Refried Beans [RECIPE]

Refried beans

A big pot of refried beans are the perfect complement to any Mexican or Tex-Mex meal. Best of all, they’re easy to make! (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

Is it possible to serve Mexican food without a big pot of refried beans (aka frijoles)? Well, I guess it’s possible, but not recommended! Not only are they delicious, but they’re nutritious and a great source of fiber too. Plus, they just mix well with a side of Mexican Rice and the left overs are perfect stuffed inside a great big burrito. Best part is, they are easy to make and you can let them cook away while you get other things done. So stop buying that stuff in a can, and make up a batch today!

PREP: 15 minutes
COOK: 3 hours


  • 6 cups dried pinto beans, rinsed
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons epazote (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons lard, bacon grease or butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Sliced pickled jalapenos


  1. Place beans and bacon in a large Dutch oven, and pour chicken broth over the top until they are covered by 1 or 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to low and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, or until fork tender. (Be forewarned, not all beans cook up at the same speed, so I advise starting this in the morning. When you test the beans, if they feel gritty in your mouth, you need to cook them longer.) If the liquid evaporates too quickly, add more hot water to the pot.
  2. Add chili powder, salt and pepper, and epazote (if desired); stir. Taste the beans, and add more seasoning as necessary. This is the point to add other seasonings if you’d like.
  3. In a separate skillet, heat the lard (or butter, shortening, bacon grease, etc.) over medium heat until it’s shimmering in the pan. Add the onions and cook until translucent, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and stir, about 1 minute. Transfer onion mixture to your pot of beans and be sure to pour in all the fat. Use a potato masher and start mashing away, alternately stirring and mashing, until the beans are the consistency that you want. Stir and cook them until they are heated through. Then add the grated cheese and top with jalapenos.

TIP: If the beans are ready before the rest of your meal, they may start to dry out before serving them. Just add hot water as necessary to revive them. This also works if you reheat them for another meal another day.

YIELD: 12 servings


About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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