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.

 

How to make the BEST Instant Pot Refried Beans! Easy no soak recipe. Healthy, vegan, and perfect for all of your favorite Mexican dishes! One of the best pressure cooking recipes. 

Instant Pot Refried Beans

4.87 from 156 votes
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!

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 1 hr 10 mins
Total: 1 hr 45 mins

Servings: 6 cups

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
 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!

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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/2 cupCalories: 76kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 8gFat: 1gFiber: 15gSugar: 1g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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385 Comments

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  1. Hi Erin, I want to do this with pre soaked beans. I am wondering about adding the salt when cooking. When it comes to beans, I have always added salt after cooking. Else the beans did not cook. That is what I was told and have followed forever. So is adding salt to the beans when cooking in the IP ok? Could you please let me know? Thanks!

    1. Hi Gina! I (and many other readers) have made the recipe as directed with success. I hope you enjoy it too if you try it!

  2. Wow!! I just tried it with salt as you said. Amazing!! Awesome! My eyes rolled in their sockets. I will never believe the stuff about beans & salt that I had been fed before. Peeps at home are happy too!! And that’s saying a lot! Thanks a Million for the recipe -and- for responding so quickly. I still cannot believe that you respond to every note. Are you for real? God Bless You!!
    I had soaked 8 cups of pinto beans (21 cups after soaking). Halved it and cooked in my 8 quart IP. Second batch is cooking now. First batch, (4 cups dry/10.5 cups soaked) I used only 5 cups broth and 4 cups water. Still was a lot of liquid but the soup will be heavenly on it’s own. Again, Thank You!! Thank You!!5 stars

    1. I’m SO happy that you enjoyed the recipe, Gina! Thank you for reporting back and sharing this kind review!

  3. The retried beans are great on their own. It seemed wasteful to discard the extra liquid, so we save it for a flavourful split pea soup. (We use chicken broth for the retried beans.)5 stars

  4. We have been trying to find a good way to do refried beans at home with mediocre success. They were always grainy when cooking them on the stovetop, and took forever.

    We got an Instant Pot recently and so I decided to try this recipe. It was the best batch we’ve ever made.

    A few notes: There is so much liquid when you use the full amount the recipe calls for. I’m going to try just using 4 cups of stock, and leave out the water. Stock is more flavorful anyway.

    If you do use the full amount of liquid, it is a shame to discard it. It’s so flavorful. We ended up reducing the beans on the stove with all the liquid and it really added a lot more flavor to the beans. They were good without the reducing but even better with reducing the liquid with the beans on the stovetop. It took longer, but it was so good. We also used a tablespoon of Hot Mexican Chili Powder instead of cayenne, but we’ll be experimenting with other spices. These would also be amazing with green chilis mixed in after cooking.

    We used an immersion blender to blend the beans and it worked beautifully. Gave the best texture we have been able to achieve with homemade refried beans.

    Just before serving we shredded some cheese and melted it into the beans to add some additional cheesy goodness.5 stars

  5. Excellent! I will never buy refried beans again.

    I made a few adjustments. I cut back on the spicy spices, used black beans, and only 1 cup of water along with the 4 cups of broth. I still have some extra liquid which I’m going to use in my soup.

    Also, I used a 3 qrt. pot and it worked fine.5 stars

  6. Now this is a keeper! Two things I’ve made in my life, I’m 68, and I’m totally surprised! First was homemade ketchup. This is the next! Who would think refried beans would taste soooo much better than that canned stuff?!
    Wowza.
    I made this because I wanted some bean dip to eat with my Doritos. Then I found this! Now I did make it with a few changes only because it was late at night and I did not want to go to the store.
    I used dried garlic because that’s what I had. I think about 2tsps. The other change was the chicken broth I used 6 cups of homemade stock and added one cup water. And I used a can of diced chili’s ( in my case mild) instead of the jalapeño which I did not have. Everything else exactly the same. By the way dice up a bunch of onions and store them in the freezer. Then take out as needed. I have a one gallon baggie almost fully loaded. So I took a handful out. No fuss no mess. This was so easy and so tasty. I’m going to have my husband bring home tortillas to eat with it tomorrow. Now I’m spoiled and can never go back to canned. Oh ps. I kept some of the liquid in a seperate container just in case the beans get too hard I can add some in. I recommend that.5 stars

    1. Hi Karine! I’m sorry to hear that your beans weren’t cooked completely. One possibility could be the age of the beans you used—the older they are, the longer they take to soften. I’m happy that you enjoyed the flavor though!

    1. I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Wendy! Other readers have reported success using the liquid as a soup base. I hope this helps!

  7. This recipe is really good. The texture is silky smooth and is highly flavorful. I used a serrano pepper rather than a jalapeño,,, My reason is that over time the jalapeños have gotten as big as cucumbers (or so it seems). It is easier to control heat with additional ground cayenne pepper after it is cooked, but is impossible to reduce the heat if too spicy for my friends’ tastes.

    Now the fun. Next time that I make it I will at perhaps 1/8 tsp ground chipotle. This should add a bit of smokiness without taking over.5 stars

  8. This was fantastic! Creamy, well seasoned, easy. I usually soak first, and salt after cooking, but this worked! I’m a convert! But I’m saving all that extra bean broth for my next soup. So flavorful.5 stars

  9. Hi Erin!
    I really doubt that you’ll see this in time to help me out with Super Bowl snacks, but I’m sure someone will have a similar issue at some point.
    So… I just finished (??) using my immersion blender on the beans and the texture is very gritty. My pintos were kinda old, so maybe that’s the problem. Is there any way to save them at this point or is it time to open a can?

    This is my first time using an Instant Pot (Viva 6qt.) and I’m so excited!
    Thank you for providing recipes that even a newbie like me can prepare!!!

    1. Hi Kathleen! I’m sorry to hear that your beans turned out gritty (old beans could definitely be the culprit). While I haven’t tried it myself, you could try mixing in a little extra water or broth and keeping them warm. I hope you were still able to enjoy them!

  10. “What did you do to these beans??? They are the best beans I’ve ever had!” said my daughter. My husband was very skeptical, not believing that A) not soaking them and B) cooking them with all of the aromatics and seasoning would yield an edible result. Well, he is a believer now! I did add extra olive oil when I pureed them (we bought a huge tin from “back home”) because we like them extra creamy. Absolutely the best bean recipe I have ever had the pleasure of cooking, and so convenient! Thank you for posting this recipe.5 stars

  11. I have made these many times and they have always turned out amazing! Several people have asked me for the recipe. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe – it’s fabulous!5 stars

  12. This is an incredibly easy recipe to follow and the taste is simply amazing! I halved the recipe (because I am solo thinking it would be too much for one) but after cooking, realized I should have made the recipe in its entirety! I love, love, love refried beans – these are SO much better than the canned ones and super easy to make using the Instant Pot!5 stars

  13. I absolutely LOVE this recipe! I just started experimenting with an Insta Pot and this was awesome! Easy and delicious! Thank you!!!5 stars

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