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.

plated Homemade Refried Beans

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.

ingredients to make Homemade Refried Beans

How to Make Refried Beans

  1. Place all ingredients except bacon drippings in a 4-quart slow cooker, cover, and cook on high for eight hours, (as per recipe below).
  2. Drain beans from the liquid, reserving the liquid.
  3. Mash beans to desired consistency, adding some of the reserved liquid as needed.
  4. Stir in optional bacon drippings and adjust seasoning to taste.
ingredients in the slow cooker to make Homemade Refried Beans

In the Instant Pot:

  1. Place ingredients except bacon drippings in an Instant Pot with 8 cups of liquid.
  2. Cook on high pressure for 25 – 35 minutes.
  3. Natural release pressure for 20 minutes, then quick release.
  4. Mash and season (per the recipe below).

On the Stovetop:

  1. Saute the onion and garlic in oil until translucent.
  2. Add the beans and the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Cover and cook for 4 hours, or until beans are soft and creamy.
  4. 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.

Our Favorite Recipes with Refried Beans

From crowd-pleasing dips to tostadas, refried beans are a great addition to any Mexican-inspired feast.rnrnrnrnrnrnrnrnrn

Did you make these Homemade Refried Beans? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

plated Homemade Refried Beans
5 from 13 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Homemade Refried Beans

Beans, onions, jalapenos, and spices are cooked low and slow then mashed together until flavors blend!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 25 minutes
Servings 4
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Ingredients  

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

For smoother beans, use a hand blender.
For spicy beans, add an extra jalapeno. For mild beans, replace jalapeno with mild green chilis.
5 from 13 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 252 | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 1176mg | Potassium: 723mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 38IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Appetizer, Dip, Party Food, Slow Cooker, Snack
Cuisine American, Mexican
Homemade Refried Beans with lime slices and a title
bowl of Homemade Refried Beans with writing
blending beans to make Homemade Refried Beans with a title
ingredients in the slow cooker and plated Homemade Refried Beans with writing

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. Made my first batch a week ago and these were a hit with my family. My daughter said she only wants these from now on. Currently making another double batch because my family wants me to freeze some. Thank you so much for a delicious recipe.5 stars

  2. Hello,

    Do we have to soak the beans overnight? I always thought you had to soak beans first before cooking. Please let me know as I would like to make this recipe.

    Thank you!

    1. When using the Instant Pot or slow cooker, there will be no need to pre-soak the beans overnight. Enjoy Melissa!

  3. Thank you for this recipe. I’ve made it several times. I like a lot of salt, but as is, this recipe is a little salty for me. I use half instead and find it better to my liking. :) Even the first time I made it, friends and family love it and request the recipe. It’s a hit in the office and at family gatherings. Thank you Holly!5 stars