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I have a long list of foods that I want to one day learn how to make from scratch. Over the years, I’ve made many of them – hamburger buns, corn dogs, crackers, Junior Mints – and lately, I’ve been trying out more of these foods on my list. The latest? Refried beans.

Not only are refried beans from scratch easy, but they are super inexpensive as well. Do you know how cheap it is to buy a big bag of beans? They are one of the last bargains in the grocery store!!

At a recent family dinner, we were having Mexican food, and I decided that it was the time to try out making refried beans at home. I only ran into one problem with these beans. The recipe says to cook them for 2 1/2 hours – but just be warned that this could be different depending on your beans. I had just bought a brand new bag of beans, but I’m guessing that they may have been on the store shelf for some time because I started my beans before I went to church, and when I got home 3 hours later, they still weren’t done. I was able to let them cook for another 45 minutes, but I think they could have still used some time on the stove. They still tasted good, but the texture was off a little bit. With the leftovers, I brought out my immersion blender, and this actually helped with the texture quite a bit – although I didn’t end up with the traditional chunky beans.

What are some things you’ve wanted to try making from scratch at home?

Refried Beans
adapted from Simply Recipes

2 1/2 cups dry pinto beans
3 quarts water
1/2 cup chopped onion
2-4 tablespoons pork lard, bacon fat or olive oil
1/4 cup water
salt to taste

Rinse the beans and remove any small stones or bad beans.

Put the beans in a large pot and cover with the 3 quarts of water. The beans should be covered by at least 3 inches. Bring the water to a boil, then lower to simmer and cook, covered, for about 2 1/2 hours. The beans are done when they are soft and the skin is beginning to break open.

Remove the beans from the heat and strain.

in a large frying pan over medium heat, cook the lard/bacon fat/oil and the onion until the onions are translucent. Add the strained beans and the 1/4 cup of water. Mash the beans with a potato masher while you are cooking them until they are a rough puree. If the beans are getting dried out, add more water. Add salt to taste.

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13 Responses to Refried Beans

  1. Jennifurla says:

    So easy, and yes beans are one of the last untouched price wise!

  2. Joanne says:

    Soaking the beans beforehand could definitely help make them cook faster! I find that the longer I soak for, the faster they are to cook…sometimes only 20 minutes! Sigh. I do love refried beans.

  3. Rebecca says:

    If you have hard water, that can make the beans take much longer to cook and become tender as well. If you think this is a problem in your area, try purified bottled water for cooking and soaking next time (not distilled) and see if it helps. If you can afford to splurge, Rancho Gordo’s beans are terrific. They’re always fresh and they have a lot of great varieties.

  4. Mindy says:

    I started making refried beans from scratch a couple of years ago, although I typically use canned beans–mostly because of the cooking issue. I found out recently, though, that you can cook beans in the crockpot and freeze them once they’re cooked. :-)

    Hamburger buns are on my list to make soon…I’ll have to check out your recipe!

  5. LisaK says:

    I want to make butternut squash soup. It probably isn’t that hard, but I have never done it. Black beans are awesome too.

    This site has some good information on cooking beans.

    http://whatscookingamerica.net/Vegetables/driedbeantip.htm

    I enjoy your blog a lot. I found it from Taste Spotting.

  6. I agree with everyone else’s dried bean tips. Also I know altitude will affect the cooking time needed for cooking dried beans (just like it affects the cooking time for most things). Which is probably why you had to cook them longer.

  7. Mary says:

    You need to soak dry beans before cooking. Either soak overnight or do a quick soak where you bring them to a boil and then take off the heat and let sit for an hour. In both cases, you should change the water and then you are ready to cook the beans. It will make all the difference in the world.

  8. teresa says:

    homemade refried beans are the best! these look so good, i want to grab one of those chips and get to dippin!

  9. Betty says:

    I love refried beans too, and hardly ever make them from scratch. I really need to though, since we’re watching sodium. You’ve inspired me to pick up a bag of beans the next time I go to the grocery. :)

  10. Nell says:

    I always think that I should make the refried beans myself. You may have just inspired me!
    One thing that is one my really want to homemade sometime is pasta!!!

  11. Mrs. L says:

    I’ve tried to make beans before and had the same problem, learned it was the hard water so I need to try bottled or filtered next time. I want to learn to make homemade pie crust…I’m always using the premade stuff in the stores.

  12. grace says:

    i can honestly say that, although i love refried beans, i’ve never been tempted to make them myself. the canned stuff is just too easy and tasty to pass up. good on you though! :)

  13. Brian Wallace says:

    The trick to making re-fried beans from scratch and getting the proper texture is to hold the salt and any acids until your beans have completely cooked. Salt and acids (lemon, vinegar, onion) not only extend cooking time but tend to make skins tough and insides gritty. Plus there is such a thing as old beans. Make a huge pot, seal in portion size bags and freeze. So much cheaper and so easy to make, plus you get to serve a healthy side to guests and tell them it’s homemade. Forget about the bacon grease or lard, a small amount of olive or vegetable oil and thin with the cooking water if needed.

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