Refried Beans

I use a pressure cooker to cook beans, because it’s so much easier. I would highly recommend getting one. You can definitely cook the beans in a regular pot, but plan ahead and soak the beans overnight.


  • 2 cups dried pinto beans
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 cups yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • Pinch cayenne


In a large pressure cooker, combine the beans, bay leaves, and water. Do not fill pressure cooker more than half full. Cook for about 30-35 minutes on high pressure. Save some of the cooking water. Alternately, you can soak the beans overnight and cook in a large pot with enough water to cover by about 2 inches for about 1½-2 hours, covered.

When the beans are soft, mash in a large pot (I used a cast iron dutch oven) with a potato masher or the back of a heavy wooden spoon. Remove from the heat.

In a skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeño, chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant (45 seconds to 1 minute.) Add the ½ cup of canola oil, and stir to combine.

Add the contents of the skillet to the large pot with the mashed up beans. Add about ½ cup of the cooking water from the beans. Add more or less depending on what consistency you prefer. Stir to combine.

Cook, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon, until the mixture forms a thick paste, about 5 to 10 minutes, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time as necessary to keep from getting dry. Adjust seasoning if necessary.