Joel could eat Mexican food, like, always. When he wants to go out to eat, he almost always picks Mexican food (our favorite place in Salem, OR is La Hacienda). But mostly, the Mexican food we eat is the food we make ourselves. Some of our favorites are homemade tortillas, enchiladas, tacos and, of course, margaritas. 

Years ago, I started making my own “refried” black beans. I put that word in quotes because these are not fried at all, and especially not refried. But they are the best black beans ever. Joel isn’t normally a huge fan of black beans, but we both agree, these we could eat by the bowl full. 

They also take minutes. I kid you not, they are probably faster to make then Joel’s fancy margs (but that’s another post). 

So here’s all you have to do: 

Get your favorite canned or cooked black beans. I like to make my own beans from dried, in larger batches in my pressure cooker or on the stove. Canned beans work great too! Drain them and set them aside. 

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Saute the flavor makers: garlic, onion, red pepper flake, and cumin in some olive oil. 

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Add in the beans and cook until they are warm- it doesn’t take long! 

Grab your potato masher and just start mashing them until you get a consistency you like. These beans end up having some texture and they are more like “smashed” beans. If you want everything super smooth, like traditional refried beans, you could put everything in the food processor and blend it real good. Here’s where I like to add a little stock (vegetable or chicken) or even water to help the mixture smooth out and come together. Just add whatever amount of liquid it takes to get them to a consistency you like.

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Now that you have your mashed beans, you can taste them and add salt, pepper, or more cumin! And that’s it! These take about 20 minutes to make. You can serve alongside your favorite Mexican dinner, or as a little snack on their own. They make great fillings for burritos. I love to eat them with some toppings added like chopped tomatoes and cilantro. 

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Refried Black Beans
Serves 2
A healthy side dish for any Mexican favorites!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. 2 cups black beans
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 2 tablespoons onion (any kind) chopped fine
  5. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
  6. 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flake, or to taste
  7. 1/4 – 1/2 cup stock or water
  8. Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Drain the beans and set aside. In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic, onion, cumin and red pepper flake. Sauté until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes (don’t let the garlic burn). Add the black beans and heat, stirring until warm, about 5 minutes.
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