Skip the canned refried beans and learn how to make this authentic & easy crockpot refried beans recipe! Use dry or canned beans, or make refried black beans! Great for burritos made with homemade tortillas.
I know that not everyone is a fan of beans.
My kids thought beans were gross until I made a batch of black bean brownies. Now, they ask me to make this to share with their classmates on their birthdays!
One of my goals as a real foodie parent is to find a way to get my kids to like all the real foods that are good for them.
First, hide them whenever possible.
Remember the aforementioned black bean brownies? You can’t even tell they have beans in them, and I certainly didn’t say anything.
When the kids ate seconds and thirds, I knew the recipe was a winner.
Second, I almost always make them from scratch.
I’m not beyond having a can or two of beans in the pantry because even foodie moms get busy and forget to soak beans or need to whip up dinner in a flash.
But I have learned that cooking beans from scratch always, always, ALWAYS tastes better.
And when it’s worth my time (like I teach in Grocery Budget Bootcamp), it always saves me money.
Speaking of ‘from scratch,’ let’s talk about the fact that these beans cook ALL DAY LONG in the slow cooker, which means the flavors really get soaked up into every little ounce of the beans.
And isn’t that the whole point?
Crockpot Refried Beans
Besides the fact that they’re absolutely delicious, these crockpot refried beans…
- Taste authentic. Packed with the classic, yet basic flavors of onions, garlic, jalapenos, and cumin, these crockpot refried beans are all we’ve grown up to love and expect out of Mexican cuisine.
- Healthy. These beans have the rich refried flavor without the re-fry, making them healthier than store-bought refried canned beans.
- Freezer-friendly. A perfect recipe for meal planning ahead because these refried beans freeze in individual portions so well.
What are the ingredients for crockpot refried beans?
- Pinto beans
- Water (up to half of the water can be substituted with chicken stock)
Note: Some people like to add chili powder to their refried beans, especially when making bean tacos, but I didn’t for this recipe. But you certainly can customize this recipe as you go, especially if you freeze portions for future meals.
Are refried beans the same as pinto beans?
Yes. Most recipes for ‘refried beans’ are made from pinto beans for that authentic Mexican flavor. But you can make refried beans with black beans also!
What is the best way to make refried beans from scratch?
In the crockpot, of course! It’s so easy!
- Place all the ingredients in a large slow cooker. I have this 6-quart slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 8 hours if using dry or soaked beans (4 hours cooking time for canned).
- Drain as much water as you can from the beans and save.
- Using an immersion blender (or potato masher, or alternating in a blender), mash the beans with the cooking liquid.
- Serve hot, or prepare for storage.
Can I customize this crockpot refried beans recipe?
Yes, of course! Here are some ideas…
- Use chicken stock or chicken broth. Substitute chicken stock for up to half of the water in the recipe. I wouldn’t go any more than that though, otherwise, you’ll lose the bean flavor. We make homemade chicken stock in the slow cooker or the Instant Pot!
- Make it mild. Substitute a 4 oz can of diced green chilies in lieu of the jalapeno. You can also keep the jalapeno for flavor, but remove the membranes and seeds first.
- Make it hotter. Keeping the membranes and seeds of the jalapeno will definitely make it hotter. You can also add a second pepper, or choose a hotter pepper altogether. As a general rule of thumb, the more wrinkly the jalapeno, the hotter it is.
- Use different beans. Like “refried” black beans? Swap them for the pinto beans and you have an entirely new, yet delicious, recipe.
- Soak the beans. I’ve made this recipe with beans soaked overnight (to reduce the gaseous aftermath) and with freshly rinsed dry beans. You can’t go wrong, either way, so do whatever you prefer.
How do you thicken homemade refried beans?
When the beans are done, you blend them with an immersion blender (or with a spoon, potato masher, or whatever you have) until they’re the consistency you like. Whether you want chunky beans or perfectly smooth beans is up to you. Just use as much as you need of the excess liquid that you drained from the cooked beans.
How do I Freeze Refried Beans?
This crockpot refried beans recipe makes a big batch, but they freeze BEAUTIFULLY. Depending on your needs, you have a couple of options here.
Measure ¼ cup of cooked refried beans (or save your sanity and use this muffin/ice cream scoop – totally worth every penny!) into each muffin liner. Freeze the whole pan for about 8 hours, or overnight.
Remove each portion from the silicone liner and store them in the freezer in a freezer-safe container. Pull out the portion you need, when you need it, and reheat on the stove or microwave.
Re-use plastic containers that once held sour cream, yogurt, or cream cheese. Smaller, 8-ounce containers are perfect for 2-3 people, and larger 16 ounce containers are great for 4-6 people.
You can store the beans in these containers, with a lid in the freezer, OR you can remove the frozen beans to another freezer-safe container if you need to re-use the plastic one.
There is always the option of freezing in a glass container too, and this tutorial on how to freeze in glass without breaking the jar is super helpful!
Note: Freezing food after making big batches is a great way to save money on groceries AND have pre-cooked healthy options to eat later. I love having a meal plan for freezer cooking, and even a pre-made grocery list to cut down on time and effort! Check out the Freezer Family Bundle here for awesome prepped meal plans for your family.
Can I convert this recipe to make Instant Pot refried beans?
Yes! This is how I learned to convert this recipe to my Instant Pot for when I forget to soak the beans overnight or start them early!
What can I serve crockpot refried beans with?
Need some meal ideas to put these crockpot refried beans to good use? How about…
- Burritos made with homemade tortillas, slow cooker shredded chicken, and homemade salsa
- As a side for fried sweet potatoes and runny eggs
- Inside pulled pork bowls
However you like crockpot refried beans, I hope you enjoy!
More Beans Recipes
- Slow Cooker Beans
- Our Favorite Black Beans Recipe
- Instant Pot Beans
- Our Favorite Beans and Rice Recipe
- Instant Pot White Bean Soup with Sausage and Kale
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Crock Pot Refried Beans
Skip the canned beans and learn how to make this authentic & easy Mexican crockpot refried beans recipe! Use dry or canned beans, or make refried black beans!
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 8 hours
- Total Time: 8 hours 10 mins
- Yield: 5–7 cups 1x
- Category: Sides
- Method: Slow Cook
- Cuisine: Mexican
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 1 lb dry pinto beans, thoroughly rinsed OR soaked overnight using this method, OR 6 cans cooked pinto beans, drained and rinsed 3 times
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 jalapeno, top cut off and quartered
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 3 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp cumin
- 9 cups water (up to half of the water can be substituted with chicken stock)
- Place all the ingredients in a large slow cooker. I have this 6 quart slow cooker, but I wouldn’t use anything smaller than a 4 quart.
- Cook on high for 8 hours if using dry or soaked beans. Cook on high for 4 hours if using canned beans.
- Place a colander over a stock pot and drain as much water as you can from the beans.
- Using an immersion blender (or potato masher, or alternating in a blender), mash the beans until they reach your desired consistency, using some of the cooking water to help thin. Remember that you can always add more water to thin, but you cannot make them thicker again.
- Serve hot, or prepare for storage.
Adapted from allrecipes.
Keywords: Crock Pot Refried Beans