Refried Beans

I have been trying my hand at Stretchy Beans this week and having fun with it. Pintos are my family’s favorite bean, with Limas running a close second. What follows is the story of my first pot of stretchy beans. I only managed 2 dishes out of them, because I’m still new at this. I hope to work up to 3 or 4 meals per pot of beans.

When starting with dried beans they must first be cooked. I do it this way. Rinse 2-pounds of dry pinto beans in cool water. Pour the dry beans into a large crock-pot. Fill the pot with water to within 1 or 2 inches of the top. Add the following seasonings . . .

seasonings for pinto beans

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons fat, such as bacon grease, margarine or vegetable oil

Stir the seasonings into the beans. Place the lid on the crock-pot and cook the beans on HIGH overnight or for at least 8 hours. They will be gloriously tender, with flavor and aroma better than you can even imagine.

Serve the beans with cornbread the first day. Refrigerate leftovers.

The next day my beans looked like this.

Cold pinto beans in crockpot

Not especially appetizing, and maybe even a little scary looking. Since I had made 2-pounds of beans, I still had a lot left. After thinking about it for a while, I decided to make refried beans and freeze the extra for kid snacks later in the week.

So the next step was to get out my food processor, which is old and sorely neglected. I filled the processor half full of cold beans and then pureed. It looked like this.

foodprocessor full of refried beans

The bean puree was then poured into small, square rubbermaid containers. It took 2 batches to process all of the beans. After filling the freezer containers with about 1-cup of refried beans each, I topped them with shredded Vegan Gourmet Monteray Jack Cheese.

 freezer tubs filled with beans and cheese

Finally we put lids on all of them and stacked them in the freezer.

refried beans ready for freezer

The beans froze quickly. This morning, my oldest son decided to try one for breakfast. He reheated it for 2-minutes in the microwave and then served it with a handful of corn tortilla chips. It’s not a nutritionists dream breakfast, but it was better than some he’s had. He pronounced the beans a success. Since he’ll be eating most of them, I was pleased.

This is a recipe I will make again, to give the boys a quick, nourishing mini-meal or snack that is blessedly affordable too.

P.S. I have borrowed Robyn’s method for using pictures to tell a recipe story because they seemed so effective on her site.



Filed under food stamps, GFCF Recipes, Low Cost Foods, Pictures, WIC

30 responses to “Refried Beans

  1. Hi Maggie,

    That bean puree looks so yummy. And i actually think it would make a great nutritious breakfast. Another yummy breakfast is rice/beans/cheese wrapped in a tortilla, yum : )

    I like doing the stretchy bean thing too. The beans either thick or soupy by themselves of course, the using them to thicken other soups, the serving them with grains and cheese, the tortilla wraps, the puree as dip or spread. And you can make an easy cassarole with leftover beans by layering a pan with rice and cheese and spice, putting on a crumbled piece of sourdough bread, then the beans; cook on 325 till done. (Sometimes i leave the cheese out, still tastes pretty good without it. )

    Beans are also good in omelettes and quiches. I also add them to the cornbread batter. There are also recipes out there for bean bread….havent tried them yet, but they sure look good.

    I’m always looking for new bean ideas as its one of my most staple foods. And they are just so soothing and yummy. So i’m sure looking forward to what your inner recipe artist will come up with here Maggie…

    Peaceful week to you : ) Wendy

  2. This was so fun to read, thank you for sharing it. 🙂

    I love your red checkered table cloth; it makes things look so homey. I think I have one just like it somewhere, I need to go dig it up. 🙂

  3. tuimeltje

    This looks so tasty and easy! I see tins of refried beans in the supermarket, but they’re always over E1.50 (no clue what that is in $) which feels way overpriced to me.
    That you very much.

    The recipe story is a neat idea. My very first foodie blog post was a pretty detailed one, but all my others usually only have a pic of the ingredients and one of the the finished product.

  4. That is a great idea, I think I am going to make my family a big ‘ol pot

  5. Hey Wendy, now bean bread is something I’m not at all familiar with. I’ve heard of brownies made with beans, but never bread. Learn something new every day I guess.

    🙂 Hugs, Maggie

  6. My pleasure Robyn. Yours have inspired me so much that I just had to follow suit. As for the tablecloth, it’s a favorite of mine. It doesn’t quite fit my table so I layer it over a larger dark grey tablecloth that does fit. Sort of a shabby chic layered effect.

    Tuimeltje, in my neck of the woods refried beans are about 89 cents (just under $1) for 15-ounces. A full pound of dried beans, which would make the equivalent of 3 cans, costs about 50 cents (half a dollar) when purchased in large quantities. Needless to say, canned refried beans are very expensive compared to homemade.

    Hey Momzoo, we had cool weather this week, so beans were perfect on the menu. I really like these beans for breakfast, just plain, hot from the crock-pot, maybe with a slice of cold cornbread. Fred likes them this way too, but the boys think beans and cornbread are a weird breakfast. However refried beans and tortilla chips are fine. Go figure. 🙂

  7. tuimeltje

    Maggie, that’s definitely much cheaper!
    Around here (I live in the Netherlands) Mexican food is a pretty new and not too mainstream thing, so that probably helps too. Only specialty brands carry it.
    A variety of beans is easily found, though, so if you’re prepared to have a little bit of fun in the kitchen, you can make many things.

