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Extension > Family > Live healthy, live well > Healthy bodies > Eat smart > The recipe box > Refried beans

The recipe box

Refried beans

Refried beans

Make a big batch of homemade refried beans. It may take more time than opening a can, but it can help you save money at the grocery story.

Number of servings: 8
Serving size: 1/4 cup



2 cups dry pinto beans (about 1 pound)

1/4 cup oil

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt to taste


Time needed: 5 minutes preparation; 1 hour and 45 minutes cook time; 1-4 hours wait time

  1. Add 1 1/2-2 quarts of water to a large pot with a lid. Bring to boil.
  2. Wash and sort beans. Add beans to the water and boil for 2 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and cover the pot. Let the beans stand for 1-4 hours.
  4. Drain beans. Return beans to the pot and add 6 cups water and bring to boil. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer until beans are tender, about 90 minutes.
  5. When beans are soft, reserve some of the cooking liquid and drain the beans.
  6. Prepare a large skillet by heating oil over medium heat.
  7. Add about 1/2 cup of beans and mash with the back of spoon or a mashing utensil. If the mixture seems thick, add about 1 tablespoon of the cooking liquid from the beans.
  8. Continue to add beans and mash together, adding liquid as necessary.
  9. Once beans are mashed to the desired consistency, add garlic and salt to taste.

Nutritional information

Calories 222
Total Fat: 8 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 42 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 29 g
Dietary Fiber: 7 g
Total Sugar: 1 g
Protein: 10 g

Allergens: None noted

Tips and variations

Children can measure out and “dump” ingredients, and help with mashing the beans.

Use the prepared refried beans as a filling for tacos or burritos, a dip, and more.

Substitute black beans or add cumin as desired.


This was adapted from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Refried beans (no date; What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl).

Related resources

Preparing dry beans and whole dry peas (PDF) — Save money and time by preparing your own dried beans and peas.

Instant Spanish rice — Cook Spanish rice with instant brown rice. It will cut down on your cooking time and add additional health benefits (and flavor) to your meal.

Breakfast burrito — Start your day off with a hearty breakfast burrito. The protein and fiber in this burrito will give you lots of energy and help you maintain a healthy weight.

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