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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 with refried beans made in the instant pot

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

4.82 from 428 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 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 45 minutes

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!

Video

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: 1cup (of 6)Calories: 134kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 9gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPotassium: 445mgFiber: 6gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 55IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 2mg

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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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  1. 1 lb of dried beans is 4 cups, not 2. That’s where the confusion is below. If you look at most other insta pot bean recipes, you’ll see this. Other than that, wonderful recipe.

    1. Hi John! Typically the 1 pound of pinto beans should equal to 2 cups. When in doubt, use 2 cups. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  2. This is now my go-to recipe. The only change I make is to add an additional jalapeno and an additional 1/2 tsp of cumin & oregano – we like more flavor. There is a lot of liquid left over so I use it to make rice & beans or I add it 13 bean soup. It’s very easy and so economical! We top it with green onions, finely diced tomato and cheese. Thanks Erin!5 stars

  3. I use bacon lard. Use whatever stock I have in the fridge, 1/2 can rotel and it’s juice, also some cilantro. Rice and beans, bean and cheese burritos, nachos

  4. Excellent recipe. Easy and fast. I did not have a jalapeño pepper so I substituted 3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce chopped. Once done, I fried them in a skillet and they really turned out to be the best refried beans I have ever had. Thanks5 stars

  5. Wow, this was delicious! I followed instructions except for the jalapeños because I didn’t have them. So delicious and easy! And the fact that you can freeze it just makes it that much better. I won’t be buying canned refried beans ever again! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!5 stars

    1. Eileen, I think it depends how big your IP is. Make sure you don’t go past the fill line. If you do play around with a larger pot, you can keep the cook time the same.

    2. I regularly double the recipe in a 6 qt Instant Pot. I only fill to the max fill line, which is about the amount of liquid the recipe calls for anyway.

  6. This was so good. I didn’t know homemade refried beans could taste so good! My toddlers and I devoured it and I’m excited to have leftovers to freeze. The extra broth tasted delicious when we used it to deglaze the pan for another dish we made for dinner tonight.5 stars

      1. I just made this recipe and was pretty hopeful it was as good as the reviews are but it is too liquidity. I used the handle hand held blender. So will see if it get dryer after refrigerating it. I am bummed. I just checked my liquid and I used the right amount of liquid.

        1. Hi Rosemary, Yes, as stated in Steps 3 and 4, it will be liquidy and that you will need to drain it and then use an immersion blender to blend them. Hope this helps!

  7. The beans came out delicious, amazing flavor but way to soupy! I ended up draining off a lot of the liquid and using an immersion blender to purée them. I also used some smoked pork I had on hand and hatch chili peppers to amp up the flavor, bacon and jalapeño would work as well. Many compliments from my family and friends. Next batch I will reduce the liquid I don’t think you need two excess cups of liquid to get a good consistency.4 stars

    1. Glad you enjoyed the flavor. Yes, as stated in Steps 3 and 4, it will be liquidy and that you will need to drain it and then use an immersion blender to blend them.

  8. We LOVE these beans! They have so much more flavor than the canned ones and the house smells super yummy while they cook. 10/10 recommend making these!5 stars

  9. This is the third time I’ve made these, and the reason I’m coming back to your recipe is because the flavor is incredible! I like to use the Mexican oregano, which in combination with the cumin and bay leaves gives it the flavor that is unique from other recipes. Thank you for an amazing recipe. Can you please let me know why the recipe needs this much liquid. Would it cook just as well if there were only one cup of water added? It’s kind of sad to discard so much liquid that has lots of onions and spices in it.5 stars

    1. Hi Diane, this is the way I’ve tested it with great results. If you end up experimenting, I’d love to know how it goes! Glad you enjoyed it!

  10. I have made these beans many times, and they are always delicious. I add full cilantro stems (discarded after cooking) or chopped-up cilantro stems for extra flavor. I save the cilantro leaves for topping or use in other recipes. I usually make two pounds of dry beans at a time and freeze the leftovers.5 stars

    1. Hi Brent, I stopped including sodium info because it can vary so much depending upon what products you used, and I found a lot of conflicting info online, so ultimately I didn’t feel comfortable publishing it because sometimes it wasn’t even in the ballpark. If you’d like to calculate it yourself, there are lots of free tools online (myfitnesspal.com is popular). I hope that helps!

  11. Wow! This recipe turned out so good!! I followed it *almost* to the letter. I didn’t have a jalapeno on hand, so I substituted one canned chipotle in adobo. And, being from South Texas and eating Tex-Mex my whole life, I know that traditional refried beans always have lard. So, instead of olive oil, I used bacon grease to saute the onions. I know, I know. But it is so good. And OK, I admit it. I stirred another spoon of bacon grease into the beans when pureeing. Pushes the flavor over the top. Do not discard the excess bean juice. It is so flavorful! Use in soup or stew. It can also be used to rehydrate leftover refried beans which tend to dry out quickly when reheated. Thank you for the delicious recipe!5 stars

  12. I made this recipe exactly as shown. It turned out rather bland. Also, why use 4 cups of stock AND 3 cups of water only to pour off most of it at the end? Plus probably a lot of the flavor goes down the drain. Is all that water really necessary?3 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble with the recipe and that it wasn’t to your taste, Connie. The amounts, flavorings and timing have worked well for myself (and others) so I wished it would have been a hit for you too! I know it can be so disappointing to try a new recipe and it does not turn out for you. The amount of water is necessary but if you’d like to experiment with some changes, I’d love to know how it goes!

  13. Awesome recipe. I hate to be one of those people that admits they added additional items but I must confess I added 3 teaspoons of bacon grease I had on hand from frying bacon. Thats the only thing we did differently. You rock for this great recipe! Thank you.5 stars

  14. Excellent, super easy. Great flavors. Only grease was the tsb’s of olive oil. Traditional recipes call for mucho manteca (lart). I goofed up a bit by not removing enough water before mashing (immersion blender). I also kept some beans aside before mashing as I like to have a few whole beans scattered about for a bit of character and texture. Definite repeat, thanks again Erin.5 stars

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