These are the Best Refried Beans Ever, and they only take about 15 minutes to make! You'll never go back to canned again. To make homemade refried beans, you'll need bacon (and the grease), onion, some canned (or cooked) pinto beans, spices, chicken broth, and I love adding fresh cilantro for a boost of fresh flavor.
In a heavy skillet (I used a cast iron one), fry the 2 slices bacon until crispy on medium high heat. Remove the bacon and set aside. Chop into small pieces when cooled.
Meanwhile, the diced onion to the bacon grease in the skillet; sauté until soft and slightly browned (about 2 minutes).
Add the chili powder (1 teaspoon) and cayenne pepper (1/4 teaspoon); stir to coat the onions.
Add the drained and rinsed pinto beans and chicken stock (1/2 cup). Use a potato masher (or a fork) to mash the beans to desired texture, then stir to incorporate with the liquid.
Continue heating until heated through. It may seem pretty watery at this point. If there is too much liquid, continue heating until some of the liquid has evaporated, until you reach the desired consistency, stirring frequently, keeping in mind the beans will thicken additionally as they cool.
Stir in cilantro (1/4 cup) if using, the chopped bacon, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
Like super creamy refried beans? Puree everything together in a blender or food processor instead of using a food processor.
Vegetarian? Use butter to sauté the onion, omit the bacon, and use veggie stock or water. For a vegan option, use olive or canola oil. I recommend adding a little smoked paprika to the spice mix since you won't get that smokiness from the bacon.
Make ahead Instructions: They can be made ahead of time and reheated, but they will dry out a bit over time. Adding a little water or a squeeze of lime juice should help with that.