Twice-Cooked (Refried) Beans

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: 20 minutes with cooked beans

This is an instance in which you want to avoid canned beans: Since there are so few ingredients and vegetarians obviously can’t use the traditional lard the predominant flavor and texture comes from the beans themselves. For more assertive seasoning, try adding a couple sprigs of epazote (fresh or dried), a bay leaf or two, and some garlic to the pot as the beans simmer.

Twice-Cooked Beans can be more than just a side dish. Try them as a bed for Fried Eggs or thinned with a little Salsa Roja for a hearty enchilada or tamale sauce. Pured, they make an excellent base for all sorts of Bean Dips.

Other beans you can use: black beans.

1/4 cup neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn

1 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon ground cumin, plus more if desired

3 cups cooked pinto or other red beans

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne, plus more if desired

Put the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the cumin and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add the beans and mash with a large fork or potato masher. Continue to cook and mash, stirring, until the beans are more or less broken up (some remaining chunks are fine).

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the cayenne and more cumin if you like. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve.


Creamier Refried Beans. This is in no way traditional but will give you a more velvety texture: Instead of the neutral oil, use 1/3 cup coconut oil.

Buttery Refried Beans. Also nontraditional (and nonvegan) but delicious: Instead of the neutral oil, use up to 1/2 cup butter.

10 Flavorings for Twice-Cooked (Refried) Beans

  1. Minced fresh chile (like jalapeo or Thai), or to taste
  2. Minced pickled chile
  3. Chopped scallion or white onion
  4. Minced peeled fresh ginger or garlic
  5. Chopped Quick-Pickled Vegetables
  6. Chopped seeded tomato
  7. Cilantro
  8. Chopped black olives
  9. Grated cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Chihuahua cheese or crumbled queso fresco
  10. Cooked brown or white rice