Frijoles Refritos (Authentic Refried Beans)

Those frijoles refritos are creamy and rich and perfect to pair with scrambled eggs, grilled meats, or just to spread on a tortilla or crusty bread. Learn how to make authentic refried beans with this super easy recipe!

Frijoles refritos: Authentic refried beans topped with pickled chilies and queso fresco.

About

Frijoles refritos are a side dish consisting of cooked beans fried and mashed until creamy. The recipe is a staple in Mexican cuisine and is usually prepared to accompany many of the traditional Mexican dishes but also to eat them as a main dish with tortillas or bread.

In Spanish, the prefix re– is just a form of emphasis and not a form of action that undertakes more than once. Therefore, frijoles refritos (refried beans) are not beans fried twice but beans that have been fried thoroughly.

Mexican frijoles refritos are the most popular side dish as they go well with so many recipes, from classic stews to breakfast. My favorite way of eating them is with huevos divorciados.

Authentic refried beans, also known as frijoles refritos, served with pickled jalapeños, queso fresco, and corn chips.

Ingredients

  • Beans. You can use many types of cooked beans to make this refried beans recipe, from pinto to black. Or you can skip cooking your own beans and use canned ones.
  • Onion. To cook the beans, use any type you prefer.
  • Garlic. To cook the beans, 1 or 2 cloves are enough.
  • Salt. Use any type you prefer.
  • Grease. Authentic refried beans call for a flavored fat to make them, I am using pork lard, but you can also use bacon grease or extra virgin olive oil.

How To Make Frijoles Refritos

Place cleaned and rinsed beans in your Instant Pot, add enough water to cover them by 1 inch, then add garlic, onion, and salt. Cook for 35 minutes, then release the pressure manually.

Cooked beans in an instant pot.

Now, place the lard in a frying pan and heat it over medium-low heat. Be careful as we don’t want the lard to smoke, but only to melt and heat.

You’ll notice the lard is ready when it changes its color slightly. Again, make sure it doesn’t smoke!

Melted lard in a pan.

Now, carefully, add the cooked beans to the pan. Make sure you add the beans slowly or they will splatter at the contact with the hot lard.

Adding beans carefully in a pan.

Shake the pan to spread the beans well and allow to heat for 1 minute, especially if your beans were taken straight from the fridge as heated beans will be easier to smash.

Beans cooking in a pan.

Low the heat to the lowest point your stove allows. Using a potato masher, mash the beans until your desired consistency, then cook for a minute while stirring to make them more creamy (read bowl).

Mashing beans in a pan with a potato masher.

Notes

  • The texture. If you want your refried beans as a spread for burritos or a sandwich, just cook/smash a bit longer to allow the liquids to evaporate. On the other hand, if you want to use them as a side dish you can add a little bit of cooking water to the pan to make them creamier and moist.
  • Keep it simple. You don’t really need fancy and complicated ingredients to make frijoles refritos. Good quality beans and flavored fat would be enough to deliver the most delicious and authentic refried beans.
  • Use lard. Lard is the key to creaminess and deliciousness in authentic refried beans. You can replace pork lard with bacon grease or butter if you prefer.
  • Rinse. If using canned beans, give them a good rinse before adding them to the pan. Don’t worry, they won’t lose flavor, on the contrary, you’ll get rid of that unpleasant preservative flavor some canned beans have.
  • Make it vegan. Olive oil or your favorite vegetable oil will turn this recipe into vegan.

Recipe Variations

  • ONIONS. Fry a small chopped onions before adding the beans to the pan.
  • SPICY. Fresh or dry, just add a few slices of your favorite chili peppers for a spicy touch.
  • AROMATIC. A pinch of cumin, minced garlic, oregano, or a spring of epazote will add a wonderful aroma to the dish. Just, keep the balance.

How To Serve

Authentic refried beans are eaten in so many ways, all day long. As a breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner. The possibilities are endless for serving this classic of Mexican cuisine, for example:

Frijoles refritos close-up, served with totopos, cheese, and green chilies.
Frijoles Refritos with cheese and chili peppers.

FAQ

What kind of beans to use?

The most common types are pinto, bayo, and black. You can use the ones you prefer but I strongly suggest paying attention that the ones you buy are not too old because those can be tough to cook.

Can I use canned beans?

Yes, of course! In this case, I’ll suggest first frying a few chopped onions before adding the beans to the pan, to give an extra flavor. Or you can also sauté one garlic clove, add some chilies, a pinch of cumin, etc.

How To Store?

After the beans have cooled down, place them into an airtight container. Refried beans can last in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.

Can I Freeze Them?

Yes! Frijoles fritos are perfect to freeze. Divide them into small portions, place them in freezer-proof containers or freezer bags, and store them. They last for 2-3 months.

How To Reheat?

To reheat, place leftovers in a pan, add a little bit of water, and stir, then heat them up at medium heat. Otherwise, heating them in a microwave for a few minutes works nicely too.

Refried Beans Video

Frijoles refritos recipe.

Frijoles Refritos

author Maricruz
8 servings
Frijoles Refritos are a staple Mexican side dish. Use them to serve with your main meals or as a dip scooping them out with corn chips.
prep 2 minutes
cook 5 minutes
total 7 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb dried pinto beans
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small onion
  • salt (to taste)
  • 5 Tbsp pork lard or oil (use less if you want)

Instructions
 

  • Place beans in your Instant Pot and add garlic and onion.
  • Add 6 cups of water and cook on high pressure for 35 minutes (read notes).
  • Natural release for 15 minutes, then move the valve to completely release the stem.
  • Add salt to taste and mix well.

Fry the beans

  • Place lard in a frying pan and heat it over medium-low heat.
  • Carefully, add the cooked beans to the pan.
  • Shake the pan to spread well the beans and allow to simmer for 1 minute.
  • Low the heat and use a potato masher to mash the beans until your desired consistency.

Notes

You can cook your beans in a regular pot on the stove or a slow cooker pot. Read our guide for cooking beans at home.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 264kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 942mg | Potassium: 808mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 219IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 3mg
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