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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Crispy Baked French Fries

I love French fries, however, fried food and healthy living don’t quite go hand and hand. When I started making changes to my lifestyle a few years ago I gave up fried food, including fries. It was one of the few foods I missed with my new healthy diet. Once I got fit I brought the fries back, but in moderation.

I really wanted to find a way to make fries at home in the oven that tasted as good as some of my favorite fried restaurant fries. I tried a few different recipes and the fries were never quite crispy enough. I couldn’t get the texture right they were always a little mushy and didn’t taste great.

Last week I decided to try again (since I had a 10 pound bag of potatoes sitting in my kitchen) and spent a few days working on my fry recipe. (Tough job but someone has to do it!)

Crispy Baked Fries at The Happy Housewife

Then it hit me… I needed to soak the fries before cooking! Soaking potatoes helps get rid of the starch, and too much starch was making my fries mushy in the oven.

I tried it and the baked fries were absolutely perfect! They were crispy and tasted just like the fried version. They are so easy to make and you can even do most of the prep work ahead of time if you wanted to make these for a Super Bowl party or other gathering.

Crispy Baked French Fries
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
These baked French fries are much healthier than the fried version and easy to make. The are super crispy and taste delicious!
  • 4 large white potatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika, Chili Power, Cayenne Pepper (use your favorite spices)
  1. Wash potatoes.
  2. Cut the potatoes into large fry shaped strips, keeping the skin on.
  3. Soak potatoes in water for at least an hour. They can soak overnight in the fridge.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  5. Drain water and dry potatoes thoroughly. Do not skip this step!
  6. In a large bowl mix together fries and the canola oil until the fries are covered.
  7. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  8. Add additional seasonings if you like spicier fries.
  9. Place fries side by side on a cookie sheet, making sure they are not piled on top of each other.
  10. Sprinkle with additional seasoning.
  11. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of your fries.
  12. Serve.


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Apples & Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Butter

Apples & Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Butter at The Happy HousewifeBy contributing writer Beth

This apple and sweet potato recipe has five ingredients and the simplicity speaks for itself. The flavors blend together so well, and it’s the perfect recipe to go with a simplified Thanksgiving feast. The tradition is there in the warmth and sweetness of the dish, and all the ingredients are familiar and comfortable. There’s nothing intimidating in the ingredients or the preparation, and yet people will be shocked by how much they love the colorful layers of honey-sweetened goodness.

I use cinnamon as the only spice, but you could really jazz up this dish with cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger. And the honey can be reduced if you think it’s a little too sweet. A spicier dish might actually do well with less honey. My children finished off this entire dish in one sitting!

If you don’t have a mandoline, see the note about slicing.

Apples & Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Butter at The Happy Housewife

Apples & Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Butter
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 small granny smith apples
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup honey
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray casserole with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Peel the sweet potato and use a mandoline slicer to thinly slice them. Set aside.
  3. Slice the Granny Smith apples with a mandoline slicer.
  4. Arrange apples and sweet potatoes in an alternating pattern and place in the greased pan.
  5. Combine melted butter, cinnamon, and honey. Drizzle over the top of the apples and sweet potatoes.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork tender.
If you don't have a mandoline, slice the potatoes and apples as thinly as possible with a knife. It may need to bake longer. You could also try using a food processor to get thin slices.

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Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole

Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole - Also dairy free with paleo options. | The Happy HousewifeBy contributing writer Tessa

Green bean casserole was one my very favorites growing up. When our focus on eating turned allergy friendly and real food based, I knew this was a casserole I had to reinvent for our holiday celebrations.

I was shocked at how much better the made from scratch, gluten-free green bean casserole tasted! WOW! It is infinitely tastier and full of real, pronounceable ingredients. Just once, give this homemade version a shot and let your taste buds thank you!

Be warned, you will want to gobble all the crispy onions up, so try and save some for the casserole!

Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole - Also dairy free with paleo options. | The Happy Housewife

Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 6
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut (~ 2 inches)
For the Mushroom Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons ghee, allowed butter, or avocado oil
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, finely diced
  • ½ cup finely diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2½ tablespoons rice or coconut flour (use slightly less coconut flour)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup full fat coconut or nut milk, unsweetened (or regular cream)
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • Up to 1 tablespoon lemon juice or 3 tablespoons allowed sour cream (optional)
For the Crispy Onions
  • 1 medium size sweet or yellow onion quartered and thinly sliced. (I use my food processor)
  • ½ cup rice flour (or ¼ cup coconut flour + ¼ cup arrowroot starch)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 - 4 tablespoons any milk to get dry mixture just wet, like a batter
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the beans in the boiling water for about 2-3 minutes. They will continue to cook in the oven, so you want them barely cooked and bright green.
  2. Drain the beans and immediately rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
For the Mushroom Sauce
  1. In a large skillet, melt the ghee over medium heat and add the mushrooms and onions. Saute until the onions are soft and the mushrooms are wilted, 5-7 minutes.
  2. Stir in the garlic, thyme, and salt and saute for about a minute.
  3. Stir in the flour, dispersing evenly. Stir in chicken broth, milk, and white wine, whisking into the vegetables.
  4. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil to thicken, and turn off the heat. I like to add a touch of lemon or allowed sour cream for a little tang. Taste and decide for yourself.
  5. Stir in the blanched beans and pour into a pan of your choosing. Size is not overly important as you are just heating the mixture through.
  6. Place the pan in a 400 degree oven while you make the crispy onions. Set the timer for 30 minutes.
For the Crispy Onions
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add your fat for frying.
  2. Place the sliced onions and all the dry ingredients into a bowl and stir.
  3. Add the milk, a little at a time just until there is no dry flour left, like a batter.
  4. When your oil is hot (test a onion and see if it immediately sizzles), add the onions in batches to the skillet. Do not crowd the onions. Flip when golden. Brown up the other side and remove to a paper towel lined plate while you continue with the rest on the onions. Continue to add oil if the pan becomes dry.
  5. Top the green beans and continue to bake for the remainder of the 30 minutes. Casserole should be hot and bubbly.
This casserole can easily be made a couple of days in advance and then reheated in the oven. Just assemble the whole casserole (including the onions on top), cover and leave in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake.

Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole - Also dairy free with paleo options. | The Happy Housewife

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