Refried beans in bowl with spoon

Recipe: easy refried beans

Bowl of refried beans

Traditionally, refried beans are made from dried pinto beans which have been soaked and cooked slowly. But sometimes you just need a quick win, especially on weeknights! These refried beans have lots of flavour, a silky texture and using tinned beans speeds up cooking time. Our favourite way to eat them is with nachos or burrito bowls. Hopefully one day we’ll get to try authentic refried beans, but until then we’ll be eating plenty of these.


  • 1 tin of pinto beans (borlotti are a good substitute)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 green chilli
  • 100ml stock (vegetable or chicken)
  • 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric (optional, for colour)
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • Pinch of salt

Easy refried beans recipe

1. Fry the onion garlic and green chilli

Finely chop the onion, garlic, green chilli and fry on a medium heat until softened.

2. Add some flavour

Add the smoked paprika, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper and oregano (if not using fresh). Cook for 1 minute. Then add the tomato puree and cook until it browns slightly — this will give the beans some added flavour.

3. Add stock and fresh herbs

Add 100ml of stock and the fresh herbs. Leave to simmer for 5 minutes until the beans have softened and the juice looks silky.

4. Mash the beans

Mash the beans with the back of a fork. I prefer to have some texture and only mash half of the beans.

5. Simmer

Simmer away any excess juice until the beans are slightly thicker than you want them. Season with salt.

6. Add lime

Squeeze in the lime juice and mix. Then you’re ready to serve!

Refried beans in bowl with spoon

You can make these beans the day before you need them to help the flavours to develop. Be sure to reheat them thoroughly.

P.S. Don’t do what I did and get the cayenne pepper and smoked paprika mixed up. Hot hot hot!

2 comments on “Recipe: easy refried beans

  1. Looks delicious will definitely try these ? X

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