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Homemade Refried Beans are simple and packed with so much flavor, you will never reach for a can again. These creamy refried beans are perfect for your next Tex-Mex night!

We love Mexican-inspired foods at our house, and keeping it real and simple tastes the best! Add these homemade beans to these other favorites like chimichangas, empanadas, and Barbacoa.

A bowl of refried beans topped with cilantro and limes.

Easy Refried Beans

It is easy to reach for a can of refried beans when you are in a hurry, but guys, have you had them made fresh?! It is so much better! The flavor is irresistible and totally worth the extra effort with these homemade refried beans. Plus canned beans are often heavily laden with extras like lard, preservatives, and even sugar, which you just do not need! And when you make homemade, you control the spices and the flavor. These homemade refried beans are so good!

Refried beans are not fried again. The word comes from its Spanish origins that mean “well fried.” Really, the most important part of making homemade refried beans is going to be the mashing. They could be called “well mashed” beans instead. Whatever you call them, how about we just make them. You won’t be sorry to ditch the can, I promise!

What You Need For Refried Beans

Super easy and luscious, you’ll wonder why you have not made homemade refried beans before!

  • Olive Oil: This is for “frying” the beans in.
  • White onion: Finely diced super well, almost diced. Unless you like chunks of onion.
  • Garlic cloves: Mince your garlic and use fresh for the best flavor.
  • Pinto beans*: I used canned beans, but you can also use dried, I give those instructions below.
  • Cumin: Classic Mexican spice.
  • Chili powder: You can definitely add more or less to your liking.
  • Juice of half a lime: It adds a nice freshness to the beans.
  • Salt: Add to taste, and trust me, you will want some salt, but not a lot.

How to Make Refried Beans at Home

The most important step here when making homemade refried beans is the mashing. You are in control of the consistency. Leave it chunky or make it smooth. It’s up to you.

  1. Saute: In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat add the olive oil, the garlic, and the onion. Sauté until tender.
  2. Combine: Add the beans, cumin, chili powder, lime, and salt. Heat until warm.
  3. Mash: Remove from the stove and mash the beans until they reach desired consistency.
  4. Garnish: Top with cilantro, and cojita cheese if desired.
Sauteing onions, beans and spices and mashing them to eat.

Tips For The Best Refried Beans

Customizable, this homemade refried beans recipe is easy and quick and totally delicious.

  • Beans: Pinto beans are the best beans for making refried beans. They are super creamy and almost buttery in flavor. You can also use black beans for variety. You would just add them instead of pinto and cook as directed.
  • Onions: You definitely want to chop your onions very finely and cook till very tender. Biting into large undercooked onion in your refried beans isn’t very pleasant.
  • Add Spice: Want to spice up your beans, you can add finely chopped jalapeno peppers along with your onions and garlic. Or add a tablespoon or two of diced green chilies.
  • Top It: Melt cheddar cheese or jalapeno or other cheese on top if you desire. Adding fresh cilantro is absolutely divine.
Soaking dried beans in a glass bowl.

How to Make Refried Beans with Dried Beans

Just a few extra steps will get you the same result. And using an Instant pot makes it even easier when making homemade refried beans.

  • Stove Top: Soak the dry beans overnight. Rinse the beans and place them in a large pot. Fill with at least 3 inches of water on the top. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for about 2 1/2 hours. the beans are done when they are soft and the skin is starting to break open. Drain and continue with the recipe as written.
  • Instant Pot: Place the beans in the instant pot and fill with water to the top fill line. Turn to seal and cook on high pressure for 30-35 minutes. Release the pressure and string the beans. Add them to the recipe as directed.

How to Use Refried Beans and Storing Them

Make big batch and store them for the next time you need them. But these homemade refried beans are easy enough, you can make them fresh every time too!

  • Store: Once made these will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge. Keep tightly covered.
  • Freeze: When the beans have cooled you can freeze meal portions in freezer safe bags for up to 4 months. If they are dry when you thaw them, add a bit of oil or water.
  • How to Use: These are great as a side dish along with Mexican Rice or use with chips and Queso for a tasty appetizer. They will make your Mexican Pinwheels and 7 Layer Dip taste incredible. Throw them in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, Navajo Tacos, and quesadillas.
A bowl of refried beans in a black bowl.

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Homemade Refried Beans

5 from 3 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
Homemade Refried Beans are simple and packed with so much flavor, you will never reach for a can again. These creamy refried beans are perfect for your next Tex-Mex night!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 people



  • In a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat add the olive oil, the garlic and the onion. Sauté until tender.
  • Add the beans, cumin, chili powder, lime and salt. Heat until warm.
  • Remove from the stove and mash the beans until they reach desired consistency.
  • Top with cilantro, and cojita cheese if desired.


Calories: 51kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 7mgPotassium: 38mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 108IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 12mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!
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About Alyssa Rivers

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Alyssa Rivers and the food blogger behind The Recipe Critic. The blog launched in 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved.

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Recipe Rating


  1. How mant dried beans they will weigh less than the cooked beans you used, and therefore throw off the ratio’s required for good taste! Any ides?

  2. 5 stars
    Keep up the good work and send me more recipes. I’m a vegan who cook for myself. Thank you. 😊

  3. 5 stars
    thank you, legumes are a part of my diet, and pintos are my regular, but from a can, so thank you for the from scratch recipe, better!