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Homemade Refried Beans (Slow Cooker & Instant Pot Directions)

Homemade Slow Cooker Refried Beans

yield: 6 SERVINGS

prep time: 10 MINUTES

cook time: 4 HOURS

total time: 4 HOURS 10 MINUTES

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry pinto beans (about 2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large jalapeño, diced and seeds removed
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 cups water or vegetable broth

Directions

1

Rinse and clean beans well. Place them in a slow cooker along with the onion, garlic, jalapeño,  pepper, salt, cumin, and chili powder.

2

Add water to slow cooker. Cook on low for about 8 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours. (I put them in before bed and they were ready in the morning!)

3

Separate the beans from liquid (but save some of the liquid) and mash them to desired consistency either by using a hand masher, blender, or immersion blender.

4

If the beans seem too dry for your taste, add some of the cooking liquid to get them to the consistency that you prefer. Season generously with salt, and mix well.

5

Optional Instant Pot Directions:

Set the pot to Sauté function and saute the onion, jalapeño, and garlic for a few minutes with a tablespoon of olive oil. Continue with the same process and add all ingredients. Close the lid and seal.

 

Set cook time to 45 minutes on the Bean/Chili setting or Manual/High and let the pressure release for 20 minutes after cook time. Continue with the same process to mash.

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75 Comments
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refried beans spread on tostada shell

Looking for a family favorite refried beans recipe?

It’s super easy and inexpensive to make smooth and tasty restaurant-style refried beans to enjoy at home as a delicious snack, side dish, or to incorporate into meal ideas.

This vegetarian recipe uses easy to find healthy ingredients and produces fantastic tasting beans!

ingredients for slow cooker beans

Just toss all the ingredients into your slow cooker, wait a few hours, mash them up, and you’re done! That’s it!

refried beans in a crock-pot

These beans taste so yummy and flavorful – I promise you’ll never want to buy canned refried beans again.

refried beans on tostitos with shredded cheese

Hip Recipe Tips: 

  • You can definitely alter the seasonings to taste. I prefer a little more cumin in mine compared to most, and from-scratch beans are pretty plain so they do need to be seasoned well with salt.
  • Using one jalapeño doesn’t make the beans spicy, yet adds nice flavor in my opinion. For spicier beans, you’ll want to add more or consider adding some cayenne pepper to taste.
  • Mashing the beans can be done by hand using a potato masher or you can transfer them to a blender. I personally prefer using an immersion hand blender, as it’s so easy to just use it right in the pot after cooking.

adding water to refried beans recipe

beans in slow cooker with ladel

immersion blender for refried beans

dipping tortilla chip in refried beans


Print

Homemade Slow Cooker Refried Beans

yield: 6 SERVINGS

prep time: 10 MINUTES

cook time: 4 HOURS

total time: 4 HOURS 10 MINUTES

Make these easy slow cooker refried beans for your side dish or as a delicious dip!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry pinto beans (about 2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large jalapeño, diced and seeds removed
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 cups water or vegetable broth

Directions

1

Rinse and clean beans well. Place them in a slow cooker along with the onion, garlic, jalapeño,  pepper, salt, cumin, and chili powder.

2

Add water to slow cooker. Cook on low for about 8 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours. (I put them in before bed and they were ready in the morning!)

3

Separate the beans from liquid (but save some of the liquid) and mash them to desired consistency either by using a hand masher, blender, or immersion blender.

4

If the beans seem too dry for your taste, add some of the cooking liquid to get them to the consistency that you prefer. Season generously with salt, and mix well.

5

Optional Instant Pot Directions:

Set the pot to Sauté function and saute the onion, jalapeño, and garlic for a few minutes with a tablespoon of olive oil. Continue with the same process and add all ingredients. Close the lid and seal.

 

Set cook time to 45 minutes on the Bean/Chili setting or Manual/High and let the pressure release for 20 minutes after cook time. Continue with the same process to mash.

Brought to you by Hip2Save.

instant pot refried beans

Prefer to use your Instant Pot for this refried beans recipe?

I’ve tried this recipe using both cooking methods and the beans come out equally delicious! Using the Instant Pot is even faster!

