Refried Beans (Frijoles Refritos)

Refried Beans (Frijoles Refritos)

I have often wondered why refried beans were called refried beans. I guess it is because the dried beans are cooked once to reconstitute them and then cooked a second time, after mashing them, by frying them in lard. It is the frying them in the lard that makes them nice and creamy and full of flavour and good. You don't need to use the lard but it is best if you use some kind of fat. I don't often have lard on hand so I normally use bacon grease and since I am cooking the bacon for the grease anyways I usually throw the the bacon in as well. The source of fat can also be oil for a lighter and healthier or vegetarian version.

Refried beans are normally made with pinto beans but you can use any kind of beans that you want. I often enjoy using black beans instead of pinto beans. Simmering the dried beans to reconstitute them takes a while so I usually use caned beans, which I always have on hand, and that saves a lot of time.

Other than the beans and the fat, refried beans can be as simple or as complex as you like. You could easily leave them there or you can add in extras. For me, it depends on what I am using them for. If I am going to use the refried beans as a side dish or as a filling for burritos I might keep them simple and omit the onions and garlic. If what I am serving them with is already spicy then I might leave out the ground up chilies and cumin. If I am using the refried beans as a dip I would probably use everything in the recipe below and I might even add some tomato and jalapenos. I would also add some water to thin the refried beans out so that they would not break the tortillas chips when scooping. I would also garnish a refried bean dip with some shredded cheese and green onions or maybe some sour cream and cilantro. Refried beans are so versatile!

Refried Beans (Frijoles Refritos)

Refried Beans (Frijoles Refritos)

  • 2 tablespoons lard (or bacon grease or oil etc.)
  • 1 small onion (chopped, optional)
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped, optional)
  • 1 (19 ounce) can pinto beans (drained and rinsed, or black beans, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (toasted and ground, optional)
  • * water (optional)
  1. Heat the lard in a pan.
  2. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the beans, chili powder and cumin and cook until warm.
  5. Mash the beans until you get them to the consistency that you want. (If the beans are too thick you can add water to thin them out.)


Coffee & Vanilla said...

I'm jealous, I love refried beans!! :)


tigerfish said...

First time hearing about refried beans :O

Dhanggit said...

i remember i had my best beans in a small resto in montreal when we went there for our summer vacation.. i forgot the name though.. never knew its possible to refry them!

Deborah said...

I'm a bacon grease fan, so I usually save mine and put it in the fridge for when I need it. That way, I always have some on hand!

PG said...

yes, I had asked myself that question too, thank you for the good explaination. The burrito looked gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

The beans are 're'fried because they are well cooked. "Re" being used as a Spanish prefix to denote 'quite' or 'well' or 'very'. It has nothing to do with the beans being fried twice, which of course you knew. So your explanation is fairly sound, although without perhaps knowing why.

Anonymous said...

Well this explains alot...I was opening a can of pinto beans and mashing them, then microwaving. I can't wait to start making them this way instead. Thanks!

Ducky said...

This looks great and so simple! I had frijoles so many times when I lived in Mexico, but never learned how to cook it myself. I'm going to make this and try one of your dips tonight:)

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