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Unfried Refried Beans

"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


  • 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Nutrition Facts
1/2 cup: 172 calories, 1g fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 572mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 9g fiber), 10g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 lean meat.

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Average Rating:
  • TSpahr
    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.

  • lynne1141
    Apr 29, 2013

    No comment left

  • ConnieK
    Aug 18, 2012

    No comment left

  • auntiggy
    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!

  • mhbtjb
    May 20, 2011

    I really like this recipe

  • mamamowe15
    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!!!

  • bylaw
    Feb 25, 2010

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

  • bylaw
    Feb 24, 2010

    This is one of my all-time favorite recipes now. I have been using it for many years. It's a great recipe for your wallet. It makes a lot. I transfer the finished beans into my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and let it do the work for me. I use these for other recipes calling for refried beans. This also freezes very well.

  • krystalp
    Aug 2, 2007

    No comment left