Refried Beans (frijoles refritos)

Photo of refried beans

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Not only is today Meatless Monday but it is Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín.(1) Hardly a day goes by where I don’t eat beans…or Mexican food. Refried beans are one of my favorite go-to foods. They are great for a quick snack, heated up with and served with some tortilla chips, or as a side dish with your favorite Mexican meal. I love them on a crunchy tostada shell topped with fresh shredded lettuce, chopped tomato and onion, or rolled up in a tortilla with grilled veggys. However you like them, refried beans are a healthy and versatile food.


  • 2 tlbs olive oil, for sautéing (you can also use water)
  • 2 small yellow onions, small dice
  • ½ bell pepper (red or green), small dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3 cups cooked pinto beans (or two 15 ounce cans)
  • 1½ cups vegetable broth or bean cooking liquid
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice.


  1. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onions, bell pepper, garlic and jalapeño. Cook over medium-low heat until onions are softened, 7 to 10 minutes – stir often. Stir in chili powder and cumin, and cook, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
  2. Add the chili powder, beans and broth, and bring to a boil. Lower heat. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Using a potato masher, mash until the beans are a rough purée. Continue to simmer, uncovered, for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you like your refried beans a little soupier, you are done. If you like them thicker, continue cooking, stirring frequently to prevent them from drying out on the sides of the pan for about 5-10 more minutes, until desired consistency is reached.

These beans can be stored in the freezer for future use. To reheat just put them in a saucepan on the stove top with a little veggy broth or heat them in the microwave.

Leave a Reply