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Refried Beans

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This refried beans recipe will get you perfect results every time.

Refried beans can be used in so many ways. Whether you just want to serve them as a side dish or use them in other ways such as adding them to tacos, burritos or burrito bowls, you will find this recipe works well for whatever you have planned.

refried beans

Perfect as a side dish or wrapped in a tortilla.

Canned (tinned) pinto or black beans vs. dried beans…

You will get the best results is you cook dried beans from scratch. I have given instruction for using tinned (canned) beans below if you are in a rush or just want to make things easy on yourself. Nothing wrong with that.

By cooking dried beans, however you are able to flavour the cooking broth with delicious ingredients like onions, garlic and bay leaves. The homemade cooking stock helps flavour the refried beans and can also be added to other soups and broths.

Personally, I think both pinto and black beans taste much better when cooked from dry as well.

Can refried beans be cooked in an electric pressure cooker?

Most definitely yes! You will need to finish them off in a frying pan but cooking in a pressure cooker such as an ‘Instant Pot’ is much faster with no loss of flavour.

Cooking in a sauce pan takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. You can do the same job in a pressure cooker in about 40 minutes.

Is there a big difference between pinto and black beans?

Yes. I love them both but your refried beans will taste different depending on the beans you choose.

If I had to choose between the two, I couldn’t. Both are delicious. If you are not familiar with both versions of refried beans, I highly recommend trying both using the recipe below.

How many tins of beans to I need if not cooking dried pinto or black beans?

For this recipe, I use about three 400g (16oz) tins. 

The beans are already cooked so all you need to do is start smashing or blending them with a little of the water from the tin.

Then carry on with the rest of the recipe below. 

Refried beans in pictures…

ingredients for refried beans

Get all of your ingredients together before starting. 

Cooking the beans

The beans can be cooked in an electric pressure cooker or on the hob. A pressure cooker is much faster.

Cooking the beans in pork lard.

Once the beans are really tender, strain retaining the cooking liquid. Melt the pork fat and add the garlic and cooked beans to the pan.

Smashing refried beans

Mash or blend the beans to your preferred consistency.

Refried beans

Cover the finished refried beans with cheese and salsa if you like.

Refried beans

So good! No matter how you serve them!

Finished refried beans

Dig in!

You might also like to try some of the Mexican style recipes…

Birria de Res
Birria Ramen
Pork Carnitas
Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
Beef Queso Dip
Baked Mexican Rice

Yield: 6

Refried Beans

refried beans
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes


  • 500g (1/2 lb) dried pinto beans or black beans
  • 1 medium onions, peeled but left whole
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp pork lard or olive oil (I use the traditional pork lard)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne chilli powder
  • 500g (3 ¼ cups) cooked pinto or black beans
  • Salt to taste
  • Shredded Jack, Wensleydale or Cheddar chees
  • Red onion, diced
  • Tomato, dice
  • Fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
  • Salsa


  1. Cooking in a saucepan: Rinse the beans through a sieve and then pour them into a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic and bay leaves and the add water until the beans are at least 7.5cm (3 inches) covered.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 ½ to 2 hours or until the beans are really soft. You should be able to smash one easily between your fingers. Be sure to add more water if it looks like the pot is drying up.
  3. Cooking in an electric pressure cooker: Rinse the beans through a sieve and then pour them into your electric pressure cooker. Cover with 1 ½ liters (6 cups) water but be sure you don’t fill pass the maximum fill line. Add about 1 tbsp light olive oil.
  4. Secure the lid and pressure cook for 35 minutes. Then allow the pressure to reduce naturally until the steam valve drops. The beans should be super soft. If not, you will need to continue cooking until they are.
  5. When the beans are soft, remove the onion, garlic and bay leaves and discard them. The beans can now be made into refried beans.
  6. Strain the beans, retaining all of the cooking liquid. Now heat the pork lard or oil over a medium high heat in your saucepan.
  7. Stir in the finely chopped garlic and fry for about 30 seconds. Then stir in the cumin and cayenne.
  8. Add the cooked beans and about 250ml (1 cup) of the cooking liquid. Reduce the heat to medium and start mashing with a potato masher until you are happy with the consistency.
  9. If you prefer a smoother texture, the beans could also be blended with the same amount of liquid. If while you are mashing the pan is looking dry, stir in a little more stock. When you are happy with the consistency, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. If you are not serving the refried beans immediately, be sure to keep the cooking stock. You can then add more when reheating if needed.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 189Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 272mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 9gSugar: 4gProtein: 10g

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