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Oaxacan Refried Black Beans

6 Servings

2¾ hours 35 minutes active

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In Oaxaca, black beans are a part of almost every meal. Though they sometimes are served whole, we especially liked the balanced, complex flavor and smooth, velvety consistency of refried black beans. We got a lesson in the importance of the daily basic from Rodolfo Castellanos, Oaxaca native and winner of Top Chef Mexico, and his mother. Lard gives these beans a rich meatiness, but coconut oil is a good vegetarian substitute. For a quicker version, see our pressure cooker variation. The beans can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. We liked this topped with cotija and fresh cilantro.




Don't soak the beans before cooking. Unlike other types of dried beans, black beans soften readily without soaking. And don't forget to reserve the bean cooking liquid; you'll need 2 cups when pureeing the beans in the food processor. And if you'll be making black bean soup, you'll need 3 cups to thin the beans. The liquid also is useful for thinning the beans when reheating (they thicken as they stand).

2¾ hours

35 minutes active


  • 4

    tablespoons lard or refined coconut oil, divided

  • 1

    large white onion, chopped


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Cody J.
August 23, 2023
The Main Attraction
Wonderful flavor. These beans shine on there own with a little Cotija and Cilantro, you don not need to over complicate these with extra meat and veggies if making for taco night. Also, my kids love these as quick snack with rice.
April 9, 2023
I was raised making and eating Mexican refried beans. These were nothing like them. I made these on a lark and they were very, very good. Lots of flavor. I topped our bowls with squirt of lime and some diced avocado. I still love my Mexican Refried beans but this recipe will definitely be made every once in a while. I can't wait to make the Oaxacan Bean Soup out of them.
William B.
September 11, 2022
Refried beans
Perfect recipe, it is great.
Wendy B.
July 1, 2022
FAVORITE RECIPE...freezes well too!
Carole C.

When you say lard, do you mean beef lard, or do you mean vegetable lard?

Janelle C.

Hi Carole,

Typically lard is made from pig fat. If you're looking for a meat-free substitute use coconut oil.

The Milk Street Team

Ramona W.

Will these freeze well, or how long will they keep in the refrigerator?

Janelle C.

Hi Ramona,

You can freeze the beans, however, you may need to add a touch of olive oil or water once it thaws out. The beans can be refrigerated for up to a week.

The Milk Street Team

Jose A.

If there is a Trader Joes around you, get some Black Forest Bacon, cook the bacon and keep the oil/fat. You can use the fat and it has lovely flavor and refrigerate if needed. Essentially you made yourself your own lard and it keeps for a while.

Steven S.

Can we double the recipe? And if so, can we use a pot for step 3 instead of a skillet?

Janelle C.

Hi Steven,

A pot should work!

The Milk Street Team

Steven S.

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Tom J.

There was a instapot alternative in the original magazine - can it be included online? Thanks!

Lynn C.

Hi Tom -
I think this may be the version you are looking for. It ran in our newsletter, I believe.

The Milk Street Team

Paula E R.

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reginald allen w.

Packed with flavor. Used half of recipe for soup and other half for tacos.

Jennie H.

Just finished and ate the beans, very flavorful. I did not presoak the beans, freshly ordered black beans from Gordo Rancho. I did find the skins on the beans with a bit more toughness than anticipated. The interiors were fully cooked. Do tomatoes added to the beans before they are fully cooked change the skin at all? I have read previously that may be the culprit.
If I do have access to dried avocado leaves (ordered online) would I add them after the beans are softened or add with the bay leaves? They are dried, so not sure they would rehydrate enough during the last steps of processing and refrying.