Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Refried Beans

Refried beans have to be the most important side dish is Mexican Cuisine. But to Mexicans, refried beans are not just a side dish. Refried beans are a breakfast food, a staple in kids' lunches and a great dinner.

My Grandmother made the best refried beans. She made them every day of the week. Mostly for dinner, and always for my lunch to take to school. I remember wanting the bologna sandwiches that my friends took to school. But Gramm always said "there is nothing better for a growing child than un taco de frijoles".

Gramm used whatever she had on hand, which included her "secret" ingredient. Sometimes she would use vegetable oil, very rarely would she use lard or shortening, but her best refried beans were made using bacon drippings. For a little spice, she would add a chile pepper to flavor the oil while it was heating. Once the beans are heated through is when you mash the beans. No fancy equipment needed here, just a good ol' potato masher! Another secret to great Refried Beans, is letting some of the liquid evaporate. If you're beans get too dry, add a little more bean broth or use Gramm's "secret" ingredient...a splash of milk.

Frijoles Refritos 
(Refried Beans)


  • 2 to 3 tablespoons Vegetable oil, bacon drippings or shortening
  • 1 Serrano or Jalapeño pepper or 1 chile de arbol (optional)
  • 2 cups Cooked Beans
  • 1/2 cup Bean Broth
  • Shredded Oaxaca cheese (Mozzarella or String Cheese will do)
  • 2 tablespoons milk (optional)

In medium skillet, heat oil and chile pepper over medium-high heat until the skin on the pepper begins to blister.

Carefully add the cooked beans and the broth. Let the beans cook 2 to 3 minutes. Using a potato masher, mash the beans until desired consistency.

Continue cooking beans, stirring occasionally for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, or until some of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt, if necessary.

If the beans become too dry, stir in the milk or more bean broth. Turn off heat and top beans with shredded cheese. Serve with warm corn or flour tortillas and chile de molcajete. (Tostadas or tortilla chips are also very good!) Enjoy!!!

*Note: Canned beans can be used for this recipe or cook your own. (Click here to learn how!)

With Love,
Leslie Limon

Printable Recipe


  1. I never could understand my husband's craving for refried beans. He could eat them at every meal. I should know, that duh, they do eat them at most meals!

    I guess it's like my craving for mashed potatoes. I could eat them everyday and never get tired of them...

  2. I love refried beans and was surprised at how easy they are to prepare. You can also add very thin slices of onion to the beans with the chile, tastes delicious.

  3. Melissa, my grandpa was just like your hubby, he had to have refried beans with every meal. I'm going to have to think if there is a food that I could eat without every getting tired of it. :D

    Leah, I'm going to try your suggestion of adding onion. Sounds good. Thanks.

  4. You have no idea how many times this dish has come to the rescue when money was tight!!Refried beans, salsa de molcajete, and homemade corn tortillas. Shoot who said we were poor!I'm thankfull that my kids aren't picky eaters!

  5. Good to see you don´t use lard. If I´m not mistaken lard is a traditional ingredient. Boy, is that an unhealthy thing to consume!

  6. Do you also smashed the pepper with the beans

  7. The beans in your picture are very light in color. Do you use pinto beans? The pinto beans that I can find are a little darker.

  8. I would also like to know if you have to mash the pepper with the beans too.



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