Refried Beans

Refried Beans

For most of my life, refried beans came in cans and you’d heat it up as a meaningless side when you were cooking a Mexican main dish. Even in “American style” Mexican restaurants, they seem like a throwaway side dish. I’m here to tell you that’s a lie! Refried beans can be easy and fun to make and are a total game changer!

To be totally authentic, you’d use dried pinto beans. It’s not complicated to cook dried beans – it just takes time. I use dried beans in my chili and I’ve used them with refried beans, but canned beans work very well and make the dish insanely simple, if you are using as a side dish.


  • 1 can pinto beans (NOT refried)
  • 3 T lard
  • 1/3 C diced onion
  • 1 T diced jalapeño peppers (fresh)
  • 1/2 C chicken broth
  • 1 T fresh squeezed lime juice (about 1/2 a lime)
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t chili power
  • 3 T rough chopped cilantro leaves

Drain your beans and put a heavy-bottomed frying pan on the stove and get it up to medium-high heat. Add the lard and let it melt down. Next, add the onions and saute for 3-4 minutes.

Add the drained pinto beans and stir, using the back of a wooden spoon to smash the beans. I keep it “rustic” looking so I don’t smash all of the beans – I keep a few whole.

Add about 1/4 C chicken broth, the peppers and the spices and stir. Stir gradually and lower the heat, adding a little more broth if it starts to dry out.

When you are ready to serve, add the lime juice and stir that in. Serve and top with the cilantro. We often also add some crumbled cotija cheese as well. It’s that simple and you’ll never open a can of pre-done refried beans again!

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