Go Back
+ servings
Refried beans served in a black serving skillet with corn tortilla chips to the right and an aqua colored linen set on a light blue board.

Refried Beans

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 all your favorite Mexican-style and Tex-Mex favorites.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican & Southwestern
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 234kcal
Author Elizabeth


  • 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.


Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1016mg | Potassium: 709mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 152IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 4mg