Refried Beans | Print |
(11 votes, average 3.82 out of 5)


Beans are a Mexican staple, which means, as it does for staples all over the world, that their preparation stays simple.· They form the background for the bold diversity of Mexico’s other flavors. So most cooks just want some garlic, plus a little tasty fat to cook it in, and they’re done.· Some brown a handful of chopped onion before adding the garlic, but more additions turn this ever-present staple into a dish in its own right.


The coarse mash of beans that this recipe turns out is more multi-purpose than the homey bowl of brothy beans that’s been offered at Mexican meals since the beginning of civilization.· You can smear them on soft tortillas when constructing tacos, or on crisp-fried tostadas for snacks, or on crusty rolls when putting together a Mexican torta. Or you can simply spoon a dollop next to your enchiladas or grilled steak, sprinkle them with a crumbling of Mexican cheese if that appeals, and you’ll be headed down one of the tastiest paths the human race has forged.




Makes 2 ½ cups, 4 to 5 servings

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons rich-tasting pork lard, vegetable oil or bacon drippings (use 3 tablespoons for creamier beans)
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or crushed through a garlic press
  • 3 ½ cups home-cooked beans with just enough cooking liquid to cover OR 2 15-ounce cans beans
  • Salt
  1. In a medium-large (10-inch) skillet, heat the oil, lard or bacon drippings over medium. 
  2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant but not brown, about 1 minute. 
  3. Add the beans.  As the beans come to a simmer, coarsely mash them with a bean masher, old-fashion potato masher or the back of a large cooking spoon. How smoothly you mash them is entirely a matter of personal preference—in most cases, I like them rather chunky.  
  4. Cook, stirring nearly constantly, until the consistency of very soft mashed potatoes—expect about 10 minutes total cooking time.
  5. Taste and season with salt if you think necessary.