Homemade Refried Beans

This is a cheap, filling meal, because:

  • I soak and cook my beans at home, to minimize cost
  • I keep the bean cooking liquid to use in this recipe, because it retains a lot of the nutritional goodies from the beans.
  • I use full-fat butter (and full-fat, homemade sour cream, as a garnish). This helps Daniel and me to feel full, and helps us get a lot of good, highly absorbable vitamins (vitamin A and D, anyone?)
  • We serve it with rice. Beans and rice. Need I expound more?

Let’s get started, shall we?


4 cups cooked pinto beans (that’s a little more than 2 cans, if you’re not making your own)

2/3-3/4 cup bean liquid (this is the liquid from the can, or the water from cooking the beans)

4 Tbsp. butter (I sometimes do half butter, half home-rendered lard)

1 medium/large onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, smashed, then minced

1 Tbsp. regular, sweet paprika (smoked is not what you want for these mild, home-style beans)

2-3 tsp. taco seasoning (preferably homemade)

1 tsp. chili powder (omit if you’re not spicy!)

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

2 tsp. sea salt

In a cast-iron skillet, melt butter on medium low. Add diced onion and saute until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Make sure it doesn’t burn! Stir in the seasoning. Mix well to combine. Add the beans. Pour in enough bean cooking liquid that nothing will burn on the bottom (I generally use a good bit, about 2/3 cup).  Bring to a slow simmer and cook over low for 10-20 minutes. You may need to add more bean water, if the liquid is evaporating too fast. Mash with a potato masher or a fork to your desired consistency. My man-friend has texture issues, so I generally achieve a smooth-chunky compromise.

This is a picture of how much bean cooking liquid I put in:


And this is a picture of my force of will:


Yummy! Now I’m craving beans.


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