Refried beans are indeed the ultimate time-consuming labor of love when it comes to cooking in the kitchen, but who has time for that these days? If you happen to be short on time, we’ve got some great news on how to make your own refried beans with some tips that can speed up the process. Plus, some other time-saving tips if you’re looking to make refried bean dip for that last-minute party idea.
How To Make Refried Beans At Home with Canned Pinto Beans
Refried Beans from Canned Pinto Beans
- Cast-iron skillet
- Kitchen strainer
- Metal potato masher
- 2 Tablespoons Canola oil
- 2 Garlic cloves (peeled)
- 2 Cans Pinto beans (15-ounce can)
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin
- 1 Teaspoon Chili powder (or cayenne chili powder)
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Lime (freshly juiced into the mixture)
- The first step is to take a cast-iron skillet and add the canola oil over medium heat. Then you’ll cook the garlic cloves in the heated oil. The cloves only need to be turned ones, so you cook both sides until they are browned. This will take 4-5 minutes total.
- Take a fork and mash the garlic cloves so they are squashed and opened up to release the flavor into the oil. Now you can add the pinto beans from each can. Be sure to empty the water that’s inside the cans or use a kitchen strainer to empty both of these cans and wash them under cold water and let them drain.
- The beans are then added into the oil along with the chili powder, and salt and pepper into the mashed garlic and oil mix. This can be further cooked in the hot oil for another 5 minutes to heat the beans. Be sure to stir this mixture to get all the flavors to mingle.
- After the reheating of the pinto beans is complete, you and use a metal potato masher to crush the pinto beans into a paste at the same cooking temperature. The texture is up to your liking if you prefer chunky or finely mashed refried beans. The last step is to squeeze the fresh lime over the entire mixture and mix this into the mash until it’s totally combined.
- You can scrape this mixture into a bowl and then it’s ready to serve immediately. If you decide to add salsa or other ingredients to the refried beans, this is the time when it’s still nice and hot.
The best time-saving tips for making refried beans from scratch
If you have time to cook refried beans using fresh pinto beans, here are some tips that will give you fresher tasting results than using canned pinto beans.
Choose the right beans
While dry pinto beans are a great choice, black beans are also a solid choice if you like a robust flavored refried bean mixture. In a pinch, you can use white beans that are flavored with chipotle powder. Make sure that dry beans are presoaked the night before cooking them. This reduces the chances of the finished mixture causing gas and bloating.
Use a pressure cooker to cook the beans
If you use a standard pot or crockpot to boil your beans, it will take 2 to 3 hours for them to completely cook all the way through. Instead, use a pressure cooker that will reduce the cooking time to only 45 minutes!
Add baking soda to soften boiling beans
Another excellent tip is to add no more than 1/8th teaspoon of baking soda into the water before cooking the beans. This helps to make pinto beans even softer when they cook and saves you mashing time during the refried portion of cooking.
Reheat old refried beans in the skillet
If you have leftover refried beans, the last thing you want to do is put them into the microwave. It can go into a regular skillet or non-stick pan and add a little bit of water to get the beans rehydrated some more. It will come back to life and not taste as if it was another leftover in your fridge.
Is there a faster way to get refried beans?
If all else fails and you just don’t have any time to make refried beans, there is another solution that will be quite surprising. Trader Joe’s carries canned refried beans that are the next best thing to freshly-made. The real secret is to heat these beans in a non-stick skillet to bring them up to a temperature that will heat the bean mixture evenly.
If you add fresh ingredients such as mashed sautéed onions or garlic, this can give canned refried beans more homemade flavor. Sprinkling cheddar cheese over the top of heated refried beans will give even more flavor as it melts into the heated beans mixture.