recipes / savory / sides / vegan + vegetarian

Easy Refried Beans

easy refried beans

I make these Easy Refried Beans probably 3-4 times per month. Everyone loves them, including me, and it’s become impossible to have a Mexican or Tex-Mex meal at my house without them incorporated in some way.

I used to only make refried beans once in a blue moon. This was because sorting and soaking beans have never been my favorite thing, and I always began with dry pinto beans. That’s why the key ingredient to this recipe being easy is using canned beans.

Easy Refried Beans Ingredients

Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Easy Refried Beans recipe:

  • Canned Pinto Beans: You’ll want to drain and rinse them because we don’t need all the starch and sodium in the liquid they’re suspended in. Don’t worry if you don’t, it won’t really matter too much in the end.
  • Onion, Jalapeno, Garlic: Chopped white onions, diced jalapenos, and minced garlic add flavor and texture to our beans. Don’t be nervous about the jalapenos: if you need to reduce the heat just scoop out the seeds and ribs.
  • Kosher Salt, Cumin, Chili Powder: Ground cumin and chili powder add body and spice, and I think we all know what salt does.
  • Equipment: To make this recipe I generally use a mesh strainer, a saucepan with a lid, a wooden spoon, general measuring equipment, and an immersion blender.

How to Make Easy Refried Beans

Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Easy Refried Beans recipe:

  • Saute the aromatics. Begin by heating a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat in a small saucepan. Cook the onions until they begin to soften and brown around the edges. Then add the garlic and saute for a few minutes more.
  • Add the beans. Stir in the beans, jalapeno, and water.
  • Season and simmer. Add the chili powder, cumin, and salt. Taste, and add more of any or none – whatever you like.
  • Blend or mash. I like to use an immersion blender. I blend about 2/3 of the beans until completely smooth, leaving the rest a mix between whole and partially mashed. You can leave the beans whole, if you like, or use a potato masher to achieve a similar effect. Your regular blender is an option too, just let the beans cool and vent the top first.
  • Fry the refried beans. Grab a skillet and drizzle in the remaining oil. Let it heat over medium heat for about a minute, then pour in the beans. Let them sizzle and stir them around, almost folding them like you would a batter. This is to make sure as much of it touches the surface of the pan as possible. You can remove them as soon they start to look ‘dried out’, or let them cook longer, depending on the consistency you desire.
easy refried beans

Switch it Up: 

If just eating it by the spoonful isn’t enticing enough – not sure why it wouldn’t be, but OK – there are so many things that you can make with this Easy Refried Beans recipe. Nachos, burritos, taco salads, and my favorite:

  • Chicken Tinga Tostadas. Topped with my homemade Chicken Tinga, these Easy Refried Beans, my Chile Queso, and pico de gallo, along with green leaf lettuce, hot sauce, and sour cream.

Come back and rate this recipe if you try it! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Here’s the Pinterest graphic I always give you:

easy refried beans
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Homemade refried beans in a white bowl, easy to make recipe.

Easy Refried Beans

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You’ll probably wonder why you haven’t always made them yourself. 


  • 2 (15 oz) cans pinto beans
  • 1/3 C white onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/3 tsp kosher salt, to taste


  1. Grab a medium-sized saucepan and drizzle in a small amount of oil. Add the onions and saute over medium-high heat until they begin to soften and brown around the edges.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic. Saute just until they’re fragrant, then add the jalapenos. 
  3. Next, stir in the beans and water. Bring to a simmer, then add the cumin, chili powder, and salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Continue simmering for about 10 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat. Use an immersion blender or a potato masher to blend some or all of the beans. The consistency is up to you. 
  5. Place a skillet over medium-high heat and add the rest of the oil. Let it heat up for about a minute, then pour in the beans. Stir around and cook until they begin to look ‘dried out.’ 
  6. Dassit. 
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