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Refried Beans Using Pinto Frijoles/Painted Beans

Updated on July 19, 2011

Refried Beans New Mexico

Refried Beans

Pinto Frijoles ~ Painted Bean

In the Midwest, the cookbooks all refer to bean dishes and soups as something that women made on ‘wash day’ or some other day that required hours of long hard labor. Why? Well, beans are not all that difficult to make and you add the flavor popping elements at the last.

We don’t make beans from dried beans much anymore because most of us work away from home and do not have all day to ‘check’ on the beans. Plus, I don’t think many of us would give up our washers and dryers!

Although, the crock pot will make beans for you while you are at work.

Beans are very healthy for you too. Beans are good cholesterol busters. Here are some statistics from the US Dry Bean Council on how healthy beans are for you:

Still, it is nice to know how to make re-fried beans from scratch, not to mention, that some of the commercially canned beans are not as healthy and tasty as what you can easily and cheaply make in your own kitchen.

You can make these beans from dried beans or already cooked canned beans. There are many ways to embellish the humble bean.

Basic Refried Beans

Follow the instructions on a bag of pinto beans to make the beans that you will use in this recipe. Note: The richer in flavor of the final cooking water (chicken broth etc.) the better the final product!

OR use canned beans!


¼ c. canola oil (may need more, so keep the oil out) Tip: bacon drippings as a supplement makes nice flavor.

½ C. diced onions

2 C. cooked pinto beans

1 chilé, (green or red, your choice) top removed and seeded and chopped Remember to use plastic gloves in handling your chilé as the membrane and the seeds of the chilé will leave oil on your hands that causes burning sensations when you touch your eyes etc. This lasts for hours! So, those dollar store throw-away gloves are a must!!

2 t. Garlic powder

4 T. salt The salt takes a bit to melt into the beans so don’t go adding more if the beans don’t taste salty enough at first. Give the salt a bit to mix into the beans.


Heat up a skillet, cast iron preferred with the oil in it

Sauté the onions until transparent

Place the beans in the skillet and mix

Place the chilé in the skillet and mix (don’t add the chilé before the beans or you will cry…or at least my eyes do!)

Add the garlic powder

Stir and mash. Use one of those hand blenders or a potato masher. You can make the beans to your favorite consistency. I leave it a bit rustic.

Fun additions:

Take a look at the grocery and you will see all kinds of refried beans. Why can’t you add those ingredients to your beans OR a can of regular beans?


~ Lime

~ Chili powder (yeah, I said chili with an i here because I am using a Midwestern style powder)

~ Tomatoes

~ Salsa

~ Cooked Bacon

~ Cooked Chorizo sausage

~ Ham

~ Cilantro sprinkled on at last

This is a list that you can add many flavors too!

Well, I think we are ready for the family pleaser recipes of Fry Bread and Frito Pie for the next two recipes! Those recipes will be on Wednesday and Thursday.

Here is a great web site for many bean recipes.



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