Homemade Slow Cooker Refried Beans

posted by Andrea | 06/19/2019

Our family eats A LOT of beans each week — and up until about a year ago, I relied on store-bought canned beans for all our bean-filled meals. 

The reason I decided to try making my own beans was that I was given a big package of dried Pinto Beans and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I searched Pinterest, and basically my only option was to make them into homemade refried beans. 

Since our family really likes refried beans, I figured it was worth a shot. 

I was originally intimidated by the seemingly long process of soaking, draining, rinsing, slow cooking, etc. but then I realized it really only required a few minutes of hands-on work, and the rest of the time I could just let my slow cooker do all the work for me! 

We were pleasantly surprised by the huge amount of refried beans we could make in one slow cooker — and with how delicious these beans tasted. As an added bonus, there weren’t any weird ingredients added to our beans, and they were significantly lower in sodium! 

I’m sure I’m being biased, but I really do think they taste superior to cans of beans from the store. 

Now, 1 year later, I’m making all our own black beans, garbanzo beans, refried beans, and more! 

I’ve been told (over and over and over again) that I need to get an Instant Pot — then I’ll be able to make beans in less than an hour! However, for the time being, I’m very satisfied with our slow cookers and I honestly don’t mind the slower process of letting them soak and cook. 

That said, if you already have an Instant Pot, here’s a recipe for beans that way

These beans freeze AMAZINGLY well, so I divide them up into 16-20 ounce portions — making it easy to grab one container whenever a recipe calls for “one can of refried beans”

If you’d like to give homemade beans a try, I’d highly recommend starting with refried beans as there’s more room for error (you can’t tell if you accidentally overcook them!) 

The recipe I’m sharing today is very simple — in fact, if it weren’t for draining the hot liquid off the beans, even a young child could handle it! 

Homemade Slow Cooker Refried Beans

Homemade Slow Cooker Refried Beans

These easy slow cooker refried beans only require a few minutes of hands-on work for a huge batch of beans. They taste amazing and freeze wonderfully!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 16 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 c. dried pinto beans
  • 10 cups cold water
  • 8 cups additional water or broth*
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 1 T. sea salt
  • 1 t. black pepper
  • 1 t. ground cumin

Instructions

The Night Before:

    Rinse beans and place in a large slower cooker.
    Pour 10 c. water over beans and let soak overnight (do NOT turn on).

The Next Day:

    Drain and rinse beans in cold water.
    Place beans back in slow cooker, along with onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin.
    Cover with 8 cups water or broth.
    Turn slow cooker on HIGH for 8 hours.
    After 8 hours, drain most of the liquid from beans and reserve liquid (I drain it over a large bowl.)
    Use an immersion blender to puree the beans -- adding in as much of the reserved liquid as needed to reach your desired consistency.
    Serve immediately (with optional shredded cheese) or divide up into containers for the freezer.

Notes

* I usually substitute 3-4 cups of the cooking water with chicken broth.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1/2 cup

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 71 Total Fat: 1g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 469mg Carbohydrates: 13g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 1g Protein: 4g
Nutritional information is approximate and does not account for additional ingredients or added toppings.

Like I mentioned above, these beans freeze amazingly well, and they don’t take long to defrost either. 

I like serving ours with just a little shredded cheese, a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro (we have it in our garden this year!) 

SO tasty! 

Do you make your own beans?

Visit my virtual recipe box for more simple, delicious, family friendly recipes!

 

112Shares

Filed under: FoodFreezer Cooking

Leave a comment

27 comments

  1. Nessa

    07/19/2019

    Love the recipes and I can’t wait to try this one. I usually make my pinto beans plan and add seasoning after they are cooked. So can’t wait to try it this way.

    I saw the comment about the Instant Pot and just wanted to say that the speed of cooking things like beans is amazing. It was game changer because I like to get meal prep things done at lunch/quiet time. I can make and prep food for the freezer easier because I don’t have to wait on my slow cooker. I can have a pot of soup, bone broth, roast, shredded chicken or pork done for dinner and all the extras I made can be prepped and in the freezer before the kids are done napping. Also, for some of my recipes it calls for browning or searing meat or veggies ahead of using the slow cooker and I can do that in the instant pot and save the extra pan.

    I have found that a few of my tried and true recipes that I have converted from crockpot take less liquid, but taste is on point. When I make a crock pot recipe I Google for similar recipes and go with the shortest time they list. It’s VERY easy to over cook – but if it needs more time it’s easy to add it on.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    hope you love the beans! We had them again yesterday… yum!!

    [Reply]

  2. Cindy

    06/20/2019

    Hi Andrea, I saw at the end of your post the freezer containers. Are those the ones you actually use? I’m looking for good reusable ones that won’t fall apart after several uses. Thanks so much!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, if I link to a product it is the actual product I use in my own home (if not, I will definitely clarify that!)
    I’ve used these exact same containers (with blue lids, not green lids) for 8 years now and they are still going strong!

