How to Make Refried Beans and Rice

Ryan Nadolny

Never made refried beans and rice before and wondering how? No worries, we’ll connect all the dots and have you whipping up a delectable dish in no time.

Chances are you're familiar with eating refried beans and rice alongside your favorite Mexican food...or perhaps you live under a rock. I kid, but seriously - I hope you've had the chance to enjoy this savory classic.

Our refried beans and rice recipe is perfect for pairing alongside chicken tacos and burritos or even stuffed into crispy bean and cheese taquitos.

Refried Beans and Rice Image

What Are Refried Beans and Rice

Both beans and rice have been around for centuries. Legumes were first harvested 20,000 years ago and rice around 10,000.

The versions we know today, were first harvested in Peruvian and Mexican cultures some 5,000 years ago.

Beans have been popular with just about every culture because of their high amounts of protein, good fats, antioxidants, complex carbs, vitamins, fiber, and minerals.

They’re a tiny little superfood with endless possibilities. There are countless ways to prepare both, but today we are going to focus on the refried beans and rice variety with Spanish style rice.

Refried Beans and Rice Picture

For a good portion of my adult life, I assumed that beans only came in a can. My kindergarten teacher had the hard ones for counting, but surely those couldn’t be eaten.

Canned beans are decent in a pinch, but if you have the time, nothing beats the taste and texture of a properly prepared pack of beans.

Known as “frijoles refritos y arroz” in Spanish, refried beans were more of a Tex-Mex staple around 100 years ago.

They were easy to prepare with the beans from the night before by smashing them into a paste-like consistency then adding various spices and onion.

The result was an entirely new meal that gave cowboys and ranch hands the extra needed energy required to get through their day.

How to Make Refried Beans and Rice

Refried beans and rice is a meal that can take a few minutes or hours to prepare. It really depends on your own needs and which method you prefer.

For instance, this refried beans and rice skillet recipe uses long grain rice and canned refried beans. It hits the table in 30 minutes and packs a ton of flavor.

The beautiful part about making any item from scratch is the ability to control what goes into your dish and omitting ingredients that you don’t fit your personal preferences.

Most recipes for refried beans are made with chicken stock but you can easily make vegetarian refried beans by simply switching to veggie stock.

Refried Beans and Rice Photo

If you plan to start from scratch, you will need to get yourself a 1lb bag of beans or larger if you want to increase the amount you’re making.

Traditional refried bean recipes call for pinto beans, but honestly just about any type of bean can be used while noting that different beans require different cook times.

  1. Start by rinsing your bean of choice in a colander. Not only are you cleaning them but also looking for small stones that made their way into the bag.
  2. Add your beans to a bowl and cover with 2 to 3 inches of water and throw away any beans that float.
  3. Let your beans soak for at least 8 hours, but preferably 24 hours. Once they’ve soaked, drain and rinse.
  4. Add your beans to a pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring the pot to a gentle boil, lower your heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
  5. Some foam may form on the top of the water. Remove and add sea salt and whatever aromatics you prefer, such as garlic, onion quarters, shallots, fennel fronds, etc.
  6. Cook your beans for up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. You’re looking for tenderness, but not mushy. If they are looking dry, add a little more water or even your stock of choice. Remove your aromatics and add salt and pepper to taste.

Are you like me, loving homemade, but you have the patience of a hungry toddler? Try making Instant Pot beans.

It takes out all the soak time and cooks them to perfection with very little effort!

Refried Beans and Rice Pic

What to Pair With Refried Beans

In my humble opinion, the best way to consume nature’s protein, is with a big pile of Spanish or Mexican rice.

Just a few spices, long grained rice, and tomato sauce, and you’ll be feasting on a dish that is guaranteed to fill you up.

If you asked my wife, she would tell you that the only way to eat refried beans is wrapped up in a warm and soft tortilla, with crunchy onions, and extra (extra) cheese and a little (large) dab of sour cream.

Try combining the beans and rice with some lean ground beef or chicken and make a giant burrito!

I’m a huge fan of cheeseburgers. Like, probably more than most other meat-eating Midwesterners.

However, these spicy black bean burgers are like flavor bombs dropped from the veggie fields of Heaven, that will have to questioning your carnivorous ways.

(And spoiler: They're delicious paired with refried beans and rice!)

If you're looking for a few good party snacks, might I suggest this crazy good bean dip recipe? By the by, it's great served with a big bowl of homemade queso, too!

Planning a dinner party and need some inspiration?

How about looking for a new slow cooker dinner idea?

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Ryan is a food and writer from Toledo, Ohio where he's had a love affair with food since 1984. When he's not cooking or writing, he's planning the next he wants to eat.

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