Refried Beans

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Yield: about 5 cups (8 servings)
  • Total: 2 hr 40 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 2 hr 20 min


2 cups dried pinto beans, soaked overnight in a large bowl with water to cover by 2-inches, and drained

1 bay leaf

3/4 cup bacon drippings or lard

2 cups chopped yellow onions

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons minced, seeded jalapeno

1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon chopped oregano

1 cup grated queso blanco

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro, garnish


  1. In a large, heavy pot, combine the beans, bay leaf, and enough water to cover by 1 to 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are very tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, adding more water as necessary to keep covered. When the beans are soft, mash in the pot with a potato masher or the back of heavy wooden spoon. Remove from the heat.
  2. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the bacon fat over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Add the beans and any cooking liquid from the pot, and the oregano, and stir to combine. Cook, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon, until the mixture forms a thick paste, 15 to 20 minutes, adding water a bit at a time to keep the beans from drying out too much.
  3. Remove from the heat and transfer to a decorative bowl. Sprinkle with the cheese and cilantro, and serve.
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2 Reviews

Colo Cook

I have tried several different refried bean recipes and have found Emerils to be the most straight forward and very tasty. I was making a bean-ground beef enchilada ‘s anddid not use the spices for my recipe, however if I was going to use them as a side dish, I definitely would. I had forgotten to soak overnight so soaked them early morning for 6 hours and then boiled and simmered for almost 2 hours. I was home and did not have any problem checking on them as I had to add extra water several times in the last hour, but it was not a problem. I might cover them next time as his recipe calls for simmering uncovered. They were very creamy although I added vegetable broth I had on hand as I used the immersion blender to mix. I also fried diced bacon, approximately 2 oz and then sautéed onions. I added this mix to my pot of beans, mixed well and put lid on until I made enchiladas. Also added the cheese. They were yummy. Would definitely make again.

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