructions

1. If possible, soak pinto beans overnight. This will cut down your cooking time a lot. If not, it’s okay. Instructions are the same as below.
2. Rinse the beans to get off any dirt.
3. Add the beans to a pot and cover with the water. Make sure there is at least 3-4 inches of water above the beans. Cook the beans for 2 1/2 hours, about 1 1/2 hours for pre-soaked beans.
4. Once the beans are cooked, reserve 1 cup of the water, then drain the rest. Set aside.
5. In a skillet, saute the onions, red pepper flakes, paprika, and brown sugar for about 5 minutes. Add this to the pot where the beans are and add the reserved cup of water.
6. Using an immersion blender, lightly blend the beans until they’re the consistency you want. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a pastry blender (like I did). It gives a coarser consistency than the immersion blender since it’s harder to get every bean.
7. Season with salt as needed. Keep tasting it occasionally. This is also where you can add more red pepper flakes if desired.
8. Serve immediately.

 
 
_______________________________________

Jessica Merchant is a personal trainer turned food writer and blogger. Her blog, How Sweet Eats, is where she proclaims her love for all things sweet, all things bacon, and everything else in between. She works her magic in her Pittsburgh kitchen, which she shares with her husband of 2 years.

 

34 Comments

Comments are closed for this recipe.

Meg on 3.11.2012

Mine came out a weird gray color too! I was so sad because they looked so yummy and colorful in this picture.

Kathleen Bizal on 2.23.2012

I made a double batch of cornbread to go with our big salad for dinner tonight. The kids (and me too) think it is really yummy. It is moist, slightly sweet and we slather tons of butter and honey on our pieces. Heavenly!!

Sue on 2.23.2012

I cooked supper tonight – Polish Kielbasa cooked with green beans and potatoes, fried corn, cabbage, cooked apples, Mexican cornbread and Peach cobbler. Sure was good!!!!!!!!!

Mary on 2.23.2012

Hi!!! I cooked dinner for one last night… :) I made some Parmesan Pasta and added some tuna (one of the single serving size envelopes) to it and voila! Dinner!!! I had some cucumbers and tomatoes with balsamic vinaigrette dressing on the side… Simple, fast and tasty!!! :) Happy Thursday to all!!! :)

Gaby@GabHousewifeChronicles on 2.20.2012

Yum! I just made beans yesterday, tomorrow I’m poasting my recipe. I’m Mexican and I made the “Frijoles de Olla” and they have a similar process.
About using the water where they cooked:

Pros: More flavor, more color (depending on the beans color).
Cons: More flatulences and starch

Oh, and another tip. Well, you are doing refried beans, but when you do them brothy, you can add extra flavor by making a “paste”: fry 1/2 onion, 2-3 cloves garlic and 1 tomato, all finely chopped. When fried, add 2-3 tbsp cooked beans and 5-6 tbsp broth and mix in blender. Add to the broth and leave for 10 min to boil. The taste will be so rich! And this is the simpler recipe.

You can always make “Charros beans” by adding chorizo, sausage, bacon to this paste, chile, chipotle.
Or “Drunk Beans” by adding 1-2 cups beer.

Yum!!!!

Carlee on 2.14.2012

The best bean secret I ever learned (and I am going on 5 years of only homemade beans): Cook up some Chorizo, about 2 Tbsp for 3/4 of a crockpot full of beans, and add the Chorizo, grease and all, into the pot of beans after you mash them. So, so good! I also add cumin and corriander, garlic and an onion to the SOAKING water. If you wait to season in the cooking phase, the beans have absorbed all kinds of plain water, and don’t get the same flavor.

Cherilyn on 2.14.2012

You can also make them in your crockpot, thus avoiding the scorched pan problem! I cook them on high for a couple of hours then turn it down to low for 4-6 more hours. I used to burn my beans all the time and have never had a problem since I started using the crock pot….happy cook= happy family! You can also chop them in you Cuisinart for a quick “mashing” solution. I put 4-5 cups of soaked beans in my crockpot, add water just below the top of the crockpot, add 2 T salt and cook all day. Smash in my food processor, heat pan with a couple of Tbl of lard or bacon grease until melted, add beans and water or bean juice until it is the desired consistancy…yum. One more note, I grew up in MT with heated tortillas in the microwave and Rosarita beans, yuck! I married a wonderful cook from AZ who introduced me to steamed tortillas on a griddle. What a HUGE difference that will make for your burritos!

