Refried Beans

  • Active Time 35m
  • Total Time 2h 5m
  • Rating ****

Makes 3-4 cups; serves 4-6

No Mexican meal is complete without this creamy staple. Although pinto beans fried in lard are the more traditional choice, black beans fried in vegetable oil meet the more health-conscious demands of today. The beans go best with rice.


  • 2 cups dried black beans or pinto beans
  • 8 cups water
  • 2/3 cup lard or vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, optional


Sort through the beans and discard any misshapen beans or stones. Rinse well. Place the beans in a saucepan and add the water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the smallest beans are cooked through and creamy inside, about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the beans from the heat. Using a potato masher, mash the beans with their cooking liquid until evenly mashed.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, warm the lard or oil. Add all but about 1/4 cup of the diced onion, salt to taste and pepper and sauté briskly until the onion is translucent and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the mashed beans and cook, stirring, until the excess liquid evaporates and the beans begin to pull away from the pan sides, about 10 minutes. Cook without stirring until a thin layer of the mashed beans begins to stick to the pan bottom. Scrape up the layer and reincorporate it into the beans. Repeat this step 2 or 3 times, allowing the beans to begin to stick and then scraping them up, until the beans are thick and creamy.

To serve, spoon the beans onto a warmed platter or individual plates and top with the reserved diced onion. Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve hot. Store leftover beans, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, return the beans to a wide sauté pan, add a little water and place over medium heat, stirring constantly to heat evenly.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 2174

nutrition information per serving

274 calories; 24g total fat; 22mg cholesterol; 592mg sodium; 11g carbohydrates; 4g fiber; 4g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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