Refried Beans

32 oz canned pinto beans, drained, liquid reserved
1/2 onion, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 strips bacon

In a large skillet, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon (snacking bacon!) and saute the onion in the rendered fat for 1 minute. Add the garlic and saute until soft and fragrant. Remove from heat. Carefully drain off all of the bacon grease, leaving only about 1 1/2 tablespoons in the pan. Return to heat and add the beans and about 1/2 of the reserved liquid. Cook on medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from, add the cumin and mash the beans with a potato masher or the back of a spoon.

My thoughts:

I love refried beans. Cooking them in a bit of bacon fat really makes all the difference, they are almost silky and have just a hint of smoky flavor. I know a lot of people like to make refried beans using dried beans, but I personally prefer to use canned. More than once I have made a recipe with dried beans only to have the final product have the musty, stale favor that comes from using old beans. Fresh beans are the absolute best, but I really think the next best thing is canned, especially if you take the time to buy high quality beans that are low in sodium,and that do not have additives to preserve color.


  1. Canned beans are perfect for refried beans – quick and easy. However, my vegaquarian self longs for the addition of bacon, which really finishes off the flavor of them.

  2. I have recently acquired a taste for refried beans. I used to find their texture totally unpalatable, but something my brain (or taste buds?) has switched! I’ve never made them at home, however. We’re so bad about getting Mexican takeout …

  3. Doctoring up canned beans is my favorite way as well. These look tasty!

  4. Love refried beans…. I make mine almost the same, except instead of using the liquid from the can, I use beer… it’s real good!

  5. Bacon grease makes everything taste better! *grin*

  6. See, I believe everything should be cooked in bacon fat…

  7. I would toss some chopped jalapenos in there too. Delicious. I love canned beans in general. I am not a fan of waiting for water to boil- I am too ADD.

  8. If you can’t do the bacon, maybe add a little chipotle pepper or smoked paprika — a nice way to get a little smoky flavor without the meat.

    Of course nothing beats bacon…