Homemade Refried Beans [Step-by-Step] – Mexican Food Journal

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Video How to make refried beans from scratch

Frijoles Refritos

Making homemade refried beans is easier than you might think and they are far superior in flavor and texture to canned refried beans. Refried beans are the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal.

Homemade Refried Beans

What to Expect from this Recipe

Think of this recipe as the starting point. We show you how to make simple traditional refried beans which are delicious just as they are and are commonly served this way in Mexico. If you’d like, you can then add any of the optional ingredients as desired to build the flavor to your liking. Every cook has their variation.

Our base recipe is mashed beans fried in oil with white onion and garlic to which you can add minced jalapeño peppers or serrano peppers and cumin. You can top your beans with queso fresco and minced cilantro if you choose.

Bowl of Homemade Refried Beans

How You Can Use Refried Beans

Refried beans have an infinite variety of uses. Serve them as a side for almost any Mexican dish like huevos rancheros or chorizo and egg, Use them to top chicken tostadas, or stuff burritos, quesadillas, or fill tacos.

How to Make

Homemade beans or canned?

You will need cooked whole beans to prepare, homemade or canned. our first choice is cooking your own beans using our frijoles de la olla recipe. A slow cooker or instant pot are practical choices for cooking dried beans. You can also cook them on the stovetop in a large pot.

Canned are delicious too.

If you don’t feel like making home-cooked beans, our method of preparation works equally well with canned beans and the results are delicious too.


  • 2 cups cooked beans. Use your favorite variety. Pinto beans, black beans, and bayo beans are good choices (Different varieties of beans give a different flavor. Experiment to find your favorite.)
  • ½ cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1 finely chopped garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • Salt ½ tsp. + to taste


Chop the onion. Finely chop the garlic. Finely chop the optional jalapeño or serrano peppers.

In a medium-sized pan, heat the oil to medium-high heat and add the chopped onion. Sauté until the onion is just becoming transparent.

Add the chopped garlic and if you wish the optional peppers.

Cook for 1 or 2 minutes until the onion is just starting to brown.

Add the cooked beans with a little bit of the cooking water plus the salt and pepper to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes before mashing.

Using a bean masher, mash the beans to the desired consistency. A potato masher will work if you don’t have a bean masher.

Once they are mashed to your preferred consistency, cook for 5 minutes stirring continually. Turn off the heat and allow the beans to rest for 3 minutes before serving.

Adjusting Your Beans

If you prefer your refried beans thinner, use a blender or food processor to puree them before frying them. If you beans are too dry, try adding a couple of tablespoons of water at a time until the desired consistency is reached. If your beans are too thin add water and cook for a few extra minutes.

HealthierThan You Think

Normally, we don’t talk too much about calories and fats in our recipes but in this case, we think it is worth mentioning nutrition.

You might be surprised to know that they are not overloaded with lard. We prepare the recipe with 2 tbsp. of cooking oil. The more traditional preparation method calls for lard but this recipe substitutes cooking oil which is the way many people prepare beans today. This is perfect if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Many people are reluctant to make refried beans because they believe that the fat content is excessive and that they are really unhealthy. There are only 8 grams of fat per ½ cup serving. We think they are a healthy option.

Dishes Served with Refried Beans

To get you started here are some more of our favorite dishes served with refried beans.

  • Huevo a la Mexicana
  • Migas Norteñas
  • Scrambled Egg Torta


More Mexican Bean Recipes

  • Black Bean Soup with Avocado
  • Enchiladas with Bean Sauce (Enfrijoladas)

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