Homemade Refried Beans


Okay, usually taco night means we take it easy. Just buying a can of refried beans seems like the thing to do, right? But this time I thought I would try making refritos from scratch with dried beans using a recipe from this cook book.


  • 2 cups of pinto beans, soaked in water overnight
  • 1 level Tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 level Tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 4 Tablespoons sunflower oil (canola or veggie if that’s what you have)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste

Drain and rinse the beans. Place in a large saucepan with fresh water to cover. Bring to a boil. A foam will rise to the surface of the pan; scoop it off and discard. Cover the pan and simmer until the beans are tender. Drain.

Meanwhile, toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a hot skillet for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Grind in a spice grinder or using a pestle and mortar. (Or, um, just use the pre-powdered kind. This is, after all, taco night.) Set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the onion gently until soft (but not brown or it will be bitter). Add the ground spices and saute with the onion for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add the onion mixture to the drained beans. Remove from the heat and mash with a potato masher until the beans are broken down. If necessary, add some broth to get a thick consistency. Add salt.

And there. Something better than any can can provide. Great on soft tacos, over rice or just on their own with a little grated cheese on top.