Homemade refried beans make the perfect side dish with Mexican food, stuffed right into your taco or burrito, or along with Mexican rice to look like a real Mexican restaurant. They’re a great way to gets the health benefits of beans during the summer months, too, when you’re not feeling like chili or bean soup.
Skip The Can: Make Your Own Homemade Refried Beans
The store bought versions can have some sketchy ingredients like trans fats in them. I have had some luck with organic canned versions being clean of junk (Meijer brand, around $1 on sale — The fewer the ingredients, the better!), but I prefer to make my own for budget reasons.
- 1 ½ c. dried pinto, black or red kidney beans, picked over and rinsed
- 6 c. water
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 c. finely chopped onions
- 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds or ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- ½ c. grated jalapeno jack cheese
- ½ to 3 Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice or this awesome lime juice in a bottle
- Soak the beans overnight (see here for details).
- Drain soaked beans, add fresh water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook a few hours.
- Drain the cooked beans. Reserve the cooking liquid to thin the refried beans.
- In the pot or a large skillet, heat the remaining Tbs oil.
- Add the onions and cumin and cook over med-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are limp, about 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and oregano and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are lightly browned, 2-3 minutes more.
- Stir in 1 cup of the bean cooking liquid.
- Lower heat to medium and add half the beans.
- Use a potato masher or fork (or immersion blender) to mash them.
- Add remaining beans and mash. You can leave the mixture quite chunky, with some beans intact, or continue mashing until fairly smooth.
- Stir well and make sure the beans are thoroughly heated.
- When most of the liquid has been absorbed, turn off the heat.
- Stir in the cheese, 2 Tbs. lime juice, lime zest, and salt to taste.
- Add more lime juice, if needed, to create a citrus edge.
- Serve hot, with a sprinkling of grated cheese.
-Add 1 tsp. chili powder when you add garlic and oregano.
-Use sharp cheddar or feta instead of jalapeno Jack.
-Stir in ½ c. thinly sliced scallion greens when you add cheese.
-Do as the Mexicans do and garnish with chopped radish.
* Cook at least a whole pound of beans and freeze the extra for later. You can cook the beans traditionally and use about 3 ½ c. cooked beans for this recipe.
* The refried beansthemselves freeze excellently - I freeze in ice cube trays, dump bean-cubes into a Ziploc, and heat what I need for a Mexican dish or side with tacos. I often make a double batch!
* Try pressure cooking for an easy alternative and quicker method when you're pinched for time!
Compared to canned refried beans, this recipe makes about 2-3 cans worth — a great deal!
Adapted from Pressure Perfect by Lorna Sass