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finished recipe piled high in a black plate garnished with limes, cortina cheese, cilantro and red chilis

Authentic Mexican Beans (Vegetarian!)



1 pound dried pintos (about 2 cups) or 2 cans of cooked beans, drained and rinsed

1 large yellow onion, diced

3 tablespoons olive oil

6 garlic cloves, diced

1 jalapeño pepper

2 teaspoons vegetable stock concentrate (or bouillon cubes)

1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. To prepare dry beans, soak overnight. Drain and add to a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer, then cook until the beans are tender - about 2 1/2 hours. Cooking time can vary based on the freshness of your dried beans, so test and adjust cooking time, as needed. Reserve about 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid from the bean pot. (if using cans of pinto beans, drain the beans and use a little water in the next step, instead of cooking water). Drain beans.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Saute diced onions, garlic and jalapeños for 6-8 minutes until very tender and fragrant.
  3. Add the cooked beans to the pan, along with about 3/4 cup reserved bean water and the vegetable stock concentrate or bouillon cubes. Stir to combine and let the mixture heat through. Then, using a potato masher or immersion blender, process the beans until smooth, adding additional cooking liquid as needed to achieve the desired consistency for your authentic refried beans. Add salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. 
  4. Serve these flavorful refried beans with cilantro and cotija cheese. 


You can start this recipe with dried whole beans in a large pot of water, or take a (perfectly acceptable) shortcut and grab 2-3 cans of pintos or black beans - drain and rinse and we're ready to go!

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 120
  • Category: Easy Recipes
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Vegetarian Mexican Beans, Authentic Mexican Beans, refried beans, vegetarian refried beans