RECIPE: Homemade Refried Beans

Our absolute favorite night of the week is Taco Tuesday! It’s become a little tradition of ours this past year to create some form of vegan tacos each week – and they usually involve refried beans. We used to take the way of convenience and just buy them already made, but oh, my goodness! There is nothing better than homemade, not to mention significantly cheaper. You can get dried beans in bulk that will last a lot longer for a fraction of the cost. We get a 2lb bag of organic dried pinto beans for $3.79 from Natural Grocers. I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately on how to make your own, so I thought I would share our favorite recipe. Since we just made a fresh batch of refried beans this week, I made sure to write down all measurements as I went along. The recipe I’m about to share with you is for a GIANT batch that will last you for weeks and it freezes really well.

Homemade Refried Beans | Be Sol-Ful

HOMEMADE REFRIED BEANS {vegan, gluten-free, soy-free}

What you need:

  • A big pot
  • water
  • A 2-lb bag of organic pinto beans (or 32oz)
  • 2 bouillon cubes or use low-sodium veggie broth (this is optional, but gives a nice flavor)
  • 2 TBSP cumin
  • 2 TBSP – 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (depends on how “cheesy” you want your beans)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • salt to taste
Organic pinto beans
Dried pinto beans
My Little Helper


Some of the pinto beans we discarded – you’ll see they’re black or oddly discolored.

How to:

  1. Cook your pinto beans according to the package, or follow these directions: sort through your beans, discard any discolored beans (you’ll know when they look bad). Rinse them and place in a pot; cover with water – they will expand, so be sure to put a good amount of water. Let them soak overnight. The next day, drain and rinse the beans; place back in the pot with water (about an inch above the beans). If you’re using veggie broth instead of bouillon, add about 4 cups of broth and the rest water. Cook on medium heat, bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Remove any foam that collects at the top. Cook until tender, or at least an hour – stir frequently.
  2. Once your beans are tender, stir in the cumin, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and paprika. Remove the pot from the burner and using a hand immersion blender, puree the beans** Depending on the consistency you like, you can either leave some “chunks” or puree until smooth. Add salt to taste, we did about 1.5 tsp for the entire batch.
  3. Return the pot to the stove and let it cook down for about another 35 minutes on low heat. Stir frequently, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot so as not to burn the beans.
  4. ENJOY!

**You can also mash the beans by hand, it’s not necessary to use the hand immersion blender – it just makes it easier!

All set to soak
All set to soak
You’ll want to skim off the foam as it collects
Don’t worry about the amount of liquid, it will thicken up as it cooks longer.



They are great with cayenne or chipotle seasonings added, but we keep them mild so Willow can enjoy them, too. They’re great in taco salads, on tostadas, nachos, or just a simple taco. If you try them, let me know what you think!

Organic Taco Salad
Colorful Taco Salad from this week’s taco night. Beans are buried under guacamole and salsa.

Now, unless you have a big family, you’re going to have A LOT of leftovers! We keep a small container in the fridge for the week and the rest goes into the freezer. This recipe usually gets us set for a full month of Taco Tuesdays! We just take a container out of the freezer on Tuesday morning and set it in the fridge to thaw a bit. When you go to cook them, they might still be pretty hard, but should slip right out of the container and into a pot. Have a tablespoon or two of water ready just in case they start sticking to the pot.


Thanks for stopping by!