Refried beans are incredibly satisfying when they come from a restaurant. The crunchy top, the creamy texture, and the irresistible flavor. Pure bliss.
Do they contain unhealthy ingredients? Sure. It’s a good indulgence.
In experimenting with a version at home, I went for the classic creamy texture and simple seasons – sticking mostly to salt and broth. It seemed like anything more would be too complicated. After all, well-salted, creamy beans don’t need much else. The result was magic.
We also found a way not to have to mash beans again by hand. We’ll show you just how simple this method is!
Origins of Refried Beans
Frijoles Refritos is believed to have been invented in Northern Mexico in the early 1900s.
While the dish was originally called “refried beans” in the south of the United States, the name changed when it spread.
Refried beans, contrary to their name, are not fried two times.
How to make Refried Beans
This 6-ingredient is not traditional, but it is delicious and easy to make.
It is important first to cook the beans. You can use canned beans if you prefer. You can use the stovetop method to cook dry beans, or you can use an instant pot for faster preparation.
Refried beans can be made once your beans have been cooked.
Sauté the onion and garlic in a little oil until they are tender. The beans will be infused with a new layer of flavor.
Add the beans and any liquid left over from cooking (or the liquid in the can). Add just enough juice to cover the beans. Season with salt and let simmer until the beans are tender and easy to mash. Add more vegetable broth if the beans begin to dry or stick at the bottom of your pan.
You can use either an immersion blender or a potato or bean masher to mash the food.
We prefer the immersion blender because it produces incredibly creamy beans within seconds!
The only thing left is to garnish and serve. We love to top with red onion, cilantro, and lime juice. Also delicious are vegan Queso and hot sauce.
- 3 cups cooked pinto beans (see instructions on how to cook them in the Instant Pot or from scratch)
- Avocado oil 2 Tbsp (or water, but double it and add more if needed).
- White onion, 3/4 cup diced
- Three cloves garlic, minced
- 14-1 cup vegetable stock
- Add more salt to taste.
FOR SERVING optional
- Lime juice
- Hot sauce
- Freshly chopped cilantro
- Red onion dice
- Vegan Mexican-style Queso
- Open the cans of beans and place them aside. According to the original recipe, approximately two 15-oz (4425-g) canned beans will yield 3 cups of cooked beans.
- From scratch: We recommend the recipe for cooking pinto beans from scratch. This yields 5 cups of cooked beans. We suggest reducing the amount of beans to 6 1/2 cup portions (rather than 10), which will produce 3 cups of cooked beans. Spices and diced tomatoes with green chilies can be added.
- In the Instant Pot, we recommend that you follow this recipe but substitute black beans with pinto beans. Save any cooking liquid that is left over.
- REFRIED BEANS: To prepare refried beans, heat a large pot Dutch Oven on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and water. Stirring occasionally, sauté until transparent and tender – about 4-5 min. Add minced garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. If browning is occurring too quickly, turn down the heat.
- Add your cooked beans and any cooking liquid. Your beans may look dry or submerged in liquid, depending on how you cook them. You want the beans to be inundated because we will simmer them even further. Add only enough vegetable broth to cover the beans.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add your salt. Cover the pot and turn down the heat. Continue to simmer for another 20 minutes in order to cook the beans and soften them. Add more vegetable broth if they start to look dry or stick at the bottom.
- You should be able to mash your beans now. We prefer to use an Immersion Blender. When using an immersion blend, tilt the pot so that the blade is submerged. Blend until the beans become creamy and smooth. You can also use a potato or bean masher if you don’t own an immersion blender. The only difference is that it takes more time, and the mixture won’t be as creamy.
- If your beans are too thick after blending or mashing, add more vegetable broth if necessary.
- Add more salt if you like. The beans didn’t need more. You could also add some chili powder, chipotle in adobo, or cumin to the beans for more heat.
- Serve with or without desired toppings. (Lime juice, hot sauce, or this Mexican-style vegan Queso is delicious.
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days or in the freezer for up to one month. To reheat in a saucepan or pot, add more broth if necessary.