Refried Beans

15 minutes
to prep

2.5 hours
to cook

36 servings

About this Recipe

This Refried Beans recipe makes a hearty and delicious side for any meal.

Recipe by: Dominique De La Loza
Photos by: Katie Gillespie


For the Pinto Beans

  • 2 cups dry pinto beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Refried beans

  • 2-3 cups cooked pinto beans
  • ½ – 1 cup reserved bean cooking liquid
  • 2-3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ onion, finely diced (optional)
  • 1-3 dried chiles de árbol (optional)
  • Salt to taste
Lao-Style Pho

Step-by-Step Instructions

For the Pinto Beans:
Step 1

Discard any misshapen or broken beans. Rinse beans.

Step 2

Add beans, bay leaf, and water to a large pot.

Step 3

Bring to a boil for 1 minute, reduce heat to low but still simmering, and cover. After 1.5 hours, or when beans are mostly soft, add the salt, and continue simmering for another 30-45 minutes. They can be used as is or stored in the fridge or freezer before making refried beans.

For the Refried Beans:
Step 1

If using, heat the chiles de árbol on a comal or skillet for a minute or two. Turn chiles until slightly darkened, not burned. Set aside to cool and cut off stems.

Step 2

Heat oil in a large skillet or sauté pan on medium heat, add onions if using and cook until soft. Add garlic and the chiles, and stir for a moment until fragrant.

Step 3

Add the drained beans, plus a little bit of the cooking liquid. Use a bean masher or potato masher to smash the beans, adding small amounts of cooking liquid only as needed. Stir until you reach your preferred consistency. If you don’t have a bean or potato masher, a large fork will work well, it will just take a little more time.

Step 4

Add salt to taste, and serve!