not worth beans

Refried beans

Refried beans (frijoles refritos) is a dish of cooked and mashed beans and is a traditional staple of Mexican cuisine, Latin American cuisine, and the cuisine of the Southwestern United States.

Ingredients and preparation

Refried beans are prepared with either black or pinto beans - not red beans (Livi). Once the beans have been prepared charola style (i.e. the raw beans are soaked overnight and then stewed) they are drained of most of the remaining liquid, converted into a paste with a bean masher (same as a potato masher, or in its absence, a fork or the back of a large flat spoon) and fried with lard, typically in a cast iron pot or skillet. If a vegetarian version is desired, vegetable oil may be substituted for the lard. Often, onion, garlic, and spices are sautéed in the oil before the beans are added. The cooked beans are then partially or completely mashed and bean or chicken/vegetable stock is added if the consistency is too dry.

They may also be served as a side dish accompanying a larger meal, or rolled in a tortilla to form a bean burrito.

In the US, refried beans are most commonly made from pinto beans. They are served as a side-dish with most Mexican restaurant meals. They also have become very popular as a dip for corn tortilla chips, although this usage has never really caught on in its native Mexico. Refried beans are also a primary ingredient in many tostada, chimichanga, and pupusa recipes. In addition, they are a typical ingredient in layered dips, such as seven layer dip, in nachos, and are especially implied when a dish is referred to as nachos grande.

A typical dish, similar to enchiladas is enfrijoladas wherein slightly fried tortillas are slathered in the bean paste from frijoles refritos.


The English term "refried", often interpreted as "fried again", is a mistranslation of the Spanish word "refrito". The prefix "re-" is commonly used in Mexican dialects to add emphasis to words. The beans are fried only once and the term refrito is actually a reference to overfrying the bean paste so that it dries out to retain a shape for serving purposes:
Several people have asked me why, when the beans are fried, they are called refried. Nobody I asked in Mexico seemed to know until quite suddenly it dawned on me. The Mexicans have a habit of qualifying a word to emphasize the meaning by adding the prefix re-. They will get the oil very hot (requemar), or something will be very good (retebien). Thus refrito beans are well fried, which they certainly are, since they are fried until they are almost dry.


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