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Chef John's Refried Beans

Rated as 4.88 out of 5 Stars

"I don't think I would ever sit down to eat just a bowl of refried beans, but they make everything they're served on, with, or in, infinitely better. Just as long as you use lard to make them."
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12 h 10 m servings 317
Original recipe yields 8 servings


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  1. Drain soaked beans and transfer them to a stock pot. Add garlic, epazote, and cold water. Place pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Stir. Reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered until beans are soft, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Drain the beans and reserve all the liquid.
  2. Melt lard in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and salt; cook until onions start to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in serrano pepper and chipotle powder; cook 1 minute. Transfer drained beans into skillet. Mash about half the beans with a potato masher or back of a spoon. Ladle some bean cooking liquid to skillet. Continue to mash and stir beans as you gradually add more liquid. Mash until the beans have reached your preferred consistency and texture. Taste and add more salt, if desired.


  • Chef's Note:
  • You can substitute 1 teaspoon dried oregano for 1/2 teaspoon epazote.
  • If you want the beans loose enough to spoon over tortilla chips for nachos, you'll probably need to add all the cooking liquid. But that's up to you.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 317 calories; 13.7 37.7 12.2 12 491 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 19
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OK, the lard is IT. I could wax poetic about the interesting way lard can take heat (medium high), the wonderful smell while frying, the insane flavor of the refried beans, and on and on... I fo...

These were by far the best refried beans ever. I will never eat them from a can again. Chef John is my new cooking guru.

My family will never eat canned refried beans again. This was excellent.

I made some changes to suit my taste- I was able to obtain fresh epazote and I put a quartered onion in with the boiling beans, both of which I strained out of the water at the end. I then used...

I have been trying to make beans for 10 years and they have been so so. I stumbled on to this recipe and tried it and it is to die for. It has to be the lard that makes the beans so good. I h...

Chef John ROCKS!! Used canned beans and hid the can of lard (what they don't know...)

I will definitely make this again!

Loved them and making them again.