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How to Make Refried Beans


A beautiful bowl of refried beans

One of the questions I get the most at food festivals and cooking competitions is how to make refried beans— specifically our refried beans, which are as smooth and creamy as whipped mashed potatoes, with ribbons of crema and melted fresh cheddar cheese creeping off your spoon.

Being a young chef on the San Antonio Riverwalk, I had plenty of Tejano masters to learn from and created an easy recipe which we use full time in my catering business, my cookbooks, and that I make for my family. Let me share that with you today!

Cheesy refried beans




That’s right – why would you use lard when you can use creamy, smoky, dreamy bacon fat??

Answer: Never, let anyone who doesn’t put bacon fat in the refried beans, tell you CRAP about life.


Fat is Fat, so why not use a fat that has triple the flavor? We’re going to build our easy refried bean recipe with bacon fat, fresh onion, cheddar cheese, and you’ll see that it is so loaded with flavor that using good quality canned refried beans doesn’t even take away from the flavor. If you’d like to cook and mash fresh pinto beans for this recipe, that would be okay too, but I’ve made this recipe hundreds of times and I can tell you the flavor punch comes from the bacon fat and garlic.


I found an extra milk frother pitcher and that’s where I keep my bacon fat. I like the little spout for pouring and it heats quickly on the stove if I need liquid bacon fat in bacon emergencies. 😛 (This is more common in my kitchen than you would think.)

Refried Beans Recipe Ingredients

Bacon fat goes in the medium sauce pan…

A saucepan of bacon fat for the refried beans

Chop the onion.

Chopped white onion for refried beans

Chop the garlic, or press through a garlic press.

Minced Garlic for the refried beans

Throw it in the pot and heat it over low to medium heat.

A pan of onion and garlic for the bacon fat refried beans

Let it get a light tan color, add a pinch of salt…

Onions sizzling in bacon fat

Add in 2 cans of high quality refried beans such as, Goya brand. Told you, this is the best canned refried beans recipe in the universe.

Refried Beans in a pot

Add the taco sauce…. (if you love the taco casa recipe for refried beans you’re going to love this recipe!)

Taco Sauce for the refried beans recipe

Mix all that in and then add the freshly grated cheddar and sour cream.

Adding cheddar cheese and sour cream to the pinto beans

Dang. Good job yall. Those look really good. But we’re not done yet!

Creamy refried beans- finished

You can top the bacon fat refried beans with crema (or sour cream), additional cheddar cheese, queso fresco cheese, cotija cheese, and chopped cilantro.

An elegant, large bowl of bacon fat refried beans

Here is the recipe and instructions for…

How To Make Refried Beans

If you make it, take a picture and TAG Urban Cowgirl! We’d love to see it! 🙂

Refried Beans Recipe
Yield: 6

Creamy Texas Refried Beans Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

The best refried beans are smooth and creamy bacon fat refried beans, which pair well with all sorts of tex mex, in breakfast burritos, or rolled into a fluffy tortilla! This easy recipe utilizes canned refried beans but homemade beans can be substituted if preferred.


  • 1/3 c. Bacon Fat
  • ½ yellow onion, small diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 16 oz. cans refried beans
  • ½ c. taco sauce (store bought or homemade)
  • 1/3 c. freshly shredded medium sharp cheddar (more for sprinkling on top)
  • 3-4 T. Sour cream
  • Garnish: Additional cheese such as cotija or queso fresco, chopped cilantro, crema, or additional taco sauce.


  1. In a medium saucepan heat the bacon fat to medium-high heat. Dice half of a small onion and add it to the pot stirring well. Mince the garlic and add it to the pan along with the salt.
  2. Cook for 4 minutes and add both cans of beans and the taco sauce. Stir all together until it is thoroughly combined. Shred the cheese and add it to the pan. Finish the dish by stirring in the sour cream.
  3. We serve individual portions with extra cheese, taco sauce, and freshly minced onion.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 2394Total Fat: 205gSaturated Fat: 121gCholesterol: 602mgSodium: 4196mgCarbohydrates: 75gSugar: 26gProtein: 40g

Did you make this recipe? Please leave us a comment below and let us know how it went!

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Refried Beans Recipe Pin


Monday 11th of September 2023

These worked great for me. The bacon fat in the refried beans is addicting.

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