Refried Beans Aren't Actually Fried Twice. Here's What They Are

Often served alongside rice at Mexican restaurants, refried beans are a staple side dish packed with fiber and full of flavor. Though it's often assumed that they're made with black beans, the dish surprisingly started with pinto beans and is now incorporating other types like red kidney beans. Fairly new to Mexican cuisine, refried beans made their grand debut about 100 years ago, which isn't very long compared to other traditional dishes.

While the texture of refried beans is quite different from the canned beans you normally see, the spreadability of refried beans makes it more versatile than just being served by itself, as you can treat it like a condiment for spreading onto flour tortillas before assembling tacos and enchiladas — creating the perfect foundation.

Frying is just one of the many ways that people love to consume these fibrous legumes, but it's often assumed that they're fried twice due to their name. However, this is purely a myth.

'Refried' actually means 'very fried'

While the English language tells us that a word beginning with "re" means to do again, in the Spanish language, it actually means "very." That being said, "refried beans" in Spanish means "very fried," and the beans are only fried once. However, the dish was originally called "frijoles refritos." "Frijoles" means "beans," and "refritos" refers to the term "well-fried." The confusion comes from the Spanish language tradition to add "re" to words in order to give them emphasis, which is how the original name was adopted. 

In fact, refried beans are actually cooked twice. To make them, you simply soak dried beans overnight, simmer them in a pot of water until tender, mash them to the consistency you like, and then fry them in a skillet with your choice of fat and season them to your liking. Voila! No extra frying necessary.