I have actually been using the Instant Pot method more often since it’s so quick. I use the same ingredients except I sauté the onions, garlic, and jalapeño first right in the pot. Then just seal the lid and set the cooking time to 45 minutes on high or the bean setting, followed by a natural release afterward.

bean and cheese tostada

These refried beans make a great dip and make for amazing bean burritos and tostadas! 😋

My kids are obsessed with refried beans and this is such a great, healthy way to make them, while also saving money. A one-pound bag of dried pinto beans at the store is priced around $1, while most of the time you’d be paying at least that for one small can.

refried beans in a glass bowl

You can also freeze the leftovers to use in future bean recipes, so consider making several batches. The recipe above makes about 5-6 cups of refried beans.

freezing refried beans


Make these easy homemade flour tortillas to go along with your refried beans!

Join The Discussion

Comments 75

  1. Brindha

    Looks yummy and healthy! Will definetly try… Thanks.

  2. Kim

    Can’t wait to try these. Thanks for the recipe and the pictures. The pictures help this visual learner 🙂

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      You’re welcome! I’m the same way 🙂 if a recipe is too long with no pics I tune out. Lol

      • ryan

        you did it again!!! thanks for all the wonderful receipes!!!!

  3. jennifer

    Yummy, healthy, and cheap! Can’t wait to try and perfect for the tortillas I just got on sale. Thanks Lina!

  4. Julie

    I’ve been making my retried beans like this for a few months and they are fabulous! I don’t even chop the onion- I just cut in quarters- or jalapeño- cut in half and seed. They’re so soft after they cook that you can just mash them up with the beans-I use a potato masher. Less work and less to clean up. I’ll never go back to canned!

  5. Lisa

    Thanks so much for the recipe. Seems way healthier than cans. If I should freeze it will it taste okay?

    • me

      Yea put them out the night before and they are great !

    • Kelly A.

      Beans freeze great!

  6. Cq

    Nice to be able to control the sodium content-can ones have a ton. Thanks for recipe.

  7. Jennifer

    How do these work with gas? I thought you need to soak beans first and toss the water to get rid of the stuff that makes you gassy…

    • Betty

      I would like to see a response to this. As far as I knew, there is no way to reduce the amount of Oligosaccharides (what causes gas because the stomach can’t break it down) in beans,

      • Mike M.

        I heard a food network chef say once that if you cook the beans with a couple large pieces of celery, that the celery will absorb the compounds that make you gassy. Just remove the celery before you mash the beans.

    • Elizabeth

      When doing the refrained beans I use black beans instead and don’t have that problem! But when we make red beans and rice (we live in New Orleans so that’s a staple in my house) I soak the kidney beans overnight in cold water and then cook all day. I would assume you can do the same with this recipe as well!

      • Kelly A.

        I usually make my beans in a big pot in a larger version than this. Basically, it’s good to know that the more beans you eat, the more your body gets use to them and will not react with a lot of gas. But, I read that when you first start cooking the beans and bringing them to a boil, those grayish bubbles that form on top of the water — skim them off the top. That should help a little with the gas. Soaking helps too. I soak my grains for bread and oatmeal too — all helps with digestion.

    • vicki

      I would argue that its not really that the beans cause the gas its that the intense fiber in the beans is trying to push “out” all the other foods still in your system. the more fiber you eat, the less gas you actually have cause your system is moving as it should. eating fiber rich legumes regularly(ie: daily+!) has definitely helped my family…

      this is one of the places I’ve read about this:
      http://karenhurd.com/pages/healthtopics/specifichealthconcerns/ht-shc-whybeansdontcausegas.html

  8. karen

    Yum! Now I only need a good mexican rice recipe. I am a great cook, but for some reason cannot get mexican rice to be like they serve in restaurants.

    • Gina

      I have the same problem, Karen! My mexican meals are great but the rice disappoints every time!

      • karen

        Thanks Sophie! I’ll try that recipe. I haven’t ever rinsed my rice, so maybe this is the step I need to do. 🙂

      • Gina

        Thanks!

    • Brooke

      Also, after you’re done boiling your rice, add a handful of ice cubes and a splash of bottled lemon juice to the water before you drain it. Give it a stir and then drain. It helps the rice not stick together.

      • Kelly A.

        Try looking at the type of rice you are buying. Basmati is my favorite and my Mexican mother-in-law always cooks Jasmine rice. Are you browning the rice in a little oil before you add the liquids? This is very important as it opens up the rice kernels and gives it that authentic flavor. Also, use chicken broth and a few tablespoons of tomato sauce. I’ve even used salsa as a sub. for the tomato sauce. If you have green onions, throw some in at the end of browning the rice too.

