Instant Pot Refried Beans

These Instant Pot Refried Beans have me rethinking an age-old question that confronts me every time I go out for Mexican food: “Would you like black or refried beans with that?”

A bowl of Instant Pot Refried Beans topped with jalapeño and tomato

Up until making this pressure cooker pinto bean recipe, I always answered black beans. In fact, I’ve probably ordered enough waves of black beans and rice to fuel all of our Taco Tuesdays (and Taco Thursdays) from now until next January.

We grew up eating Mexican food every Sunday after church (and Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas on Christmas), and back in those days, I was a refried bean girl. At some point, I transitioned over to black beans and sort of forgot about poor pinto.

Friends, I have been MISSING OUT!

Refried beans are delicious. <—Do I really need to tell you that? Am I the only one who has been in a black bean bubble? You also don’t need to go out to dinner to enjoy them. This Instant Pot Refried Beans recipe is a snap to make at home, AND they are much much healthier for you than any refried beans you’ll find in a restaurant.

After sharing these Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos, I thought it would be fun to revisit this staple recipe, in case you are in need of a stellar side to go with them. To show just how quick and easy these are, I’m adding a video below for you as well.

A bowl of Instant Pot Refried Beans

This Instant Pot recipe covers both how to make Instant Pot pinto beans and Instant Pot refried beans. We love both.

Whether you keep the beans whole or mash them for refried beans, they are freezer friendly. You can dress them up or down as much as you like.

As written, these refried beans are vegan, but if you prefer to make Instant Pot Refried Beans with bacon as many restaurants do, I have a suggestion for you there too.

This Instant Pot Refried Beans recipe was inspired by my Instant Pot Black Beans, which are so simple and tasty, they’ve convinced a number of you to ditch canned beans altogether. I won’t be surprised if these Instant Pot Refried Beans have similar results. They are just as easy and tasty!

(For Instant Pot inspiration, check out this 15 Healthy Instant Pot Recipes post. Now, let’s get to making those refried beans!)

How to Make the Best Instant Pot Refried Beans

Here are the critical pieces of information you need to know to make an (Instant) pot full of refried beans that taste like they came from a restaurant!

ONE: Choose the Right Beans

  • First things first: If you’ve been wondering what kinds of beans are used to make refried beans, the answer is pinto.
  • You can follow a similar mashing process outlined here with black or other beans, but pinto are traditional, so that’s what I used in the recipe.

Dried pinto beans

TWO: Skip the Presoak

  • Don’t presoak the beans! The beauty of making refried beans in the Instant Pot is that you don’t need to soak the beans in advance to speed up the cooking time. The pressure cooker takes care of it.

THREE: No Canned Beans, Please

  • Don’t be tempted to make Instant Pot Refried Beans with canned beans. The superior flavor and texture of this recipe comes from starting with dry pinto beans.

FOUR: FLAVOR

  • This Instant Pot Refried Beans recipe has stellar smacks thanks to the addition of onion, jalapeño, bay leaves, and classic Southwest spices like cumin and cayenne. Feel free to adjust to your desired level of spice.

An Instant Pot with cooked pinto beans inside

Recipe Variations

  • If you’d like Instant Pot Refried Beans bacon-style, you could sauté the veggies in rendered bacon fat instead. Then call me. I’m coming over with Skinny Margaritas.
  • To keep the Instant Pot Refried Beans vegan, just follow the recipe as written. It’s still delicious without meat or dairy (and I’ll still come over with margs!).

Which Instant Pot to Buy (and What to Do if You Don’t Have One)

  • For those of you who have not yet taken the plunge to purchase an Instant Pot, this is the model I own.
  • You can also check out my recipe for Crock Pot Pinto Beans, which can either be enjoyed whole or turned into refried beans. They take much longer but are still absolutely scrumptious.

Two bowls of vegan Instant Pot Refried Beans

How to Store Instant Pot Refried Beans

This Instant Pot Refried Beans recipe yields a generous batch. I recommend portioning them into individual containers, then thawing them as needed.

