Oh my goodness, I just had to share this quick and easy way to have homemade, easy refried beans I discovered a few weeks ago! It fits so seamlessly into my pantry basics planning that I can’t believe I’ve been making homemade freezer beans for years, but still buying cans of refried beans at the store.
I thought it was too much trouble – they had to be fried after all – and the cans were almost my last convenience item, along with tortillas (’cause they really are too much trouble – sorry, I said it), so I convinced myself it wasn’t a big deal.
Two things happened to change my mind: One, while I’ve known about using a slow cooker to make refried beans, this article how to make refried beans in a cooker without frying made me think they might actually taste good – and two, my daughter came back from her recent youth trip to Mexico and said that the dear lady she stayed with didn’t fry them either – she just mashed them in a pot, and “they were so good” according to my daughter (this lady did make her own tortillas, though – I’ll have to take a trip to learn her technique one day!). If native Mexicans don’t fry them, then there must be something to this cook-and-mash method.
That led to my lightbulb moment: “Hey I cook beans and freeze to use whenever I want already…and I cook them in a pot…that I could easily mash them in like that lady in Mexico before freezing!” Or using – whatever. The point was I finally saw how I could easily work making homemade refried beans into something I already did!
So I did. And it is incredibly easy. And they are good. And, boy do I feel silly for not doing this earlier!
I cooked a batch of Jacob’s Cattle beans (it’s what I had – they are similar to pinto), froze half of them like I normally do in the freezer containers, and then kept the other half in the pot. I added some water and a few seasonings and cooked for awhile, mashing every now and then with a potato masher until they were at a consistency I liked (an immersion blender would work as well).
Awesome! I made some bean and cheese burritos for the freezer, ate some, and divided the rest into containers for the freezer, too.
No more cans for me – and I felt sure that if you’ve been cooking and freezing your beans like me, you’d want to know about this, too! Of course, maybe you’ve been doing this for years and years and you are rolling your eyes right now at me. To which I have to say – why didn’t you tell me?
Incredibly Easy Refried Beans
- 1 lb. pinto beans, soaked if desired
- 1/2 c. water, or more as needed
- Salt, pepper, and desired seasonings
- Cook a pot of beans, covered with water until tender, but not falling apart.
- Optional: Remove some to freezer containers- cover with water and freeze like this.
- Return beans to pot (or remaining beans), add the 1/2 c. water (more if mashing whole pound) and seasonings and bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Lower heat and cook for about 20 minutes, until very tender.
- Mash with potato masher and continue cooking and mashing, adding more water as needed, until the beans reach the texture and consistency you desire (about 5-15 minutes more, mashing periodically).
- Use immediately, refrigerate for a week, or divide into freezer containers to freeze for longer storage.
Makes about 3 cups