Simple refried beans (refritos)

by Jenny Chandler

Jenny Chandler revisits the South American favourite

Oddly, a refried bean is not refried at all, just a cooked bean that’s fried. It’s up to you whether your beans come from the olla, or the can. You do have the wonderful bean broth if using your own home-cooked beans but a few tablespoons of vegetable or chicken stock work very well too.


1 onion, diced
1-2 tbsp lard or 2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 good pinch chilli powder
250g home-cooked or 1x 400g can of pinto or black beans


Take a large frying pan and cook the onion in the lard (or oil) until it is beginning to colour.

Add the spices and beans with a 2 tbsp of their cooking liquid (or stock if you’re using canned beans). Now mash away with a flat-ended wooden spoon or potato masher as the beans cook and the stock evaporates. Add more liquid 1 tbsp at a time, as the pan becomes dry and the beans begin to stick.

After about 15 mins your beans should be thick, almost smooth and quite dark. Season to taste.

ALTERNATIVE: How about stirring in some chipotle paste for a bit of smoky heat, or throwing in some tomatoes and chilli and serving with a fried egg for classic huevos rancheros.

Recipe: Jenny Chandler