Refried Beans

There are a few things I fail epically at making – jello, rice krispy treats, and cooking dried beans are some of those.  I’m not quite sure why.  My jello turns out to be liquid after hours in the fridge – one Thanksgiving we ate cranberry soup because of my inability to master the easiest of tasks, my rice krispy treats come out soggy and the last time I attempted to make them, my dad spit out his bite into the trash can, claiming it was completely inedible, and a couple years ago for Memorial Day I had the task of bringing the baked beans.  If you know anything about my cooking – and my husband can attest to this – nothing can be “simple”.  I’m not a plain buttermilk waffles kind of girl.  No, they must be loaded with chocolate chips, graham cracker chunks and marshmallows and then drizzled in a hot fudge sauce.  I mean, why would you want simple?  But, I digress.  I searched high and low for what I thought was going to be the best stinking baked bean recipe that was out there, and since I was working earlier that morning, I wanted it to be a slow cooker kind.  Well, it was definitely slow at cooking, because after my 5 hour shift and another 3 hours of sitting around it was still not soft.  The beans were so crunchy, I ended up having to throw away the contents of the slow cooker and buy two cans to take with me.  Yup.  Epic fail.

However, I also don’t like to quit on trying to master the things I fail at.  So, this Memorial Day I tried baked beans again… but trust me, I contemplated way longer than I should have over whether I should make them from dried beans or canned.  Ultimately, I tried dried beans and it was a success – so, I thought I’d give it another go – but this time with some refried beans.  I didn’t use a slow cooker method, but if you wanted to – just place the beans in the slow cooker and cook on high until soft and the liquid has absorbed (about 5 hours or so).


Refried Beans

freezer-friendly * makes about twelve 1/2 c servings * total cost: $1.64 * cost per serving: $0.14

  • 1 lb dried pinto beans – $1.12
  • 6 c water
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped – $0.10
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic – $0.03
  • 1 tsp cumin – $0.05
  • 2 tsp chili powder – $0.33
  • 1 tsp salt – $0.01

First off, put your beans in a pot, cover them with water and soak them over night.  There are a few websites that state you don’t need to soak them – but then you’re stuck with crunchy beans, so I’d just take precautions and soak them.

Drain your soaked beans and pour 6 cups of fresh water over top of them.  Add the jalapeno and the garlic.  Let the beans come to a boil, and then cover them and cook for an hour and a half, mixing every half hour or so.

Once the beans are soft, you can keep the lid off and continue cooking until the water has been absorbed.  It should be a little watery, but it’ll thicken up once the beans begin to cool.  At this point, you’ll want to add your seasons.  I only needed 1 tsp of salt, but depending on your palate you may want more.

Serve warm and enjoy!


*This makes about 6 cups of refried beans – that’s about 3 cans worth, so you may have leftovers.  This recipe can easily be frozen for later use (freeze if you don’t plan on using within 2 days) and check out next week a great breakfast recipe that I used these in!


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