Refried beans are a staple of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. This smooth and creamy side dish will complement almost any food present at a Mexican feast. Whether you enjoy the beans on their own or as a spread to add sweet, earthy flavor to your burritos or tostadas, homemade refried beans are vastly superior to any canned variety.
The term refried beans comes from the Spanish phrase frijoles refritos. In Spanish, refritos means "to fry." In our featured recipe, we prepare refried beans on the stovetop by mashing and frying them in a heavy skillet. Refried beans may be prepared in other ways, however -- such as in an Instant Pot. Preparing refried beans in an Instant Pot reduces the time needed to cook the beans and eliminates the need for multiple pots and pans.
Set the Instant Pot to sauté and heat the bacon fat or olive oil. Add the chopped onion. Sauté until the onions are translucent. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Cook, stirring frequently until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds. Turn the sauté function off.
Add the beans, broth, and apple cider vinegar; stir to combine. Secure the lid, turn the vent to the sealed position, and cook the beans on high pressure for 50 minutes.
When the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release naturally for 25 minutes. Then carefully remove the lid.
Drain the beans over a large bowl, reserving the bean water. Set the bean water aside.
Add the drained beans back to the Instant Pot. Using a potato masher, mash the beans in the pan until you reach the desired consistency. If the refried beans seem dry, add some of the reserved bean water. Serve the beans immediately.
If you're short on time, and you happen to have a can of pinto beans in your pantry, you can substitute canned beans for dried beans in our stovetop recipe. Before using the beans, drain the liquid from the can. Add 1/4 cup of water for every 15 ounces of pinto beans you use, adjusting accordingly for your desired consistency.
Typically, refried beans are prepared with pinto beans; however, don't let that stop you from experimenting. Black beans and kidney beans are popular substitutes. Don't forget that tasty add-ins can help make this dish your own.
Are you looking for some fabulous recipes to pair with your homemade refried beans? Take a look at some of our favorites!
Cooking refried beans is a relatively simple task, and homemade beans are much more delicious than what you can purchase at your local grocer. Once you whip up some of your own refried beans, we guarantee that you'll want to do it again and again.