Spicy Refried Beans

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My boyfriend and I are absolutely obsessed with this little taco joint down the street from our apartment. It seriously has the best re-fried beans ever. Their burritos and tacos are kinda amazing also. But really it’s all about the beans. And get this – they aren’t made with lard! Say what?!? My kinda beans!

On nights when I don’t get home in time to make dinner, my boyfriend would hop on over to the taco house and pick up all the fixin’s and make himself a burrito or something of the sort. I decided that it was high time I started making my own re-fried beans and let me tell you, I couldn’t be happier with the results. 2 1/2 cups of dried pinto beans makes enough beans for the whole week for the 2 of us. We eat a lot of southwestern/mexican style food so these go like hot cakes in the kitchen! I’ve since stuffed them into burritos, made bean and cheese quesadillas, topped a bowl of re-fried beans with guacamole and make my favorite bean dip for a big Laker game party we had last week!

I made this batch with a bag of these dried pinto beans laying around from Cube Marketplace in LA – but you can use whatever dried pinto beans you have!

Spicy Refried Beans

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 5 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican, Tex Mex, Southwestern
Servings 10 servings


  • 2 1/2 cups of dry pinto beans
  • 3 quarts of water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt
  • Cheddar cheese


  • Rinse the dried beans in water making sure to get rid of any dirt that might be hanging out.
  • Add the beans to a large pot and cover with water. (Make sure there is about 4 inches of water above the dried beans - they will soak up a lot of water)
  • Cook the beans for 2 1/2 hours. Bring the water to a boil and the cover and reduce to a simmer.
  • Once the beans are cooked, drain the excess water and set aside.
  • In a large skillet add the olive oil over medium high heat. Saute the onions along with the red pepper flakes, paprika and cayenne pepper for about 5 minutes. Add in the drained beans and 1 cup of water. Using an immersion blender, lightly blend the beans until they have a consistency of mashed beans. Season with salt as needed.
  • Serve with shredded cheddar cheese.


  1. We had a taco party last night, and it was the first time I realized I need to try my hand at refried beans. These may be a great way to start my refried bean bonanza!

  2. Interesting – I’ve never put paprika in my refried beans before. I’ll have to try that next time! (And I love that package of refriend beans. I couldn’t help but giggle.)

  3. Mmmm! I love refried beans. Never thought of making them myself, but this will be my inspiration.

  4. This sounds good and I will try it. The only good bean recipe I have so far is Luben’s bean soup!

  5. This sounds perfect for us, too! And I love that you didn’t use any fat (except for the cheese, but only a Philistine would leave that out! ).

  6. Ever the simple dish! So homey and comforting, especially with some cheese on top. I think these would be good with queso fresco and possibly served with chopped onions and cilantro. Looks delicious.

  7. I eat beans pretty much everyday, but have never been bold enough to try my hand and making my own beans, from dried beans. This recipe looks so simple, yet delicious, I just may have to give it a whirl!

    1. I thought that the recipe as written would be exceedingly spicy. Well, glad I had 4 jalepenos on hand, because I added them chopped up to the smoothed beans, and let it all simmer for. about 15 additional minutes. Great stuff!
      I also mashed my very tender beans up to a slightly chunkier consistency with my dough scraper, even though I have a hand blender and other equipment. It’s still quick and effective (in a cast iron pan) if you don’t add the bean liquid till most of the beans have been mashed. All my jalepenos gave it “greener” taste, but still pretty traditional. I love the paprika in there. If you have ever used chili powder blends, they contain paprika also!

  8. Oh, thank God! Every refried bean recipe I’ve ever seen has lard in it! And I LOOOVE that you put some shredded cheese on top- beautiful and delicious!

  9. Awesome, I just posted refried beans too 🙂 Looooove them. And they’re so good for you. Who needs lard anyways? I’m going to try putting paprika in mine next time, that sounds super yummy 🙂

  10. I learn something new every day! I’m all about preparing food from scratch and refried beans was one thing I have not yet done! Thanks for sharing!!

  11. I usually make mock refried beans in my crockpot. just beans, water, an onion and clove of garlic, with a little salt at the end for flavor. let them cook overnight in the crockpot and mash them in the morning.

    I wanna try your version now…paprika, huh.

    just every so often I like to splurge on my mom’s refried beans (with lard)…hay yay yay, they taste smooth as butter.

  12. It’s fantastic that so many readers have commented that they like refried beans – everyone usually looks at me in disgust when I say I like them. Thanks for sharing this healthier alternative. Do you have a recommendation of dried pinto bean brand?

  13. beans are a staple in my house. there is always a batch of beans in the fridge. you can cut your cooking time, by using a pressure cooker. it only takes 30 minutes once the steam starts coming out.

  14. These are amazing. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I don’t even like refried beans and I love these!

  15. Do you know if refried beans would freeze well? I would love to start making my own but soon I will have a lot less people in my house with the kiddos graduating/moving out on their own and a traveling husband. I’m not sure I can eat the whole thing by myself! However, I want to be able to make the whole amount and freeze half if possible.

    1. I make my refried beans in the pressure cooker & freeze them in smaller ziploc bags so that I can take them to work. I will have to use your spice combination the next time I make a batch.

  16. Would the consistency be very different if I blended it in a food processor instead of using an immersion blender?

  17. I’m excited! Making them now. We eat some form of beans at least 4+ times a week. (Organic, non gmo and mostly vegetarian household ) I’ve tried many different recipes but this one sounds great. I’ve never thought about adding paprika. The only thing I’m going to change is adding veggie stock instead of water and maybe a little garlic in the sauté…. I’ll updated if I don’t pass out from pleasure first 🙂

  18. I discovered there is an upside to having my wisdom teeth removed: your refried beans 🙂 I made a large batch before going to the surgeon and am now happy happy ladling sponfuls of smooth beans with mashed avocado and creamy cool creme fraiche – thank you for the inspiration! (I think the only thing I changed is that I added a little cumin powder and used a potato masher for a slightly more rustic texure)

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