Oaxaca Style Refried Beans
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- 1 pound black beans rinsed
- 1 white onion halved
- 1 tablespoon kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste
- A couple sprigs fresh epazote or cilantro
- 5 dried avocado leaves
- 3 dried chiles de arbol
- 2 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup white onion finely chopped
- For garnish queso fresco
- For garnish ripe avocado
- Place the black beans and the onion in a large soup pot or casserole and add enough water to cover by at least 2- to 3-inches. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat and cover with a lid, leaving it slightly open. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes – making sure there is always sufficient water (if you need to add a cup, make sure it is boiling hot).
- Once the beans are cooked and tender, add 1 tablespoon salt and a couple sprigs of fresh epazote or cilantro. Cook for another 15 minutes. Turn off heat.
- In a hot comal or skillet set over medium heat, toast the avocado leaves and chiles de arbol for a couple of minutes until fragrant and browned, flipping as they toast. Remove from the heat. Break the leaves into pieces. Remove the stem from the chiles and break into pieces without discarding the seeds.
- Working in batches if necessary, add the cooked beans and at least 1 1/2 cups of their cooking liquid (or add water if need be) to the jar of a blender, as well as the avocado leaves and chiles. Puree until a little chunky.
- In a large skillet or casserole set over medium-high heat, heat the lard or vegetable oil. Once hot, but not smoking, add the chopped onion. Cook until translucent and edges are beginning to brown, about 6 to 7 minutes. Incorporate pureed beans and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they thicken to your liking. I cook them for about 10 to 12 minutes.
68comments inOaxaca Style Refried Beans
I made this recipe for the first time yesterday. After a few failures by trying to use other instructions, finding great success with this excellent recipe was an absolute joy. One little blooper though: I only added 1 teaspoon of salt, at the proper time, because I was cooking only 3/4 cup, dry measure, of the beans. About 15 minutes before ending cooking, stirred in a little beef bouillon paste, for color. That was a big mistake. Taste test: TOO salty. Had to add 2 tablespoons lemon juice to counteract that salt. This recipe, for me, is a real keeper. It’ll be my “go to”. Thank you very much for sharing it.
Thanks for sharing your experience Beverly, glad you like this recipe so much!
I absolutely love your show & easy style of cooking . Thank you
Thanks so much Rose, un abrazo!
Does it work to make the basic bean recipe the day before and then the refried recipe just before serving?
Thank you 😊
Absolutely! That’s what we do all the time when we make a big pot of beans Kalea, enjoy!
Needed any bean recipe that my autistic son would eat, very picky with taste and texture. Tried so many and could not find the right balance for his taste buds. Followed instructions to the dot. He LOVED them, all I can say is, “thank you, THANK YOU, delicious!”
Veronica, thanks for letting me know! So glad your son liked these beans 🙂
I just used canned black beans and pepper flakes for a test run. The whole recipe was gone in 1 1/2 days. Wow! Thank you.
Haha, so glad you liked it!
About 15 years ago my co-worker/Friends boyfriend took his annual vacation in Oaxaca. He was a chef in SF, Ca. and like you he spent his vacation eating, cooking and learning new recipes. When he came back he threw a dinner party so we could experience what he learned…long story short he made these black beans and I couldn’t stop eating them…I’ve looked for a recipe ever since, so thanks so much 🙂
So glad you found me and this recipe Marty, enjoy!
Pati I’m looking for a recipe for Sonoran beans
Of course, here is my recipe for you 🙂 http://patijinich.com/fiesta-refried-beans/
The recipe came out perfectly, really really delicious. I did not have chile de arbol, only pasilla chili but they were still really great. Substiuted olive oil for the lard since I am vegetarian. The fresh epazote is my favorite taste in these. This is my new favorite bean recipe!
So glad you liked the recipe and were able to make substitutions to make it vegetarian, great job Julia!
Since my first bite of refried black beans (1975 in Guatemala!), they’ve been my favorite. And since I love simultaneous hot, sweet and fruity… I carmelize the onions and instead of chile de arbol, I use chile morita.