Donna Savage on 2.14.2012

Sadly, I’m with Amanda on this. We really wanted to like these, but they were just sweet. I was expecting Tex-Mex, and hesitated at the 2T. of brown sugar. Should have followed my instinct. Even after adding extra cayenne AND salsa, plus powdered jalapeno, all we tasted was brown sugar…

Kimberly on 2.13.2012

I made these today with a mess of beans I had leftover from a batch of chili that got out of hand. (oops! I didn’t mean to dump the whole bag of beans into that water…) I re-cooked the beans another hour so I’d have that important “water” to reserve. My only complaint is that there is too much onion flavor for our taste. So, after I mashed them I added some salsa (about a cup) to get some acid for balance. Now I’ve got them simmering on the stove again. Looks like we’re having tostadas for dinner!

Amanda on 2.13.2012

Made these last night and followed the directions/proportions exactly – well, with the exception of adding 2 tablespoons of bacon fat ;) i wanted to love these, but all I could taste was brown sugar. My husband didn’t taste the brown sugar as much as I did, but he said there was something ‘off’ about them too. Perhaps it’s just not what we were anticipating (thought it would be more like our local mexican restaurants’ refried beans). There is real potential here – the texture and cooking method seems perfect – but the flavor profile just didn’t do it for us. I’m thinking next time we’ll try salt, a pinch of cumin, chili powder, diced jalapenos – more savory than the sweet brown sugar. Thanks for this!! Great thing about beans: they’re cheap, so if you screw up/want to experiment it’s no biggie :)

Truly-Jen on 2.13.2012

Thanks Jessica. It didn’t happen this time, and I used beans from Costco..I also read to put a pinch of baking soda in the water.

Got a great texture…I think because this time I boiled them long enough. There seems to be a point where the beans are soft but the skin is still a bit tough so the extra time softened the skin, too.

Not sure I would use as much brown sugar next time, but they were yummy!

Allie on 2.13.2012

The way my Nogales-born grandmother taught my mother, and the way I do them: beans, onion, bacon (or trimmings – whatever), cheese.

In a stock pot, put a pound of beans (presoak or not, your call, but always rinse to get the dirt and uglies out). A medium onion, cut in wedges. A strip or two of uncooked bacon (depending on taste preference). I usually fill the pot 2/3 of water, at least, if not more. NO SALT YET. Boil to heat it up for safety’s sake, then let it simmer awhile (30-40 minutes), keeping an eye on the water level… scorched beans are baaad, and can ruin a pan.

The beans are done when you spoon some up, blow on them gently, and they peel.

Drain (yes, reserving some liquid – water can do in a pinch, though), or remove beans, onion, and bacon with slotted spoon to bowl of choice. I usually do a quick mash to start, then do little bursts with the immersion blender – blending the cooked onion and bacon right in there, but still leaving some texture. The masher can be whipped around the bowl after the initial mash to smooth things out, too – had to do that before there were immersion blenders. Adjust thickness to preference with reserved liquid.

Here’s why you don’t salt if you make them this way: first, you already have bacon; bacon = salt. Second, cheese (usually cheddar or colby, and cheese = more salt) goes in the mashed beans. How much to put in depends on your preference. I have put anywhere from an 8oz block to almost a pound, depending on my mood, but usually around the 8oz mark (I don’t use preshredded cheese because it’s coated with starch to keep it from sticking together, tho’ I have in a pinch). I used to shred, but now I cut chunks, bury them in the hot beans, and leave them to melt while I do other things. Then stir it together when melted. Adjust thickness again, if preferred.

Only when you’re happy with the taste/texture after adding cheese do I add salt. Yeah, beans are like beef and must have salt, but too much is disastrous. It’s not like you can drop a potato into it to absorb it.

No, it’s not really the healthiest way, but it’s pretty dang tasty and won’t kill you. ;)

Jessica @ How Sweet on 2.12.2012

TrulyJen – I’m not familiar enough with dried beans to be sure, but I have read that soaking pinto beans can sometimes discolor them. Probably depends on the brand/where you got the beans!

Sloane @ My Life in Florida on 2.12.2012

I wanted to make homemade refried beans with some dried pinto beans I found in the pantry tonight! I’m glad I found this!!

TrulyJen on 2.12.2012

I made beans for the first time a few weeks ago. Almost identical recipe. But my beans were this weird gray color. Anyone have any idea why?

Ms Bon on 2.12.2012

They were GREAT! Thanks! I pressure canned them also! I got 6 pints waiting for me! Thanks everyone!

