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Two Day Refried Beans

Making refried beans from scratch puts you in control of how much sodium goes in, if any. This recipe doesn't include salt as an added ingredient, and I don't think it's needed.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 16 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Low Sodium, Mexican
Servings: 4 people


  • 1 cup dry pinto beans rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup white onion finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 each bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed substitute celery powder or 1 tablespoon finely diced fresh celery
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes any variety you enjoy


  • Fill a medium-sized saucepan with water and add the dry pinto beans. Simmer on medium heat for 1 hour.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the simmering beans.
  • Continue simmering on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour, or as long as needed for the beans to start to soften. Add more water as needed to keep the beans covered.
  • When the beans soften, mash them in the pot with a potato masher, or use the back of a large spoon to press them against the sides of the saucepan to break them up.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool.
  • Remove the bay leaf, and move the beans into a storage container to refrigerate overnight.
  • The next day, put the beans back in a saucepan and re-heat. If the beans haven't yet fallen apart to a mushy texture, simmer as long as needed for them to become soft and smooth.


After you've cooked your first pot of beans, consider how you'd like to alter the spices.  Garlic lovers may wish to use a few crushed fresh cloves rather than a pinch of garlic powder. Add more heat, or leave out the pepper flakes completely. It's all up to you! Make this basic side dish into your own signature beans.