Homemade Refried Beans Recipe – Soaked and Real

A recipe for authentic, tasty, made-from-scratch refried beans from soaked beans. No need to worry about the sodium content, chemicals or BPA-liners here and it’s nourishing and very healthy! It’s also vegan, vegetarian, Paleo and GAPS friendly!

Homemade Refried Beans with Soaked Beans - Nourishing and Real

I’m crazy about Mexican food and have many happy childhood memories eating at the local Mexico Tipico with my family. I used navy beans in this recipe, but using the traditional pinto beans is fine, too! First, I soaked the beans to break down the phytic acid which makes them difficult to digest. Want to read more? How and Why to Soak Grains and Legumes for Optimal Health and Nutrition. Other than the soaking, the recipe is pretty straightforward! I also make a large, double batch each time and freeze half of it. This recipe is not a spicy one, but it is full of flavor. I’ve made it with less spices before and it was very bland.

Homemade Refried Beans Recipe

To print this recipe, just click on the green Print Friendly button at the bottom of this post. You can delete the sections you don’t want!


  • 4 cups of dried navy, northern or pinto beans, soaked and then cooked (instructions below)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Optional: 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
  • Optional: 1-2 large carrots, diced
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, coconut oil  (buy here), ghee or bacon fat
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • Spices: 3 tablespoons cumin, 2 tablespoons paprika, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1-2 teaspoons black pepper, 1/2 tablespoon sea salt or Pink Himalayan Salt (where to buy)
  • Optional: several tablespoons of fresh, chopped cilantro,
  • Optional for hot spice: 1-2 teaspoons red chili flakes or a chopped jalapeno
  • 1 cup coconut milk (either canned, as long as it is BPA-free (where to buy) or freshly made)
  • 2-3 cups of liquid – beef or chicken bone broth is the most nourishing and tasty, but water or vegetable broth is vegetarian/vegan

Homemade Nourishing Refried Beans Recipe - From Scratch

How to Soak the Beans

Beans can be highly inflammatory to the gut if not properly soaked and cooked, due to the phytic acid content (I wrote about soaking here). It’s not difficult, but it does take preparation and planning.

  • The night before, cover the dried beans in filtered water and add 4 tablespoons of either whey, yogurt or apple cider vinegar to it and stir. Cover and let soak for 8 hours or more.
  • Once soaking is done, pour the beans into a colander and rinse thoroughly (this removes additional hard-to-digest starches and proteins).


  • Saute the onions and peppers in 1 tablespoon of the fat or butter until clear. Add the peppers and cook until slightly soft.
  • In a large pot or a slow cooker, pour in the the beans, onions and peppers.
  • Add in all the spices and the rest of the fat.
  • Cover with most of the liquid and coconut milk (4 cups total), add more if you like it a little more runny
  • Cook for at least two hours on high (or close to boiling on the stove), or 4-6 on low (or a simmer on the stove), or until the beans are soft.
  • During the last hour, add the garlic (this adds additional health benefits as slightly cooked or uncooked garlic helps to fight viruses!). You can add it in at the beginning, but it’ll be more for flavor than power.
  • Using an immersion blender or a potato masher, blend the beans until they the texture is smooth.

Add to your favorite Mexican dish, topped with tomatoes and avocadoes! I love to make burrito bowls out of it, topped with salsa, fresh tomatoes, avocadoes and shredded cheddar since I’m on a grain-free, GAPS diet right now.

This recipe is adapted from The Prairie Homestead and Health, Home and Happiness, two sites I highly recommend and love!

About Sara McFall

Sara is the owner and founder of My Merry Messy Life, which started in 2011 as a way to chronicle her journey to a natural, chemical-free lifestyle and to share her passions of mothering, real food, homeschooling and crochet. She is a mama to three precious and energetic little boys and wife to a university professor who loves to sing, dance ballet and ballroom, and live simply and naturally.


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