Mexican main dishes are not a problem, but SIDE DISHES are usually a struggle.
I love our Slow Cooker Refried Beans, but they require an 8 hour cooking time . . . so if I forget to put them in the crock pot early in the morning, it means no beans for dinner at night.
I started searching for a recipe that allowed me to make refried beans in only a few minutes and I am happy to report that I have found it!
This recipe has a big shortcut: using canned pinto beans!
It’s so easy to throw together and will quickly become your go-to Mexican side dish.
Ingredients needed to make Skillet Refried Beans
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 (15 ounces each) cans pinto beans (DON’T rinse and drain)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (omit if you don’t want the heat)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
How to make Skillet Refried Beans
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add diced onion and saute for 4-5 minutes or until onion is translucent.
Add garlic to melted butter and onions and saute for about 1 minute.
Add pinto beans (don’t wash and drain them first – just dump in the whole can), cumin, chili powder and cayenne powder to skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes or until beans are heated through.
Using a potato masher, mash beans until they become the consistency that you prefer (my husband likes them completely smooth while I prefer them to be a little chunky. You could also put the beans in a blender to make them super smooth).
Top with some shredded cheese and fresh cilantro and you are good to go!
Are refried beans actually fried?
I have always wondered if refried beans meant that they were deep-fried once and then deep fried again to get that “refried” title. Come to find out, they aren’t fried at all.
Refried beans are just beans that have been cooked, seasoned, and then mashed. The term “refried” actually comes from the Spanish word “refrito”, which means “well-fried” . . . a.k.a. “cooked well”. These beans have just been cooked well and they will taste delicious!
So now you know – refried beans are not really fried at all!
Related recipe: Want to know what to serve with these refried beans? Try our White Chicken Enchiladas!
Other Mexican side dishes to try:
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Spanish Brown Rice
- Texas Pinto Beans
- Guacamole Salsa
- Mexican Street Corn
Have you checked out our YouTube channel?
We share how to make refried beans in your Instant Pot (plus other cool recipes!) in this video!
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