  • To refrigerate or freeze in containers: Let the beans cool completely. Place the beans in airtight containers of desired size. Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months. 
  • To freeze flat (great for saving space!): Let the beans cool completely, then portion them into ziptop freezer bags labeled with the date. Seal the bags, removing as much air as possible, and squish the beans so that the bag lays flat. Freeze flat for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat: If the beans are frozen, let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Warm the beans gently on the stove or in the microwave. The beans thicken as they cool, so if you’d like to thin them out, add a bit of water or vegetable broth.
  • You can store the beans mashed (refried) or unmashed.

How to Use Instant Pot Refried Beans

  • Mashed, these beans are great for adding to burritos or piling on avocado toast.
  • Left whole, I love using them anytime I need canned pinto beans or in place of black beans in other Mexican recipes like these Vegetarian Enchiladas.

 

Instant Pot Refried Beans

Yield: 6 cups
Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
1 hr 10 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 45 mins
The BEST Instant Pot Refried Beans! Easy and absolutely delicious, this recipe tastes better than a restaurant. Use for any of your favorite Mexican dishes!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry pinto beans  — 2 cups
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion — chopped into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 jalapeno — cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic — minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock — divided
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 to 1/4  teaspoon cayenne pepper — optional
  • For serving: queso fresco or shredded Monterey jack cheese — diced tomatoes, diced red onion, chopped fresh cilantro, avocado (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the pinto beans in a large colander. Thoroughly rinse them. Pick the beans over, removing any damaged or clearly misshapen beans and discarding them. Set the rinsed beans aside.
  2. Turn a 6-quart (or larger) Instant Pot to SAUTE. Add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and jalapeno. Sauté for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and let cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add a few splashes of chicken stock and scrape along the bottom of the pot to remove any stuck-on bits of food (this will prevent a BURN warning). Add the remaining stock, water, bay leaves, salt, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and the rinsed and drained beans. Lightly stir to combine.
  3. Seal the Instant Pot. Cook on HIGH (manual) for 45 minutes. When the 45 minutes of pressure cooking has finished, let the pressure release naturally for 25 minutes. Vent to release any remaining pressure. Carefully open the lid. The beans will be very liquidy.
  4. Discard the bay leaves. Reserve 2 cups of the bean cooking liquid in a bowl or measuring cup, then drain the remainder. Return to the beans to the pot. With an immersion blender (or by hand with a potato masher), puree the beans until they reach your desired consistency, adding some of the reserved liquid as needed. (You can also scoop the beans into a blender in batches and puree them that way—be sure to let the beans cool somewhat first so that they do not splatter). Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Sprinkle with any desired toppings, serve, and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Refrigerate leftover beans or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • For easy portions: Let the beans cool COMPLETELY, then portion them into ziptop freezer bags labeled with the date. Seal the bags, removing as much air as possible, and squish the beans so that the bag lays flat. Freeze flat for simple storage. Let the beans thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat gently on the stove with a splash of water or stock as needed to thin them back out.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Easy Instant Pot Recipe, Instant Pot Refried Beans

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 /2 cup) — Calories: 76, Fat: 1g, Carbohydrates: 24g, Fiber: 15g, Sugar: 1g, Protein: 8g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

98 comments

  1. I can’t wait to try these!

  2. I want to make this in a smaller portion so i can try it in a burrito! This looks so good!

  3. I have an 8qt instant pot, do you think I could double this recipe? If so, would you recommend increasing the cook time? I have been instructed to make a big ol’ pot of beans for a large party. 😁

    • Hi Allana, I haven’t tried it with a larger pot, so I can’t say for certain! I’d start with 1.5x the recipe as a first experiment before doing double. I’d love to hear how it goes if you give it a try!

    • Georgia M Stawniak Reply

      I doubled the recipe in my 8qt with no other changes to the instructions and they turned out great!

