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These easy, budget-friendly Refried Beans are loaded with fantastic flavor! The best I’ve ever had!

Refried Beans

I have to admit, I was never much of a fan of Refried Beans…until I tried this recipe.

My husband Jack created this Refried Beans recipe, and it’s loaded with all sorts of flavorful ingredients that will put any pre-made, canned variety of refried beans to shame!


Refried Beans

What are Refried Beans?

Actually, refried beans are not ‘refried’ at all.  The name comes from the Spanish dish ‘frijoles refritos’ which translates to ‘well-fried’ beans, not refried beans. But someplace along the way in translation, this dish of cooked and mashed beans became known as refried beans in English.

Refried beans are a traditional side dish in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. Cooked pinto beans are mashed and seasoned with other ingredients (more details below), then fried or baked until heated through.

These refried beans are so good – even if you weren’t a fan of them before – you’ll love these!

Refried Beans


How do you make Refried Beans?

Our refried beans recipe is so flavorful thanks to a little bit of pancetta that is cooked at the start, then the rendered fat is used to fry up onions and garlic which are then added to the canned pinto beans.  (I KNOW…pancetta is not AT ALL a traditional Mexican ingredient, but it really does add fantastic flavor!) If you want to stay true to tradition, use lard instead.

Next, a blend of chili powder, cumin, oregano and a little bit of Rocket Fuel (Jack’s recipe for homemade hot sauce) adds great spiciness and the perfect amount of heat to the beans.

Finally, some fresh Roma tomato and cilantro add great freshness and brighten up the creamy beans.

Refried Beans

Can you use other kinds of beans to make Refried Beans?

According to Wikipedia, pinto beans are traditionally used in Northern Mexican when making refried beans. But, in other parts of the country, black beans, peruano beans (aka canary beans) or red kidney beans may be used.  We used canned pinto beans in our recipe to save time, but dried beans are traditional.

Refried Beans

How do you serve Refried Beans?

Refried Beans can be served as a side dish to any meal – such as tacos, enchiladas, chimichangas, or Mexican lasagna. It’s also delicious served slathered over a tortilla, then rolled to form a bean burrito. You can even serve refried beans as a dip with nachos.

You can serve Refried Beans hot, at room temperature, or chilled – the choice is yours!

You may enjoy these other Mexican side dish recipes:

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Refried Beans

Refried Beans

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican


2 tablespoons canola oil

¼ pound pancetta, diced into small pieces

1 cup diced onion

2 cloves minced garlic

¼ cup beef stock

2 cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained

½ teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 Roma tomato, diced

1 teaspoon oregano

1 tablespoon Rocket Fuel, or your favorite hot sauce


In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook pancetta in canola oil. Cook pancetta until crisp.

Add onion and sauté 3-5 minutes until onions become tender.

Add garlic and cook 1 minute.

Add in all other ingredients and cook five minutes.

Puree half the mixture with an immersion blender and cook 2 more minutes.

Keywords: refried beans


Refried Beans

Refried Beans

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  • Regina wrote:

    This recipe is delicious. I have made it several times.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Regina! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Doris wrote:

    Hi Martha and Jack: I hope you had a good Easter holiday. You hit another home run with this recipe! Will try it over the weekend . Love the layers of flavors here as well. I KNOW it will be a great hit and going into my recipe notebook.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Doris – We had a very nice Easter! (Hope you did too!) I hope you enjoy the refried beans!

  • Ilana Collison wrote:

    Honestly, I don’t remember how I stumbled across your website, but boy am I glad I did!

    I first made the Spaghetti Sauce, which both my husband and I loved. I have since made the Refried Beans and the Mexican Rice – wow! We had it with my tried and tested Mexican pulled chicken recipe, but now that I now how great your recipes are, I’m going to have to make your Mexican chicken…. we may have another new favourite!

    Your recipes are well instructed and taste fabulous! I have countless cookery books that I just use one or two recipes from, from each. Never tempted to try all the others in there. Your website however, has me wanting to make just about everything!

    Thank you for sharing, happy tummies in this household 🙂

    Keep up the great work!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Ilana – Thank you so much for writing to us – and your comments have made our day! We’re so glad you’re enjoying our recipes! I hope you enjoy the Mexican pulled chicken – and if yours is better – please feel free to share it with us. (We love learning about other great recipes as much as we enjoy sharing them!) Thank you again – your comments were so very nice to hear! Martha

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