Melting cheese on top of refried beans makes them taste better.

Easy Refried Beans

Someone, specifically Sue Chef and Baker’s Man, pointed out that my April 1 post did not contain a NEW bean recipe, and they believe that means that I either need to blog about beans twice on one day, or I need to continue my 30 days of beans series through May 1.  I don’t want to cheat, so I’m asking for your opinions regarding this.  While you consider my dilemma and what I should do, I want to share a very easy recipe for tasty refried beans.

I realize that the easiest way to have refried beans is to buy a can and open them, but sometimes, these beans lack any depth of flavor.  I will admit, however, that there are some canned refried beans that are very good because of the added spices and seasonings.  My favorite is chili and lime right now, but I’m also fond of one that is labeled zesty salsa flavored.    This recipe is more for those occasions when you don’t have any canned refried beans, but may have a can of regular beans or some leftover cooked beans, and you want to transform them into something different.   I turned to this recipe when I made Mexican Poached Eggs for my family and needed refried beans as a base for my tostadas.

This simplest version of this recipe for refried beans uses bacon grease and vinegar.  I know that this sounds like a strange combination, but I promise that the flavor of the vinegar gets lost in the flavor of the beans, and the hint of acidity goes particularly well with pinto beans.   You can add other flavors such as garlic and onion to your refried beans, but this is enough for simple yet flavorful beans.

To ensure that you always have bacon grease on hand, strain the grease after cooking your bacon, and once it is cool, you can put two tablespoon portions into an ice cube tray and stick them in the freezer.  This lets you have bacon fat available for seasoning whenever you want it.  I know Grandma used to just keep a can of bacon grease on her stove and scoop some into whatever she was cooking to boost the flavor, but the idea of rancid fat bothers me.    Once the bacon grease is frozen, I pop it out of my ice cube trays and store it in a freezer bag or plastic storage container.  After the grease is out, I wash the ice tray and fill it again to make ice.  We don’t like bacon flavored ice in our lemonade, so the washing is very important.

Frozen bacon grease is purported to last up to a year in your freezer.  I don’t cook large amounts of  bacon often, so freezing the grease is a good way for me to have the fresh bacon flavor around between batches.

cheese melts atop easy refried beansHere’s the recipe for refried beans.  They are great in burritos, on tostadas, or just as a side dish.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. Also, please let me know your opinion regarding whether my 30 days series needs to continue one extra day because there were no new bean recipes published on April 1.

Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.

Easy Refried Beans
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Southwest
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
This basic recipe transforms plain canned beans into flavorful refried beans.
  • 2 cups canned pinto beans
  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • Salt to taste (optional)
  1. Heat bacon grease in deep frying pan.
  2. Add beans and their canning liquid to bacon grease. Be careful, the liquid in the beans will make the grease pop out of the pan.
  3. Mash Beans gently with a potato masher or the back of a large spoon.
  4. Sprinkle Cider vinegar over the top and mash it into the beans.
  5. Add salt to taste (if desired). Sometimes canned beans are salty enough, so I don't always add salt.
  6. Heat until desired temperature is reached over a low heat, stirring often to prevent sticking/burning.


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