Recipe: Easy Refried Beans to make at home

Recipe: Easy Refried Beans to make at home

Refried Beans, or Frijoles Refritos in Spanish

Refried beans as part of a Mexican Feast
Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

Refried beans are the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal. They are an easy-to-make dish of cooked and mashed beans. I love the spicy taste and the texture. They are an inexpensive addition to a meal, so they make your budget go further.

They are a traditional dish from Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, and are popular in other South American countries too. The name ‘refried beans’ doesn’t mean they are cooked twice:

Contrary to common belief, in the word “refried,” the prefix “re” doesn’t mean “again,” the way Americans are used to using it. “Refried” comes from the Spanish dish frijoles refritos, where refritos means “well-fried.”

We eat them with shop bought or homemade tortillas fajita wraps, with spicy chicken and veges, salad, sour cream, cheese, and mashed avocado. They are also great with tacos, burritos and nachos. And leftover beans are excellent in a toasted sandwich the next day!

I make refried beans using canned beans, either pinto beans or red kidney beans, but you can make them from scratch with dried beans – check out this recipe for homemade refried beans.

The traditional recipes use lard, but I use olive oil or canola oil, so they are suitable for vegetarians. I also add onion, but you can leave it out if you are not an onion fan.

Refried Beans recipe instructions

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Total:25 minutes

Serves: 6 (as a side dish)


  • 2 tablespoons oil (olive oil or canola oil)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cans pinto beans (or kidney beans), drained of the canning water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ lime, juiced


  • Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.
  • Cook onion and garlic in the oil until brown, around 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add beans, cumin, chili powder, and salt to the pan, and cook until beans are thoroughly cooked, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally, and add a little water if it becomes dry. Remove from the stove top.
  • Mash the bean mixture with a potato masher, to the desired texture (it can be a little lumpy). Add lime juice to the mashed beans and stir until combined.
Photo by Ismael Trevino on Unsplash

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