Best Authentic Refried Bean Recipe

Refried Bean Recipe

What’s the cowboy cooking today? Refried beans. One of my favorite dishes. When I go to eat out, a lot of times I’m disappointed, cause I’m thinking, “Did they just dump these out of the can?”. So, let’s go a traditional route and make these like I saw an ol’ Spanish cook make out near Silver City, New Mexico back in the 80s.

The first thing he always told me – start with good beans. Now, I’ve always been a fan of Casserole Brand because my mother got me hooked on them many years ago. People have always asked me when they saw our Cowboy Pinto bean video that we’ve done before, “You didn’t even pick or clean those beans to get the rocks out of them.” But I’ve never had any rocks or anything in the Casserole kind. I think they are pre-cleaned and pre-sifted.

Refried Bean Recipe

Keep the water about 1 ½ to 2 inches above the beans.


I hear you out there asking, “You gonna soak them beans?” The only time I soak beans in my life is when I’m above 4000-foot elevation, that’s what makes the biggest difference.

I’m also going to use two different kinds of peppers. One of them is gonna give it a little heat (cayenne), and others gonna give it that good smoky flavor (dried ancho) that you gotta have if you’re doing refried beans. 

The Veggies Trick

Now, for these beans we don’t want those onions boiling away, so we’re gonna make a pretty good chunck out of them- you don’t need to chop them too finely. 

Refried Bean Recipe

When adding the peppers, if you don’t like a cayenne or a jalapeno, hey, try some green chilis or whatever you want, just make it to your liking.

Don’t Forget to Stir Them Beans Often

As the beans cook, don’t forget to stir them. We’re gonna check them periodically and we’re also going to add water to them as they cook. Now, when you’re adding water, don’t add cold water! Keep a pitcher of hot water handy because that way the beans don’t have to boil all over again which is what makes a mushy-mushy bean!

We’re going to cook these for about two to two and a half hours or until they soften just a little. You don’t need to cook them until they’re plum soft – just until they get a little tender. 

Refried Bean Recipe

Mash the beans with some sour cream and mayonnaise with some seasonings too.

Get yourself a large cast iron skillet and add the drained beans in there and go to mashing with a potato masher.  A lot of people are going to put their beans in a blender -But we ain’t making  a bean smoothie! We want these beans to retain some of that good texture. 

We’ll finish adding the ingredients and give it a little stir to get everybody incorporated then go back to mashing some more. Now let it sit there and simmer till it bubbles up, for like four to six minutes.

This is not out of the can, folks! This is a real traditional refried bean and we sure hope you enjoy!

See how to make Best Authentic Spanish Refried Beans – Watch the Full Recipe

Refried Bean Recipe

Traditional Refried Beans - Cowboy Kent Rollins


  • 1 lb. pinto beans Casserole brand recommended
  • Hot water
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion large chopped
  • 2 Cayenne peppers diced
  • 2 medium dried ancho chilies diced (store-bought in sack)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of Mesquite seasoning or all-purpose seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Green onions finely chopped, for serving
  • Shredded cheese for serving


  • In a pot, add the beans and enough hot water to cover the beans about 1 ½ to 2-inches. Place over high heat and when it starts to simmer add the bacon, onion, cayenne peppers and ancho chiles. Stir and cover. Bring to a hard boil and continue boiling for about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the Mesquite seasoning, garlic powder and reduce the heat down to a low boil.
  • Stir in 2 tablespoons of the butter. Cover and continue cooking for about 2 - 2 ½ hours or until the beans are slightly tender.
  • Note: You will need to add hot water to the beans as they cook. Be sure the beans stay covered with about 1 ½ inches of water.
  • When the beans are soft, remove from the heat and drain well.
  • In a 12-inch cast iron skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat.
  • Place the beans in the skillet and mash with a potato masher, until blended (the traditional style keeps some bean texture rather than whipped smooth).
  • Stir in the mayonnaise, sour cream, cumin and smoked paprika. Mash and stir again.
  • Cook for about 4 to 6 minutes or until beans have simmered, stirring occasionally.


Remove from the heat and serve warm, topped with cheese and green onions, if desired.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. Breakfast Sandwich - Kent Rollins on December 15, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    […] while back, I shared with you how to make traditional refried beans. You can use that recipe or grab a can of refried beans out of your pantry to make this […]

  2. Ultimate Breakfast Burrito - Kent Rollins on July 6, 2022 at 4:43 pm

    […] your favorite refried beans. If you really want to wow everyone, start a day earlier and make some authentic refried beans yourself. To bring out a fresher flavor, add a little cumin, smoked paprika, and garlic powder. Mix […]