Refried Beans, Round Three?

A lot of you may know that I’ve been struggling with refried beans for a while.  I don’t think my other attempts are worth linking back to, because you won’t even want to try the beans however I made them once you try them the way I made them yesterday.  I always want to make them, but they never come out quite right.  My result has always been on the firm side of al dente, if that can even be a bean measurement, and pretty much disappointing.  However, I think I finally nailed it.  It might not be a traditional refried bean recipe, but it’s one that I’m embracing because it worked.

Instead of dry beans, I used canned, because that was what was in the house.  The fact that these beans came out a lot better makes me think that my problem lies in the cooking of the dry beans and not the refrying process.  I still want to take on refried beans from dry beans, but in the meantime, this is pretty good.  If you’re looking for an easy-peasy refried bean recipe that works, here ya go:

1 14 ounce can black beans

Half an onion (I used Vidalia)

Olive oil

1 tbsp tomato paste

About a third to a half black bean canful of water.


Rinse your beans.  Canned beans can be super salty.  To save washing a colander, I like to use a can opener to open the can of beans most of the way and then carefully dump out the liquid inside while reserving the beans.  Just don’t peel up the lid once it’s mostly opened.  Leave the opened lid down on the closed can, and your beans will stay inside, although it’s a good idea to hold your hand under the can in case any beans do fall out. Your palm, open but with fingers touching, will work better than any colander. Once the liquid is gone, run your can under a stream of tap water, shake the can to get the water evenly distributed, and dump out.  Rinse like this as many times as needed to get clean beans.

In the meantime, heat a pot on medium heat.  Add a few tablespoons of olive oil.  Chop half an onion into normal sized cut pieces.  Not microfine, but you should also have more than three pieces of onion.  Heat in the oil until translucent.  Add your tomato paste and stir.  Add the beans.  Fill the empty bean can about halfway with water (saves using a measuring cup) and add enough water to the beans to cover them.  Cook until heated through.  I pulled my beans off the heat just before all the water had evaporated.  Mash up with a potato masher, and then give them a good stir to get the onions and the moisture evenly distributed, and there you go.

I like to think this recipe is at least a wee bit healthier than most refried bean recipes, because I used olive oil instead of bacon fat or another veggie oil, and they still turned out really well.  As testimony, a non-bean-lover in my family even told me how good they smelled.  So grab a can of beans, and make them refried.  You won’t be sorry.  You can throw them on top of nachos or even eat them as a standalone dish.







*Refried beans just don’t photograph well.  I tried, though.  I was going to add sea salt on top for texture, but the canned beans were salty enough without it.  Despite how they look, you’ll love how they taste!


4 thoughts on “Refried Beans, Round Three?

  1. They look good. I have been wanting to try refried beans, but after reading about all your trials I am intimidated…


      • Our local Mexican restaurant makes the best I have ever had. I have high standards. Funny when I think of their beans I imagine this sweet old grandma back there in the kitchen stirring a big cast iron kettle of beans over an open fire. That’s not really happening, that’s just how good they are. I will blog about my adventures in bean land if I get up the courage.


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