Refried Kidney Beans

Although canned refried beans are convenient, starting from scratch yields a spectacular flavor absent in the canned version. This Americanized take on refried beans packs a wonderful punch, and is a dish you’ll want to make often, especially if you like burritos, tacos, and quesadillas.

Serves: 6Hands-on: 30 minutesTotal: 4 hours 30 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 6


  • 1 lb. dried kidney beans, soaked overnight in cold water, rinsed, and drained
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 package dried hot chili seasoning
  • 1 package dried mild chili seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp. roasted whole cumin seeds, pounded with a mortar and pestle
  • 1 jalapeño chili, seeded and diced
  • ½ cup hot salsa
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil, or more as needed
  • ½ cup Cheddar cheese


  • Put the beans and the onion in a large saucepan with about 8 cups water, or to cover by 2". Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low and skim off any scum.
  • Stir in onion, chili seasonings, cumin seeds, and jalapeño. Cook, checking on the water level and stirring occasionally, for 4 hours, or until the beans are tender and the water is almost absorbed. Add the salsa and salt.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet and put beans in skillet by spoonfuls. Using a potato masher or the back of a large spoon, mash and fry them until the beans are relatively smooth, repeating until all the beans are mashed and fried. Top with cheese and heat about 10 minutes until cheese melts.