Refried beans

A bowl of refried beans topped with shredded cheese
Recipe credit

Adapted from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Refried Beans

About this recipe

Serving size
1/4 cup
Time to make
5 minutes preparation; 1 hour and 45 minutes cook time; 1-4 hours wait time
Special criteria


  • Water
  • 2 cups dry pinto beans (about 1 pound)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt to taste


  1. Add 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of water to a large pot with a lid. Bring to boil.
  2. Wash and sort beans. Add beans to the water and boil for 2 minutes.    
  3. Turn off the heat and cover the pot. Let the beans stand for 1-4 hours.
  4. Drain beans. Return beans to the pot and add 6 cups water and bring to boil. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer until beans are tender, about 90 minutes.
  5. When beans are soft, reserve some of the cooking liquid and drain the beans.
  6. Prepare a large skillet by heating oil over medium heat.
  7. Add about 1/2 cup of beans and mash with the back of a spoon or a mashing utensil. If the mixture seems thick, add about 1 tablespoon of the cooking liquid from the beans.
  8. Continue to add beans and mash together, adding liquid as necessary.
  9. Once beans are mashed to the desired consistency, add garlic and salt to taste.

Tips and variations

  • Children can measure out and “dump” ingredients, and help with mashing the beans.
  • Use the prepared refried beans as a filling for tacos or burritos, a dip, and more.
  • Substitute black beans or add cumin as desired.
  • Add shredded cheese.

Nutritional info

Total fat
8 g
Saturated fat
1 g
0 mg
42 mg
Total carbohydrates
29 g
Dietary fiber
7 g
10 g
Total sugar
1 g