Frugal and Delicious: Homemade Refried Beans


It’s crazy but when the warm weather arrives, I crave Mexican food.  It just seems so festive and fresh this time of year!  Cinco de Mayo is also approaching so maybe it has to do with that!  But I love having some yummy, fresh street-style tacos with a margarita out on the patio on a warm spring night!

My kids recently decided they love Refried Beans.  They also liked them before but know my oldest son is eating them regularly…sometimes right out of the can!  Normally, I would think that was weird but I am totally going to confess that I did the same thing throughout college–so he doesn’t fall far from the tree!

Needless to say, my supply of canned refried beans has vanished from my pantry shelf.  Which is just fine by me.  Because I’ve discovered I can make them from dried beans!  This makes them so much more frugal.  I know…beans are already pretty cheap but the refried ones do tend to be a little more expensive.  And seriously, I can make a crock pot full for less than $2.00!

CRefried Beansan I also mention that the homemade version is 10 times healthier for you too??  Nothing except beans and spices.  With those kind of ingredients, my kids can eat as much as they want!

This past week, I made up a big crock pot full of refried beans and then filled up 3 freezer containers with the beans.  I’m slowly gearing up for when the kids are out of school this summer.  I want to have lots of easy food for them to prepare healthy lunches and snacks.

You might be wondering about the taste of homemade vs. store bought.  Well, I’m pretty sure in a blind taste test, you’d pick the homemade version hands down!  It doesn’t compare to the canned version!  It tastes like the kind you’d get in an authentic mexican restaurant!

The other winning aspect for me was the amount of time it took.  Now, I will admit this isn’t a recipe to start at 4pm with the expectation of serving it for dinner!  It does take all day, so plan ahead.  But I love the fact that I put everything in, turn it on and walk away from it.  Hours later it has done its thing and is ready to go.

I used my immersion blender to get a really smooth consistency which reminded me of a restaurant version.  But if you just mash them with a potato masher, you’ll still get nice consistency.

Alright, get ready for Cinco de Mayo and summer evenings out on the patio with fresh Mexican meals which include these awesome beans!


Homemade Refried Beans

  • 2 lbs dry pinto beans (sorted and rinsed)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 10 cups of water
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  1. Put all the ingredients in a crockpot and cook on high for about 6-7 hours (check for doneness).
  2. Once the beans are cooked, drain any remaining liquid and be sure to save the liquid.
  3. Mash beans with a potato masher or an immersion blender. Add liquid, a bit at a time, to desired consistency. A little runny is good since the beans seem to thicken up as time goes on.
  4. You can add sliced jalapenos if you’d like to take it up a notch! And remember: these freeze so well.

These frugal, healthy and easy refried beans will be a hit at any party you take them to!


Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian. Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped, and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques, and trying to maintain a well-run, happy, and organized home for her family.  Read more of Erin’s blogs about homesteading, farming, homemaking and other fun things at

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