  8. speaking of bean bread, you can also make fudge, cake, and pie from beans. I’ve never made any, but I’ve seen recipes. 🙂

  9. Jennifer in MD

    Oh my goodness I tried black bean brownies a few weeks ago, using guava nectar as a sweetener. They were…okay. I think if you didn’t have brownies for a long time they’d be good, but I’m kind of fanatical about chocolate and they weren’t good for me 🙂

    Here is a recipe:

  10. We add some salsa when we puree the beans – yummm! Then serve them on tortillas (but they are expensive now, so not too often.)

  11. Esther

    Thank your for the pictures of the beans….I’m one of those people that won’t make anything out of a cookbook unless it has a picture!

  12. Hey, just found you tonight. Linked to you on my blog. Looking forward to checking your blog out some more.

  13. jessie97

    Homemade refried beans are so good. I love to use them in these burritos

  14. These look really good. I will be trying them!

  15. THanks Maggie girl. They turned out yummy.

  16. Terrie

    Hi Maggie,

    This is a bit off of subject, but I need to ask you a question. I’m new to sewing, and tried to sew me a simple elastic waist skirt. Well, let’s just say I had a mighty fine chucke at the end results. Oh, I’m not so terribly horrible, but I havn’t a clue about sewing on elastic.:) So I was wondering if you had any tricks for holding that elastic stretched out while sewing on the machine?



  17. Joy from New Mexico

    I cook only for 2 people. This is my weekly cooking of beans that lasts us all week.

    I take 3 cups of sorted & rinsed pinto beans, add 8 cups of water, and cook for 8 hours on high in the crockpot. Add 3 teaspoons of salt after the beans have finished cooking. (Adding the salt at the end of the cooking allows them to get nice and soft for mashing later). This gives me about 2 quart containers of beans which I refrigerate.

    Later in the week, I heat my iron skillet on high for 90 seconds, then turn down the heat to medium, dump in 1 quart of the beans and bring to boil. Once they are boiling, I mash them by hand with a good old-fashioned potato masher . Mashing them by hand with a potato masher is the traditional way to make refried beans in New Mexico. To me the appearance is much more appetizing than the beans that have been run through the blender, plus the potato masher is easier to wash.

    Remove the beans from the skillet as soon as they’re the desired consistency, let the skillet cool, wash & dry it, and rub a thin layer of shortening all on the inside before storing it so it’ll be ready to use next time.

  18. I like that you froze the beans with the cheese. I hadn’t thought of that before. Very handy. 🙂

  19. keilis

    I just posted a cookie recipe on my blog that I thought you might be interested in. Here is the link if you would like to look at it:

  20. Raven

    Hi, Tuimeltje, 1.50 euros would be something like $3.50 at the moment, so they are pretty expensive!

  21. tuimeltje

    Raven, that sure is a big difference! A good reason to make that kind of thing at home. It doesn’t take much effort and saves a lot.

  22. We made this! I halved the recipe because I had only one pound of beans and anyway our crockpot is smaller. I pureed the whole thing right away and we had it with tortillas–and I have some little containers full as well! (With dairy cheese on top, though.)

  23. That is the best idea! I made really good beans a few months ago, but I had SO much left over and had no idea what to do with them. (I ended up sharing them with my mom and dad–here! Take beans!) My youngest daughter LOVES refried beans so this will be a hit!

  24. I love the new red-checkered pattern on your main page! It’s perfect. 🙂

  25. Deb

    Maggie, thanks for the bean recipe. I love the illustrations and your pictures are great! We love beans, but I never know just what to do with the leftovers. Thank you! Thank you!

  26. I was browsing through people’s blogrolls today and found you. The top of your page looks so familiar to me. Did you used to do HillbillyHouseWife? Maybe I’m way off and you have that “huh?” look on your face. LOL But I would swear…
    Anyway. I’ve browsed your blog and love it and added it to my blogroll!
    Can’t wait to read more!

  27. Hi There Maggie,

    You may want to erase this comment after reading it…seem to have misplaced your email. Just wanted to let you know that i changed my blog link (same title but new link), its

    Well, i really hope all is well with you…

    Peaceful Weekend : ) Wendy

  28. Those short little Rubbermaid tuppers are the bomb, btw! I use them way more that I thought I would when I bought them–including copying your bean dishes.

  29. Clyde D. Stepps

    I am looking for a source of dry beans to fill some government food contracts.

    I noticed that when I typed my name in it appears that I have contacted you before, but did not get a response.

    I am looking for a source for 6912 cases Red Kidney Beans, 7776 cases Baby Lima Beans, and Great Northern Beans 5184. these would be #10 cans.

    I would like to hear from you.


    Clyde D. Stepps

  30. Robin

    Just a thought to cut down on your prep time, after the first 8 hour cooking period remove the amount of beans you want to use for the initial meal(s), then use a potato masher or ricer to bring the beans remaining in the crock pot to the consistency you wish for your refrieds, then add the fat from 4 to 8 slices of bacon, depending on the amount of beans, I use 4 slices for 8 oz of beans, and cook for another hour on low. You can crumble the bacon and add it or use it for another recipe, I like BLTs.

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