Refried beans recipe

By Debbie Major

  1. Serves 6 as a side
  2. Takes 30 minutes to make, 2 hours 20 minutes to cook, plus overnight soaking
  3. Rating

This traditional Mexican dish is the perfect accompaniment to fajitas and tacos, or with huevos rancheros for breakfast.

tried and tested
Refried beans


  1. 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  2. 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  3. ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  4. 350g dried pinto beans, soaked overnight in cold water
  5. 1½ tsp salt
  6. 200g smoked bacon lardons, chopped
  7. 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  8. 50g crumbled feta cheese or coarsely grated cheese, such as Cheddar or Manchego
  9. Chopped fresh coriander to serve


  1. 1. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large pan or flameproof casserole, add half the onions and fry gently for 10 minutes until golden brown. Add the chilli flakes and fry for 1 minute. Drain and rinse the beans, then add to the pan and cover with 1 litre cold water. Bring to the boil, part-cover with a lid and simmer for 1¾-2 hours until the beans are tender. Stir regularly and top up with a little boiling hot water from the kettle if need be, to keep them just covered. Add the salt and simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove and set aside.
  2. 2. Heat the remaining oil in another pan or flameproof casserole over a medium heat, then add the bacon. Cook until it releases its fat, then increase the heat and cook until crisp and lightly golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. ›3. Add the remaining onion to the bacon oil in the pan and fry for 10 minutes, stirring now and then, until golden. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. With a slotted spoon, add a quarter of the cooked beans, leaving most of the liquid behind. With a potato masher, mash the beans roughly into a very coarse purée. Add another portion of beans and repeat until you have used all the beans. Add a little of the cooking liquid if necessary until you have a thick, creamy paste (make them slightly wetter than you want; they will thicken up as they sit). Taste, then season with more salt if need be. Cover and set aside.
  3. 4. Spoon into a warmed serving bowl, then scatter with the bacon, cheese and coriander. (If serving with the huevos rancheros, you could scatter the crispy bacon lardons over those instead.) Serve.

Nutritional info

PER SERVING 384kcals, 18g fat (4.9g saturated), 19.5g protein, 36.4g carbs, 1.9g sugar, 1.4g salt


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