Refried Beans

You will find that refried beans are one of the most common sides for traditional Mexican dishes. From breakfast, to dinner, they are always a welcome companion. You can make them with different kinds of beans, like Black, Pinto,  or Peruvian. The choice in Mexico varies among regions but also among cooks. I tend to use the Pintos more, because they have a creamier consistency and softer flavor. The Black, delicious as well, have a stronger flavor and texture. The Peruvian have a peculiar flavor, that is hard to define, but it is stronger than the Pintos and lighter than the Black.

You can make the Refried beans in a traditional way, which is by mashing the Frijoles de Olla in the pan with onion that has been sauteed in lard, or you can substitute for oil. You can also make quicker and smoother Refried beans, by skipping the mashing part, and placing the Frijoles de Olla in the blender, to make a smooth Bean puree that you can then thicken and season.

Aside from a side, Refried beans are used to make many things like Tortas, Molletes, Tacos, Quesadillas and Dips.

Refried beans are absolutely delicious on their own, with corn tortillas and pickled jalapenos.  They also can be turned into many dishes such as charros beans.

Refried Beans 1

You can choose if you want your beans the traditional way, which takes a little bit more effort as you have to mash them as they season and thicken. Or you can opt for an easier and faster way, which doesn’t have that rough textured feel, but it is much smoother.

Smooth and Easy Refried Beans

Recipe Yield

4 cups

Cooking time

17 minutes

Rate this recipe

4.50 from 6 votes


  • 6 cups basic bean puree
  • 3 tablespoons safflower or corn oil
  • 1/2 cup white onion chopped

To Prepare

  • In a large saute pan over medium high heat, pour the oil and heat until hot but not smoking, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the onions and let them saute for about 3 to 4 minutes, until they have softened, become translucent and have started to slightly brown along the edges.
  • Add the bean puree over the sauteed onion, and let them season and thicken for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the beans are bubbling way too much, lower the heat a little to medium-low heat. Let them continue thickening, until they have achieved a thick puree consistency and are somewhat pasty looking. It depends on your liking, some people like them thicker and some people like them with a softer consistency. While it depends on how you like them, they are mostly cooked until they can hold a shape when scooped with a spoon.


30comments inRefried Beans

  1. Lynn Hrenko

    Apr 18

    What is the best way to reheat fiesta refried bean? I want to make them ahead of time for a crowd.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 06

      Just warm a little beet of vegetable oil in a pan and reheat them up there at medium heat, stir continuously and do not let them stick!

  2. Racheal

    Jul 17

    I’m excited to try making the sweet potato and black bean tamales! However, I live alone and making a POT of black beans is too many beans, I wonder how the taste of using canned black beans would compare?
    Thank you!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 21

      Go for the canned beans Racheal, those are pretty good. Enjoy the tamales!

  3. Julia Orlandi

    Apr 19

    Hi Pati, I watched one of your shows on my local PBS (Annapolis) . You made refried beans but at the end you stirred in some cheese. I made them that night and they were delicious! Is this the same recipe and should I just stir in some cheese as the end? I seem to remember using my immersion blender to smooth the beans…gracias!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 25

      Hola Julia! Those are my Fiesta Refried Beans, a recipe from last season in Sonora, here it is for you, enjoy 😉

  4. Lorie

    Jan 10

    What beans are best to use for this recipe?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 17

      Pinto or black are my favorites Lorie, enjoy!

  5. Bev Forrest

    Dec 13

    I may have been isolating for 285 days in the middle of a never ending pandemic, in Alaska at the darkest time of the year yet today life is phenomenal! That’s is because after sooooo many years of trying to make good frijoles from scratch I DID IT!! I used your recipe, exchanged the oil with half/ half lard/bacon grease, and OMGoodness it was perfect! Thank You Pati.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 21

      OMG Bev, so glad to read this! I am really happy that you enjoyed the beans, yay! Hang in there and take care, un abrazo!

  6. Mary L Brown

    Oct 23

    Dear Pati first of all thanx you rock I picked up some 1$ trays at the discount grocery that had 3-6 tomatillos, 2-3 onions, two jalapeños, two limes and some garlic cloves this week so I thought salsa verde! I add libbed on your recipe and put in lots of lime juice, candied jalapeños and just sprinkle of cumin anyway it came out beautifully what does this have to do with refried beans? well while I was making salsa verde, I was soaking some supremely out of date dried pintos and read all your bean recipes while trying to decide how to finish them with or without the salsa verde and finally gently cooked them in water and angry orchard cider then added grape tomatoes, some escabeche, a little cumin and red chili raw onion and garlic then I pureed refried them and finally combined them with the remains of a pureed thai coconut red curry long island cheese squash that I made last weekend ok so totally yummy my mouth was having a diversity party which I think you would call a bean fiesta! so thanx Pati I love how you have the beautiful mexican elder cooking with you on your website home page

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 27

      Thanks so much for reaching out and for sharing your recipe Mary, un abrazo!