Yummy! I’m sure those come out delicious Janet 😉
Can I substitute Hoja Santa leaves for the Avocado leaves?
Why not? Go ahead Amy and let me know how you like the beans that way 😉
I recently came across your show on Youtube and you have inspired me in so many ways. I want to try these as I had a friend in San Fran around 2004, who was a chef, return from Mexico. Upon his return he threw a dinner party. He cooked a Black bean recipe with Avocado leaves that I could not stop eating. I don’t remember if they were whole or refried. But as food is a gateway to wonderful memories I hope that this dish will fill my family and friends with memories like mine.
Thanks Marty for sharing your memories, I hope this recipe will do it for you as well, enjoy 🙂
Hi! How do you cook black beans so that they dont turn brown? Mine always turn reddish brown, and I would like them to stay black. Any tips would be great thanks.
Here is the way I cook my black beans Katrina, hope it helps! http://patijinich.com/pati_2020/black-beans-from-the-pot/
This recipe is now a staple in my house. As a result I always have to have Avocado leaves on hand. Thank you!
Thanks to you Meredith 😉
What type of blender works best without breaking the bank? I have a standard blender that was only about $20 but doesn’t work too well even for basic stuff like smoothies. Thinking of getting a better one for this and quite a few other recipes. Would a food processor work too? I’ve never had one. Still new to the cooking world. 🙂
Hi Krystin, thanks for your message! I think one of the few investments you really have to make when starting to cook Mexican food is in a new blender. I have a Vitamix that is amazing, but it can be a little pricey (although some times they have them on sale!). Just look for one that is big enough and that will last for a long time. Food processors are not bad, but they do a different job, a blender is much more versatile in my opinion. Good luck 😉
Hola Pati! Do I also add the epazote to blend with the beans?
I really enjoyed the beans in Oaxaca, and I’ve been using Rick Bayless’s recipe for frijoles refritos. I just found this recipe, which I will try when I finish my current batch.
I cook my beans in a pressure cooker, which reduces the cooking time to ½ hour or less. I use the same pot instead of a skillet for the fry step, to which I also add garlic and a chipotle en adobo. ¡Manteca, siempre manteca! Finally, depending on the consistency I want, I use either a potato masher or a stick blender in the pot and avoid dirtying my stand blender.
I haven’t tried avocado leaves yet, but I will when I make my next batch. Gracias, Pati. Love your show.
I hope you enjoy the recipe, Michael!
The best refried beans I ever made. I mashed them in a cast iron skillet instead of the food processor.
So glad you loved them, Patty.
These are fantastic. My absolute favorite bean recipe. I also have a local market that sells dried avocado leaves and fresh epazote, and they’re game changers. Oh, and for those who don’t have a nearby store, Amazon.com sells dried avocado leaves for $5.99.
That’s awesome that this is your favorite bean recipe…thank you, Lisa!
These beans are AMAZING! I I have a local store that happened to have avocado leaves and wow do they change the flavor. My 3 year old daughter and I keep watching your show and then making recipes and you have the gift of making home cooked Mexican amazing and easy. Someday we are going to come see you in DC when it’s not sold out!!
Yay! I hope to see you guys in DC soon, and say hi to your daughter for me.
You really need to soak your beans ahead if you want to cook them at Th rate in the recipe. I did not and I had to cook mine for 2.5 hours. They came out delicious it just took much longer then I had anticipated
I’m sorry yours took longer to cook, Shannon, but I’m glad they were delicious.
If your beans aren’t fresh they take longer to cook. If they’re older than a year, they never soften, no matter how long you cook them. Also never add salt until the end. This also can cause them to be too firm.
Hello! The half onion that cooks with beans, do you include that half onion in the blender with the beans? Or discard? Thank you!
Oh you discard that, Brook. Thanks for asking!
I cannot find dried avocado leaves in my little Midwestern town. What can I use as an alternative? I love your show btw. I use many of your recipes and love experimenting with the spices.
