Refried beans are easy to make with simple ingredients. In this recipe, canned pinto beans, onions, garlic, broth and spices combine for a flavorful dish that will complement your favorite Mexican-style and Tex-Mex favorites.
Serve the refried beans in tacos, burritos, as one of the layers of a delicious taco dip or make these mini taco bites that will be a hit at your next party.
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- Oil – We are not cooking at a high temperature so use your favorite oil. We use olive oil.
- Produce – Onions and garlic add flavor to the beans. For the onions use white or yellow, not red.
- Beans – Refried beans are traditionally made with pinto beans, so we stick with tradition for this recipe. Use canned beans for convenience and ease. For a nice change of pace try these refried black beans that are just as delicious.
- Spices – Keeping things simple with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper
- Broth – We use chicken broth because we usually have some on hand but use vegetable broth to keep the refried beans vegetarian.
- Toppings – Optional topping ideas include shredded cheese, green onions, black olives, chopped cilantro, seeded and sliced jalapenos.
You will also need:
- Non-stick skillet (at least 10 inches)
- Masher or wooden spoon for mashing the pinto beans
- Dice the onions as finely as possible. We want them to all but disappear into the refried beans.
- Mince the garlic.
- Drain and rinse the pinto beans. Open the cans and add them to a strainer or colander. Rinse them under cold water until the water runs clear. Drain well.
- Measure out the spices and make a seasoning mix by adding the chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper to a small bowl.
Why make a seasoning mix? If you are using multiple seasonings that go in at the same time it is best to create a mix. The flavors are distributed more evenly, and you won’t be standing over a hot pan trying to measure out ingredients.
Heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until golden in spots. Stir frequently.
Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the beans, broth and seasoning mix (chili powder, cumin powder, salt and pepper) to the skillet. Stir well to combine.
Allow the liquid to come to a simmer, lower the heat to medium-low and let them cook gently for 2-3 minutes to let the flavors develop and come together.
Start mashing the pinto beans. Use a small masher or the back of a wooden spoon to gently smash the beans. Move around the skillet, mashing and stirring as you go.
When the beans start to thicken lower the heat, if needed. Continue cooking and mashing for approximately 3-5 minutes, or until the beans have reached the desired consistency. Taste and add salt if needed. As a reference we did not add any extra to ours.
Garnish with desired toppings and serve immediately.
Storing and reheating
Store the refried beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat the beans in a saucepan with 1-2 tablespoons of broth. Stir until they loosen and are hot. Alternatively, place them in a bowl with the broth, stir well and microwave until hot.
You may also like:
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil or use your favorite
- 1 Small Onion finely diced
- 2 Garlic Cloves minced
- 2 (16 ounce) Can Pinto Beans drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Cumin Powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- ½ cup Chicken Broth plus 1-2 tablespoons if need to loosen the beans (or use vegetable broth to make the dish vegetarian)
- You will also need: Non-stick skillet (at least 10 inches) and a masher or wooden spoon for mashing the pinto beans
- Add the chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper to a small bowl.
- Heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but nowhere near smoking, add the onions. Cook them for 3-4 minutes until they become translucent and turn golden in spots. Stir frequently.
- Add the garlic to the skillet and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add the beans, broth and seasoning mix (chili powder, cumin powder, salt and pepper) to the skillet. Stir well to combine.
- Allow the liquid to come to a simmer. Don’t crank the heat, it will take about 1-2 minutes, stir occasionally.
- When the beans come to a simmer, lower the heat to medium-low and let them cook gently for 2-3 minutes to let the flavors develop and come together.
- Start mashing the pinto beans. Use a small masher or the back of a wooden spoon to gently smash the beans. Move around the skillet, mashing and stirring as you go.
- When the beans start to thicken lower the heat a bit more, if needed. Continue cooking and mashing for approximately 3-5 minutes, or until the beans have reached the desired consistency.
- If the beans are too thick loosen them with 1-2 tablespoons of broth, stirring between each addition. If they are not thick enough, continue cooking until they thicken, but keep in mind that the refried beans will thicken further as they cool.
- Taste the refried beans and add salt if needed. As a reference we did not add any extra to ours.
- Take the skillet off the heat and serve immediately. If they start to look a little dry on top after a few minutes, just give them a good stir.
- Here we serve the refried beans with Monterey cheese and chopped cilantro. Other topping ideas include black olives, green onions, seeded and sliced jalapenos.
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