cilantroqueso frescochile de arbol

Oaxaca Style Refried Beans

Oaxaca Style Refried Beans

Frijoles Oaxaqueños

Recipe Yield

6 servings

Cooking time

2 hours 5 minutes

Rate this recipe

4.19 from 11 votes


  • 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.


80comments inOaxaca Style Refried Beans

  1. Stephanie King

    Dec 03

    I made these beans to serve on my barrilla tostadas and it was so delicious. I’m so pleased! I don’t have a big blender, so I added a little of the beans with the avocado leaves and peppers to a mini prep and puréed. Then added everything to a bowl and used a submersion blender. Also, I used Guallio peppers because that’s what I had. It was fantastic. Love the show!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 08

      Such a great idea Stephanie, thanks so much for sharing! Love that you love the show, gracias 😉

  2. Tony Pfeifer

    Aug 24

    Hi Pati, I love to watch & learn when you cook, I think you are incredibly
    talented but with such a easy grace
    about you, more like a best friend showing you than a teacher. I can’t wait to try & make your refried beans
    1 of my favorite things ever! Thank you
    for sharing your passion @ culture!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 04

      Thanks to you for such a sweet message Tony, gracias!

  3. Scott W. from Indianapolis,IN

    Aug 15

    I made this and they are delicious!
    I bet they are even better tomorrow!😋

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 04

      So happy to hear you like this recipe Scott 🙂

  4. Ed

    Jul 06

    I made this today and my suggestion is to grind the arbols & avocado leaves after they have been toasted. I broke them into pieces, as instructed, and blended (with my Vitamix) until the beans were “chunky”. However, this left crunchy pieces of leaves in the beans. The taste was great, but the small pieces of leaves were a distraction.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 09

      Great tip, thanks so much for sharing Ed!

  5. Frances Villarreal

    Jun 27

    Where can you find cilantro leaves?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 03

      Cilantro leaves are super popular, you will find them in any grocery store, right next to the parsley 🙂

  6. Laura B

    Jun 26

    These were so good. I followed the recipe exactly and was very pleased with the results.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 03

      So happy you liked this recipe Laura!

  7. Beverly FitzGerald

    Aug 05

    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.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 11

      Thanks for sharing your experience Beverly, glad you like this recipe so much!

  8. Rose Almazan

    May 01

    I absolutely love your show & easy style of cooking . Thank you

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 17

      Thanks so much Rose, un abrazo!

  9. Kalea

    Apr 21

    Does it work to make the basic bean recipe the day before and then the refried recipe just before serving?
    Thank you 😊

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 25

      Absolutely! That’s what we do all the time when we make a big pot of beans Kalea, enjoy!

  10. Veronica

    Feb 17

    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!”

    1. Pati Jinich

      Feb 18

      Veronica, thanks for letting me know! So glad your son liked these beans 🙂

  11. Susie Mac

    Feb 02

    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.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Feb 03

      Haha, so glad you liked it!

  12. Marty Tamblyn

    Jan 22

    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 🙂

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 23

      So glad you found me and this recipe Marty, enjoy!


    Jun 18

    Pati I’m looking for a recipe for Sonoran beans

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 20

      Of course, here is my recipe for you 🙂

  14. Julia

    Dec 13

    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!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 21

      So glad you liked the recipe and were able to make substitutions to make it vegetarian, great job Julia!

  15. Janet Levin

    Nov 20

    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.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 22

      Yummy! I’m sure those come out delicious Janet 😉

  16. Amy

    Nov 20

    Can I substitute Hoja Santa leaves for the Avocado leaves?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 22

      Why not? Go ahead Amy and let me know how you like the beans that way 😉

  17. Marty T.

    Aug 01

    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.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 05

      Thanks Marty for sharing your memories, I hope this recipe will do it for you as well, enjoy 🙂

  18. Katrina Nielsen

    Jun 15

    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.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 18

      Here is the way I cook my black beans Katrina, hope it helps!

  19. Meredith

    May 06

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

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 11

      Thanks to you Meredith 😉

  20. Kristyn

    Apr 17

    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. Pati Jinich

      Apr 19

      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 😉

  21. Christy

    Nov 25

    Hola Pati! Do I also add the epazote to blend with the beans?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 30


  22. Michael

    Aug 03

    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.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 06

      I hope you enjoy the recipe, Michael!

  23. Patty

    Jun 22

    The best refried beans I ever made. I mashed them in a cast iron skillet instead of the food processor.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 23

      So glad you loved them, Patty.

  24. Lisa

    May 26

    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, sells dried avocado leaves for $5.99.

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 29

      That’s awesome that this is your favorite bean recipe…thank you, Lisa!

  25. Jenna

    May 15

    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!!

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 16

      Yay! I hope to see you guys in DC soon, and say hi to your daughter for me.

  26. Shannon

    Nov 06

    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. Pati

      Nov 06

      I’m sorry yours took longer to cook, Shannon, but I’m glad they were delicious.

      1. Patty

        Apr 14

        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.

  27. Brook

    Sep 01

    Hello! The half onion that cooks with beans, do you include that half onion in the blender with the beans? Or discard? Thank you!

    1. Pati

      Sep 10

      Oh you discard that, Brook. Thanks for asking!

  28. Kristine Spitzer

    Aug 27

    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. Pati

      Sep 05

      Hmm try looking online…or you can skip them in the recipe.

      1. Patty

        Apr 14

        Bay leaves are a close relative. Will that work, Pati?

        1. Pati Jinich

          Apr 14

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

  29. Robin j

    Apr 05

    I have a Haas avacado tree. Can I dry leaves and use them?

    1. Pati

      Apr 06

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

      1. Patty

        Apr 14

        No, some avocado leaves are toxic. Some have no flavor. Be safe and use the spice type!

  30. Eve

    Dec 26

    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. Pati

      Jan 08

      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.

  31. Susana Ramirez

    Dec 13

    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. Pati

      Jan 08

      ​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. ​

  32. Susana Ramirez

    Dec 10

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

    1. Pati

      Dec 14

      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.

  33. Brenda

    Dec 07

    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. Pati

      Dec 08

      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 :).

  34. Abigail Blake

    Dec 05

    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. Pati

      Dec 15

      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…

  35. Melissa Levy

    Dec 05

    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,

    1. Pati

      Dec 14

      Oh in these beans the smokey flavor comes from toasting the avocado leaves and chiles on a comal.

  36. Jennifer

    Nov 21

    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!

    1. Pati

      Nov 22

      Yay! I’m so glad you loved the beans.

  37. Julia

    Nov 16

    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 🙂 … 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. Pati

      Nov 30

      ​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. ​

  38. Anonymous

    Nov 07

    I just made this recipe.
    Oh, my God! They are delicious!!!!
    Thank you very much for sharing my Mexico recipes!!!

    1. Pati

      Nov 08


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