Homemade Refried Beans made from scratch! You will love this hearty comfort food recipe full of flavors and smooth creamy texture. This perfect side dish is made with pinto beans and delightful earthy rich seasoning.
This plant-based meal will satisfy vegetarians and omnivores alike. And since it uses all clean ingredients, your bodies will enjoy healthy restaurant quality meal at home.
All you need is 5 main ingredients to make these Creamy Pinto Beans that are healthy version of refried beans. They are flavorful, velvety smooth in texture and super satisfying. They are easy to prepare and taste amazing!
Better than Ready Made Can of Refried Beans
These home made refried pinto beans taste way better than canned beans you get in the grocery store. This lighter version also does not contain lard. This fat free refried beans recipe is easy to whip up in electric pressure cooker Instant Pot on stove top or crockpot.
To make the beans the traditional style, you have to cook them first in water to soften them. Then you fry them in a pot or skillet with fat and seasonings.
In this vegan recipe, we slow cook the beans and use the creamy texture by smoothly blending them. You will love these filling and meaty beans that are full of flavors and satisfying.
I am also including soaking and non soaking cooking times and water ratios for easier reference.
You will love this No Lard, Healthy Refried Beans
- Easy recipe
- Fat Free
- Hearty and filling
- Affordable and budget friendly.
- Perfect for meal prep since it freezes well.
- Can be used as a side dish or a filler in multitude of dishes
Our family is a big fan of Mexican food . There is a very humble, unassuming place called “Taco El Norte” near my house. They whip out some awesome Mexican fiesta dishes. Needless to say, we are a regular there.
So I wanted to make similar tasting beans with minimum ingredients and high nutritional quotient at home. After few successful trial runs, these vegetarian refried pinto beans have become a staple in my casa. It is a family favorite repeat recipe for Taco Tuesday or Tostada Thursday.
What are Refried Beans Used For?
My kids love to take warm bean dip with cheese and sautéed veggies in their Thermos for school lunches. And we often make a DIY taco bar at home for casual dinners as well as for Cinco De Mayo parties , potlucks and casual get togethers.
Exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here’s little more explanation.
- Pinto Beans : Refried beans are usually made with pinto beans but black beans also work. You can find dry beans in the Mexican food isle at the grocery store. Soaking is optional especially if you are using Instant Pot
- Garlic, Onion and Jalapeno Pepper
- Salt, ground black pepper and chopped Cilantro for garnish
Other Suggested Seasoning : Traditional recipes do not include these seasoning. We love adding these and I am sure you will too.
- Smoked Paprika – Adding smoked paprika kicks up the flavors to another notch. Trader Joe’s Smoked Paprika is my go to spice for anything to make exotic and rustic. It has nice bold flavor which brings instant earthiness to any dish you add it to. The hard work of slowly roasted pepper flavor is instantly and easily achieved by using this spice.
- Coriander Cumin Powder – You can use premix coriander cumin powder or use half tbsp. cumin and half tbsp. of coriander powder. This gives nice aroma and makes these beans very flavorful.
- All purpose seasoning blend – Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute is a versatile blend of 21 exotic herbs and spices. It is a superb flavor enhancer. This spice blend is my another go-to mix for everyday cooking. You can also use other seasoning blends like Mrs. Dash or Larry’s.
Can I Freeze Refried Beans?
This pinto beans recipe is a keeper when it comes to making a big batch and using the leftovers for multiple uses later. Cooked beans thicken substantially over time so make sure to leave enough room for expansion when you store it.
I like to store them in glass container ( only 3/4 full ) . For big batch freezing, cool them completely and use freezer bags. If you notice thicker beans, add some liquid – water or broth before reheating. The beans soak up substantial water as you go so you will have to adjust the liquid to get desired texture and consistency.
Should I soak the pinto beans to make Instant Pot Refried Beans?
It is a personal preference. I have done these beans soaking and non-soaking and they turn out perfect either way.
You have to adjust liquid quantity while cooking depending upon if you are using the soaked or un-soaked beans. Also make sure to have at least 1/2 inch liquid above beans for smooth cooking. You will notice that the beans do look runny right after cooking. However as they cool down, they start to thicken up well.
