Refried beans

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rodentraiser

Head Chef
Joined
Jan 16, 2016
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1,460
Location
Puget Sound, WA
I love restaurant style refried beans. It sounds crazy because they're almost tasteless, but I love 'em anyway. The problem is, the restaurants are charging $5 a serving and that was last fall. Who knows what they cost now.

So I've been making my own, trying various recipes and not having any luck.

Does anyone here have a recipe to make refried beans taste the way they taste in a Mexican restaurant or a way to make those nasty canned refried beans taste like restaurant refried beans? I'm out of ideas.

I used to make my refried beans in the crock pot and those were OK, but they did taste only marginally better than Rosarita canned beans.
 

msmofet

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
13,045
I make refried beans in my instant pot (pressure cooker). They taste pretty good. The beans cook so much quicker than stove-top.


1/2 lb. dried pinto beans
1/2 C. onion, coarse chopped
3 garlic cloves, coarse chopped
1/2 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies, undrained (≈2 oz.)
1 tomato, diced with all the juice that accumulates
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 - 2TBSP. bacon fat or lard (or vegetable shortening)
1.5 C. hot chicken broth (or 1.5 C. hot water and 1.5 tsp. chicken bouillon)
2 C. hot water
Hot sauce - to taste
*1/4 lb. bacon, cooked - optional

refried_beans_072118_2_IMG_4600.jpg
 

Just Cooking

Master Chef
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
Messages
5,114
Location
Springfield, MO
I used to make from scratch but, as with many things, no longer.

I do used canned refried beans but, always add to them.

First is using bacon fat.
Saute chopped onions, add whatever flavorings I like, such as chili pwd, cumin, etc.
One thing I always add is a spoonful of Knorr Caldo De Tomate Bouillon.

That stuff is great and I make my enchilada sauce with it, add to beans, rice and most anything Mexican.

I keep it simple, because I now have to, but its really good.

Ross
 

msmofet

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
13,045
I used to make from scratch but, as with many things, no longer.

I do used canned refried beans but, always add to them.

First is using bacon fat.
Saute chopped onions, add whatever flavorings I like, such as chili pwd, cumin, etc.
One thing I always add is a spoonful of Knorr Caldo De Tomate Bouillon.

That stuff is great and I make my enchilada sauce with it, add to beans, rice and most anything Mexican.

I keep it simple, because I now have to, but its really good.

Ross

I also use the Knorr Caldo for these beans, enchilada sauce and Spanish/Mexican rice.
 

GinnyPNW

Head Chef
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
1,918
Location
Somewhere in the PNW
My favorite recipe for refried beans is this one:

https://www.melskitchencafe.com/wprm_print/56439

It is easy. I often add other spices and an extra jalapeno. I always make a double recipe and cook on high for 4.5 hours.

When done, I freeze in FoodSaver bags, 1 cup each. I get about 9 cups total.

When I heat them up, sometimes I add a tablespoon or so of sour cream, some La Victoria hot sauce and top them with cheese (cheddar or jack).

I also keep Spicy Pinto Beans in the freezer. They are not "re-fried" but whole beans. They are nice to change up things and just as easy. I use a Wms Sonoma recipe: https://blog.williams-sonoma.com/spicy-pinto-beans-recipe/ I like to double this recipe too and freeze in 2 cup containers.
 

larry_stewart

Master Chef
Joined
Dec 25, 2006
Messages
5,183
Location
Long Island, New York
I love restaurant style refried beans. It sounds crazy because they're almost tasteless, but I love 'em anyway.

I hear ya.
In most cases, no matter what I order at a Mexican restaurant ( even when I had a broader diet) my favorite part was the beans and rice.

And I also get it, that they are kinda tasteless, but in a good way.
I like aother versions as well, but the restaurant style is always my favorite.
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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Joined
Aug 26, 2004
Messages
12,454
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USA,Michigan
I once cooked with two friends for about 200 teenage girls at a church girl's camp. The wife of one of my friends was Mexican, as was my friend. she made refried beans from scratch (which angered a few of the past women cooks as they weren't very good cooks by comparison). Her recipe was simple, and some of the best refried beans I've eaten. Here's what she did.

