Refried Beans

Cranberry beans creamy rich flavor make for the perfect refried beans, giving a boost to any Mexican dish. Add it to your tacos, as a base for your breakfast tostada, or as a side to accompany Spanish rice. Making refried beans from dried beans is far easier than you would think! Soaked in water for 8 hours, then steamed like rice until soft and easily mashed with the back of a spoon.

Knowing how to prepare dried beans can come in handy. The dried beans are easier to store and have a long shelf life. After re-hydrating the beans and cooking them, they can also be used in salads, or homemade chili instead of being mashed.

Refried Beans

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 5 mins
Servings 2 Prepared Cups


  • 1 1/4 Cup Cranberry beans Or Pinto Beans
  • 4 Cups Water Additional 3 Cups For Soaking
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons Bacon Grease Or Olive/Avocado Oil (For a healthier alternative)


  • Submerge 1 1/4 cup beans in 3 cups water. Soak the beans for 8 hours.
  • Strain off excess water after 8 hours of soaking.
  • Pour the pre-soaked beans in a pan with 4 cups of water. Cover with a lid bring to a boil and cook on low for 2 hours.
  • After two hours remove from heat, and add 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, cumin and 2 tablespoon oil to the beans.
  • If you have a blender, pour the contents of the pan into the blender, and blend until smooth. Return the blended mixture to the pan, and cook on low without the lid until you reach the desired thickness. This process should take about 20-30 minutes.
  • The beans can be mashed by hand, run through a food mill, or a hand emulsifier to blend the beans if you don't want to mash by hand.
  • Cooking the additional 20-30 minutes will reduce the liquid, and infuse the cumin with the beans.
  • Serve warm. Store in a sealed container with a lid for up to a week.




Can you Use any type of beans?

Typically refried beans are made using pinto beans.  Alternative beans can be used, but will change the taste.  For this recipe I have used both pinto and cranberry beans.  

Does it matter when you season the beans?

The beans are fully cooked and mashed before they are seasoned, but are cooked for an additional 20-30 minutes prior to serving.  You could season the beans before they are cooked, but it wouldn't make much of a difference in this case.  Dried beans have a shelf-life.  Beans that have been stored for longer periods of time will be harder and not hydrate as well as fresh beans.  Based on my research, seasoning the beans before cooking will not make the beans harder or increase the duration of the cook time.  Seasoning the beans before cooking can infuse the flavor into the bean while cooking, but you will want to be mindful not to over season if you plan to add seasoned meats to the beans after they are cooked.  

Does it make a difference if you cook the beans in water with the lid off?

Yes, the liquid will evaporate quicker if you do not keep the lid on the pot while cooking.  Although the beans can be cooked with the lid off, you will need to pay closer attention to the pan and add additional water as needed.  Keeping the lid on will increase the temperature, and allow the beans to cook faster than they would if you had the lid off.