Refried beans with chips

We have taco night about once a week at our house. Tacos, burritos, nachos and the like are family pleasing favorites. One thing that all of these have in common is a big pot of refried beans!

The name “refried beans” is a little bit of a misnomer because these beans are not actually fried twice as the name would suggest. The term “refried beans” comes from the Spanish word “refrito,” meaning recooked. Refried beans are traditionally boiled until tender and then mashed and cooked again with spices before serving. To keep things simple, we will only cook the beans once and then mash them right in the pan. Easy!

With only three ingredients, the recipe presented here is a “blank slate” that you can customize depending on what you like. You can easily scale this recipe if you are cooking for a large number of people. Read on to learn how simple it is to make these amazingly delicious refried beans at home!

Ingredients to Make Refried Beans

These beans use only three simple ingredients. We will go through them now:

Dried beans – Today I am using dried pinto beans, but you can also use black beans or whatever type you prefer.

Salt – This give the beans some flavor. I use plain old table salt.

Onion powder – Onion powder gives the beans good flavor and a very mild sweetness. I usually buy granulated onion rather than true onion powder because it does not get clumpy in the container. Either will work fine though so use what you have.

How to Make Refried Beans

Step 1: Cook the Beans

Place the beans and salt in a large pot. I like to add the salt in as the beans are cooking because it penetrates the bean and adds a lot of flavor. Add in enough water to cover the beans by at least three inches.

Place the pinto beans in the pot.
Add the pinto beans and salt to the pot. Pour in enough water to cover the beans by about 3 inches.

Cook over high heat until the water start to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 hours or until beans are tender. Place the lid on the pot but keep it cracked so steam can escape.

Check on your beans often during the cooking process to make sure some water is still covering the beans. If too much water evaporates they will burn and stick to the bottom of the pot and you will have to start over (don’t ask me how I know this 🙂 ) So, if the water level is getting too low, just add in a little more and continue cooking.

Step 2: Mash the Beans

When the beans are tender drain out most of the water. Since you will need some water to help mash the beans it is okay to leave about half an inch or so in the bottom of the pan. After draining most of the water place the pot on the counter.

Add the onion powder to the cooked beans.

Next add in the onion powder. I use about a tablespoon, but you can adjust this to taste. Then it is time to get out the immersion blender.

An immersion blender, also called a hand blender, has a small blade that spins. Using this is preferred over a regular blender because the beans can be blended right in the cooking pot! Blend the beans with an up-and-down motion until the desired consistency is reached. You will probably need to add in some additional warm water so the beans are not too thick.

What if you do not have an immersion blender? A potato masher will work just fine. The only difference is that the beans will not be quite as smooth as they would with the immersion blender. They will still taste delicious though!

Mash the beans with an immersion blender.
Mash the beans with an immersion blender until smooth. Add in some warm water to help them blend easier and prevent them from getting too thick.
Refried beans made with an immersion blender

Once you are done blending taste the beans and add more salt or onion powder if needed. You can also stir in other spices if you would like. See the variations listed below for some ideas!

Serve

Serve your beans warm. They can be used as a side dish with Mexican food, or as a part of tacos, burritos, or nachos. These are very versatile and the possibilities are endless!

Refried beans with cheese, chips, and salsa

I hope you get to try these refried beans soon. Happy Cooking!

Variations

Are you ready to kick it up a notch? These beans are a “blank slate” and it is very easy to add more seasonings to them. Here are some additions you can add in after they are done blending:

  • Fresh garlic or garlic powder
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Lime juice
  • Cheese
Refried beans with chips

Super Simple Refried Beans

Recipe by: Mandy
With only three ingredients these refried beans are surprisingly easy to make at home. They are a great addition to your family's taco night!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb dried pinto beans (around 2½ cups)
  • teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • water, as needed

Instructions

  • Place beans and salt in a large pot. Add in enough water to cover the beans by at least 3 inches.
  • Cook over high heat until the water starts to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 hours or until the beans are tender. Be sure to check on the beans often while they are cooking and add more water as needed to keep them covered.
  • When beans are tender, drain most of the water from the pot. Add the onion powder to the beans.
  • Using an immersion blender, blend beans until smooth. If you do not have an immersion blender a potato masher may also be used. As you are blending the beans add in more warm water as needed until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Taste beans, and add more salt or onion powder if needed. You can also stir in other spices if you would like. See the variations listed below for some ideas!
  • Serve warm as desired. Enjoy!

Notes

These beans are a “blank slate” and it is easy to add more to them.  Here are some additions you can stir in after they are done blending:
  • Fresh garlic or garlic powder
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Lime juice
  • Cheese
You can also try using different types of beans, and black beans are especially delicious.  Have fun trying new flavor combinations!

Don’t forget to pin for later!

How to Make Refried Beans