Chita's Refried Beans

Prep Time
Cook Time
3h 45m
Ready In

"These are the refried beans I grew up with. NOBODY makes refried beans like my mom, so even though this is her recipe, I can never make them taste exactly like hers. Must be that really old cast iron skillet!!! This is a labor of love, and prep time includes cooking the dried beans. Most of the time I'll cook the beans the evening before and refrigerate them. Then fry them up the next day to break it up. Real refried beans are made with lard, there's no getting around that. However, to make these vegetarian, or for those of you who want to watch that saturated fat, these are pretty darned good just using corn, canola or coconut oil. The instructions may seem long, but that's because it's technique more than recipe. Once you do it the first time, you won't need to read instructions again."

Original recipe yields 9 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (108.2 g)
  • Calories 187.7
  • Total Fat - 13.5 g
  • Saturated Fat - 5.2 g
  • Cholesterol - 12.2 mg
  • Sodium - 28.8 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 14.1 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 1.4 g
  • Sugars - 1.4 g
  • Protein - 3.1 g
  • Calcium - 27.4 mg
  • Iron - 0.7 mg
  • Vitamin C - 2.4 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.1 mg

Step 1

Sort and wash beans carefully. The bag of dried pintos may have small pebbles, so be sure to sort those out. Dont' want to break a tooth!

Step 2

Place beans in a large pot and add cold water to cover by at least two inches. Bring to a boil, drain and add new water to cover by at least four inches.

Step 3

Add the onion and the garlic, bring to a boil. Season with salt and reduce to a simmer. Place lid over the pan, leaving a small bit of edge uncovered to let steam escape. Cook beans until tender, at least a few hours. The onion and garlic will probably fall apart while cooking. Monitor to make sure they don't go dry.

Step 4

In a large cast iron skillet, melt the lard (or vegetable oil) then add the corn tortilla and the chile pods. Fry the tortilla until dark brown but not burned. The chiles should also be fried until brown but not burned. Remove from pan and discard.

Step 5

Using a slotted spoon and allowing each spoonful to drain a bit, carefully add the beans a little at a time. It WILL splatter at first. Mash them with a potato masher as you go, ladling in some of the cooking liquid so that they remain a bit soupy.

Step 6

Once all the beans are in and mashed, keep them over a medium-low flame, stirring frequently and scraping up the bottom. A wooden paddle or spoon works best. Refry until the beans have lost some of their liquid. You will notice that the beans will pull away from the sides and bottom of the pan looking a little dry. That's good! Just keep stirring and scraping the sides and bottom until you have the right consistency. This will take at least 20 minutes to half an hour for really GOOD refried beans, so you might need to add more liquid a time or two to ensure they refry long enough.

Step 7

Adjust seasoning if necessary and serve.

NOTE: How soupy or dry the end product is is a matter of taste. We like ours so that when put on the plate, they will spread but not be runny.

HEALTHY OPTION: You can serve these without refrying them. After Step #7, adjust the salt seasoning and serve the beans and cooking liquid in small bowls with finely chopped onion and cilantro.

Tips & Variations

  • Cast iron skillet (a MUST!!!)


I like making refried beans from scratch. We did soak our beans overnight before cooking. Our beans did get a little too dry in the process but they tasted great.

review by:
(8 May 2021)