Homemade Refried Beans - These delicious refried beans are made using canned pinto beans, and there's NO lard needed! They're easy to make, and they are an excellent addition to a Mexican food-themed spread.
I've grown up loving Mexican food.
Here in Arizona, there are literally Mexican food restaurants on every corner, which is completely fine by me.
As a kid, my family and I went out for the delicious cuisine just about every weekend, and I would routinely get the same meal: Beef taco, cheese enchilada, rice, and refried beans. The rice and beans were my favorite part!
Today's recipe is basically a 'quick and dirty' way to recreate the traditional dish.
Every restaurant has a different way of making their beans, with some being more flavorful than others and some having a more textured bite.
I personally enjoy letting the natural flavor of the pinto bean shine and having a little texture, so this recipe reflects that.
Canned pinto beans - This is the key to making this recipe, as it eliminates the soaking and cooking of dried beans.
Olive oil - Instead of lard or tallow, olive oil is employed as the fat.
Onion - Adds good flavor! Use either yellow or red onion; red onion has a bit sweeter taste.
Garlic - Again, flavor. Not too much as to overpower the pinto bean's natural taste.
Cumin, chili powder, sea salt - These spices all serve flavor. I've added minute amounts of cumin and chili powder. Remember, we're not making chili!
Steps to make healthy refried beans
Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes. Stir in the spices and heat for another couple of minutes to bring out the flavor.
Lastly, add the can of pinto beans, along with the juice, and the salt.
Once the beans have cooked for 5-10 minutes, take your spoon and begin smashing them against the side of the pot. Alternatively, you could also use a potato masher or even an immersion blender if you want them really smooth.
How to serve homemade refried beans
I love this recipe because it is so easy and can be employed in so many ways.
Some of the ways you can create a meal or filling snack include:
- Serve them with nachos,
- Puree them fully with an immersion blender and serve as a bean dip with tortilla chips,
- Create a delicious dinner of these beans, Homemade Tostadas and Tex Mex Rice,
- Add some to freshly prepared Spelt Flour Tortillas along with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese for a scrumptious homemade burrito,
- Have a taco night with Ground Beef Taco Filling, refried beans, and Instant Pot Mexican Rice.
Alternatively, you can top these with a bit of salsa, a few scallions, and some queso fresco and eat as is!
My daughters are both tortilla chip fanatics, so I'm happy to be able to serve these beans as an accompaniment to the chips to add nutrition and protein!
I prefer a chunkier texture, so I just mash the beans with my spoon until they're the consistency I like!
If you want them smooth, just let the mixture cool a bit and use an immersion blender to puree them to your liking.
If you prefer to use dried beans, try this Instant Pot Charro Pinto Beans recipe.
Homemade Refried Beans
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup red or yellow onion chopped fine
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- 15 ounce can pinto beans (with juice)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan.
- Saute the onion for about three minutes.
- Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin, and continue to cook the mix for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the beans along with their juices and salt.
- Cook the beans on medium low for about five minutes until softened.
- Using the back of a spoon, smash the beans against the side of the pan until your desired consistency is reached. Alternatively, you can use a potato masher or even an immersion blender for this.
- Serve as desired.
If you have a chance to try this recipe, please leave a star rating and a comment below letting me know how you liked it!
Shared with: Full Plate Thursday
Hi Lauren, I craved spicy comfort food this weekend. I did not have chili powder, so I used 1 teaspoon ground coriander and 1 teaspoon ground cayenne instead and about 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Delicious! Easy to prepare. I opted for a chunky texture - had my portion with rice, hubby had his with tortillas. Hit the spot!!! Thank you very much.
Thanks, Vic! The vinegar sounds like a nice addition, I bet that brought out the flavors nicely!
I just found this.
Are you referring to Serranos? Best bean dip around lol
Made this today and it was yum! I'm 6 months pregnant so I ate half all by myself!
I added finely chopped baby bell peppers cause I need to use them up. They added a nice, suttle sweetness to the dip. I also used Cannellini beans because they were the only ones I had on hand. Still very delicious!
Thanks for sharing!
That's great, Jen, I'm happy you enjoyed it, and your additions/changes sound delicious! 🙂
I have spaghetti squash and will make the refried beans to have with the squash!
Thanks for the recipe.
I LOVE the flavor of these!!! I have no idea what Alice is talking about. Maybe, if she actually followed the recipe she would be happy with the results. You have an amazing blog and this recipe is a keeper!
I just made this and am surprised how little flavor the.beans.have. .I often.buy canned refried beans,.no oil or.spices, and the beans have a.deep,.rich flavor. If it weren't for the additions, I wouldn't be able to taste this. I subbed 2T of dried onion for.the.fresh onion, which surely reduced the flavor, used 1 clove.of.garlic.because it tasted.garlicky enough, and3/4t of chili powder because I'm a heat wimp. It was the canned pinto beans themselves that lacked flavor. The color of the finished recipe was almost white, compared to yours. A nice brand of organic beans in water. Maybe kidney beans would work better? I added.a.half line's juice and just...almost no taste. However, I've been having chest pain so it was a healthy thing to.eat.at the moment, vegan protein and fat,.with healthy tortilla chips. so I am grateful for that. Will try to keep doctoring this. Thank you.
I just hopped over from Healthy Vegan Fridays! I was drawn here by your delectable recipe for vegan refried bean dip. This is perfect for party time or anytime! I would serve this with some zesty flax seed crackers! Yum! All the best, Deborah
YUM I love bean dip but hate how much crap is probably in it... can't wait to try this soon!
Mary Frances @ The Sweet Tooth Life
I could eat Mexican every day! The hot bean dips are my favorite - tortilla chip fanatic alert! This looks delicious, Lauren!
Katie (The Muffin Myth)
Yum! I love the idea of a healthy bean dip. It looks soooo good. And I live in a part of the world that isn't exactly a hotbed of good Mexican food, so it's definitely a make your own situation. Thanks for the recipe!
Hah, I cracked up over the word 'hotbed'. 😀 I hope you enjoy this if you try it Katie!
Laura | My Little Gourmet
You are so lucky to be surrounded by good mexican restaurants. I had no idea how much I liked mexican food until we moved to Berlin and I no longer had access to it. I miss me some carne asada! 🙂
This bean dip looks absolutely amazing and I can't believe how healthy it is. I will definitely have to make this for Arik next time we have mexican dinner night. Thanks for the great recipe!
Christine@ Apple of My Eye
Mhmm this looks delicious! I love a big ol' bowl of beans with some chips to dip in!
Gabby @ the veggie nook
YAY pinto beans! An oft-forgotten legume but one of my favs for sure 🙂
I am an Indian food lover. It always seems to taste better in a restaurant than cooked at home, though. Something I need to work on. Mexican is right up there, too.
Looks yummy! Do you think it would work with black beans??
Yes! I think they'd be delicious here. 🙂