Oaxaca Style Refried Beans

Oaxaca Style Refried Beans

Frijoles Oaxaqueños
6 servings
Pati Jinich
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: black beans, epazote, pati's mexican table, queso fresco, refried beans
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Oaxaca Style Refried Beans recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 6, Episode 9 "Oaxaca Breakfast: Messy & Delicious"


  • 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

To Prepare

  • 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.

52 comments on “Oaxaca Style Refried Beans

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Hola Pati,

    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.

  2. Hi Pati,

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. This recipe is now a staple in my house. As a result I always have to have Avocado leaves on hand. Thank you!

  5. 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. 🙂

    1. 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 😉

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!!

  9. 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

      1. 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.

  10. 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.

        1. If you can’t find avocado leaves, you can use epazote or yerba buena (true mint), or you can just skip it, Patty.

    1. I recommend buying already dried leaves…you can find them online or at your local Latin market or international market.

  11. Hello Pati,

    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!

    1. 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.

  12. Hola Pati,
    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.

    1. ​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. ​

  13. Pati, what does the avocado leaves do to the beans? I’ve never seen them at the stores. Where can I get them?

    1. 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.

  14. 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 )😋

    1. 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 :).

  15. 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.

    1. 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…

  16. 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,

  17. 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!

  18. 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! 🙂

    1. ​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. ​