Honestly, refried beans aren't the prettiest to photograph on their own, so I'm including a photo of how we usually eat our beans (bean & cheese crisps). Obviously making homemade refried beans takes more effort than opening a can, but they are SO GOOD and much healthier for you too. It's worth it to try and make it once in awhile at least!
3 cups pinto beans
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp chili powder
salt to taste (I usually add 1-2 tsp)
In a large colander (strainer), measure out 3 cups of beans, picking out any bad ones as you go. Rinse beans. Put beans into a large crock pot (mine is a 5qt) and add approximately 5-6 inches of water to cover the beans. Place lid on and let soak overnight (no heat).
After soaking, drain beans into a colander again. Put beans back into crock pot and fill with water with at least 4 inches covering the beans. Cook on low for 8 hours.
When the beans are done, saute the onion and garlic with 1-2 tsp oil in a large frying pan until translucent. Drain the beans, reserving 2 cups of the liquid for later use.
With the pan on med high heat, add 2 tsp more oil and beans to the pan. Mash bean with a potato masher. Stir in reserved bean liquid for desired thickness. Stir in remaining seasonings and you're done!
Refrigerate any leftovers. They freeze well too!