Learn how to easily make homemade refried beans from scratch using your Instant Pot! They take just 30 minutes to cook and are so delicious and cheap. Perfect as a side or for using in your favorite recipes too.
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For years I had this love|hate relationship with refried beans.
I loved them because they are an easy, cheap protein that can be served in so many different yummy ways, but I disliked that the store bought ones contain unhealthy things like partially hydrogenated lard, which I prefer not to consume.
One day, I suddenly had this realization that, hello?! Refried beans really couldn’t be all that hard to make, right?
So I did some research, started experimenting and sure enough– it was really quite easy to make my own homemade refried beans, especially once I started using my Instant Pot!
Why We Love This Recipe
- Simple to Make. Once the beans soak, this is basically a dump-and-go recipe, and pretty much impossible to mess up.
- Basic Ingredients. Store-bought refried beans typically have partially hydrogenated oils and preservatives in them. This homemade recipe is made with just a few wholesome ingredients that you can feel good about eating!
- Budget Friendly. These Instant Pot refried beans cost me half of what buying canned refried beans at Aldi would cost.
- Better Than Canned. We think this refried bean recipe tastes better than its store-bought counterpart.
- Quicker Than a Crockpot. I used to make this recipe in my Crockpot, and while it worked really well, it took much longer and I found that part unhandy. These take just a little over an hour!
Homemade Refried Beans Ingredients
- Dry pinto beans. Be sure you use dried beans only. This pressure cooker recipe will not work with canned pintos.
- Onion. Yellow or white onions both work well for this recipe.
- Jarred Minced Garlic. You can also substitute with 3 tsp. granulated garlic or 2 Tbsp. garlic powder instead.
- Spices: Salt, black pepper, cumin, oregano, chili powder.
- Lemon Juice. Totally optional, but I usually add it because I feel like it brightens the flavor a bit.
- Water. For cooking and soaking.
How to Make Instant Pot Refried Beans
STEP 1: Rinse the beans. Sort and remove any stones, dirt, or those that are shriveled.
STEP 2: Dump the pinto beans into the Instant Pot. Cover with water, plus 2 more inches. Soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.
STEP 3: Drain the beans and rinse thoroughly with water.
STEP 4: Place the pinto beans back in the pressure cooker and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to mix.
STEP 5: Put the lid on and turn the valve to the sealing position.
STEP 6: Cook the beans for 30 minutes on high pressure. Once done, allow the pot to naturally release the pressure. This normally takes about 40 minutes.
STEP 7: Use a potato masher or hand blender to mash the beans. (This hand blender is what I use and it makes so easy!) The beans will be a bit soupy but will thicken as they cool.
As long as you follow this recipe exactly, your homemade refried beans will be as thick as store-bought once they have cooled. Mix in a little water if you prefer a thinner consistency.
FAQ & Expert Tips
Refried beans are a popular Mexican dish made from cooked and mashed beans, typically pinto beans. Despite their name, refried beans are not fried twice. The term “refried” comes from the Spanish word “refritos,” which means “well-fried.”
Yes, I do this all the time! Once they have cooled, place them in a freezer-safe container and freeze.
When ready to use, either let them defrost at room temperature or use the microwave to speed things up if necessary.
I prefer soaking the beans before I cook them because it makes them easier for our bodies to digest, allowing us to get more nutrition from them. It also helps reduce the gassiness that often goes along with eating beans.
However, if you prefer to skip soaking them, you can. But you will need to adjust both the cooking time and the amount of water added.
I would try adding 6 c. of water and cook for 45 min. From what I’ve read, that should work.
Cooked refried beans should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Crockpot Instructions: Follow soaking instructions. Add all ingredients to Crockpot but increase the amount of water to 6 c. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours and then on low for 1 hour.
If you choose not to soak the beans and want to do the Crockpot method, use 10 cups of hot water instead of the 6 cups and then adjust the cooking time to 4 hours on high and 2 hours on low. You may also need to drain some of the liquid off at the end of cooking to get a good consistency.
More Recipes You’ll Love
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- 20 Easy Instant Pot Recipes for Beginners
- Easy Creamy Crockpot Mexican Chicken
- Easy Mexican Rice Bowls
- 35 Foods to Make from Scratch and Quit Buying (cheaper and healthier!)
Instant Pot Refried Beans
- 2 lbs. dry pinto beans (not canned!)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 Tbsp. jarred minced garlic (see Notes below)
- 1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. lemon juice opt.
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 4 cups water
- Please also allow time for soaking the beans. There is no spot above to add that to the total amount of time, but I want to be clear that if you choose to soak the beans, that will take additional time.
- Sort and rinse the beans, removing any stones, dirt and shriveled beans.
- Dump the rinsed beans into the Instant Pot (this is the one I have); add water to cover the beans plus approximately an additional 2 inches. Let set 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain the water and thoroughly rinse the beans.
- Dump beans back into the Instant Pot and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to mix.
- Put on the Instant Pot lid, making sure that the vent is turned to “sealing”.
- Cook beans on high pressure for 30 minutes. When finished cooking, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release pressure. (This takes my pot about 40 min.)
- Mash beans using a potato masher or blender. (This hand blender is what I use and it makes so easy!) Beans will appear quite soupy, but will thicken up a lot as they cool. If you follow this recipe exactly, once cooled, your beans should be about as thick as store bought canned refried beans. If you prefer a thinner consistency, simply mix in a bit of water until you get the desired consistency.
- Beans will store in your fridge for up to 4 days or you can freeze them, too.
Follow the soaking instructions. Add all ingredients to Crockpot but increase the amount of water to 6 c. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours and then on low for 1 hour. If you choose not to soak the beans and want to do the Crockpot method, use 10 cups of hot water instead of the 6 cups and then adjust the cooking time to 4 hours on high and 2 hours on low. You may also need to drain some of the liquid off at the end of cooking to get a good consistency.