Refried beans from scratch are so much better than canned! This Instant Pot recipe requires very little hands-on work and can take you from dried beans to finished dish in under an hour. And you don’t even need to pre-soak the beans!
Refried beans are a staple in my house. We eat them in crunchy tacos, burritos, nachos, and quesadillas. We also enjoy them as a side dish with shredded cheese and salsa on top.
I love that this recipe uses dried beans, which I can keep in my pantry all the time. But the thing I love most about this recipe is the flavors. These beans are just way better than the kind you buy in a can from the supermarket.
Why are homemade refried beans better than canned?
For one thing, canned refried beans often have a lot of unnecessary additives, like sugar and hydrogenated oils, and preservatives.
But the main reason I prefer these refried beans from scratch is the taste. They are sooooo delicious! And you can flavor them however you like. My family loves spicy food, so we always add jalapeno peppers to ours.
You can add other ingredients you like, including ground chipotle chiles or minced chipotles in adobo sauce, smoked paprika, fresh or dried oregano, or cheese.
Are they really fried and/or refried?
Nope. These beans are not even fried once, let alone twice. They are pressure cooked and then pureed or mashed. They are super flavorful, though, and better than any canned refried beans I've had, so no love lost.
Does it save money to make them at home?
Yes! You can buy pinto beans for less than $1 per pound. The other ingredients in this recipe are also inexpensive.
I haven't priced the whole thing out, but my guesstimate is that this recipe costs about $1.50 to make. It makes the equivalent of about 4 16-ounce cans. That's about $0.38 per can.
Are homemade refried beans vegetarian?
I like to make my beans with chicken broth, but you can absolutely make them vegetarian by using vegetable broth or water instead. That is another benefit of making them from scratch.
These beans are actually not fried at all. They are pressure cooked and then pureed or mashed, so it is easy to make them without a lot of fat.
Traditional refried bean recipes usually include lard, but you can substitute olive oil or any cooking oil you have on hand.
Homemade refried beans are easy to make in the Instant Pot!
This recipe is so easy that I guarantee you that once you try it, you will never want to go back to canned beans.
You can start with dried beans and have this dish on the table in well under an hour. And most of that time is completely hands-off.
What kind of beans are best to use?
Refried beans are common in both Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines. Pinto beans are the most commonly used, but you can use any number of beans. Black beans are often used as well.
This recipe uses dried pinto beans rather than canned. This gives the finished dish the best flavor and texture, and also allows you to control the sodium level.
How do you make Instant Pot refried beans?
This recipe couldn’t be easier:
- Sauté onions and garlic in oil using the sauté function.
- Add spices, beans, broth, and chiles, if using.
- Pressure cook and then release the pressure naturally.
- Puree the beans with an immersion blender or mash them with a potato masher.
- Serve hot or refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months.
What ingredients do you need?
The ingredient list for these Instant Pot refried beans is wonderfully short:
- Cooking oil
- Chili powder
- Dried pinto beans
- Broth or water
I like to add chiles to my beans because my family likes spicy food. The last time I made these beans, I was out of fresh chiles, so I used half a jar of sliced jalapeno peppers instead. I added the brine from the jar as well for extra flavor.
What to serve with Instant Pot refried beans?
We enjoy these beans a side dish for Mexican meals like Homemade Tamales or Chicken Enchiladas and this Easy Mexican Rice. We also put them in everything from tacos and burritos to nachos and quesadillas. Or eat them on their own, topped with cheese and Pickled Onions.
More great Mexican recipes you'll love
- Homemade Corn Tortillas
- Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa Verde
- Homemade Flour Tortillas
- Homemade Chicken Enchiladas
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil (I used olive oil)
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 pound (2 cups) dried pinto beans, rinsed
- ½ (12-ounce) jar sliced jalapeno peppers, with their juice or 1 or 2 diced fresh jalapenos (optional)
- 3 cups water or broth
- Turn the Instant Pot on to Sauté and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring
occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, about 3 seconds more.
- Add the cumin, chile powder, cayenne, and salt and stir to combine. Add the beans, jalapenos with their juice, and the broth or water and
stir to combine. Turn the Instant Pot off by pressing the cancel button.
- Put the lid on the pot and turn the valve to the sealing
position. Pressure cook on high for 45 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
- Remove the lid and use an immersion blender or a potato masher to puree the beans.
- Serve immediately or cool to room temperature and store.
Refried beans can be made ahead of time. Store them in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Amount Per Serving Calories 59Total Fat 2gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 1mgSodium 328mgCarbohydrates 9gFiber 2gSugar 3gProtein 2g