Easiest Homemade Refried Beans

Easiest Homemade Refried Beans

With the easiest method ever, these homemade refried beans are made easily in the slow cooker and are a perfect component to taco night.

slow cooker refried beans

Homemade Refried Beans

Making homemade refried beans is so much easier than you might realize, and they’re an incredibly easy way to serve up vegetarian protein in a budget-friendly dinner. This slow cooker method takes time, but the slow cooker does all the work so all you need to do is add the beans and water and come back later in the day!

We love these beans in tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, with rice, or as refried bean dip.

I love making these healthy refried beans because you avoid the excess added salt and fats that are often in store-bought or restaurant versions, they actually taste like real beans.

You can control the seasoning, too, so you can make them more or less flavorful as preferred by your family.

Ingredients You Need

To make these crock pot refried beans, you’ll need:

  • Dry pinto beans: You can make 1 or 2 pounds of dried beans at once.
  • Garlic and/or onion: These add flavor to the beans.
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Salt: You can set some aside for a baby before you add the salt if you prefer.

TIP: If you only have pinto beans and water, that’s fine, too—you can always stir in some salsa at the end to add flavor.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at the simple process of making these slow cooker pinto beans.

how to make homemade refried beans in crock pot
  1. Add all of the ingredients to the crock pot. Add water and cover.
  2. Cook on LOW until very soft.
  3. Drain most of the water, reserving about a cup in a separate bowl or measuring cup.
  4. Use a potato masher to mash the beans until they’re mostly smooth. Add in a little water if needed for the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt. Serve warm with tortillas or rice and assorted taco toppings.

TIP: You can make these on the day you plan to serve them or ahead of time. They freeze really well.

refried bean roll ups

What should we eat refried beans with?

We love these homemade refried beans in the slow cooker served with tortillas and taco toppings as simple tacos, as refried bean dip with tortilla chips (age 4+) or crackers, with fried eggs on top as a sort of riff on Huevos Rancheros, or with rice and taco toppings.

We also like to use them in:

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to make refried beans in a crock pot?

On the HIGH setting, it takes about 7-8 hours to cook refried beans in the crock pot or slow cooker.

Can you add dry beans to slow cooker?

Yes, dried beans and water cook easily in the slow cooker. This is an affordable way to make a large batch of beans.

How long does it take to make refried beans from scratch?

Using a slow cooker, it takes about 7-8 hours to make refried beans from scratch.

refried bean dip with chips on white plate

How to Store

You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days and warm through before serving. Or in an airtight container or freezer bag in the freezer, pressed flat and with as much air removed as possible, for up to 3 months.

Thaw overnight in the fridge or at room temperature. The beans dry out a little when they are stored, so simply stir in a few drops of water to moisten them up as desired when you reheat them!

Best Tips for Success

  • The key to adding flavor when making refried beans in the crock pot is to season the water. I’ve done this with just garlic, just onion, and both—and I like them all.
  • You will need to taste them before you serve to adjust the salt level. If they taste a little bland, add a smidge more salt and/or cumin and that should take care of it.
  • As far as the texture goes, you can mash them chunkier or smooth. If you want them really smooth, you can even put them into a food processor!
  • I like to reserve some of the cooking water to add back in at the end during the mashing to make sure they are as thin or thick as we like. For tacos, I like them to be thicker so they stay put in the tortilla. For a refried bean dip or to go with rice, you can add back a little more water to make them a little thinner in consistency.
  • The beans dry out a little when they are stored, so simply stir in a few drops of water to moisten them up as desired when you reheat them!

Related Recipes


I’d love to hear your feedback on this recipe if you try it out, so please comment below to share!

slow cooker refried beans
  • Add all of the ingredients to the crock pot.

  • Add 8 cups water, cover, and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours. The beans should be very soft.

  • Drain most of the water, reserving about a cup.

  • Use a potato masher to mash the beans until they’re mostly smooth. Add in a little water if needed for the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt.

  • Serve warm with tortillas, or rice, with assorted taco toppings.

  • Once cooled, store in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 3-6 months.
  • The key to adding flavor when making refried beans in the crock pot is to season the water. I’ve done this with just garlic, just onion, and both—and I like them all.
  • You will need to taste them before you serve them to adjust the salt level. If they taste a little bland, add a smidge more salt and/or cumin and that should take care of it.
  • As far as the texture goes, you can mash them chunkier or smooth. If you want them really smooth, you can even put them into a food processor!
  • I like to reserve some of the cooking water to add back in at the end during the mashing to make sure they are as thin or thick as we like For tacos, I like them to be thicker so they stay put in the tortilla. For a refried bean dip or to go with rice, you can add back a little more water to make them a little thinner in consistency.

Calories: 69kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 353mg, Potassium: 214mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 64IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 28mg, Iron: 1mg

This post was first published July 2020.


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