Easy, economical, and great tasting, making your own homemade refried beans also adds nutrition to your plate for a great Mexican meal. Add some homemade canned salsa for even more real food goodness. These refried beans will soon become a family favorite side dish that kids can help make.
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.
- 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
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