Mexican-inspired refried beans with pickled onions

Mexican-inspired refried beans with pickled onions with Primary Beans


Creator notes

Why I love this: I love refried beans, and though I typically see them made with pinto beans, cranberry beans act as an excellent substitute. Cranberry beans are slightly milder in flavor but still yield a delicious result. I took inspiration from Mexican Made Meatless’ version but added a few additional, completely optional flavorings. For a non-vegetarian version, you can use lard. 

–Karishma Pradhan, founder, Home Cooking Collective

As seen in 1 pot of beans, 5 tasty meals

Featured bean: Cranberry

Take 'em from dried to cooked with our guide

Print recipe here


What you’ll need

  • Limes
  • Red onion, thinly sliced
  • Oil or lard
  • Yellow onion, diced
  • Garlic, minced (optional)
  • Whole dried red árbol chiles
  • Ground coriander (optional)
  • Ground cumin (optional)
  • Cooked beans (and broth)
  • Salt
  • Fresh cilantro, minced



Pickle the onions: In a small bowl, add enough lime juice to submerge the red onion. Set aside while you prepare the re-fried beans.

Make the refried beans: Heat oil (or lard) in a sauté pan, and sauté onion and garlic until translucent. Add chilies and spices (if using), then stir in beans, and some bean broth. Simmer the beans, and mash into a creamy puree until it reaches your desired consistency. You can puree in the blender too, for a super-smooth sauce (just make sure to remove the whole chile). Add more broth as needed and season with salt.

Remove from the heat, then top with pickled onions and cilantro.

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