    [Reply]

  3. Margaret

    06/19/2019

    I don’t know if I’ve ever used canned beans–it’s just so easy to cook them in a slow cooker. I’m vegetarian, so I eat a lot of beans. I add 2 oz of chickpeas to my daily dinner salad, and in the winter I make both chili and black bean soup, and then freeze it in pint jars. I freeze the chickpeas in 1/2 pint jars, and then portion them out to take to work–about a week’s worth at a time.
    As you say, the hands-on time is just a few minutes. I put the beans to soak before I leave for work at 10p, and set out the strainer and slow cooker. When I get home in the morning, I rinse the beans, and put them in the slow cooker (remembering to turn it on. That part is important!) By the time I wake up, the beans are done, and they go back in the strainer to cool down, and then either go into the freezer or get made up into whatever they’re getting made up into.
    Swift and painless, and organic beans from my local co-op cost less than the cheapest canned beans.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    This is awesome Margaret! Thanks so much for sharing how you make this simple process work for YOU and your schedule!
    I know so many people who work different schedules (nights and weekends) and use that as their excuse for not cooking or not being organized. I understand it’s an obstacle to work around — but so are children and pets and any other job!

    [Reply]

  4. Cathy

    06/19/2019

    I love making my own refried bens. I add a hamhock and it adds to the flavor and the meat is good too

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh yum… ham makes everything better!

    [Reply]

  5. JoAnn C.

    06/19/2019

    Homemade slow cooker refried beans are the bomb.I usually add a tablespoon of hot sauce or a teaspoon cayenne pepper for a bit of a kick. I’ve made them for a few years and they taste especially good on homemade tortillas. ; )

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, we’re loving our refried beans + cheese on homemade tortillas!! so tasty!

    [Reply]

  6. Linda

    06/19/2019

    If you (the anyone you) are trying to go healthier, don’t go with the broth suggestion. Not traditional in the 1st place and significantly increases sodium to an unnecessary level. Also, don’t go out and spend money for “sea salt”. Use the salt you have on hand. Otherwise you’re spending your $$ just to be trendy unless that’s just your personal preference. It’s not going to make a difference in taste.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hey Linda,
    I use my own homemade bone broth (with no added salt) so it doesn’t add unnecessary sodium and it’s filled with fabulous nutrients.
    As for the sea salt — I use Redmond Real Salt which is significantly more nutritional than regular table salt. Certainly any salt would work (you are correct that the taste will not differ), but I don’t think sea salt is necessarily used simply because the cook desires to be “trendy”.

    [Reply]

  7. Michelle

    06/19/2019

    You should totally do a recipe for your regular beans! Do you just make them the same but not blend it? I need a black bean and garbanzo bean recipe…

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, exactly the same way (you won’t need quite as much liquid) and just don’t blend them. The “trick” with any other bean that you want to remain whole is not to over cook them to the point that they are mushy. With refried beans it doesn’t matter because you mash them all up anyway!

    [Reply]

  8. Ashley

    06/19/2019

    Andrea, It’s been so fun to watch you make these small transitions in your kitchen! Have you made your own chicken stock? Fits right with everything else you do: super frugal (basically free!), similar process as the beans, and you can freeze or can the end result (with a pressure canner).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks! it’s been 8 years of small steady changes, and it’s been fun to try new things too!!
    And yes, I do make all my own bone broth now πŸ˜‰ I do it in the slow cooker too, every time I make any type of chicken or turkey — so we always have several containers in the freezer!

    [Reply]

  9. Leslie Polokonis

    06/19/2019

    Andrea,

    At the top of your post,you mentioned your family eats a lot of beans every week. Is there a link or can you list the ways you use them? How are you using the retried beans? Also, in the pictures, you are blending the onion pieces in with the beans, right?

    Have a great day.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes! Here is a post I wrote (sort of) about how I add beans to many of our meals to stretch the meat — but I often just throw them in with so many foods.
    For example, I just made bean and cheese quesadillas for lunch today, and I threw some black beans in with a casserole we had last night, and I’m putting them in a soup I’m making this weekend. They absorb the taste of whatever they cook with (in my opinion) so it’s pretty easy to use them regularly once you get into the habit.

    [Reply]

  10. Beth

    06/19/2019

    I am thankful to see this recipe and the encouragement to make refried beans. You see, I have been afraid to tackle this one with pinto beans. My go to recipe is one I have been using for years we call Southwest Pinto Beans. The recipe was in a school fund raiser cookbook. I serve it over cornbread. If you are interested in the recipe let me know. It has veggies in it and gets a lot of its flavor from a ham bone. It can be made spicy or not.

    [Reply]

    A T Reply:

    yes, please, I would love to have the recipe.

    Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Beth Reply:

    How do I attach the recipe?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    you can’t attache the recipe — but you can type it out πŸ™‚
    or you can email it to me and I can attach it (I think) to the comments!
    Thanks!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Here’s the link to the recipe from Beth πŸ™‚
    Thanks so much Beth!!

    [Reply]

  11. Ann

    06/19/2019

    I never thought of refried beans having chicken broth in them. I will have to pay attention to that for my vegetarian relatives!

    One word of caution! If you have a plastic immersion blender (like I did) then don’t stick it in hot beans. It will melt!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, I don’t think broth is necessarily the “authentic” way to make refried beans, it’s just what I do to add a little extra flavor and nutrients! If you do buy refried beans at the store, they come in “regular” and “vegetarian” so I’m assuming the “regular” has some sort of animal product in them.

    And yes, thanks for the reminder about the plastic immersion blender — I didn’t think to mention that!

    [Reply]

  12. Janet

    06/19/2019

    I am going to try these. I have done navy beans for ham/bean soup for years. My Mom told me cold water on cold beans and hot liquid on hot beans. Not sure if this is true but I always do it and don’t have a problem. Thank you for this!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    good tip. thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]