  4. These were SO good. My husband was amazed we had refried beans that actually had flavor (he thinks the canned type are flavorless). I agree – they are full of flavor and easy to make. Definitely adding this to our rotation – perfect for Taco Tuesday!

  5. Amazing ❤️ I make a pot every few days… I make mine extra spicy so yummy

  6. I made these homemade refried beans for vegetarian tacos, served on corn tortilla taco shells and topped with a few toppings. Delicious!

  7. I’m glad you mentioned not using canned beans as I might have used them. Also, your recipe makes it fairly simple to make it more or less spicy.

  8. I’ve been looking everywhere for the perfect “non-greasy” re-fried beans and this is it! Amazing flavor without a lot of animal fat (vegetarian option).

  9. Hi Erin! I’m new to instant pot, I just got mine and your beans were the first thing I made! I think I ate half the batch hahaha I couldn’t stop, they are too delicious! I saved the cooking liquid to use as a soup base this week, but I was wondering what the reasoning is for using so much liquid to cook the beans? Would it be possible/safe to use half as much liquid? I am also wondering if you think a 6qt instant pot could hold 1.5 x the recipe- I’ll need to make more now that I’ve already eaten half the beans!! Thank you for the simple and delish recipe!!

    • Hi Elizabeth, this is the way I tested the recipe, but if you’re finding yourself with tons of leftover liquid, you’re welcome to experiment with reducing the amount. You do have to make sure to at least stick with the minimum amount needed to get the IP up to pressure. I don’t have any specific measurements to suggest, but if you decide to play around I’d love to hear how it goes. I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the beans!

    • I tried this recipe using 4 cups of liquid and didn’t need to drain the beans. I let it cool and then blended them in my food processor. It was perfect for a thick consistency. Next time I may cook on high for a few more minutes to make the beans a bit softer, otherwise I love this recipe.

  10. I was looking for an instant pot refried beans recipe that we could make with dried pintos and hit the jackpot! So flavorful, especially when using the bacon fat instead of oil. They were fantastic! My husband and I enjoyed them so much; these will be in heavy rotation!

  11. I halved everything, still very good.

  12. These have really good flavor! I was in a hurry & I didn’t take out enough water when I mashed then and ended up with more of a bean soup!  Ugh!! I should’ve known better being Mexican and was raised on beans!! 😂 Thanks for the recipe. 

    • Sandra, I’m glad you loved the flavors! If you’d like them thicker, you could try reducing them on the stove to see if that helps. Thanks for letting me know how they came out!

  13. Made this today and it’s delicious! So glad to have a great recipe to use to make our own beans! Saving my left over liquid for next week’s batch of beans!

  14. Georgia M Stawniak Reply

    I doubled the recipe in my 8qt with no other changes to the instructions and they turned out great! Thanks for posting!

  15. Hello, I have an Instapot Mini (3QT) can I still make this recipe?

  16. Made these tonight, turned out great! Didn’t have Jalapenos but will add next time:)

  17. Made this for a Mexican themed Christmas Party and they were a big hit. We took some, froze some and keep some home for breakfast burritos. Best refrieds ever.

  18. Not good. After 45 minutes pressure cooking and 25 minutes release, the beans were still hard and UNCOOKED!

    • Hi Mitch, I’m sorry to hear you didn’t have success with the technique. One possibility could be the age of the beans you used—the older they are, the longer they take to soften. (And sometimes beans are so old they don’t soften at all!) I know it’s disappointing to try something new and not have it come out, so I wish it would have turned out differently for you!

  19. Just tried these and they were amazing! They cooked up perfectly and the flavor was terrific! It’s a must keep recipe for me! Thanks for sharing!

  20. How much sodium in a serving?

    • Hi Jennifer! If you’d like to calculate sodium information, you can do it for free using an online calculator like MyFitnessPal! You can plug in the URL of this recipe and customize it based on the brands of ingredients you use.

