Authentic Refried Beans Recipe

I know what you’re thinking, and I used to think the same thing.

“Why do I need to make my own refried beans when I can used the perfectly fine canned version?”

Um, yeah… it’s incredibly different but in a good and oh so delicious way.

If you have a bunch of people coming over for dinner, cracking open several cans of refried beans can add up quick. Buying dried pinto beans will definitely get you more bang for your buck when it comes to this tasty Mexican side dish.

We love these beans so much that I’m constantly making a large batch and storing it in the fridge for whenever the craving kicks in.

I got this recipe from a friend whose husband is Mexican. This is the way she learned how to make refried beans from her Mother-in-law, and she’s never looked back. I’m so excited I pried this recipe outta her, it’s become a new family favorite.

This recipe does not require a lot of work. Just grab some beans, your crock-pot and water and let it go! If you don’t have time for the crock-pot you can speed things up by boiling the beans for 20 minutes before placing them into the slow cooker to cut the time in half.

Make sure to rinse your beans well before cooking them, they can be pretty dirty.

While your beans are cooking, try making some authentic homemade tortillas. They’re the perfect combination!

 ps- the most difficult thing about this whole recipe was trying to take pictures of the beans without making them look like a pile of… yeah… 

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Authentic Refried Beans Recipe

Making authentic refried beans is easy, cost effective, and most of all delicious!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 10 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 12
Calories: 267 kcal
Author: Shawn


  • 4 cups dried pinto beans, rinsed twice and picked through (remove any broken pieces)
  • Enough water to double the depth of the beans, ex: 1 inch of beans = 2 inches of water above the beans
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • Corn Oil


  • Place cleaned pinto beans in your crock pot and cover the beans with the water. If your beans are 1 inch deep, you need two inches of water above the beans. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 1/2 hours. Occasionally check the beans and add more water to keep them from drying out on top, if necessary.
  • After 3 1/2 hours add the salt and garlic powder. Stir, and cover for an additional 30 minutes. Taste and add more seasoning if desired.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of corn oil in a large pan over high heat for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and carefully add 3 cups of the beans (including the juices) to the hot pan. **CAUTION** this may cause splattering so use a splatter guard if necessary to avoid any burns.
  • Let the beans fry in the oil until bubbly throughout, then use a potato masher to smash the beans. Place the refried beans into another dish to keep warm. Repeat with remaining oil and beans until all beans are mashed.
  • Serve warm. Enjoy!
To reduce crock pot cooking time by half, boil the beans for 20 minutes before placing in the crock pot.
UPDATE (09/02/13): Since posting this recipe, I have began frying the beans in leftover bacon grease, which I find gives it even more delicious flavor!


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 40.8g | Protein: 13.9g | Fat: 5.5g | Sodium: 589.6mg | Sugar: 1.4g | Vitamin C: 7mg
Keywords: oil, pinto beans, refried
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About the author

Shawn is the Owner and Creator of I Wash You Dry. She loves to create and share simple, family-friendly recipes. Mom to 5 adorable children and dwells in the desert of Southern Utah.
26 Responses
  1. Patti

    Great recipe! First time I have made these and very good! I did use bacon grease instead of corn oil…I will make these again!

  2. katrina

    Hi. This recipe sounds awesome. But 12 cups of refried beans is a lot for my tiny 2-person household. Have you ever halved this recipe? If so, does it change the cooking time?


    1. Shawn

      Hi Katrina, you can definitely half the recipe, the cooking time shouldn’t change. Just make sure you check to make sure the beans are nice and tender.

  3. Sharda Lewis

    Can you sub navy beans for pinto? I am out of them and do not want to make another trip to the store just
    for a bag.

    1. Shawn

      I would not advise using navy beans, but you could try black beans? Hope you found a solution that worked for you!

  4. Sherrie

    I make refried beans all the time. I have tried something different lately, after cooking refried beans for probably 40 yrs I have been using chicken stock instead of water. It adds alot of flavor and they are delicious!

  5. Gloria // Simply Gloria

    My family loves refried beans. … and I love how authentic this recipe is! My sis used to be married to a Mexican and even lived in Zacatacas, Mexico. She brought back a lot authentic recipes. … but no refried beans. Can’t wait to make this! (Actually, today. It’s early, so I have time to start it, yay!) I know I won’t be going back to the cans!
    PS Love your pics! You did a great job making these look very appetizing!

    1. Shawn

      Thanks Gloria! Since sharing this recipe I have changed how I fry the beans. If I can, I try to use bacon drippings. Whenever I fry up some bacon I just save the drippings in a mason jar for when I make these beans. It adds just a little bit of something extra. 🙂 My husband works with a Mexican and when my husband brought these beans to work the Mexican was sure that I was Mexican because he thought that only a Mexican could make beans this good. (So yeah… pretty authentic) hehe.. Enjoy!!

      1. Gloria // Simply Gloria

        Perfect! I’ve got some bacon grease leftover from this morning. … sounds amazing! I Already have them in the crock pot…. (=

        1. Gloria // Simply Gloria

          Just wanted to let you know (while I’m on here to make it again)…. this is my go to recipe now. I can’t even buy them in a can! So yummy!

  6. Darryle Sa;nchez

    What lots of folks don’t know is that there are several ironclad RULES for cooking beans: First, one has to DEFINE what you’re intending to cook…there are RED beans, BLACK beans, NAVY beans, LIMA beans, and “BEANS”! Mexicans know by instinct that “BEANS” means PINTO beans; Second, don’t just rinse your beans before cooking…they must be picked through by hand to assure that there are no small, bean-sized clods, rocks, or bugs that got through the machinery at the packing plant (I know that most cooks know to do that, but there are people like me that have to be taught….); Beans must always be dumped (carefully!) directly into BOILING water, and, if some water boils away to the point that more water must be added, always have the added water boiling (changing the temperature of the cooking water makes the beans nervous, and uncooperative); When frying beans, to be authentic, one must use LARD! To be less unhealthy, though, use almost anything BESIDES lard! Some people say that beans should be soaked overnight before cooking…forget that…it’s not necessary of helpful.

  7. stefanie @ sarcastic cooking

    Hahahah, too funny. Brown things are the hardest to make look pretty. But you did it! I have never made any kind of bean from scratch…. aka never even bought dry beans. I have to put a stop to this. I also wanna say I looooove how you have been on this mexican food kick!

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Shawn Syphus

Hi, I’m Shawn and I’m a busy mom of five; pretending to live on a budget. I love to cook, and explore new recipes, but they have to be quick and easy with as few dishes as possible.

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