      • Erika

        Why would you drain Mexican rice or even add lemon juice?

        Curious Mexican asking…

    • Sonia

      One easy Mexican rice recipie I make has a Secret ingredient ketchup:
      1 Cups rice
      3 TBS ketchup
      1 tsp taco seasoning
      1 tsp olive oil
      2 Cups water
      Simmer for 25 minutes 😊
      My mom made this all the time when we were growing up.

      • Jess Jimenez

        I live in Sydney. and have just put a slow cooker batch of Pinto beans, It takes longer but it is worth it when I refry I use lard.Which keeps the beans moist and I can do alot with them.tacos, burritos, dip. With this recipe, It’s good and easy.
        My Mexican rice, I fry it with all the ingredients. Then put it in the rice cooker.Then Its done.

  9. Renee

    Is it okay to skip the jalapeno or is that what makes the dish great?

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Ours weren’t hot at all! I’m adding more next time. I think it adds great flavor 🙂

    • Suzanne H

      I have made these before and I skipped all seasonings. That way, I can use them in a bunch of different dishes (not just Mexican dishes) and, if I want to, I can add salt, pepper, cumin, taco seasonings, etc. later. They are so easy to make and very delicious. An immersion blender is PERFECT for this dish. Cook them then blend right in the cooker.

      • laura

        If you do these without the seasoning does it just taste like the traditional refried beans? We are not really Mexican spicy eaters and we wanted to try this recipe with out the spices.

        • Suzanne H

          They don’t have a lot of flavor without the spices but will take on the flavor of whatever you put them with. If you are eating them by themselves, you will probably need to add at least a little salt and/or pepper but try them plain and see what you think. I’m not a salt person so I think they are fine but hubby said they definitely needed a little salt.

        • Erika

          I’m Mexican and no one I know adds any of these spices. You just add salt.

      • Erika

        Mash them with a potato masher, not an immersion blender. No Mexican ever uses immersion blenders. We call potato mashers bean mashers. When I found out the masher was a potato masher, it was news to me. Beans aren’t soup. You need texture.

        • Rebecca

          Yup! It was always a bean smasher in our house! Those beans look way to watery for this Mexican! We only add salt to our beans when boiling, and then add lard or bacon grease when smashing!

    • Lauren

      Try a poblano pepper?

    • Renee

      Thanks everyone. We’re trying to eat healthier so recipes like this and all the suggestions really do help.

  10. Kathy

    I know it’s not as healthy but add a little butter and some chopped bacon while mashing. Sprinkle with a little cheese and YUM.

  11. pam

    Thanks for all the great recipes!!!

  12. Mike M.

    After you mash them up, stir in a good splash of juice from a can/jar of pickled jalapeños (preferably the Herdez brand in the Hispanic foods section but any will do)…if you like vinegary foods, the taste is UH-mazing!

  13. Amy

    Can’t wait to try this recipe! Thanks!

  14. Mary

    Thank you Lina! My boyfriends family eats A LOT of refried beans but usually stick with the canned ones, unfortunately. I will give this recipe a try. Hopefully it’ll convince them to make these from scratch more often. Love slow cooker recipes 🙂

  15. Dianne

    I am so glad you are doing these vegetarian recipes. Thank you again Lina.

    • Erika

      Mexican beans are 99% of the time vegetarian unless you decide to use lard to fry them before mashing. I don’t know anyone who does that unless you are traveling and going to a ranch in Mexico. We don’t even use any oil. We only mash them.

  16. Soozy

    Umm beginner question – when you separate the beans to blend, do u also blend the other chunks? Onions etc or leave those w liquid?

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Yes blend it all!! Yum

  17. Luz

    Made these last night and they are AWESOME! Couldn’t resist them this morning, so we made huevos rancheros for breakfast before I blended them- delicious. Thank you so much for posting the recipe 🙂

  18. slc

    Soak the beans overnight, then rinse, rinse and rinse. This gets rid of a lot of the gas problem.

  19. Mellissa

    Great recipe! Making it for the second time today. Instead of pureeing … my husband likes to eat them as is over brown rice. Also, today I am leaving the seeds of the jalapeno in … to make more spicy.

