Refried Beans Recipe

Made-from-scratch refried beans are given a boost of flavor from home-rendered lard and cracklings. Whip up a bowl for a quick side dish or easy snack food.

September/October 2018

  • Whip up a bowl of homemade Refried Beans for a quick side dish or snack food.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/paul_brighton
  • Once rendered, lard can be stored in glass jars and frozen for up to a year.
    Photo by Rachel Abernathy

Yield: 4 servings

I grew up in Texas, three hours from the Mexican border, so Mexican food is my comfort food. When I was a vegetarian in the 1990s, I missed the taste of real refried beans, but I wasn’t willing to use commercial lard to achieve that flavor — one reason I may always have to raise pigs.


  • 4 tablespoons lard and/or cracklings
  • 4 cups cooked pinto beans, plus reserved cooking liquid
  • Salt, to taste


  1. In a large skillet, melt lard over medium heat.
  2. Add beans and stir until they just start to brown, about 3 minutes.
  3. Mash beans, and season with salt.

Note: You can combine lard and cracklings in whatever ratio you prefer. I usually do half and half, but you could use all of one or the other. If the beans get too dry in the skillet, add a little of the cooking liquid from the beans.

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