healthy, cheap and tasty – homemade refried beans

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Homemade Refried Beans

Despite the fact refried beans look like brown slop, they are (I promise) incredibly delicious and one of the best ways to eat beans.

Beans are a good staple because they are cheap, nutritious and tasty – and refried beans are especially tasty.

Refried beans, despite their name, are not fried twice…or once for that matter. The ‘re’ is a mistranslation: in Mexican Spanish (according to the The Great Wiki) ‘re’ means well. In other words, these are well-cooked beans, braised more than fried.

The mashed consistency, whilst admittedly looks unappetising, is quite practical. It means your beans aren’t falling out all over the place in burritos, enchiladas and quesadillas and it’s an opportunity to incorporate spices to enhance their flavour.

This recipe is based on one shared by Jill of The Prairie Homestead as a guest post on Money Saving Mom. Jill adds milk to her refried beans, and while it’s not essential, it just adds a creaminess that makes all the difference to texture and flavour.

I make this recipe in a large batch and freeze in portions. Using leftover roast chicken or pork, these beans make a quick, filling and inexpensive weeknight meal as burritos or enchiladas.

[Check out this post also: How to cook and freeze beans.]

Yield: approx. 500g

Easy Homemade Refried Beans

Homemade Refried Beans

Refried beans are healthier than the name suggests and despite their appearance, they are super delicious.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1 440g tin of kidney beans
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 heaped tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pinch of chilli powder (more or less to taste)
  • pinch of pepper
  • milk as needed (or use plain water or stock instead)


  1. In a little light-flavoured oil (lard is the traditional cooking fat; canola oil would work) sauté the onion over medium-low heat until translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and sauté for another few seconds, taking care it doesn’t burn.
  3. Add the beans and then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Add a splash of milk or water.
  4. Simmer on low heat for 10-20 minutes to let the flavours develop. If your beans dry out, add more water or milk.
  5. After 10- 20 minutes or so, mash your beans with a fork or masher. You can puree the mixture in a food processor but the texture is better if you mash roughly with a fork. Taste and season further as necessary.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 122Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 411mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 5gSugar: 1gProtein: 8g

Nutritional information is calculated automatically using the Nutritionix database. Nutrition information can vary for a recipe based on factors such as precision of measurements, brands, ingredient freshness, serving size or the source of nutrition data. We strive to keep the information as accurate as possible but make no warranties regarding its accuracy. We encourage readers to make their own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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homemade refried beans

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