    Thanks!

  20. Rosario Diaz Gonzalez

    I just put everything in the crock pot. I love garlic and jalapeños so I add extra of both. I also added some of the my Puerto Rican ‘sofrito’. Can’t wait to wake up tomorrow?

    • Rosario Diaz

      So delicious. For my spicier version I will add the entire pepper with seeds and all.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Love sofrito!

  21. Bubbles

    You can always use chicken broth in place of some of the water for additional flavor!

  22. Cynthia

    I do the same thing with the beans but without the extra ingredients. I add hot water and always put on high, and add salt for taste. Another alternative instead of salt is adding bacon. It adds a Smokey flavor and not too salty. Try that.

  23. Heather

    I made these today. Super easy and very tasty. Thanks for posting!

  24. Materof6

    Could this be done in the Instant Pot, then with an immersion blender?

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yep I just did that last night. It’s 45 minutes in the bean/chili setting and then 20 minutes natural release. Then you can take out some liquid and use immersion blender! So yum!

  25. Michelle

    Love the recipe and all the suggestions; Good stuff.

  26. Babbs12345

    If you aren’t trying to avoid fat, butter and bacon pieces are amazing in refried beans. Add great flavor and fat makes them creamier.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yes, thanks for the tip, I do love cooking bacon with beans also 🥰

  27. Heather

    Yep made instant pot beans for first time couple months ago, didn’t need to soak beans, gad was not an issue either. Was worried but no one could notice and said they tasted amazing. Game changer

  28. 1withthelord

    Also, these freeze exceptionally well. I made a huge batch and kept a large portion frozen for about a year before using the rest. Once defrosted. It still tasted amazing!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh yay! Yes, I agree I have frozen before and still yummy! Thanks!

  29. Mercedes

    THANK YOU!!! I have heard about making these yourself that they’re so good you’ll never go back to canned refried beans!!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yes, my family loves them and I hope you do too! Enjoy 😉

  30. Jenna

    I make a version of this with just the onion, cumin, garlic, and salt. I use a 2lb bag in a large crock and it makes enough for 5 meals for our family of four. I put them as whole beans in a quart size bag, with the liquid so they freeze and come out of the bag easily once thawed. Most of the time I don’t mash or make them “refried,” my family likes them as is.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      That’s awesome 👏 thanks for sharing Jenna!

  31. Erika the Real Mexican

    These recipes are scaring me.
    All you need to do is put a pot of water to boil, clean the beans, when clean, put them in your pot, boil for 2 hours and add salt at the end.
    Grab your potato masher (bean masher to us Mexicans) and smash them to your desired texture and thickness. You like them thick? Make sure you have very little liquid at the end. What I do is transfer the cooked beans into a pan and mash, then with a spoon transfer over liquid from the pot to make it the consistency I like.

    All of these ingredients are unnecessary and inauthentic.

    • Momma of 8

      I agree. I am Mexican as well and I make beans the same way you do. I dislike the fact that this post makes it seem like using an instant pot or slow cooker is some sort of significant shortcut. When I cook beans I am never just standing at the stove cooking beans. I put them on and do other things while they are cooking. I just check on them every so often to make sure they have. water. It is not a chore to make beans without a slow cooker or instant pot. I don’t own an instant pot and never will. I don’t see the need for another clunky kitchen gadget.

  32. SueJo

    Made these today for the first time ever after seeing your recipe posted. Placed all the ingredients in my crockpot and went to my office. Came home and separated the beans from the liquid and used my hand mixer to get them smooth. We ate some as dip and I froze the rest in two 2 cup portion quart zip lock bags. Absolutely delicious and so happy that I finally like something that was made using my crockpot!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh I’m so glad! Thanks for reporting back 👏

  33. random.10

    Hi, will a 4.5 qt crock pot be big enough? Or do I need the bigger one? Thanks! 🙂

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yep I think that work actually 👍

      • random.10

        It worked, perfect size actually! After mashing the beans I put them in casserole dish and put a layer of cheese on top and baked it under the broiler for a few minutes. It was a big hit and will be making again soon. Thanks again!

  34. random.10

    It worked, perfect size actually! After mashing the beans I put them in casserole dish and put a layer of cheese on top and baked it under the broiler for a few minutes. It was a big hit and will be making again soon. Thanks again!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh that sounds great!

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