Unfried Refried Beans Recipe
Unfried Refried Beans Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Unfried Refried Beans Recipe

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"Refried beans were a staple in our home when I was growing up, but the dish my dad made called for crisp bacon and bacon fat," writes Michelle Martinez of Albany, New York. "Being health-conscious, I lightened up the recipe and found that it remained as tasty as I remember from my childhood.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + standing Cook: 2 hours
MAKES:5 servings
Healthy Diabetic Exchange Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + standing Cook: 2 hours
MAKES: 5 servings


  • 8 ounces dried pinto beans, sorted and rinsed
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Tostada shells, optional
  • Toppings of your choice, optional

Nutritional Facts

1/2 cup equals 165 calories, 1 g fat (0.55 g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 505 mg sodium, 31 g carbohydrate, 11 g fiber, 10 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch, 1 lean meat


  1. Place beans in a soup kettle or Dutch oven; add water to cover by 2 in. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans, discarding liquid.
  2. Return beans to Dutch oven; add the 2 quarts water. Add the chili powder, garlic, 1-3/4 teaspoons cumin, pepper, 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 2-3 hours or until beans are tender.
  3. Drain beans, reserving 3/4 cup liquid. Place bean mixture in a bowl; coarsely mash. Gradually stir in reserved cooking liquid until mixture reaches desired consistency. Stir in the remaining cumin and salt. Serve on tostada shells with toppings of your choice if desired. Yield: 5 servings.
Originally published as Unfried Refried Beans in Light & Tasty December/January 2004, p64

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Reviewed Jul. 24, 2014

"These are way better than canned! Healthy and delicious. I also doubled the beans and kept everything else the same. I like to freeze the leftovers for a quick, easy meal during the week."

Reviewed May. 25, 2011

"Great alternative to canned refried beans, my husband has to watch his sodium, so always looking for healthier ways to cook. I didn't have pinto beans and used black beans instead. Also used salt substitute, worked fine!"

Reviewed May. 20, 2011

"I really like this recipe"

Reviewed May. 3, 2011

"This was so bland I was searching for things to put in it to get it some flavor. I ended up adding more cumin, a ton of salt, and sour cream. I was able to use it but won't be making it again!!!"

Reviewed Feb. 25, 2010

"P.S. I double the dried pinto beans to 16 oz and leave everything else the same. Good and healthy."

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