Semi-homemade refried beans with just three ingredients!  These are so easy and taste much better than from the can!
A brown dish filled with semi-homemade refried beans.

Lets be honest, not everyone has the time to make Homemade Refried Beans. For you time savers, here is a “semi-homemade” option that only takes about 5 minutes and yields a tasty result!

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Prep 5 minutes
Cook 5 minutes
Total 10 minutes
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  • 3 Tablespoons oil (vegetable or canola oil)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cans pinto beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin


  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute. 
  • Add the pinto beans with their liquid and smash them with a potato masher or the back of a spoon. Stir in cumin.
  • Continue stirring and mashing until you get the texture you like and the beans are the consistency of soft mashed potatoes (3-5 minutes). Season with salt to taste.


Calories: 90kcalFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 8gVitamin C: 0.5mgCalcium: 3mg

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Nutrition Facts
Semi-Homemade Refried Beans
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

4.34 from 6 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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  1. I make this similarly, but I add caramelized sweet onions to the recipe. I caramelize onions and then at the last few minutes, I add the garlic and then pretty much the same recipe.
    There was a Mexican family that had a restaurant on the corner of my street for years. Before they closed down, they taught me a few of their recipes because I was so devastated that they were closing.

  2. 5 stars
    I had never made refried beans before – semi-homemade or not – so I didn’t know quite what to expect. I had the same problem as Ruthellen at first and the liquid from the can was way too much. However I just turned up the heat and let the water boil off for maybe 10 minutes (stirring occasionally) and it left me with nice and thick beans! and they were really tasty too.

  3. 1 star
    I am sorry for the low review. I used Bush pinto beans and followed the recipe exactly regarding using the pinto bean liquid from both cans. The mashed result was extremely runny. Adding another can of rinsed beans did not really thicken the result. Nest time, I will reserve the liquid and add just enough to get the desired “refried bean” consistency.

    1. I prefer black beans and use them instead almost always – just plain, with a dollop of sour cream.

  4. Anxious to try this quick method but have never found a canned pinto beans product I’ve liked. Can you recommend your preferred brand? Thank you!