Refried Beans

Making your own refried beans is easy and economical. There are many uses for refried beans: bean burritos, bean tacos, beans and cheese, bean dip and more.

easy homemade refried beans

They are inexpensive and very nutritious. Pinto beans are high in fiber, magnesium and potassium and can be purchased at any grocery store for around $1-2 a pound.

Most people purchase their refried beans pre-made in a can. While this is definitely an option, I think the homemade version tastes so much better and you can control the amount of salt in your own homemade refried beans.

refried beans horizontal

My kids absolutely love refried beans. When you make your own refried beans you can also control the amount of salt in the recipe, which is great for people on a low sodium diet.

We prefer our beans with only salt and a little butter or fat added, but you can also add chopped onion and garlic to your beans to suit your taste preferences.

Refried Beans


  • 1 bag of dried pinto beans
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter or bacon grease
  • salt to taste


  1. Soak pinto beans covered in water all day.
  2. Cook overnight on low in a slow cooker with lots of water.
  3. In the morning, drain off most of the water and put in the fridge to cool. Beans should be cold before frying.
  4. Add butter or bacon grease to a frying pan.
  5. Add cold cooked beans and as much liquid from the beans as desired. The more liquid, the soupier the beans.
  6. Cook on medium heat.
  7. While beans are cooking start to mash with a potato masher.
  8. Continue mashing until desired consistency is reached. Ensure that the beans are simmering while being mashed.
  9. Add salt to taste.
  10. If beans are too runny, then cook a little longer and the liquid will boil off.
  11. Serve.


If you like to freeze your meals, freeze your beans after they have been cooked in the slow cooker but before they have been fried. Thaw in the fridge, fry and serve.

Here’s a video tutorial to show you how easy it really is to make these beans!

We used these beans on open tacos. This might be the quickest and easiest dinner in the world!


My kids love homemade refried beans and could hardly wait for me to take some of the pictures so they could dive into the beans and cheese.

homemade refried beans

If your kids love tortilla chips, refried beans are a great way to add a high protein, high fiber twist to a typical snack food.

homemade refried beans 1

Refried beans freeze well too! I usually freeze mine in quart size bags and which is enough for one meal.

homemade beans


You can find more delicious meal ideas at the The Happy Housewife Recipe Index.

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Oatmeal Pancakes: Gluten Free with Walnut Butter

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Pancakes with Walnut Butter at The Happy HousewifeBy contributing writer Tessa

These Gluten-Free Oatmeal Pancakes are one of the the most hearty pancakes I have yet to make. They have made their way into our pre-hiking repertoire for their packability and ability to satiate!

I discovered this recipe years ago in a newspaper and had to work on making it allergy friendly. Necessity is always the mother of invention.

The egg free version is slightly denser but still great. You get to decide what to serve these with – the walnut butter is a special treat! While I love the tangy flavor of buttermilk, the end product is just as good with the dairy free version. Again, you decide!

Soaking the oats in an acidic medium makes them more easily digestible, and your body can get at all those nutrients better. But I have also provided directions for making these fresh with no leftover oatmeal.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Pancakes with Walnut Butter at The Happy Housewife

Oatmeal Pancakes - Gluten Free with Walnut Butter
Serves: 4
  • 2 cups leftover oatmeal, or 2 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 2½ cups buttermilk or ½ cup favorite yogurt mixed with 2 cups water. If you use leftover oatmeal, omit this.
  • 2 eggs or equivalent egg replacer (I used 1 tablespoon gelatin whisked into ½ cup water)
  • ¼ cup light olive oil, avocado oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup brown rice flour
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup palm sugar, or other granulated sugar
For the Walnut Butter
  • 1 cup any allowed butter, softened
  • ½ cup palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. The night before (or up to 2 days) either prepare your oatmeal or place the oats and buttermilk into a bowl. Cover and let sit overnight. This is also a good time to make the walnut butter.
  2. The next morning, mix in the eggs, vanilla, sugar. and oil to combine. If you used leftover oatmeal, you will need to add a touch of any preferred milk to get the desired batter consistency. I used about ½ cup.
  3. Whisk together the dry ingredients, then incorporate into the wet. This will be a thick pancake batter consistency.
  4. In a greased, preheated pan over medium low heat, pour about 3 tablespoons batter into the pan. When bubbles begin to form evenly and the bottom is golden, flip and cook the other side. Repeat with the remaining batter, serve with the walnut butter if you like.
For the Walnut Butter
  1. Combine the butter, sugar, walnuts and vanilla, mixing thoroughly.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Pancakes with Walnut Butter at The Happy Housewife

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How to Tell if You Have a Rotten Egg

When we returned from vacation the eggs in the fridge had passed their “sell by” date. I was pretty sure they were still good, but wanted to make sure before I fed them to the kids.

rotten egg 1

This easy test will determine if your egg is good enough to eat, or it is time to toss.

Submerge your egg in water. If the egg is fresh it will sink to the bottom. If it floats to the top throw it out. If it sits somewhere in the middle eat it today!

The reason a fresh egg sinks is because it has a very small air pocket inside the shell. As time goes on the fluid inside the shell evaporates and more gases fill the shell causing it to float.

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Crock Pot Beef Stew with Chickpeas

Crock Pot Beef Stew with Chickpeas at The Happy Housewife

A good homemade dinner is easy to serve with this Crock Pot Beef Stew with Chickpeas recipe.  You just throw it all together in the slow cooker, set the dial, and it’s perfectly cooked at meal time.

All the veggies in this dish really meld flavors well so that the kids don’t find the flavors too strong or overpowering.  The chickpeas keep their amazing texture while the meat melts in your mouth.

My favorite part about this recipe is that I almost always have all the ingredients on hand.  When beef stew meat goes on sale, I stock up. Then I pick up a jar of gravy, and I’m ready for an easy meal that is prepped in minutes.

I really think the secret ingredient is the Worcestershire sauce.   It adds richness and boldness to the stew and really highlights the savory meat.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Chickpeas
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
This hearty stew is a hit with the whole family. It's got the perfect combination of vegetables and beef along with the extra boost of protein from the chickpeas.
  • 1½ - 2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 1 jar Heinz Homestyle Gravy
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 white or yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 12 ounce bag of baby carrots
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker.
  2. Use empty gravy jar and fill with water. Add the water to the slow cooker.
  3. Cover and cook on high for 4 - 6 hours (or low for 6 - 8 hours).

Crock Pot Beef Stew with Chickpeas at The Happy Housewife

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