Homemade Refried Beans

I call for pinto beans here, but you can use the same method with other beans as well. Try black beans as an alternative.


  • 1 pound dried pinto beans, soaked overnight
  • fine grain sea salt
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, or to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. Drain and rinse your beans and transfer them to a large pot. Cover the beans with water by 2 inches and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer until the beans are completely tender, remove from heat, and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir and taste the broth, it should taste really good if seasoned properly. Add a bit more salt if needed. You can move on to the reefing step at this point, or allow the beans and broth to cool, then refrigerate for up to a couple of days until you’re ready. I like to separate the beans from the broth at this point. Be sure to keep the broth.
  2. When you’re ready, mash the beans. You can use a potato or bean masher if you have one. Or a pestle, or big fork. Really go for it. You want some pasty action, and some chunky parts. This way your refried beans will have good texture. But if you like super smooth refried beans, hit them with a hand blender.
  3. Add the olive oil and onions to a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Cook for five minutes or so, until the onions soften, but avoid browning. Add the beans to the pan along with about 1 1/2 cups of bean broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes. Add more broth 1/4 cup at a time to achieve the consistency you like. Some like their beans stiff, others like them more soupy. Stir in the paprika, cook for another couple of minutes, and stir in the lemon juice. Taste and add more salt if needed at this point, I usually end up adding ~1/4 teaspoon more.
  4. Serve the beans on their own or topped with a bit of crumbled cheese and chopped cilantro.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Serves 8


Serves 8.