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Refried Beans: the hearty, authentic Mexican recipe

Total time: 3H + Soaking time
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6 people
By Cookist

This easy refried bean recipe is just as tasty as the refried beans you'd get at your favorite Mexican restaurant, and the best part is you can make them whenever you want! In Spanish, refried beans are called frijoles refritos, which means well-fried beans. Made with slow-cooked beans, onions, oil, cheese, and chipotle powder, it's an amazingly flavorful dish that can be used in so many delicious ways.

Add them to tostadas, quesadillas, burritos, or dips, or serve your refried beans as a side with your favorite grilled meats, steaks, or fried chicken dishes.

Tips for Making the Best Refried Beans

The best beans for refried beans are pinto beans. They're the traditional bean used in this recipe. However, you can use black beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, or a mixture would be great alternatives.

Use fresher beans. The older the beans are, the longer they'll need to cook.

Adjust the salt to suit your taste.

Mexican oregano has a more citrusy taste compared to Italian oregano. That said if you can't find Mexican oregano, use Italian oregano.

You can use less chipotle powder for a milder taste or add extra for more of a kick.

If the beans are still hard, add 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda to the pot and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

To make Instant Pot refried beans, put the beans, 8 cups of water, half an onion, salt, and oregano into your pressure cooker. Secure the lid and cook on high for 30 to 35 minutes, followed by a natural release of 10 minutes. Strain out the cooking liquid, reserving 1 cup. Follow the rest of the recipe as directed below.


How to Use Refried Beans

You can serve your refried beans to spread over tostadas, to fill chimichangas, burritos, enchiladas, or quesadillas, as topping for loaded nachos, or huevos rancheros. You can also enjoy it as a tasty dip or add it to the 7 layer dip.

How to Store Homemade Refried Beans

Refried beans will last three to 4 days when kept in an airtight container in the fridge. Frozen refried beans will last up to 5 months. Add a little water when reheating defrosted refried beans.

dry pinto beans, rinsed
2 1/2 cups
2 tsp
Mexican oregano
2 tsp
yellow onion, halved
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp
bean cooking liquid or water
1/2 cup
chipotle powder
1/2 tsp
crumbled cotjia cheese or grated cheddar cheese
Ground cumin
3/4 tsp

How to Make Refried Beans

Wash beans, discard any that float and let them soak in cold water for 8-12 hours. This step makes the beans more nutritious by leaching out the anti-nutrient phytic acid. It also ensures the beans will cook more evenly and quickly.

Put the beans in a pot. Cover with at least 3 inches of water, then season with salt.

Put the onion.

Add the oregano. Cover and bring the water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 1/2 hours until the skin just begins to break open and the beans are soft. Drain off the liquid, making sure to keep about 1 cup in reserve. Set aside.

Roughly chop the rest of the onion. Pour oil into a large skillet and heat over medium-high. Stir in the onions and cook until softened.

Stir in the beans, 1/4 cup of cooking liquid, chipotle powder, cumin plus salt to taste.

Mash the beans with a potato masher until they become pureed.

If desired, add extra cooking liquid.

Mix well.

Arrange the refried beans in a small bowl or dish, then top with cheese, and serve.

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