Homemade Refried Beans

We had a lot of refried beans on our New Mexico vacation…and no two versions were the same (which is amazing and intriguing to me). Some were thicker and had some beans still in tact, while others were more like a soup. My favorites were the ones where I knew I was eating beans (not meant as a knock on the others, which were also good in their own way)…so I decided to try making them at home! In retrospect, there are two distinct advantages to making your own refried beans:

  1. You can make them exactly as you like. You pick your consistency, your flavour profile, and even your spice level…totally customized.
  2. At no point in the making of this recipe does it look like you’re scooping dog food out of a can (unlike if you’re using canned refried beans).

We used our beans as an underlayment for Cornmeal Crusted Roasted Poblano with Jalapeño Aioli, but these would also be great in a vegetarian Nacho Tower, as a side for tacos, or as a filling for a bean burrito.

Time: 20 Minutes


  • 1 Can of Pinto Beans
  • 1 Can of Black Beans
  • Olive Oil
  • Non-Chunky Salsa (try Making Your Own!)
  • Ground Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cilantro (fresh and chopped or dried)


  • Drain and rinse your beans. Then, combine them in a bowl, and mash them together by hand.
  • Add your seasoning and some salsa to your beans, and stir to combine. We find a fork to be the best utensil for this. If you want thinner refried beans, use more salsa.
  • Drizzle in olive oil a little at a time, and mash it in with your fork to thin your beans a bit more. When your beans are to the thickness you like for your refried beans, stop adding!
  • Heat some oil in a frying pan, and when it’s hot, add your beans. Cook until they’re hot.
  • Plate, devour, and enjoy!


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