  21. Last week, I made the refried beans from the recipe that came in the book with my Instant Pot. I stumbled across your recipe and decided to make it tonight. I didn’t have bay leaves, but followed the recipe as written otherwise. My hubby, daughter, and I all decided to keep your recipe and ditch the other. Great flavor and texture (beans were perfectly cooked). Thanks for the great IP recipes!

  22. Hi Erin! Thanks for this recipe. I am going to try it.

    I save bacon fat and would like to use it in this recipe. I’m unclear on what you mean by sauteing the veggies in bacon fat instead. Could you expound on this or point me to your instructions.

    • Hi! Instead of using the 2 teaspoons of olive oil in the recipe, you could use bacon fat instead. I hope that helps!

      • That was my guess, but I’m not a very experienced cook despite being a senior citizen. I made the beans yesterday in my Instant Pot and did the bacon fat substitution. They came out very, very good but I didn’t have 2 cups of liquid to reserve. In fact, I had to add a bit of water (should have used chicken broth – DOH) in order to blend them with my immersion blender.

        I’m going to experiment a bit with future batches to learn how to manipulate the flavors and spiciness levels. Thank you again for sharing the recipe.

  23. Delicious and easy! Doesn’t get any better than that! The first time I made them I failed to read the part about draining out the liquid at the end before mashing so I ended up with mashed bean soup – which was delicious by the way. I just finished making my second batch including draining the liquid before mashing. The texture is great and the flavor is incredible. So easy and inexpensive to make with the instant pot. The one question I had was about saving the liquid and using it the next time I made them. Or maybe using it to make soup somehow. I tasted the broth and it was pretty good and hated to dump it down the drain. Anyway – thanks for the great recipe!

  24. Was looking for an instant pot version off my crockpot one. I made these as shown except for more olive oil. I liked them but next time I’ll add a couple Tbsp of tomato paste and a grated carrot like my crockpot recipe has. I liked how fast it came together and that I didn’t have to plan too much ahead like I do with the crockpot and soaking method I had used.  Thanks 

  25. Perfect recipe as posted. If my kids aren’t eating them, I might add more spice. :)

  26. I’m loving your instant pot recipes! I got one recently and was super intimidated by it at first, but I found your blog and it’s been really helpful. I have found that for me, adding a 3-5 minutes helps the beans cook through better, but overall great recipes!

  27. Just made my first batch of “refried beans”  Very tasty, will make yummy tostadas for dinner tonight.
    I used a slotted spoon to separate all the bean goodness from all the juices. Mashed up the beans and kept all the “juices” to make bean soup! Too much good flavor in those juices to disguard.

    • Julie, I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe, and I’m sure the soup will be good too! Thanks for taking the time to leave this awesome review!

  28. I’m new to Instapot cooking. This was my first bean recipe and it turned out amazing! I portioned out the leftovers and froze them. These were so much better then canned beans. They were as good as the ones at restaurants. I didn’t have a lot of leftover liquid though. Just enough to add back. SO good! Thank agaIn 

  29. These were great (and man, how amazing is it that you can cook dried beans in 45 minutes?!). I added 2 tsp of liquid smoke and some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for a smokier flavor- turned out really well! Thanks!

  30. Great recipe! I added 1tsp of smoked paprika instead of cayenne. First time I used InstantPot. Using the leftover liquid to make another batch today. Very hard water here in AZ so will try 55 min for a softer bean. Thanks Erin!

  31. These were really yummy! I mashed them with the amount of cooking water I THOUGHT I needed, and then almost threw away the rest. I put the beans aside for a while, until I finished cooking the rest of the meal. When I went back, they seemed to have absorbed all the previous water and needed more!! SO glad I still had some cooking water left. Just a thought, in case anyone else experiences this? I will definitely be making these again int the future! Thanks for a great recipe!

  32. Kimberly R Hundley Reply

    So bland, maybe because I’m from Arizona? But I didn’t use bacon. I would double everything with flavor, from the garlic to the spices. I’m probably going to throw all this out.

