Slow-cooked refried beans are a soothing dish that completes almost any meal.
Made with pinto beans, onions, jalapeno pepper, and a hint of cumin, they are a crowd-pleasing side dish that will leave everyone craving for more.
Whip up a batch for a delicious addition to your favorite Mexican or Tex-Mex inspired dishes.
What are Refried Beans?
Refried beans are a delicious Mexican favorite. They’re most often made with Pinto beans but are also great with black beans. The beans are cooked until soft with onion and seasonings and then mashed or pureed. Then, they are cooked again with seasonings and usually fat (like bacon fat or lard).
A Mexican Side Dish
- The great thing about homemade refried beans is that the seasonings can be adjusted. Make them mild or spicy as you’d like.
- Use the kitchen tools you have on hand because refried beans are practically fool-proof.
- The slow cooker is the easiest way to prep them but they can be made on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot.
- When using the Instant Pot or slow cooker, there will be no need to pre-soak the beans overnight.
- Beans are packed with protein and fiber and are one of the most affordable, budget-friendly foods, especially if you start with dried beans.
Ingredients for Slow Cooker Refried Beans
Beans – For the best flavor, start with dried pinto beans. Kidney beans or black beans will also work. If pressed for time, use canned beans and skip the initial cooking step. Just mash and cook with seasonings.
Liquid – While you can make refried beans with water, chicken broth or beef broth will add a rich and savory flavor. If you don’t have broth on hand, add some bouillon cubes.
Fat – Adding fat is optional, but definitely reccomended. While refried beans are already delicious, add bacon or ham drippings for a delicious smoky flavor. If you don’t have bacon fat, add a bit of butter or lard.
Spices and seasonings – Onion, garlic, and jalapenos give refried beans plenty of flavor. I love a dash of cumin but you can replace it with any kind of Mexican spices. Try chili powder, taco seasoning, or fajita seasoning.
Toppings for Refried Beans
Refried beans are a great canvas for delicious toppings! Try diced onion, chopped jalapeno peppers, cilantro, or diced tomatoes to stir in or sprinkle on top.
For some extra goodness, top with dollops of creamy sour cream, zesty salsa, cotija, or shredded cheddar.
How to Make Refried Beans
- Place all ingredients except bacon drippings in a 4-quart slow cooker, cover, and cook on high for eight hours, (as per recipe below).
- Drain beans from the liquid, reserving the liquid.
- Mash beans to desired consistency, adding some of the reserved liquid as needed.
- Stir in optional bacon drippings and adjust seasoning to taste.
In the Instant Pot:
- Place ingredients except bacon drippings in an Instant Pot with 8 cups of liquid.
- Cook on high pressure for 25 – 35 minutes.
- Natural release pressure for 20 minutes, then quick release.
- Mash and season (per the recipe below).
On the Stovetop:
- Saute the onion and garlic in oil until translucent.
- Add the beans and the rest of the ingredients.
- Cover and cook for 4 hours, or until beans are soft and creamy.
- Mash and season (per the recipe below).
Serve refried beans topped with shredded cheese, salsa, diced onion, or chopped cilantro, or use it as an ingredient in your favorite Mexican dishes.
Storing Refried Beans
- Refried beans will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and maintain optimum flavor for 2-3 months in the freezer.
- For best results, reheat in the oven or the microwave on medium or low heat with a covering, as beans tend to explode.
- If reheating on the stovetop, cover the pot, use low heat, and stir often as they will stick. Add water or more broth to loosen them up as needed.
Did you make these Homemade Refried Beans? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!
Homemade Refried Beans
- 1 pound dry pinto beans
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 onion finely diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper fresh, seeded and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ¾ teaspoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons bacon drippings optional, or butter
- Rinse beans and check for dirt or debris.
- In a 4-quart slow cooker, add the rinsed beans, chicken broth, water, finely diced onion, chopped jalapeno pepper, minced garlic, salt, and cumin.
- Set the slow cooker to High heat and cook the beans for 8 hours or until they are tender.
- Remove the beans from the slow cooker, reserving the cooking liquid.
- Mash the beans to a creamy texture using a potato masher or the back of a spoon, gradually adding the reserved cooking liquid as needed. Add additional water if needed.
- Stir in bacon drippings if desired. Taste and season with salt & pepper.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
© SpendWithPennies.com. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited. Please view my photo use policy here.