With hardly any hands-on time you can have refried beans seasoned how you like for a fraction of the cost (plus, you can make them at the same time you're cooking up dry beans to store in the freezer!).
Oh my goodness, I just have to share this quick and easy way to have homemade, truly easy refried beans I figured out! It fits so seamlessly into making and planning our pantry basics that I can't believe I've been buying cans of refried beans while cooking and making all our dry beans to keep in the freezer. Why did the two not connect for me earlier?
Well, one reason is that I always thought making refried beans must be too much trouble - they had to be fried after all. Plus, the cans seem cheap and were almost my last convenience item, along with tortillas (because after three homemade attempts, they really are too much trouble!), so I told myself it wasn't a big deal.
Which, just to clarify - it's not. Buy canned beans if you need to.
But being aware how easy it is to make them on your own, save a little money, and control the ingredients are good things. Then when you can make them, do!
Two things happened to make me think it may not be too much trouble to make easy refried beans after all:
- This article on how to make refried beans in a slow cooker without frying made me think they might actually taste good when simply mashed.
- My daughter came back from a youth trip to Mexico and said that the mom in her homestay family didn't fry her beans - she just mashed them in a pot, and "they were so good" according to my daughter (oh and this lady didn't make her own tortillas either, she bough the uncooked kinds you can find in stores and cooked them so they seemed like fresh!). If native Mexicans don't fry beans, then there must be something to this cook-and-mash method.
Which led to my lightbulb moment:
"Hey I cook beans and freeze them 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 did!"
So making refried beans regularly could become part of something I already did and then I could use them right away and make enough to freeze for later.
And so I did.
Of course you've figured out by now that it was incredibly easy, but also the beans really are "so good" like in Mexico - and boy, do I wish I had figured this out earlier!
Homemade Easy Refried Beans
For the burritos above, I cooked a batch of Jacob's Cattle beans (they are similar to pinto) and froze half of them like I normally do in the freezer containers.
The other half stayed in the pot. I added some water and a few seasonings like garlic, onion powder, and salt 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).
You can add as much water as you need to get a consistency you like. Some people like runnier beans, others don't - it's one more reason to make your own, right?
Same with fat - if you'd like fat in your beans, add them at the cooking/mashing stage.
The beans turned out awesome! I made about 10 bean and cheese burritos from the beans - 5 for the freezer and 5 for dinner - and divided the rest of the beans into containers to freeze, too.
I've found the frozen refried beans keep for 2-3 months in the freezer. I use glass jars and sometimes freezer baggies if I don't have room for the jars. If freezing in jars, the top of the beans will look a bit dried after a month or so, but when thawed and mixed (adding a bit of water if needed), it's all just good refried beans again.
I'm so glad I figured this out - it's great to not have to worry about not having refried beans when we want to have tacos! Do you think you'll try this, too?
Incredibly Easy Refried Beans Recipe
- 1 pound pinto beans soaked if desired
- 1/2 cup water or more as needed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional seasonings like garlic powder onion powder, cayenne to taste*
- Cook a pot of beans, covered with water until tender, but not falling apart (anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the freshness of your beans - test often). Drain the cooking liquid.**
- At this point, you can remove some whole beans to freezer containers- cover with water and freeze like this. Or use all the beans for refried beans.
- Return remaining drained beans to the pot, add about 1/2 cup water (double if mashing the whole pound) and any seasonings you're using and bring all to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Lower heat and cook for about 20 minutes, until very tender.
- Mash with potato masher (or immersion blender if you have enough beans) 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.***
Other easy pantry basic recipes you may like:
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