Refried Beans 800

I love Mexican food, so much that I could probably eat it everyday.  One of the best things about Mexican food is eating Mexican food with some killer refried beans.  I love them on nachos and burritos and tacos and enchiladas, and you get the picture.  I am not great at planning ahead before I cook, unless I am having a dinner party. During the week, I usually decide what I am going to make by what is in season and affordable at the store that day. This is where my sadness comes into play with dried beans. I love dried lentils, because they cook so quickly. When it comes to black beans or pinto beans, I never remember to soak them the night before.  I am constantly thinking about food and coming up with new recipes in my head, so I have no idea why it is so hard for me to soak my beans…Fail!

The other day I had an idea to make a Mexican casserole for Taco Tuesday, and I knew that this recipe had to have some refried beans.  I don’t mind canned refried beans, but sometimes it kind of resembles pet food, and it kind freaks me out. I have also found that when I try to make refried beans with canned pinto beans, the consistency is never right. So instead of running to the store for a can of beans, I decided that I would make my own refried beans, but guess who forgot to soak her beans…this guy!  So in a moment of desperation, I decided to take a risk and make refried beans without pre-soaking them. Let me tell you, I felt like I was living on the edge…I guess I need to get out more! However, the mystical unicorn cooking gods must have been looking down on me, because I somehow managed to pull off banging refried beans in just 90 minutes.  Believe it or not, these mystical magical unicorn beans are healthy and a cinch to make! Continue reading to find out my secret.


  • 1 LB Dried Beans (I used pinto here, but you could use red or black)
  • Water or Homemade Veggie Broth
  • 1/2 TBS Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 250.

2. Dump the dried beans into a large Dutch oven or pot with a tight-fitting lid (I used my trusty Le Creuset).

3. Pick out any broken pieces and add the salt.

Pot O Beans

4. Top with enough water or vegetable broth to cover the beans by an inch and a half, and bring the uncovered pot to a boil.

beans in water

5. SHHHH, THIS IS THE SECRET STEP! Cover the pot, place it in the oven and cook your beans for 45 minutes. At the 45-minute mark, carefully take a little peek.  If they look sad and dry add some boiling water to the pot.  Cover the pot and put it back in the oven for an additional 30 minutes.

6. Remove your beans from the oven; they should look something like this.

cooked beans

7. Test one of the beans to make sure that they are the right consistency for mashing.  They should be easy to pinch between your fingers, but still a little firm.

8. With extra care, strain the remaining liquid, setting the bean liquid aside.

9. Mash-up your beans with a potato masher, adding the left over bean liquid as needed until you reach your desired consistency.  I like my refried beans a little lumpy.  If you want to make them super smooth you could put them in a food processor and slowly add the liquid as you process your beans.

10. Once you get them to the desired consistency, discard the remaining liquid.  Add additional salt and ground pepper to taste.

Voila! You now have magical refried beans.

This made a ton of beans, so I used half and froze the rest.  When you want to use your frozen beans, just let them defrost in the fridge overnight and they are as good as new.

Beans, beans, the musical fruit. The more you eat, the more you toot… Enjoy your beans and check out my enchilada casserole recipe!

Mexican Casserole

Leave a Reply