  7. Amy Jordan

    Jun 23

    mmmm i love beans! all your recipes are excellent!!

    1. Pati

      Jun 24

      Thank you Amy!

  8. Tom Bartolomei

    Jun 10

    Hi Pati! Now that I have discovered a reliable source of Epazote I want to make Frijoles de Olla regularly. I especially want to try using the Frijoles to make refried beans. One of my favorite recipes of yours using a purée of refried beans is Pan de Cazon. But sourcing the Cazon is a big problem. I was wondering what you think about substituting Bacala that has been soaked, broken into pieces, and then used like Dogfish? Love your programs. You’re a joy to watch!

    1. Pati

      Jun 14

      ​Yes! Great idea, however, make sure that you pre-soak and rinse the salted bacalao for at least 24 hours, changing the water twice in between… and don’t add more salt to the dish unless at the end you feel it needs it.

  9. Janice Clarke-Reiter

    Oct 18

    Hi Pati, FYI, your link to print the recipe for Traditional Refried Beans seems to be broken today.

    1. Pati

      Oct 20


      1. Craig Hammes

        Nov 02

        Hi Pati! Tried to print your recipe for Traditional Refried Beans. The link is still broken.

        1. Pati

          Nov 02

          It should work now 🙂

  10. How To Heat Can Of Refried Beans | Sloanevi

    Jun 07

    […] Beans: Refried Beans – Pati Jinich – Beans: Refried Beans Blog Beans: Refried Beans. Published April 15, … In a large saute pan over medium heat, pour the oil and heat until hot but not smoking, … […]

  11. Matthew Chapman

    Oct 13

    Hi Pati! I tried your recipe for Frijoles de Olla, and then made a purée. Then refried beans the soft way. Oh so good! I added a few smashed cloves of garlic, and a bay leaf to the pot and fished them out with the onion before I began cooking them down with the sautéed onions. Oh, I used coconut oil to sauté instead of lard or oil. Then fresh tortillas made with masa harina and some quest fresco and a yummy treat was to be had. In fact I ate 3 and it was dinner with some orange juice spiked with some cayenne! Thank you so much for all you give to us! Mateo

    1. Pati

      Oct 15

      Gracias, Mateo! You are making me soooo hungry.

  12. Archie Carr

    Sep 09

    Miss Pati, as a graduate student wandering around Guatemala, I learned of one of the best flavor combinations in the New World. With your book, I have duplicated it here at home, much to my satisfaction.

    Tortilla, refried beans and natilla (Queso fresco?) What a medley!

    Thankfully, in my town, we can by nixtamalizado tortillas…critical to the magical outcome. Without the good tortilla, forget about it. And, at the same store, they have the Latino queso crema or natilla. After that, use Pati’s way of making the frijollitos, and, OMG.

    So, I’m wondering if you could run across town and urge the Smithsonian to recognize this simple and fabulous dish as one of the great contributions to civilization to come from the New World.

    Vaya pues…

  13. Anna Izydorczyk

    Jun 06

    I’m new to your page and I fell in love! I love Mexican food and anything spicy. I was wondering if you know how to make a bean dip. There is this Mexican restaurant in Rahway nj called Beanas and they make an amazing bean dip. I order it at least 2 times per month for 10 years now. I know they use refried beans, cheese, sour cream and pickled jalopinos. I’ve tried making it and can’t seem to get it right. I am New to the kitchen by the way. Any recipe ? Thank you !

    1. Pati

      Jun 07

      Hi Anna, I’m so happy you found my website! I will try to do some research on the bean dip for you and post a recipe. I hope you will find plenty of recipes here to try in the meantime. Thank you so much for writing to me!! With all my best…

      1. Craving Beans

        Jan 10

        Hola Pati! Saludos!
        First time here but I watch you very often on Create. Thank you for always being so humble and showing us your amazing cooking recipes. Just curious if you were able to post the recipe for the Beanas bean dip?

        1. Pati

          Jan 10

          No I haven’t been able to yet…

  14. Irasema Biggs

    Feb 25

    Hi, i just read your comment.I am from peru and would love to know what kind of peruavian beans did u used?

  15. Required

    Jul 17

    This is the first time I have made refried beans without the lard. I used Peruvian beans for the first time as first time as well. The beans tasted amazing. No soaking either? Woo Hoo! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I think this will be something I can make often to get more beans in our diet.

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