Some delicious Mexican Food Ideas for Easy Dinner
- Chipotle Style Black Beans
- Street Corn Salad
- Fajita Tacos
- Vegetarian Burrito Bowls
- 30 Minute Easy Cheese Enchiladas
- Healthy Black Bean Soup
- Stuffed Pepper Soup
- Black Bean and Corn Salad
- One Pot Enchilada Rice
How to Make Instant Pot Refried Beans:
Put the dry beans in a colander and rinse with cool water.
Place the rinsed beans, chopped onion or shallot, garlic and whole jalapeno pepper into the main pot. Pour in the water (broth) and stir to combine. Close the lid. Vent in seal position. Choose 30 minutes for soaked beans and 45 minutes for un-soaked beans. After it’s done cooking wait for NPR natural pressure release.
Open the lid. remove and discard jalapeno pepper. Mash the beans with a potato masher or immersion blender. Add rest of the seasoning. Mix well. Add some warm water as needed to attain desired consistency.
Keep the beans a little thinner in texture when you first mash them. They will thicken substantially as they cool down. Serve warm or room temperature, your choice.
Are Refried Beans Gluten Free?
Yes ! Refried pinto beans are gluten free. All the ingredients used in this recipe to season them are also suitable for gluten free diet preference.
Are Refried Beans Vegan?
All ingredients used in making this recipe are plant based and suitable for vegan. This recipe does not use lard to fry the cooked beans.
Are Refried Beans Healthy?
Beans are nutritional powerhouses. They are full of fiber and plant protein. And they are hearty and satisfying. They make an excellent swap for meat in vegetarian and vegan cooking.
What is Refried Beans in Spanish?
Refried beans are similar to the Spanish dish ‘frijoles refritos’ which translates to ‘well-fried’ beans. However, this recipe is more like cooked and mashed flavorful pinto beans.
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Refried Pinto Beans – Instant Pot
- 1 lb. dry pinto beans
- 6 cups water or vegetable broth
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1 Shallot or small onion
- 1 Jalapeño Pepper – optional
- 1 Tablespoon cumin coriander powder
- 2 teaspoon – 21 seasoning salute or any other all purpose seasoning blend
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon Sea Salt and ground black pepper to taste
INSTANT POT DIRECTIONS
- Put the dry beans in a colander and rinse with cool water. Place the rinsed beans, roughly chopped onion or shallot, minced garlic and whole jalapeno pepper into the main steel insert.
- Pour in the water (broth) and stir to combine. Close the lid. Vent in seal position. Choose MANUAL and press 30 minutes. After it cooks, wait for NPR natural pressure release.
- Open the lid. Remove and discard jalapeno pepper. Mash the beans with a potato masher or immersion blender. Add rest of the seasoning. Mix well. Add some warm water as needed to attain desired consistency. Keep the beans a little thinner in texture when you first mash them. They will thicken substantially as they cool down. Serve warm or room temperature, your choice ! Enjoy !
CROCK POT DIRECTIONS
- Put the dry beans in a colander and rinse with cool water. Place the rinsed beans, chopped onion or shallot, garlic and whole jalapeno pepper and all other ingredients into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Cover and cook on High for at least 6 hours, adding more water as needed.
- Remove and discard jalapeno pepper. Mash the beans with a potato masher or immersion blender. Mix well. Add some warm water as needed to attain desired consistency.
STOVE TOP DIRECTIONS
- Put all the ingredients in the heavy bottom Dutch oven or soup pot. On a high heat, let the mixture come to boil. Reduce the heat. Cover the pot with the lid.
- Let it simmer for at least 45-60 minutes. Do check intermittently to make sure there is enough water for the beans to cook. Turn off the heat when beans are fork tender and mushy. Open the lid.
- Remove and discard jalapeno pepper. Mash the beans with a potato masher or immersion blender. Mix well. Enjoy !
** This recipe was originally published on July, 12, 2018. It has been modified on March 4, 2021 with updated photos, detail recipe instructions and other pertinent details.