Refried beans are a versatile classic dish that belongs in every chef’s repertoire. An easy to prepare recipe that’s great for dipping, filling a taco, or becoming the star in your main dish.

The term “refried” refers to the frying of the beans after first cooking them. Once cooked and puréed, the beans are fully enjoyable. The frying produces an extra flavour. If I’m making these for myself, I’ll skip the refrying step on the first day. I make enough to have left-overs, so I have plenty to fry the next day. This is the likely origin of the dish, anyway.

If you intend on dipping chips, make the bean paste thinner. Otherwise you risk it being too hard and breaking apart your chips. If you want to fill a taco — I highly recommend salad tacos — then thicker is good. You don’t want it to be dripping while you eat it. You control the thickness by how much water you add while blending. It will get thicker while frying, as water evaporates, but not a lot.

Add as much chili as you’d like. I find beans do not mask heat that much, so you’ll notice even small amounts. Though it’s more of an overall heat level than direct burning-the-tongue type of heat. As always, keep it enjoyable. The goal is to add flavour, not melt your guests.

When possible, I prepare my dishes from dry beans — this includes my hummus. I find it tastes fresher, or lighter, than canned beans. Though by all means, if you don’t have time to wait, the canned ones work fine. Note that you’ll need a lot more, by weight, than with dry beans. About 2.5 times as much — 250g here. This recipe is forgiving of rough measurements, so put the calculator aside and estimate freely.

If you use canned beans you don’t need to cook them for an hour. About 15 minutes is enough to cook the onion and warm up the beans.

Enjoy the world of beans!

Classic Refried Red Kidney Beans


  1. 100 g ⁵⁄₈ cup
    DryKidney Beans
  2. 1 small
    Yellow Onion
  3. 60 g ¹⁄₄ cup
    extra virginOlive Oil
  4. ¹⁄₂ teaspoon
    Chili Powder
  5. ¹⁄₂ teaspoon
  6. ¹⁄₄ teaspoon


  • small pot
  • frying pan
  • immersion blender



  1. Soak the kidney beans in water overnight


  1. Drain the water from the kidney beans.
  2. Peel the onion, and cut out the roots.
  3. Add the kidney beans and the onion to a pot. Cover the beans in water.
  4. Bring the water to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Drain most of the water into a container for later use. A little bit may remain in the pot.
  6. Add the olive oil, chili, salt and pepper to the pot.
  7. Blend to a smooth consistency, adding back some drained water as it gets too dry or doesn’t blend well.
  8. It tastes fine at this point, but isn’t “refried” yet.
  9. Transfer the beans to a pan and heat on high. Stir the bean paste once the bottom is brown. Repeat 2-3 times.