Homemade Refried Beans (Frijoles Refritos)

These Refried Beans are all you need to complete your Mexican meals! Nothing fancy, nothing fake, just great beans from an easy recipe. 

Refried beans in a white bowl with a tortilla on the side
Refried beans are a staple dish in Mexican cuisine

Beans are so popular in Mexico that there are many bean recipes within Mexican cuisine. But none of these recipes are as famous or as versatile as refried beans.

This dish is made of smashed beans (similar to the consistency of a puree), and refried to add more flavor. They’re traditionally fried in pork lard, but these days we can also use a healthier alternative such as light oil or vegetable shortening.

There are certain Mexican dishes that Frijoles Refritos are PERFECT side dish for! Such as Chicken Tinga, Bistec Ranchero, and Picadillo.

I hope you get to make this easy recipe and enjoy how delicious they will turn out.

Frijoles refritos in a white bowl topped with crumbled queso fresco

Ingredients

  • The Beans: My preferred beans are pinto beans but this recipe will work with white or black beans or any other similar bean.
  • Kosher salt – It tastes better kosher salt but you can also use iodized salt. Just use a little bit less of it as it is more “salty”.
  • The fat: this ingredient is important to add some flavor to the beans so I never skip it!! I use vegetable shortening, but you can also use vegetable oil.

The authentic recipes will use pork lard but that is optional.

How to make Refried Beans

Slow-cooker directions for refried beans

  1. Rinse beans under cold water. 
  2. Place beans in a 4-quart slow cooker with 6 cups of water. 
  3. Cover and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or low for 8 to 10. They are ready once the beans are soft and can break easily with a spoon.
  4. Using a bean/potato masher, smash the beans to form a chunky puree – alternative, use a stick blender to make a smoother puree. 
  5. Add the 1 tablespoon of salt.  
  6. In a small skillet, heat the oil or lard until shimmering over medium-high heat.   
  7. Add the hot oil to the beans and mix well until it’s integrated into the beans. Be careful since the hot oil will splatter when it hits the cooked beans.  
  8. Cook for another 30 minutes on high. 

Stove top directions:

  1. Rinse beans. 
  2. Place beans in a 4-quart pot with 8 cups of water. 
  3. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. 
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 2 hours or until soft and can break easily with a spoon
  5. Add the 1 tablespoon of salt.  
  6. In a small skillet, heat the oil or lard until shimmering over medium-high heat.   
  7. Add the hot oil slowly to the beans (being careful not splash the oil outside of the pot) and mix well until it’s integrated into the beans. 
  8. Using a bean/potato masher, smash the beans to form a chunky puree – alternative, use a stick blender to make a smoother puree. 
  9. Cook for another 10 minutes on low. 

Do I need to soak my beans first?

I have tried both ways: soaking the beans overnight or cooking without soaking. Both work fine but soaking overnight saves about 30 minutes of cooking time.

I always forget to soak my beans the night before so I usually skip this step. Either way they will still turn out amazing!

Smashed beans in a small green pot

How do I store my Refried Beans?

This recipe makes 6 cups of beans and that is a lot for two people! Since my hubby and I don’t eat them everyday, I freeze some for later and keep about 2 cups of made beans in the fridge to eat for the next few days.

For the rest I use two 1-quart freezer bags and add two cups of beans or so. I freeze them and use as needed.

I recommend to double the quantities when making Refried Beans. Freeze most of it and defrost as needed. It saves a lot of work and time!

Refried beans in a white bowl with a tortilla on the side and queso fresco

FAQ

How long does refried beans last in the fridge?

Cooked beans that have not been fried, only last about 3 days in the fridge before they get spoiled. Refried beans last up to 10 days in an air tight container stored in the fridge.

Can refried beans be left out

Refried beans can be left out for a couple of hours at room temperature. Leaving them longer could make them spoiled and

How do you know if refried beans are spoiled

When the beans are spoiled, they develop a white film texture on the surface and begin to smell “gasy”. If they become spoiled, just toss in the trash as they could make you sick.

More Mexican beans recipes:

Frijoles refritos in a white bowl topped with crumbled queso fresco

Homemade Refried Beans (Frijoles Refritos)

Servings 6 cups
Ana Frias
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 20 mins
These Three-Ingredients Refried Beans are all you need to complete your Mexican meals! Nothing fancy, nothing fake, just great beans from an easy recipe. 
6 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening vegetable oil

Instructions
 

  • Slow-cooker directions:
  • Rinse beans. 
  • Place beans in a 4-quart slow cooker with 6 cups of water. 
  • Cover and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or low for 8 to 10.
  • Once the beans are soft and can break easily with a spoon, add the 1 tablespoon of salt.  
  • In a small skillet, heat the oil or lard until shimmering over medium-high heat.   
  • Add the hot oil to the beans and mix well until it’s integrated into the beans. 
  • Using a bean/potato masher, smash the beans to form a chunky puree – alternative, use a stick blender to make a smoother puree. 
  • Cook for another 30 minutes on high. 
  • Stove top directions:
  • Rinse beans. 
  • Place beans in a 4-quart pot with 8 cups of water. 
  • Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 2 hours or until soft and can break easily with a spoon
  • Add the 1 tablespoon of salt.  
  • In a small skillet, heat the oil or lard until shimmering over medium-high heat.   
  • Add the hot oil slowly to the beans (being careful not splash the oil outside of the pot) and mix well until it’s integrated into the beans. 
  • Using a bean/potato masher, smash the beans to form a chunky puree – alternative, use a stick blender to make a smoother puree. 
  • Cook for another 10 minutes on low. 

*Ana’s Notes:

Cooked beans that have not been fried, only last about 3 days in the fridge before they get spoiled. Refried beans last up to 10 days in an air tight container stored in the fridge.

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NUTRITION

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 110kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 235mg | Fiber: 4g

The nutritional information and US conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data. If this is important to you, please verify with your favourite nutrition calculator and/or unit conversion tool.

Seriously guys, I can’t live without my refried beans! They are comfort food for me. I even like the smell while cooking them at home. Weird huh?

PIN ME to make later!

Refried beans in a white bowl with a tortilla on the side and queso fresco

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Recipe Rating




8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve been searching high and low for an authentic yet easy enough refried beans recipe. Esta receta es deliciosa!

  2. 5 stars
    I have been doing a lot of Indian cooking so the simplicity of this recipe is great; it lets the beans shine, just as in Indian cooking. Thanks! It turned out great. I added some turmeric while pressure cooking, and some asafoetida for umami.

    1. Hi Jackie, I don’t drain then since the water ratio will be perfect to keep the juicy enough. The first day may be a little more runny but as they days go by they tend to dry out. That’s why I don’t remove any of the bean liquid. Great question! I hope you have a great day!