Di on 2.11.2012

I just want to let you know that you are missing out on the most delicious soup ever. Using ALL the liquid from the beans that have simmered all day, I add a few of the whole cooked beans, some freshl minced green onion, a touch of garlic salt and top with shredded cheese.
Serve with a side of homemade or store bought flour or corn tortillas and viola…dinner.

Profile photo of Table for Two

Table for Two on 2.11.2012

Thank you so much, Jessica for posting this! Yours looks amazing :) I feel so honored <3 I'm glad you enjoyed this!

allie on 2.11.2012

I have always made a huge pot of pintos at least 2x a month. I do not presoak but I do rinse and sort, cover them with 3 inches of water, bring to a rolling boil cover with a tight fitting lid, and shut off the heat. Then leave em there. usually 3-4 hours. then I turn them back on and cook for another hr. I usually add 3 tablespoons bacon fat into the water at that point. When there done, I reserve some liquid for after there mashed and only add garlic salt a dash of cumin and some regular salt. Good eats!!

Jessica @ How Sweet on 2.10.2012

Pip – that pepper shaker is actually from Hallmark! It’s a few years old but it was a kitchen line they used to sell in one of their larger stores.
MS BON – unfortunately I am unfamiliar with canning, so I’m not sure of the answer to that. However I kept mine in the fridge for about a week!
Karen C – I definitely think you can freeze them – I didn’t, but I think putting them in a seal tight container or even a ziplock bag (all air removed) would work well!

Montanakate on 2.10.2012

You can throw the whole mess in a crock pot for 8-10 hours and they turn out lovely as well :) I also add a jalapeno into mine for good measure because I like them with a little kick. Yummy!

Karen C on 2.10.2012

Can these be frozen? If so, for how long and what is the best way to reheat? Thanks!

Jennifer j on 2.10.2012

I cook my beans in a pressure cooker. Much faster and no soaking needed. I also throw mine in the food processor in batches and freeze. Yummy and fast!!!!!

Louise on 2.10.2012

Oh, so delicious! I grew up on refried beans, but I generally default to the canned variety. No more! This recipe sounds absolutelgrande!

Profile photo of Laurie {Simply Scratch}

Laurie {Simply Scratch} on 2.10.2012

Ooooooooooooooh refried beans from scratch is like no other! YUM!

stephanie on 2.10.2012

I make beans (and cornbread) often around our house. I make refried beans out of the leftover pot of beans. They freeze great too. I don’t soak my beans overnight, but I do cover them with about 2 inches of water & microwave them for 8-10 minutes, pour off the liquid. It does help cut down on cooking time for not soaking them.

Kristie on 2.10.2012

love that it’s vegetarian :) i’ve made my own refried bean recipes up by adapting ones with meat products, but this one looks like it’s worth a go :)

MaryfromSo.Dak on 2.10.2012

MsBon. I think because they are a non acid type food pressure canning would be the safest measure. If you have one they generally come with a book of instructions which should tell you the pressure and length of time as well as preferred method. I googled it and EHOW Food has a site you may find helpful.

MS BON on 2.10.2012

Thanks for this post! I’ve lways wanted to make my own and was to tired to hunt a recipe I could trust. I trust yours! Thanks, wonderful if i can recan this for future use? If I make a whole bit batch, could I water bath it to seal or would I have to presure can it like the bean? Any suggestions on this idea? Anybody.

The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh on 2.10.2012

I can’t wait to make my own!! We rarely eat refried beans b/c of the sodium and why I didn’t think to do homemade is beyond me!

Pip on 2.10.2012

The beans are amazing, but I’m focused on your pepper shaker. Where did you get the cute label? I assume the salt has “pinch of salt”?

MissyF on 2.10.2012

They look wonderful! A couple of questions maybe you can answer? Why do they call they re-fried beans when there is no frying going on? And second, canned stuff comes in fat free and low fat versions. These look deliciously natural with no added fat, so what is in that regular canned stuff that adds the fat content?

    Profile photo of Erika (TK)

    Erika (TK) on 2.10.2012

    Hi MissyF! To make this more “traditional,” you’d add the beans into the skillet with the sauteed onions (preferably sauteed in bacon grease or lard) and then fry the beans in the skillet while mashing them to a puree.

    I do agree, though, that these look incredible even without frying the beans. Great work, Jessica! And thanks for the recipe, Julie!

Heather on 2.10.2012

Holy frijoles I want these! :)