    • Hi Kimberly, I’m sorry to hear the flavor wasn’t to your taste. You can add additional spices after it’s cooked, and it sounds like you know just what you’d change next time.

  33. Delicious!! I’ve never tried making my own refried beans, but so glad I found your recipe first! Thank you, I look forward to trying more of your recipes.

  34. This recipe was the first thing I made in my new Instant Pot. It is excellent. I will be making some bean burritos for my Weight Watchers diet.
    After they were done and mashed (not blended) I did add a bit more salt, smoked paprika (I’ll use this next time) and god forbid a couple of dashes of Accent (MSG). I’ve read enough about MSG lately to not have any concern.
    Now if next time I could avoid dropping one side of the pot when pouring into the colander and soaking the mail on the counter, that would be great.
    Thank you so much!

  35. I made this tonight. It was absolutely perfect! I will be making this again and again!

  36. This was, like other commenters, my first attempt at making beans in my instant pot, and WOW what a great start! I ended up using mushroom stock (it’s what I had) and it turned out wonderfully. I might be braver next time and add more cayenne or leave the seeds in the jalapeños for more heat, but overall just lovely! Thanks!

  37. I deeply love refried beans, I am an expert on refried beans. My beans are so delicious my meat loving better half says he can eat this (vegan-style) everyday. You are such a wonde4ful cook, I love you to pieces.

    There is an organic chicken-apple sausage that, on occasion, I will dice up, cook it in butter, remove, it doesn’t take but a few mins, then add more butter, cook the onions, garlic & sliced hot peppers. I do not eat pork & no one would miss it. I’m so delighted to see your instant pot recipe & I must make it tomorrow. I am new at using the instant pot. Thank you so much for all your hard work. Take care!…

  38. Hi Erin! I’d love to try these but I don’t have an Instapot. Can I make these in my crockpot?

  39. I made these tonight with the bang bang shrimp tacos which I have reviewed these separately.  (They were fabulous BTW). The beans were spot on as far a time to cook and naturally release the pressure.  I’m not so sure about the bay leaves. I thought it  needed some extra salt.  Maybe my taster was off by those heat packing shrimps that I was eating at the same time. I will definitely try them again and jazz up the seasonings a pinch. Very easy to make and these beans can cook while preparing something else to make with it.  Nice job. I will be making them again. Thanks a million for continuing to share some yummy delights. 

  40. Excellent and easy! Thank u💗

  41. Hi! Could I half this recipe? Would the cooking time still be the same? Thank you!

    • Hi Jenny! Yes you can half the recipe. Just keep the cooking time the same. I hope you enjoy it!

    • Hi Jenny, I haven’t experimented with half of the recipe, so I can’t say for certain, but I believe the cook time should be the same. If you give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes.

  42. Thank you for this recipe! I’ve had my IP for the better part of a year and use it often, but never for refried beans until yesterday. These are the most flavorful, best-tasting refried beans I have ever tasted! As to the water: here’s what I did, and would work if you have some time to spare. After going through the cycle, mine were watery, but I didn’t need them then, so I just kept it on the automatic warm cycle after they were finished and took the lid off. The water eventually evaporated and the beans had even more time to soak up the flavor. I used sautéed onion, garlic, bay leaves, cumin, chili powder, a diced jalapeño. S & P, some cayenne pepper, some homemade chicken stock and the required water. Let it hang out for several hours then hit it with my immersion blender. It was absolutely fantastic. I was amazed to get so much flavor from dried beans that I didn’t soak before hand, but I think the IP pushes in the flavor rather than have them soak up water. I’m not sure I’ll buy canned refried beans again. Thank you!!!

  43. I made this tonight for taco night.  The result was fabulous.  I prepared as directed and used a potato masher instead of blender.  I didn’t want them to be too smooth.

  44. Thank you for this recipe! These were fantastic. Everyone in the family enjoyed them.

  45. I halved the recipe with no issue. Loved it, yummy good!

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