Authentic Restaurant Style Refried Beans

I don't know about you, but nothing beats refried beans from a good Mexican restaurant. They are so creamy and flavorful and when topped off with some salty Cotija cheese they make the perfect side to any Mexican dish. Over the years, I have tried to find a canned version that is as good as what you get in the restaurant and have always been disappointed. 

After reading a little about how to make homemade refried beans I couldn't believe how easy it was. There are many recipes out there that use vegetable oil and other fat substitutes, but I have been informed from a Latino friend of mine that they are not "authentic" unless you add lard. 

Yes, I said it..lard. Lard is what makes it really creamy. Most,if not all, Mexican restaurants use lard in their refried beans recipe. So with that said, I tried to make them in the past without using lard and they just did not taste the same. 

Just give this recipe a try and tell me if they were not the best refried beans you've ever had. Trust me when I say that these beans served with homemade guacamole, salsa, and chips will be a hit with your family. Serve alone or with some good quality grilled tortillas and you have have a simple meal that you will not forget! Now on with the recipe... 


  • 1 pound dry pinto beans
  • 1 yellow onion (finely diced)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp finely ground pepper
  • garlic cloves (finely diced)
  • tbsp lard
  • cotija cheese (crumbled)
Prep: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2 1/2 hours
Servings: 8


1. Add pinto beans, garlic cloves, onion, salt and oregano to a medium saucepan. Cover with about 2 inches of water. Bring water to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cover and cook beans for 2 hours, or until very tender.

2. Strain cooked beans from the bean juice and reserve the juice  for later.

3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 8 tbsp lard and the beans. Fry up the beans for about 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

4. Remove from heat and set aside. In your blender, add 5-6 ounces of reserved bean juice. Add beans from frying pan and pulse blend. Add a little bit of bean juice, about 1/4 cup at a time in between blending until your beans are creamy. 

Serve refried beans with crumbled cotija cheese, tortilla chips, and guacamole and enjoy!