In my book, there isn’t anything better than the smell of a fresh pot of beans. In fact, beans are definitely one of my all-time favorite foods.

Both of my grandmas are masters of refried beans. It would be highly unlikely to walk into their houses and not see beans in the freezer or a fresh pot cooking on the stove. Every time I head to my grandma’s house, I know I can always count on a warm hug and some piping fresh beans as soon as I walk through the door.

And now that I’m an adult, I love to cook beans myself, as often as possible. So it’s been pretty rough these last four weeks as I’ve been without a kitchen. We’re in the middle of a kitchen remodel here at the King home, and I haven’t been able to use the stove or the sink AT ALL. It’s truly been the longest four weeks of my life.

So when my kitchen was FINALLY complete, I knew just what I had to cook first to make this new kitchen feel (and smell) like home — a fresh pot of beans.

I recommend soaking your beans overnight as this will speed up the cooking process. If you do, you can have a fresh pot of delicious beans on your stove in less than 4 hours. Trust me friends, you’re going to want to try this recipe.

Refried Beans


  • 6 cups dried pinto beans
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch slices (or you can use ham hock or diced ham instead)
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 5 cloves of garlic (whole)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more if needed
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 stick butter (bacon grease, lard or shortening will work)


  1. Rinse the beans thoroughly, then place them in a large pot with the bacon, onion and garlic. Pour water over the top. Use enough water to cover the beans by 1 or 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 2 to 3 hours. If the liquid seems to evaporate too quickly, add more water during the cooking process. The beans are done when they're fork tender.
  2. If you're not using immediately, place beans in ziplock bags and freeze for later.
  3. Heat the fat in a large skillet and add the beans. Mash them until they're the consistency you want. Stir and cook them until heated, then add the grated cheese.

Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman