An easy Slow Cooker Refried Beans recipe that is easy to make, tastes amazing, and doesn’t require you to pre-soak the beans!  

A bowl of slow cooker refried beans sitting on a plate surrounded by flour tortilla chips.

I do have a bit of a confession, I don’t love refried beans, *gasp*! But after having made homemade refried beans, I’m a goner. I’ll never buy the canned stuff ever again.

Why you’ll love these slow cooker refried beans:

It’s an easy recipe; gather the ingredients, throw them in your Crock Pot, and let the slow cooker do the work for you.

As mentioned above, you do NOT have to pre-soak the pinto beans.

Dried beans, particularly these pinto beans, are high in protein and fiber and are very affordable; I think I paid $1.33 for a 24 oz bag of dried pinto beans.

It would be crazy not to mention the flavor of this refried beans recipe. Ohhhh the flavor {insert heart eye emoji}.  These slow cooker refried beans have phenomenal flavor! We don’t use a lot of crazy spices in this recipe, I don’t want to mask the flavor of the beans.

This is the best, all purpose refried bean recipe. It’s fool-proof. Hands down.

A hand dipping a flour tortilla chip into a bull full of slow cooker refried beans.

How to make Slow Cooker Refried Beans

Begin by rinsing the pinto beans under water to clean them.

Add the beans to your slow cooker.

Pro tip: Use a large crock pot for this recipe. I used my 6 quart slow cooker and it was perfect. If you want to use a smaller slow cooker, half the recipe. 

A black slow cooker full of dry pinto beans.To the slow cooker add 8-10 cups of water, or until your slow cooker is about 3/4 full of water.

Next, sprinkle the crushed chicken bouillon cubes and garlic salt into the slow cooker.

Tip: crushing bouillon cubes can be challenging, I know! Use a mortar and pestle to grind the cubes down to smaller pieces or a powder. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle place the bouillon cubes on a cutting board and carefully cut them into smaller pieces.

A black slow cooker full of pinto beans, water, some seasonings, and half of an onion.

Cut a sweet onion in half, remove the outer peel, and place the onion into the slow cooker. Grab the lid and cover the crock pot.

Cook on low for 9-10 hours or on high for 6-7 hours or until the beans are soft.

Stir the beans once or twice throughout cooking. If you notice the water level is getting fairly low, add more water to the slow cooker.

A slotted spoon lifting up a spoonful of cooked pinto beans from the slow cooker, with some liquid dripping through the spoon.

Once the beans are soft remove the onion from the slow cooker and discard it. Then use a slotted spoon and transfer the beans to a large bowl. RESERVE the slow cooker juice! Do NOT discard it.  We will use the bean juice momentarily.

To the soft pinto beans add 1 stick of softened butter, onion powder, cumin (optional), and about 1 cup of reserved bean juice.

A glass bowl full of the cooked pinto beans.

Using a hand blender (or a potato masher) mix the ingredients until smooth and creamy. If you like chunkier refried beans don’t over mix.

A major bonus to making refried beans from scratch is that you control the texture and consistency of the beans.

Continue mixing and adding more bean juice according to your liking. If you prefer thick refried beans don’t add too much liquid; if you prefer a smooth and thinner refried beans recipe add more liquid.

Keep in mind refried beans will set and thicken as they sit so take that into account as you’re adding the reserved bean juice.

A handheld blender mixing the cooked pinto beans into refried beans.

Storing Homemade Refried Beans

Can you freeze refried beans? Yes. Place the beans in a freezer safe airtight container or a freezer safe ziplock bag and then freeze. Properly frozen refried beans will maintain best quality when frozen for 2 months. They can be frozen for much longer, but beyond that, they might lose their integrity.

Tip: Portion out the refried beans into smaller servings first and then freeze. This way you can pull out a small bag of frozen refried beans and thaw it for your meal, rather than having to thaw the full batch of beans.

When properly stored, homemade refried beans will keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

A glass bowl full of smooth refried beans.

Uses for refried beans

  • As my pictures illustrate, you can use this slow cooker refried beans recipe as a bean dip. YUM!
  • Refried beans are also perfect as a side dish to any Mexican style meal.
  • I love making homemade bean and cheese burritos; add 1/4 cup of these homemade refried beans down the center of a tortilla and sprinkle a generous amount of cheese over the beans. Wrap up the burrito and place it on a hot skillet to crisp up the sides.
  • Or grab a spoon and eat them plain because quite frankly this is the best refried beans recipe I’ve ever had.

A bowl of refried beans with tortilla chips surrounding the perimeter of the bowl.

If you like this Slow Cooker Refried Beans recipe try these:

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A hand dipping a flour tortilla chip into a bull full of slow cooker refried beans.
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5 from 2 votes

Slow Cooker Refried Beans

These slow cooker refried beans are so easy to make and incredibly delicious!
prep time 10 mins
cook time 6 hrs
total time 6 hrs 10 mins
servings: 12 servings
calories: 138kcal
author: Whitney

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups dry pinto beans rinsed
  • 8-10 cups water
  • 5 crushed chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 T garlic salt
  • 1/2 sweet onion outer skin removed, don't chop
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups reserved juice from the slow cooker

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Place the rinsed pinto beans into the slow cooker. I used my large crock pot. If you have the option to use a large, or small crock pot, use the large.
  • Fill your slow cooker 3/4 full with water, about 8-10 cups of water (it might vary depending on your particular slow cooker).
  • Sprinkle the crushed bouillon and garlic salt over the water. 
  • Place the sweet onion into the slow cooker.
  • Cook on high for 6-8 hours or on low for 9-10 hours.Stir occasionally. If you need to add more water during the cooking process, be sure to do that. 
  • Once the beans are soft, use a slotted spoon to transfer the beans to a large bowl.  Keep the bean juice. Discard the onion. 
  • Add 1/2 cup butter, onion powder, cumin (if using) and 1/2 cup of the reserved bean juice to the beans. 
  • Using a hand blender, or a potato masher, mash the beans until they reach your desired consistency. Add more bean juice to make them less thick if you'd like. I added about 1 1/2 cups of bean juice total. The beans will thicken and set with time so keep that in mind.

RECIPE NOTES

Thoroughly rinse the pinto beans before placing them in the slow cooker. We want them to be nice and clean. 
Use a large slow cooker for this recipe, I used a 6 quart slow cooker. 
If you half the recipe, you could make this in a smaller slow cooker. 
The amount of slow cooker juice you add the the refried beans will vary. If you like your beans on the stiff side, you won't need as much liquid. If you prefer to have creamier and thinner refried beans then add more water. Remember, these will set slightly as they sit out. 
I haven't tried it personally, but you could set the slow cooker to low and let it cook for 9-10 hours. 
Calories: 138kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 1056mg | Potassium: 207mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 235IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment or share a photo on Instagram and tag @saltandbaker and hashtag it #saltandbaker.

This post was first published September 8, 2017 and has been updated with new photos and slight change in the recipe.