Refried Beans are pinto beans that are mashed to a thick consistency for a side dish or a dip with tortilla chips. Try my Pico de Gallo for another great side dish or dip.

Bowl of Refried Beans from Overhead

Refried Beans

There is no need to buy canned refried beans as soon as you see how easy they are to make and how great they taste! With a few seasonings and a couple of cans of pinto beans, you can have this popular dish to use on tacos and burritos. You could even top off Taco Lasagna with some of the beans or use them in my Chicken Tortilla Casserole.

Beans Ingredients

Onion: I used a small yellow onion in this recipe.

Beans: Pinto beans, which I used, are the most common beans used in refried beans. You could also use black beans or try some other kinds of beans like navy beans, red beans, or kidney beans, among others.

Spices: To give the beans some flavor, I added garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt.

Lime juice: Adding about a tablespoon of lime juice gives the beans some freshness to the taste.

Adding ingredients to skillet for Refried Beans

How to Make Refried Beans

Before you start this recipe, be sure you have a cast-iron or stainless steel skillet to use since you will be mashing the beans right in the pan. Add the oil to the skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add and cook the onions. Next, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.

Add the beans, chili powder, cumin, and salt to the skillet. Stir to combine and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. At this point, reduce the heat to low and get ready to mash the beans. This takes 8-10 minutes, so be patient to get your desired consistency. Leave the heat on low to help the liquid evaporate.

After the beans have been mashed and they have reached your desired consistency, stir in the lime juice. Finally, garnish the beans with cilantro, tomatoes, and cotija cheese (or your cheese of choice).

Dipping Tortilla Chip into Refried Beans

How to Store Refried Beans

Refried beans can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for 4-5 days. In addition to storing them in the refrigerator, you can also freeze them. To freeze refried beans:

  1. Let the beans cool completely.
  2. Store the beans in serving-size portions in freezer-safe containers or freezer bags.
  3. Label and date the container(s).
  4. Use the beans within a year (12 months).

More Dip Recipes

5 from 1 vote

Refried Beans

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Refried Beans are pinto beans that are mashed to a thick consistency for a side dish or a dip with tortilla chips.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced (approximately ½ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ medium lime, juiced (approximately 1 tablespoon)
  • cilantro, for garnish
  • tomato, for garnish
  • cheese, like cotija, for garnish


  • In a large cast-iron or stainless steel skillet over medium heat, add oil. When oil is sizzling, add onion. Cook until very soft (8-10 minutes).
  • Add garlic and cook 30 more seconds.
  • Add beans, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Stir to combine and continue to cook until heated through (about 5-7 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  • Reduce heat to low. Using a potato masher or the back of a spoon, mash the beans for 8-10 minutes, or until the beans reach your desired consistency. Keeping the heat on low will help evaporate the liquid.
  • Add lime juice and stir until combined.
  • Garnish with cilantro, tomatoes, and cotija cheese. Serve warm with chips or as a side!

Did you make this recipe?

You can tag me at @iamhomesteader.

Share with your friends!

Categorized in: ,

Related Recipes

Meet Amanda Rettke

Reader Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating