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Ground Beef and Refried Beans for Quick Burritos on the Run

Preview: This recipe for Ground Beef and Refried Beans is perfectly seasoned to make a quick burrito. The only thing to add is lots of cheese (and maybe some salsa and sour cream).

When you live in Texas, Mexican food is part of the landscape. But as an Indiana farm girl, I did not always crave Tex-Mex as I do now. I think it’s because of the infamous canned tamales.

A glass jar of tamales sat in my mom’s pantry for years.  I can still picture it. We used to move that jar around in the cabinet while looking for something tastier. When we finally opened the jar, the tamales were mushy and flavorless.

It’s a wonder I ever touched Mexican food again.

Then I married a Texan.

refried beans and beef along with burrito fixings

Refried beans became my new favorite tortilla stuffer. Now, our whole family loves them!

Throughout my married life, I have tried many refried bean recipes. This one is slightly more complicated but worth the trouble.  Ground beef increases the flavor considerably. Also, you don’t have to use the more traditional lard or bacon grease unless you want to.

Ingredients and substitutions:

  • DRIED PINTO BEANS: Please note that the older dried beans are, the longer they will take to cook. Substitute 4 (15 oz.) cans of pinto beans that have been rinsed and well-drained for dried beans if you want to save time.
  • SALT: Omit the salt if you are using canned beans.
  • GROUND BEEF: Substitute turkey or ground breakfast-style sausage if you like.
  • OYSTER SAUCE: Don’t be put off by the name. You can read more about oyster sauce here. It is a common Chinese cooking ingredient that adds umami. You could leave it out but it is an important component of the taste profile for these beans. Soy sauce and hoisin sauce are two possible substitutes.
  • TOMATO PASTE: If you use tomato paste from the can, freeze the remainder for later use. Using tomato paste squeezed from a tube is even easier.
  • JALAPEÑO PEPPER: If you don’t have a fresh jalapeño pepper on hand, substitute 1/2 to 1 tablespoon pickled jalapeño peppers. Did you know you can freeze fresh jalapeño peppers? You don’t even have to cut them up. Just throw a bag of whole fresh peppers in the freezer.
  • ADOBO SEASONING: This is a Puerto Rican spice mixture. If unavailable, substitute 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon ground oregano.

Can I freeze these refried beans?

These beans freeze beautifully. Place them in freezer zipper-locked bags for convenience.

One tortilla plus a small serving of these refried beans equals an effortless, healthy lunch when eaten with my daily salad.

How to make Ground Beef and Refried Beans:

Cooking beans in large pot
Cooked beans are ready to transform into refried beans.
browning ground beef for adding to refried beans
In a separate skillet, brown the ground beef mixture, onions, and jalapeño pepper.
mixing beans and meat with a potato masher
Combine beans and meat in one pot and start mashing. Cook on low heat for 30 minutes.
refried beans in flour tortillas for beef and bean burritos
Fill flour tortillas with bean mixture and lots of cheese. Serve with salsa or guacamole.

Yield: 10 servings

Ground Beef and Refried Beans Recipe

refried beans and beef with tortillas

Refried beans are coupled with ground beef and several seasonings that results in extreme flavor--perfect for burritos or to use as a side dish.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 9 hours
Total Time 9 hours 30 minutes


  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Adobo seasoning


  1. Soak beans and cook according to package, adding salt AFTER beans are tender.
  2. Meanwhile, combine beef, garlic, egg, oyster sauce, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Mix it together however you can. Hands work best--it's like making meatloaf. Cover with plastic wrap and let it marinate in the refrigerator while the beans cook.
  3. When beans are tender, drain off juice and reserve.
  4. In separate skillet, brown ground beef mixture, onions and jalapeno pepper. Drain excess grease.
  5. Combine beans and meat in one pot and start mashing. A fork will work but a masher or granny fork works faster. Mash until there are no obvious whole beans but still some texture. If you don't like lumps, put small batches in a food processor. Add reserved liquid till beans are the thickness you like. If they are still too thick, add a little more water.
  6. Season with Adobo seasoning and simmer on the stove over low heat for another 30-45 minutes.


See the section about "Ingredients and Substitutions" in the post for more information about each ingredient and possible substitutions.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 216Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 665mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 6gSugar: 1gProtein: 20g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Judy Smith

Monday 19th of December 2011

You brought back memories for me. I remember visiting my parents friends in Washington D.C. back in 1969 and eating Taco's for the first time, they had to show us how to eat them. When we got back to Georgia. Mama started cooking them for us. She also could only buy the corn tortilla's in the can, and had to fry each one of them when we had Taco's.


Thursday 5th of November 2009

This looks good. I guess I've never thought about making my own refried beans. Your tortillas look so good. I wish our Costco had good tortillas!

Ann Hastings

Thursday 5th of November 2009

I guess I didn't eat much Mexican Food growing up, because my mom was an Indiana Farm Girl too!!! This recipe looks great!


Thursday 5th of November 2009

Hi Romaine! I haven't checked your blog for a while and I'm glad I did it today! You don't cease to inspire us with your wonderful creations - I especially like cookies, cakes, make, sweet recipes in general. They look so amazing. Keep up the good work:)

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