Refried Black Beans

Black beans are a Mexican staple, whether served soupy or refried. Here we’ll make both, starting with dried beans for a taste and texture that transcends canned. (Use oil instead of lard to make these vegetarian! It's less traditional, but still delicious.)
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 20 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Refried Black Beans

1/4 cup lard, vegetable oil, or mild olive oil, preferably lard

1 medium white onion, finely diced

2 cups Soupy Black Beans, drained, recipe follows

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste

Soupy Black Beans

1 quart water

2 cups dried black beans, rinsed

1 sprig dried epazote, available at Latin specialty stores; may substitute 1 tablespoon dried oregano or marjoram 

1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled

1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste 

Dried or fresh oregano, preferably Mexican, for garnish 


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add lard. When lard has melted and begun to shimmer, add onions; adjust heat to medium-low, stir, and cook until translucent and soft, 6-8 minutes. Add 2 cups of Soupy Black Beans, well drained, to the skillet. Use a potato masher to mast beans directly in the skillet, while alternately stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture becomes a thick, creamy, relatively uniform paste. (Alternatively, you can use a  blender.) When the refried beans have reached the appropriate consistency, taste and season with salt as necessary. Makes about 2 cups. (Use Refied Black Beans in Chef Camara's Torta Ahogada recipe.)

Soupy Black Beans

  1. Add water to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; then add beans, epazote, and garlic. Season with salt, stir, and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover, and cook at a gentle simmer until beans are soft but not falling apart, about 40–60 minutes (checking after 30 minutes).
  2. Check beans for doneness by removing one from the pan and squeezing; it should be easily mashable. Taste and season with salt as necessary. Serve as a side dish, garnished with oregano. Makes about 4 cups.