Refried Beans

On a typical Friday night, Caitlin and I will head to Mi Rancho, one of our favorite local spots, where we’ll greet Albino and take our seat in the covered, outdoor patio. If that’s our typical spot, then our order is equally typical – the mixed fajitas.

We love our tex-mex.

For us, tex-mex is just one of those hearty meals, the kind of meal that makes you smile at the end of dinner, satisfied and happy. It’s the type of meal that serves as the perfect bookend to the long work week.

Going out for the meal is certainly fun and convenient, but making the meal at home adds an additional pleasure.  Making these refried beans at home is easy and offers the chance to customize the side to your liking.  These refried beans fell on the milder side.  Were I to make them again, I think I would step up the spice, adding a few dashes of Tabasco sauce, some cayenne pepper, and some red pepper flakes.

This batch makes three cups, which is perfect for a few overstuffed burritos and tacos. Indeed, these refried beans serve as the perfect glue for a meal bursting with border flavors!

refried beans

PREP TIME: Requires overnight soaking
COOK TIME: 2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes
YIELD: About 3 cups

2 1/2 cups of dry black beans (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup chopped onion (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
Kosher salt to taste
Cheddar Cheese (optional)


1.  Rinse the beans in water and remove any small stones, pieces of dirt, or bad beans.  Soak the beans overnight in a large pot or bowl.  Make sure there is plenty of water.

2. The next day, put the beans into a pot and cover beans with at least 3 inches of water. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer, covered, for about 2 hours. The cooking time will vary depending on the batch of beans you have. The beans are done when they are soft and the skin is just beginning to break open.  Strain the beans from the cooking water and remove to a large mixing bowl.

3. In a separate pan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and chili powder, and cook until the onions are translucent.  Add the onion mixture to the beans.

4.  Using a potato masher or immersion blender, mash the beans until they are a rough purée. Add a little water if necessary to keep the fried beans from getting too dried out. Add salt to taste. Add a few slices of grated cheddar cheese if you want.  Serve warm!


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