Hmm try looking online…or you can skip them in the recipe.
Bay leaves are a close relative. Will that work, Pati?
If you can’t find avocado leaves, you can use epazote or yerba buena (true mint), or you can just skip it, Patty.
I have a Haas avacado tree. Can I dry leaves and use them?
I recommend buying already dried leaves…you can find them online or at your local Latin market or international market.
No, some avocado leaves are toxic. Some have no flavor. Be safe and use the spice type!
Love your show and thank you for your generosity of giving out your recipes, some chefs on PBS wouldn’t do it. There is one problem I have for making this dish; I couldn’t find the avocado leaves. Is there any other herbs I can use?
Thanks & Merry Christmas!
Thank you for tuning in Eve! If you can’t find avocado leaves, you can use epazote or yerba buena (true mint) or you can just skip it.
Qué papel juegan las hojas de aguacate en la receta? Creo que sera un poco dificil conseguirlas aqui donde vivo. Tienen algun reemplazo? Mil bendiciones.
La hoja de aguacate como otras hierbas o condimentos le da un sabor muy especial, casi como anisado. Si no las encuentras te las puedes saltar! Puedes usar hierbabuena o epazote.
Pati, what does the avocado leaves do to the beans? I’ve never seen them at the stores. Where can I get them?
The avocado leaves are used like an herb to give the beans flavor. You can usually find them at your local Latin market or international food aisle…or online.
Hola Pati! Love your show & recipes 😍 . I have a question regarding “avocado leaves”….I have an avocado tree (don’t know type of avocado tree), but can any type of avocado leaves be used in recipes? Gracias )😋
No, it does depend on the type of avocado tree you have, and since you aren’t sure…I recommend you get the leaves from a store :).
Oaxaca black beans are one of my favorites. I will have to refry them as you do here. Any chance you will be sharing a recipe for tlayudas that we can make with our black beans? They were one of the many foods I fell in love with in Oaxaca. I was thrilled to watch your show and see you visit Jacobo’s studio. We spent an amazing day there with him and his family about 15 years ago. Our daughter was 5 years old and had a blast playing with the children there. Who needs a common language? All you need is a wagon and a puppy! I loved watching him demonstrate how he mixes his paints and we have many pieces we bought there that are very dear to us. I just put up the painted wooden crèche that we bought there and my husband is very proud of the mask he has that Jacobo made to wear in the previous year’s Dia de los Muertos celebrations. Thank you so much for sharing and reminding us of such a wonderful time.
I’m so happy to hear they are one of your favorites! Oaxaca is so magical, and it is hard not to fall in love with it 🙂 and it sounds like you have such beautiful memories from there. Thank you for sharing! I will try to post a recipe for tlayudas soon…
I can’t wait to try these. Just got back from Oaxaca and loved the beans so much. They had a smoky flavor (as does everything in Oaxaca cuisine) What gives them this smoky flavor? Is it an ingredient or the way they are cooked? Thank you,
Oh in these beans the smokey flavor comes from toasting the avocado leaves and chiles on a comal.
Oh this came out beautifully, so delicious. I’ve been searching forever for one and they all turned out horrible. I am so excited to continue using this recipe.
Thank you for sharing!
Yay! I’m so glad you loved the beans.
Hi Patti, I absolutely love your show! My dad is from Mexico, but I never learned to cook Mexican food, so thank you for inspiring me! I started watching your show recently with my 3 young kids (ages 7, 6, and 4) and they sing your theme song and are glued to the screen 🙂 …..to save some time, is it possible to use whole canned black beans or would that cut out too much flavor? Gracias Pati for sharing your secrets with us and helping us connect to our roots! 🙂
Hi Julia! So happy that you watch my show with your kids! Yes, you can streamline by using canned beans and pick it up from the blender and add the toasted avocado leaf and chile de arbol.
I just made this recipe.
Oh, my God! They are delicious!!!!
Thank you very much for sharing my Mexico recipes!!!