Easy Homemade Refried Beans

If you love Mexican or Tex-Mex cuisine, then you know all about refried beans. But do you know how easy they are to make from scratch? Homemade refried beans are delicious and so easy to make. Plus, they’re way more flavorful than anything that comes from a can!

Easy homemade refried beans in a round silver dish on a floral tea towel

Homemade refried beans are so good and so easy to make that you’ll never buy a can again! I love this recipe because it’s packed full of flavor, and I can make them as spicy as I like. And, when you start with canned beans, you don’t need to worry about soaking and slow-cooking the beans from scratch. However, if from scratch is more your taste – you can make my homemade pinto beans & use them instead of the canned beans.

These beans are also packed with protein and are low in fat. They’re a great source of fiber, too, and they’re vegan refried beans, so they’re great for just about everyone!

And if this easy homemade Refried Beans recipe does not already tempt you, how about this: they’re ready to eat in about 10 minutes! Not only are they easy, but they’re quick to make, too!

What Are Refried Beans?

Refried beans are beans that have been cooked twice. First, they’re cooked to soften them (or you can buy the cans and take a shortcut), and then they’re cooked with spices, veggies, and garlic. They’re then mashed to bring out all the flavor. 

Refried beans are a staple in south-of-the-border cuisine. You’ll find them in tacos, as a side dish, in salads, and more. They’re found on just about every Tex-Mex dish from your favorite restaurant, and for a good reason – they’re delicious! Be sure to see all my tips below on how to use refried beans.

Easy homemade refried beans in a round silver bowl with 2 lime slices


  • Olive oil – Or any other cooking oil
  • Red onion – Minced.
  • Garlic cloves – Fresh garlic; minced.
  • Jalapeno – Deseeded and finely chopped.
  • Canned pinto beans – Rinsed and drained.
  • Ground cumin 
  • Chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Cilantro – Fresh and finely chopped.

How To Make The Best Homemade Refried Beans

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook until they’re translucent and lightly browned.
  2. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  3. Add the rinsed and drained canned pinto beans, ground cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper, and fresh lime juice. Mix to combine and heat through.
  4. Mash the bean mixture with a potato masher until it’s the desired consistency.
  5. Adjust the seasoning and stir in the cilantro before serving. Enjoy!
Easy homemade refried beans in a round silver bowl on a floral tea towel

Recipe Tips & Substitutions

  • You can use 3 tablespoons of taco seasoning in place of the cumin and chili powder but then watch the salt. Most taco seasonings have salt in them already.
  • Change the spice level by using a serrano chili instead of jalapeno if you like your refried beans spicy.
  • Make sure your spices are fresh! Fresh spices have so much more flavor, especially ground cumin.
  • If you like super-smooth homemade refried beans, pulse them in a food processor until pureed.
  • Adding cilantro is optional – if you don’t care for cilantro, then don’t add it!
  • Prefer black beans? You can make homemade refried black beans by swapping canned black beans for pinto beans.

How To Use Refried Beans

Wondering how to serve refried beans? Not only are they delicious as a side dish, but they’re also a great addition to many dishes. Add them to your favorite tacos, add them to burrito bowls or just burritos, add a spoonful to a salad, and so much more!

Easy homemade refried beans in a round silver bowl beside a small blue bowl of lime slices


Store any leftover homemade Refried Beans in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days. You can also freeze these leftover beans – put them into an airtight container or freezer-safe plastic bag and freeze them for up to a month. Thaw, heat them up, and serve!

Easy Homemade Refried Beans


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Small red onion minced
  • 2-4 Cloves garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeño de-seeded & minced
  • 3 15oz cans of pinto beans rinsed & drained
  • 1 Heaping tbsp cumin
  • 1 Heaping tbsp chili powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 Cup cilantro minced (optional) plus more for garnish


  • In a skillet, sauté the onion & jalapeño in olive oil. Cook until the onion is translucent and lightly browned. Mix in the minced garlic & cook for an additional minute.
  • Mix in the rinsed and drained canned pinto beans. Stir in the remaining ingredients, except for the cilantro. Using a potato masher, mash the beans to your desired consistency. Taste & season more to your liking if needed.
  • Stir in the minced cilantro right before serving, if using.


3 tbsp of taco seasoning may be used in place of the cumin & chili powder

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