Refried beans are a staple on most Mexican lunch and dinner plates. My Authentic Refried Beans will make you realize that the canned version no longer need be on your shopping list. Easier to make than you think, and I’ll share with you my secret flavor weapon, too!
Down the block from me is a Mexican restaurant that serves THE BEST refried beans. I could live on them and sing their praises all the time. Even after countless efforts to secure their recipe, I think I’ve got it! Now one might think, it’s just mashed beans, right? No, there is a little more to it and I’ll share with you my version with a little flavor twist.
Come on Kevin, really? YES. These are outstanding in texture and flavor and super easy to make. With only a few simple ingredients you can take mashed beans to a whole new level!
Is it necessary to soak beans before cooking?
I used to be in the “soak your beans first” camp, but no longer. I used to think it made a difference in speeding up the cooking time, but it didn’t. I thought it helped to remove some of those indigestible sugars that cause gas. Not necessarily the case, but soak away if you think or feel it does!
I have also read that adding baking soda to the water when soaking dried beans before cooking decreases the content of the sugars that may cause gas. Again, up to you.
I have made these three different ways and each result was the same. One stove top, slow cooker and pressure cooker (soaked and not soaked) and decided since most people forget to soak the beans prior to making them they feel, why make them at all now, it will take too long.
No! It really should take no more than 1 1/2 to 2 hours total time on the stovetop!
How to make Refried Beans
First cover the beans with 2 inches of water in a stock pot. Add a quarter onion, dried chili and crushed garlic. On high heat, bring contents to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook until beans are tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Simply remove and discard the onion, chili and garlic. You should have about 5 cups of cooked beans.
Drain the beans and season with salt and pepper and these are fantastic as is, but we are making Authentic Refried Beans!
In a large skillet over high heat melt some lard, because we are actually frying the beans, right?
Here’s my little secret and why I really don’t add much salt at all to mine.
I use bacon fat that I save. That stuff is liquid gold people. Save it!
It delivers a wonderful level of flavor to the beans. BUT if you don’t like or eat bacon then use regular lard.
Drain beans, reserving about a cup of the bean water, and add the beans to the skillet. Fry for several minutes, stirring.
Mash with the back of a spoon or potato masher.
Add enough bean broth and continue mashing until your desired consistency. I like mine a little chunky and never purée in a food processor.
If you do, then by all means do it. Season with some salt and black pepper and serve.
I even used these in my Ground Beef Enchiladas the other day, but if serving as a side, I like to crumble Cotija or Queso Fresco cheese on top when serving.
For other Mexican and Tex Mex recipes, try my Carne Adovada, Barbacoa Beef, Tex Mex Stuffed Peppers, Mexican Black Beans and Corn, Real Chili con Carne, Authentic Mexican Rice and a site favorite, Mexican Pickled Carrots. Enjoy!
Authentic Refried Beans
- 1 lb pinto beans (See Note 1)
- 1 white or yellow onion
- 1 guajillo chili pepper (or Ancho, stem and seeds removed)
- 1 large garlic clove crushed only
- 1/4 cup lard (See Note 2)
- Pick through beans for any rocks or debris. Cover beans with 2 inches of water in a stock pot. Add a quarter onion (save remaining for other use), dried chili and crushed garlic.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until beans are tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Remove and discard the onion, chili and garlic. You should have about 5 cups of cooked beans.
- In a large skillet over high heat melt the lard.
- Drain beans, reserving about a cup of the bean water. Add the beans to the skillet. Fry for several minutes, stirring.
- Mash with the back of a spoon or potato masher. Add enough bean broth and continue mashing until your desired consistency. I like mine a little chunky and never purée in a food process. If you do, then by all means do it.
- Season with some salt and black pepper if needed. Serve with crumbled Cotija or Queso Fresco cheese on top.