Can-free: Homemade refried beans (that taste amazing)

Canned refried beans from the store are tasteless and pasty. These fresh, homemade refried beans are delicious enough to eat plain, right off the spoon!

When we were first married, Joshua asked me to use very, very little refried beans in his burritos or tacos. Now that I cook fresh beans in the slow cooker and make my own refried beans, he'll eat a big heap of them!

I've heard lots of people say "You can make refried beans just by mashing up your cooked pinto beans... don't bother with re-cooking them."

Now, I am sure that is a good substitute for refried beans. But it is not refried beans. And in my opinion, the flavor of mashed beans doesn't hold a candle to refried beans. ;)

But, refried beans don't have to be complicated or difficult. When I cook a big batch of pinto beans in my slow cooker, I freeze or refrigerate the leftovers. Then, when I need refried beans for the next day (or another meal), I fry the beans. Another option is to make a large batch of refried beans and freeze in 2-cup containers.

Beans in the slow cooker are easy enough for my 7-year-old to make by himself! And thanks in part to having freshly cooked beans, all of our children love it when I serve beans. That makes me (and our food budget) happy! :)

Have I convinced you to try cooking dry beans in your slow cooker yet? If so... homemade refried beans is the next logical step! ;)

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Hi Tammy,

What are you frying your beans in? Butter, Oil, Coconut oil?
Also, how often a week would you say your family eats beans as the main dish in one of their meals? I know they are so excellent for our diets but Im afraid I don't have enough creative ways to make them so they don't get boring!
Thanks for all your help!!

Alix, I usually just use canola oil, though I've used light olive oil and I'm sure butter would work too, or coconut oil (although if you're using coconut oil that smells coconutty then it will give that flavor to the beans). I just wrote "oil" in the recipe because I don't think it needs to be anything specific. :)
We eats beans as sides a lot, or for lunches. They're often an ingredient, like in soups, on salads, in Mexican meals, or as a side dish with rice. You can see all my bean recipes here -- there are quite a few! But, I love beans, so I don't get too bored with them... :)

I've made pinto beans in my slow cooker once last year (with your recipe!) and they were a big hit! My husband still talks about how good they are and bothers me to make them- and I haven't gotten a chance to yet...I never seem to have all my favorite fresh toppings on hand- the sour cream, cheese, cilantro, tomatoes. I must make time this week!

Yay! :)

I want to grow cilantro next year so I can always have it on hand. We do keep sour cream and cheese on hand and tortilla chips, so there's always something I can add to the beans but fresh cilantro just takes them over the top for me! ;) Or fresh tomato salsa...

As an aside, if everyone you're cooking for likes cilantro (unlike at my house), I imagine you could freeze ice cubes of chopped cilantro and add them to the beans when you're re-frying them... :)

I grabbed a can of so-called refried beans the other day then gagged when I opened it! Never again. I've made them for so long I can't go back. I cook the beans in the crock pot and thenfry them--way, way different from the cheap-dog-food-like canned glop!

Lisa @

I've made your slow cooker beans before and added the refried bean ingredients without refrying them they are still pretty good. Once we get moved and I am able to cook again (something I'm really looking forward to) I'm going to try the refry method. My boys and I like the homemade version better than the can. Hubby don't like beans at all (except green beans LOL)

I love refried beans as well, ever since learning how to make them! Here in Belize that is a popular breakfast, and I have found the way we like them best is if I have precooked the beans with garlic, onions and cilantro. We blend them, then heat them up. If you use plain beans, you can always add the ingredients before blending but then you need to cook them longer. Belizeans like them quite runny so we use spoons to eat them, or dip our fried jacks or tortillas in them.

And to the one who questioned about frying them in coconut oil, we like them that way. they are served fried in coconut oil here in one restaurant, and it really makes it a tropical dish, for those who prefer it. The taste can be acquired easily, in my opinion!

Thanks for your recipes, Tammy!

Thanks for sharing about how refried beans are prepared/served in Belize! :)

I love coconut and coconut oil, so I wonder if I would like it in refried beans. :) I made biscuits using coconut oil and didn't care for them at all... even though I was serving them with strawberries and whipped cream! So now I am afraid to try using it in "just any" recipe. ;)

These look really great; I'm definitely adding them to my to-make list!

Also, it's so nice to have you blogging again! I always enjoy your posts! :)

Thank you, Audrey! :)

Tammy, I need to try this recipe. One of my new "meals" is a taco dip. The refried beans make it so filling that is all we need! Everyone loves it...however, I would feel really good if I made my own refried beans. I use grapeseed oil for frying when I don't want what I'm frying to pick up a in stir fry. I has a really high flash point and doesn't it's super good for you. It's in my local grocery and about $7 something for 750ml. Love it! Thank you for the recipe. I "Pinned" it.

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