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Semi-Homemade Refried Beans Recipe

I know that not everyone has the time to cook up a big pot of beans from scratch. It’s not difficult but it does take some time. And even though I have more time available to cook than most people, I often use canned beans. They’re just so convenient!

But I’ll tell you one thing. Now that I discovered how great these taste and how easy they are to make, I am never using canned refried beans again! Yes, I did start with canned pinto beans, but what I ended up with was a bowl of rich creamy beans that I would never have guessed originated from a can if I hadn’t dumped them out myself!

There’s a reason these beans were so creamy and delicious and I’ll give you one hint… the secret ingredient is not olive oil!

It’s bacon grease.

And although I’m sure my vegetarian and vegan readers will be able to give some helpful hints for those of you who cringed at the last sentence, I stand by my ingredient list.

As good as these beans were, I’m positive that they would be even better if you made them completely from scratch. And for that, I will send you over to talk to Lisa, because if anyone knows a thing or two about refried beans, it’s a Homesick Texan.

But for a quick side dish, these semi-homemade refried beans really can’t be beat. I got the recipe from Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday cookbook and he gives you the option to start from scratch or use canned beans. Obviously, I chose the latter. Rick also gives you the option to use vegetable oil instead of bacon drippings. So yes, all joking aside, this can easily turn into a vegetarian recipe.

The best part is that you can use just about any type of beans you want. I used pinto beans because I happened to have them in my pantry but you could easily substitute black beans (they would be great with some lime juice and cilantro stirred in) or whatever other type of beans you want to experiment with. And of course, you can get as creative as you want with the seasonings.

But these are the beans I made last night and I don’t think I’ll change a thing next time.

Semi-Homemade Refried Beans Recipe
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3 tablespoons bacon drippings (or vegetable oil)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 15-ounce cans of pinto beans

Salt, to taste


In a large skillet, heat bacon drippings over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for a minute or two. Add the beans with their liquid and start smashing them with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon. Keep stirring and mashing until you get the texture that you like then continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the beans are the consistency of soft mashed potatoes. Taste and season with salt if needed.

Recipe adapted from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless


Recipe adapted from theĀ Fried Beans recipe in Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

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