Frijoles Refritos (Refried Black or Pinto Beans)

Sope With Black Bean
Photo above by Eric Futran



Antojitos are snacks sold in the markets and at street stands all over Mexico. Many are fashioned from masa, a dough made from freshly prepared hominy and used mainly to make tortillas. Sopes or “little boats” made of this masa are very popular in La Merced. You can find them filled with shredded chicken, chorizo, carnitas, or refried black beans.

Rick Bayless gives very clear and reliable instructions for making the sopes. You can lighten the dough by using half masa and half mashed potatoes.

When I am pressed for time or want something a little lighter and crisper, I use totopos, or tortilla chips, as the base. My favorite topping is refried black bean.


Refried Black or Pinto Beans


4 cups beans, with their cooking broth

¼ cup vegetable oil, lard, or bacon fat, which is my personal favorite!

¼ cup minced white onion

Crushed garlic, salt, black pepper, and oregano to taste


To refry the beans, you need at least a ¼ cup of fat for every 4 cups of beans. Do not skimp on this or the texture won’t be right. Heat the lard or oil in a large skillet and fry the onion until just transparent. Add half of the beans and broth into the pan and mash them into the fat. Add the remaining beans and liquid, mashing until you have a coarse purée. Adjust the salt if necessary and season to taste with crushed garlic, oregano, and freshly ground black pepper.

Garnish with your choice of chopped cilantro, thinly sliced radish, sour cream, pomegranate, or pickled onion.

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