Homemade Refried Beans are cooked and softened pinto beans that are mashed and fried with bacon fat and seasonings. Add the beans to tacos, burritos, enchiladas, taco pizza, Huevos Ranchos, or enjoy as a dip for tortilla chips, and more! Once you see how easy and inexpensive these beans are to make at home, you will want to have them on hand more than just on Taco Tuesdays!
Homemade Refried Beans
When people see the word refried in refried beans, they sometimes think that means that the beans are deep-fried. However, that is not the case. The beans are actually boiled and then added to a pan of bacon grease (or lard) and mashed. Making your own refried beans is a lot healthier than buying a can of them at the store; you know exactly what you are adding to the beans without unwanted preservatives.
Why Soak Dried Beans?
Soaking dried beans overnight is important when cooking them. It reduces cook time and helps the beans cook more evenly. Soaking beans also makes the beans easier to digest, which is a good thing since beans are considered a superfood! They are a plant-based protein and have lots of fiber to help keep you full longer. When it comes to pinto beans, specifically, check out some health benefits they have to offer when added to your diet.
Cotija cheese is a wonderful topping for refried beans. It is a Hispanic-style cheese named after the town of Cotija in the Mexican state of Michoacán. It is a hard, crumbly, and slightly salty cheese made mainly from cow’s milk. If you can’t find Cotija Cheese, you can use queso fresco or feta cheese as a substitute.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and can vary based on the products used as well as changes made to the recipe. If these numbers are very important to you, I would recommend calculating them yourself.
Homemade Refried Beans
- 1 pound dry pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 10 cups cold water
- ½ cup bacon grease, or lard
- 1½ cups diced yellow onion
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 medium jalapeño pepper, minced
- 1 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
- green onion, for garnish
- cotija cheese, for garnish
- In a large pot, soak beans overnight, covered with several inches of water.
- When ready, drain beans into a colander, then return to the pot, adding garlic, oregano, and 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat; stir and reduce heat to low, allowing the beans to simmer uncovered for 1½ to 2 hours, until soft.
- Drain the beans in a colander over a large bowl, reserving all the cooking liquid.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt bacon grease. Add onions and salt, cooking for about 10 minutes, until onions begin to brown.
- Add jalapeños and chipotle pepper powder; cook for 1 minute.
- Add the drained beans to the skillet, mashing half of them with a potato masher or the back of a spoon. Add ½ of the bean cooking liquid to the skillet, mashing and stirring the beans. Continue adding cooking liquid, mashing, and stirring the beans until they reach your desired consistency and texture.
- Serve hot or cold, garnished with cotija cheese.