Homemade Refried Beans + Video

Make traditional refried beans just like mom or grandma! Serve them as a side dish with a Mexican meal, as a bean dip served with tortilla chips, or slather them on a homemade flour tortilla for the best bean burrito.

refried brand in a small white molcajete surrounded with tortilla chips    

I am constantly developing new recipes and forget to share the simple staples of Mexican food. I am often asked how to make homemade refried beans. Homemade refried beans are simple to make, economical, and so comforting and nostalgic.

homemade refried beans in a cast iron skillet with flour tortillas

If you grew up in a Mexican or Mexican-American home, frijoles were probably a staple. But for some reason when it comes to refried beans they tend to be a little complicated.

Lard, shortening, bacon fat, or oil?

I am often asked, “What do you fry your pinto beans with? Lard, shortening, bacon fat, or oil?” Honestly, it is truly up to you and your preference. When I make them at home I usually fry them with olive oil, but for honest to goodness and the most delicious refried beans I highly recommend lard.

Pinto beans

Sure, you can open up a can of pinto beans, but to make delicious homemade refried beans, I recommend starting with homemade Frijoles de la Olla and go from there.

Refried bean tips

Do not drain and strain beans – do not be afraid of too much bean broth. Bring beans to a boil for a couple minutes and smash beans in a cast iron skillet with a potato masher until mixture is thick and no whole beans remain.

Simmer the beans low and slow while stirring so that you can see the cooking process of the beans. Do not overcook them and let them dry out. You can control the consistency at a slow simmer.

They might look runny, but they will thicken as they sit, so do not be tempted to overcook them.

I asked my mom to share all of her secrets! We filmed this video and she shares a lot of great tips along with sweet memories from the good ol’ days.

I hope this video is helpful so that you can learn the simple process of making homemade refried beans. Not only will you learn how to make refried beans, but you can enjoy my mom’s company and see how it feels to be side-by-side with her en la cocina.

refried beans served as a bean dip with tortilla chips



Frijoles Refritos (Refried Beans)

Make traditional refried beans just like mom or grandma! Serve them as a side dish with a Mexican meal, as a bean dip served with tortilla chips, or slather them on a homemade flour tortilla for the best bean burrito.


Frijoles de la Olla:

Refried Beans:

  • 2 tablespoons lard or olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups cooked Frijoles de la Olla plus 1⁄2 cup liquid
  • Salt to taste


Frijoles de la Olla:

  1. Measure out the beans. Spread the beans over your counter so you can look for beans that are broken, discolored, or shriveled and remove them. There will also be small stones or pebbles that should be sorted out of the beans during this phase. Discard all of the undesirable pieces.
  2. Place beans in a colander. Rinse the beans thoroughly with cool water for about 3 minutes.
  3. This step is not necessary, but your beans will be lighter in color and “mas bonitos” as my mom says: 
  4. Pour the drained beans into a large pot. Add enough water to reach 3 inches over the beans. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and simmer until the beans are tender, about 3 - 4 hours, adding more hot water as the beans absorb liquid. Every pot is different and so check your beans after 2 hours. Most take 3 - 4 hours but I have a pot I love to cook my beans in because it only takes 2 hours.
  5. Add salt and onions (onions are optional) about one hour before complete. Refrigerate beans when cooled. The beans can be frozen in small bowls for later use.
  6. Beans can be refrigerated for (5) days.

Refried Beans:

  1. Heat lard or olive oil in a medium cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beans and the liquid.
  2. Cook over medium heat. While the beans are boiling mash them with a potato masher.
  3. Continue to cook until they form a thick paste, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

I’d love to see what you cook!

Tag #MUYBUENOCOOKING if you make this recipe.

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Photography by Jenna Sparks / Video by Pure Cinematography