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bowl of refried beans

Vegan Refried Beans from Scratch

  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 10 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Vegan refried beans are best when homemade.  Learn how to make authentic Mexican beans that are healthy, creamy, and gluten free.  Make this ahead for your next party and freeze any leftovers for a quick and easy dinner idea.




  • 2 pounds dried pinto beans
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (30 ml)
  • 2 cups white onion, chopped (245g)
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh jalapeno, seeded and finely diced (32g)
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 10 cups cooked pinto beans
  • 2 1/2 cups bean broth (reserved liquid from cooking)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, from 3 large limes
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, for garnish (optional)


Quick Soak (1 hr 25 min)

  1. Pick out any damaged ones, then rinse them in a colander and drain.
  2. Place the pintos in a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart pot and cover with 2 inches of cold water.
  3. Cover and bring to a boil, then uncover and let the water boil for 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat, leave the pot on the element, and let it stand covered for 1 hour.
  4. Drain and rinse them thoroughly.

Cook   (1 hr 35 min)

  1. Cover the soaked pintos with 2 inches of water and add a quartered onion and 2 bay leaves.  Cover the pot and bring it to a boil.
  2. Lower the heat to medium low, put the lid askew, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Re-cover the pot and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Uncover and let it cook for another 30 minutes or until they are soft.  To test, squish one against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon.  Remove the quartered onion and the 2 bay leaves.
  4. Reserve 2 1/2 cups of the bean water to help thin the refried beans later, then drain.

Making the Refried Beans (45 min)

  1. Heat up the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat until it shimmers, then add the onion and salt.  Let it saute for a couple of minutes, then add the diced jalapeno.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the minced garlic and cook while stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  2. Add the spices (cumin, chipotle chili powder, Mexican oregano, and black pepper) and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Gradually add the cooked pintos, making sure to thoroughly mix in the onion and spice mixture.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes over medium low heat.
  4. Remove the lid and reduce the heat to low.  Mash the beans with a potato masher until 3/4 are mashed.  Pour in the reserved broth leftover from the cooking, then stir.  Continue mashing until they are the consistency you want.  If needed, add some filtered water to thin it out.
  5. Taste and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt to the refried beans, if desired.  Cook 3 minutes more, then remove from the heat.  Mix in the freshly squeezed lime juice.
  6. Serve warm, garnished with some fresh cilantro.


Want to make the sides in the burrito bowl photo in the post?  We used the following:

  • Mexican Rice: Rinse starch from rice.  Fry the onion, garlic, tomato paste and long grain rice in olive oil.  Add water, salt and tomato bouillon.  Simmer 20 minutes.  Rest 10 minutes.
  • Roasted Salsa Verde: Roast tomatillos, serrano pepper, onion, garlic at 400 F until charred.  Add cilantro, lime juice, salt, sugar and roasted veggies to processor and pulse.
  • Try to use newer legumes, if they are older than one year, they will take longer to cook.
  • Increase the cooking time, if you don't want to soak the pintos.
  • Put the refried beans in a food processor or use an immersion blender if you want them really smooth.
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: authentic refried beans, Mexican refried beans recipe