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Panhandle PBS

How to make Oaxacan beans

In this episode, Chef Ruthie teaches us how to make Oaxacan beans, a flavorful and versatile dish that fits right in with many popular recipes.



  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, divided
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 4 guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 lb dried black beans, rinsed
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled and kept whole
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 star anise or 1 tsp ground aniseed
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp kosher salt


In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat 1 tbsp of the coconut oil. Add onion, tomatoes, and chilies. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are slightly translucent. Add the beans, whole garlic cloves, bay leaves, star anise, salt and pepper. Then, add 10 cups of water. Bring beans to a boil then cover partially and reduce heat to low. Cook beans for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Once the beans are cooked, stir in 2 tsp of kosher salt, then set aside. Place a colander in a large bowl and drain the beans (reserving the bean liquid). Remove the bay leaves and transfer beans to a food processor. Add 1 1/2 cups of the bean liquid to the processor and process until the beans are smooth, scraping the sides as needed.

In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tbsp of the remaining coconut oil until melted. Add the chopped garlic, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and oregano. Stir and cook until fragrant for a few seconds. Stir in the pureed beans and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown on the bottom (5 minutes). Add more bean liquid as needed. Adjust seasoning before serving.

Refried beans can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-5 days or frozen in portion-sized amounts for up to 3 months.

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Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum