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With these simple steps, you’ll quickly learn how to make delicious homemade refried beans from scratch. Whether served as a dip or alongside your favorite beef burritos and tacos, these vegan refried beans are absolutely delicious and easy to make.
Table of Contents
- WHY you should learn how to make refried beans
- Ingredients to make refried pinto beans
- HOW TO MAKe refried beans
- TIPS FOR making fried beans without lard
- recipes to pair with Mexican refried beans
- HOW TO REHEAT & STORE refried pinto beans
- FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- MORE cooking tutorials:
- How to Make Refried Beans Recipe
A good friend of mine, Ivan, helped me develop this vegan-friendly refried bean recipe. His guidance and expertise in Mexican cuisine made all the difference in creating an authentic and plant-based refried bean recipe. Even his mom approved!
By substituting animal products with plant-based alternatives and using traditional cooking techniques, we were able to craft a recipe that is just as satisfying and flavorful as traditional refried beans that use lard or pork products.
WHY you should learn how to make refried beans
- Healthier alternative. Homemade vegan refried beans are a more nutritious option compared to store-bought versions, which often contain added preservatives, artificial flavors, and unhealthy fats. By making refried beans from scratch, you can control the ingredients and ensure that you are using high-quality, whole foods that are beneficial for your health.
- Customizable flavors. When making your own refried beans, you have complete control over the seasoning and spice levels. This allows you to create a unique dish that caters to your personal preferences and dietary requirements. Plus, you can experiment with different herbs, spices, and add-ins to make a variety of delicious refried bean dishes.
- Mexican comfort food. Refried beans are a classic comfort food in Mexican cuisine. They’re warm, creamy, and savory – like a hug in a bowl. Making refried beans from scratch only adds to their deliciousness and comfort, especially when paired with more of your favorite Mexican foods, such as tacos or enchiladas.
Ingredients to make refried pinto beans
- Dry pinto beans: Because we’re using an instant pot, soaking your beans first is unnecessary. Just pick through them to remove any debris and then add the dry beans to your instant pot with water and spices, and you can skip the presoak and cook them in no time.
- Onion + garlic: Cook the onions until they are extremely soft and translucent before adding the garlic so they blend seamlessly into the beans without bits of onions remaining.
- Oil: I used olive oil, but you can use avocado oil if you prefer.
- Seasoning: smoked paprika and salt.
- Fresh cilantro for garnishing
HOW TO MAKe refried beans
Making homemade refried beans is really very easy! I like to cook my beans in the instant pot, as it’s quicker and less work. That being said, you can cook yours on the stovetop if you’d like. The hardest part of this recipe is really just waiting for the beans to cook!
Cook beans in an instant pot
- Rinse the dried beans and remove and discard any debris.
- Place beans in an Instant Pot along with water, paprika, and salt. Set the lid on the pot with the valve set to ‘seal’. Then, set on manual high pressure.
- Once the time is done, let the pressure release naturally before manually opening the valve to release the remaining pressure.
- Drain the beans, reserve some of the bean broth, and set aside.
Fry in a pan
- While the beans are releasing pressure, cook the onions in a large pot with oil until softened but not brown. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Add remaining smoked paprika and salt, then add the cooked beans with some of the bean broth and bring to a low simmer.
- Once the beans begin to break down, use a potato masher to mash the beans directly in the pot.
- Add more broth as needed, a little at a time, and cook until the beans are creamy.
TIPS FOR making fried beans without lard
- Mash them up well. A potato masher or immersion blender will help you achieve the perfect creamy texture for your refried beans.
- Add de-seeded diced jalapeno when sauteeing the onions. It adds a nice roasted pepper taste to the onions and really makes the refried beans stand out.
- Don’t skip the bean broth! Reserving that liquid is the best way to incorporate the most flavor into the beans while mashing them. Start with ½ a cup until you reach a somewhat loose and creamy consistency. You may not need all the broth, but it’s better to have more than not enough!
- Use different beans. You can use black beans instead of pinto beans for a slightly different taste and texture.
- Garnish with fresh herbs and toppings. Top your creamy refried beans with fresh cilantro, chopped onions, or crumbled queso fresco to add flavor and texture to the dish.
- Add more flavor. Season your refried beans with a smoky, spicy kick with cumin and chili powder. Additionally, using vegetable broth instead of water for cooking the beans will add a depth of flavor to the dish. You can even use the vegetable and bean broth to add creaminess and infuse more flavor into the final product.
recipes to pair with Mexican refried beans
- Taco Salad
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Mexican Street Tacos
- Sheet Pan Nachos
- Bean and Cheese Quesadillas
- Easy Beef Tacos
- Beef Burritos
HOW TO REHEAT & STORE refried pinto beans
You can store leftover refried beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, add a little water or broth to the beans and heat them in the microwave or stovetop.
HOW LONG WILL instant pot refried beans LAST IN THE FRIDGE?
When stored properly, beans will last up to 4-5 days in the fridge.
CAN I FREEZE cooked beans?
Yes. Simply transfer the beans to a freezer-safe container and freeze them for up to 6 months. Defrost in the fridge and reheat until completely warmed through.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Traditionally, refried beans are made with pinto beans, and dry beans are best. Black beans also work great, and other large white beans will also work.
They are often served as a side dish with Mexican cuisine or used as a filling for burritos, tacos, or enchiladas. They can also be used as a dip for chips or vegetables.
Canned refried beans can be convenient, but they may not be as flavorful or healthy as homemade refried beans. Many canned varieties contain added preservatives, salt, and fat and may not have the same texture as homemade refried beans.
Making homemade refried beans with dry beans is a quick and easy way to experience authentic Mexican cuisine at home. With traditional seasonings like garlic, onion, and paprika, you can make delicious refried beans in a fraction of the time! Whip up a batch and freeze some for later for a quick side dish to pair with all your favorite Mexican dishes!
MORE cooking tutorials:
- How to Make Flour Tortillas
- How to Make Fajita Seasoning (recipe coming soon!)
- How to Make Taco Seasoning
- How to Freeze Avocados
- How to Make Cashew Cream
- How to Make Salsa
- How to Caramelize Onions
- How to Make Spicy Mayo
- How to Cook Chickpeas
- How to Make Shredded Chicken
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How to Make Refried Beans
- Rinse the dried beans and remove and discard any debris. Place beans in an Instant Pot along with the water, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika and ½ teaspoon salt. Set the lid on the pot with the valve set to ‘seal’.
- Set on manual high pressure and cook for 30 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then manually open the valve to release the remaining pressure. Drain the beans, reserving 2 cups of the bean broth, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, but not brown, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Add remaining smoked paprika and salt, then add cooked beans. Add 1 cup of the reserved bean broth and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans begin to break down. Using a potato masher, mash the beans directly in the pot. Add ½ cup more bean broth at a time and continue to cook until the beans are creamy, 3-5 more minutes
- Remove from heat and enjoy.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.