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slow cooked and refried beans

I cannot believe this is the first year I’ve ever made beans from scratch. I think the conflicting information of soaking or not soaking, and the possibly overnight business made me say, not today on every day.

We went big with a bag of $1.99 beans this past Christmas Eve to go with our Mexican cravings and Tim’s Margaritas.

And again a few months later for the ladies. (Comments not recorded but very hilarious.)

And again and again since then.

Each of these times, the dish that keeps getting passed around is not the Margaritas or the slow roasted Pork, but the beans – and with it the begging question, what the heck is in these things?

Bacon fat.

Nitrate free and organic bacon fat if that makes you feel any better. But none the less, from the heavens bacon fat. And just like the french fries at V44, it makes all the difference.

It’s ridiculous.

Especially the refried way. All I can say is try it.

Beans for a side or refried.

shemadeitshemight | heatherbursch | beans, cilantro, onions, bacon fat

Slow Cooked Mexican Beans and/or Refried Beans

Adapted from Rick Bayless
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  • 1 lb of dried pinto beans black beans work as well
  • 2-3 tablespoons of bacon fat or olive oil
  • 5 sprigs whole stems of cilantro leaves
  • 1 onion yellow or white roughly chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons of salt save for the end


Prepping the Beans

  • Dump the beans on a cookie sheet to pick out any little rocks or oddballs that can sometimes be in a bag of beans.
  • Soak the beans in a bowl of water to cover for at least an hour or overnight if you wish. Rinse the beans and then proceed with recipe.

Stovetop Instructions

  • In a large pot pour in the beans, 2 1/2 quarts of water to cover, bacon fat, chopped onions and the cilantro left whole. Bring this to a boil and then turn to simmer to keep the water moving while you cook the beans.
  • The beans should cook uncovered for 2 1/2 hours and up to an additional hour or so for dry unsoaked beans.
  • Add water along the way if the beans seem dry on top and are no longer floating.
  • The beans are done when soft and mashable. If they don't mash in your mouth when you taste them, then keep it going.
  • When you think they are soft enough and finished cooking, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, stir and cook for 10 minutes more.
  • Add more salt to taste as needed but only at the end.

Crockpot Instructions

  • Add beans and 2 quarts of water to a pan and bring to a boil on the stovetop. Once boiling, dump the beans and water, bacon fat, chopped onions and the cilantro left whole. Cook on high for a minimum of 4-6 hours for soaked beans, 6-8 hours for dry beans. Stir in salt at the end and let simmer for a bit longer if you can. Add more salt to taste as needed but only at the end.

Refried Beans:

  • In a large skillet, melt 2-3 more tablespoons of bacon fat and add 2-3 teaspoons of crushed garlic.
  • Let the garlic fry and get fragrant for 1 minute.
  • Add 3 1/2 cups cooked beans in their liquid to the pan.
  • With a potato masher or fork, sauté and mash the beans, letting the liquid cook down and the beans turn into a mashed refried consistency that you like.
  • Salt to taste only and serve warm.

This post contains affiliate links to products I know and love. I recommend any of them for this recipe!

Author: Heather Bursch
Did you make it? Mention @heatherbursch or tag #shemadeit so we can admire your work!

shemadeitshemight | heatherbursch | refried beans with tostadas

To make this a meal in our house, we warm up corn tortillas or make crispy tostadas, add beans plain or refried, cheddar or Queso cheese, avocados and salsa. Then we go crazy. It’s so delicious.



*I just read today that adding salt, vinegar or tomatoes to beans before they are cooked and tender can make the beans tough and interrupt the cooking process. Save your salt until the end!



Last Updated on June 16, 2022 by Heather Bursch

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