Presoak dried black beans overnight. Cook in salted water until tender. Dice pork belly, and fry to render out the fat. Add minced onion and sauté with the pork belly until tender. Add water, and fresh cilantro, cover, and simmer until the pork belly is tender. Blend pan ingredients into a smooth emulsion. Place back on the stove and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Mash the beans. Add to the onion/pork belly. Fry over medium heat to the right texture, stirring frequently to keep the refried beans from sticking to the pan. Serve with good shredded cheese served over top.

As you can see, there is no cumin, chili powder, or tomato product added. You get pure bean, and pork flavor. You can add salt if you want. Black beans have great flavor, IMHO, better than pinto, or red beans.

Since we were cooking for a great number of patrons, I can't give you exact measurements. We served these beans with shredded beef enchiladas. At the end of our week long camp, the girls made for us a plaque, and told us that we made the best food they'd ever had at girl's camp. Some even asked that we give them recipes because the food was better than what their parents made.

It was a very special week for me, and my friends. We were so happy to be able to present those kids good food, and open up to them new culinary experiences. And those refried beans were so tasty.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 

pepperhead212

Executive Chef
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
Messages
3,599
Location
Woodbury, NJ
The lard or bacon fat is one good thing, and something I always add is epazote (one of those herbs I have fresh 365 days a year!). Traditional in black bean, but I use it in pintos, too, because I like it so much.
 

Whiskadoodle

Executive Chef
Joined
Nov 1, 2011
Messages
4,129
Location
Twin Cities Mn
It’s true. One of the benchmark’s I look for when dining at Mexican restaurants is the quality of their refried beans. Yes, they are most often very mild to excessively so and that’s the expectation that makes them good. What prevents a return visit is if the beans are too soupy. At home this is how I spiff them up. And thanks, I never heard of Knorr’s Caldo de tomate, going to try this pronto.


Refried beans
1 can pinto beans
2 Tbsp olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 mediun onion fairly small dice
1-2 garlic clove smashed
Taco seasoning mix – 1 palm full (2+Tbsp?) from a 24 oz. jar McCormick taco seasoning mix, available at Costco et al,
½-3/4 tsp chili powder, I prefer using a medium hot
1 tsp oregano,
1 heaping tsp or more cumin, toasted seeds & ground ( who am I kidding, powder cumin is just fine.)
1/3 cup chicken broth or water

Heat oil. Add onion, cook until softens add garlic and cumin, cook 1-2 minutes Add remainder ingredients and chicken stock. Bring to almost a boil. Add beans and reduce heat. Cook and stir until flavors combine. Optional add: pure chili powder to taste to bring to desired heat level, Predominant flavor I like is spicy cumin, not just hot spicy.

With a potato masher mash beans until smooth or as lumpy as you like.
If beans seem too dry, splash in a little more broth. If using canned refried beans, follow same method.
 

pepperhead212

Executive Chef
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
Messages
3,599
Location
Woodbury, NJ
That's the basic recipe I use, with an onion and a few cloves of garlic, plus that epazote that I add. He has a bunch of good recipes with epazote in his books, as well as the website. I've never made anything of his I didn't like!

 

rodentraiser

Head Chef
Joined
Jan 16, 2016
Messages
1,460
Location
Puget Sound, WA
Wow! Thank you, everyone! Looks like I'll be trying out a few recipes when I get home.

I was looking online and saw a bunch of recipes that simply added sour cream to the canned beans. Someone pointed out that restaurants don't usually make refried beans from scratch and that they arrive at the restaurants in cans.

I had quit adding oregano to the beans though, because I could always taste it and it didn't taste all that good. Chef John was saying to add something called epazote and I haven't been able to find that anywhere.

But remember that I'm looking for those slightly runny, mostly tasteless refried beans you can get in Mexican restaurants.
 
Last edited:

karadekoolaid

Head Chef
Joined
Jul 16, 2006
Messages
1,317
Location
Caracas
If I cook the beans from scratch, there´s always a whole lot of stuff going on: onions, garlic, ground chiles, cumin, oregano, etc.
However, these days, it tends to be a tin of pinto/black beans:
1) Finely chopped bacon, a bit of diced onion and a clove of garlic, gently fried to render all the bacon fat
2) Add the beans and stir together to mix the flavours together
3) Puree the mixture until smooth.

Inevitably, I add chile peppers in one form or another: they may be jalapeños, home pickled; fresh serranos, diced, or something similar.
 

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