Mexican Food, Recipes, Side Dish

Slow Cooker Refried Beans (without the Refry!)

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We LOVE Mexican food at our house and I am always looking for a yummy side dish. I love refried beans, but when you buy them in a can, dump them out, and the beans retain the shape of the can . . . ew. It grosses me out. I then found this recipe and I am never going back!! Took 15 minutes to throw it together and THEY WERE AMAZING! My husband said that they were as good as the beans you get at a restaurant . . . and the recipe is so easy that you can’t go wrong!
**This recipe makes a lot, but you can also use it to make bean burritos, bean dip, topping for a salad, etc . . . you will definitely want to use a large 5-6 quart slow cooker for this recipe.

Slow Cooker Refried Beans
1 onion, peeled and halved
3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
1/4-1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (I used about 1/4 because I wanted my kids to eat it and not think it was too hot)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
5 cups water
4 cups chicken broth


-Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and chicken broth and stir to combine. Cook on High for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.

-Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency.

 -If you want to turn this into a big batch of bean dip, add the following: 
 2 cups salsa
2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
2 cups shredded pepperjack cheese
8 oz. cream cheese
16 oz. sour cream
2 Tbls chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Mix in with the beans and let cook a couple hours longer so flavors can blend. Makes a huge batch so just freeze leftovers!


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  1. says

    Hi Anonymous! Every time that I have made these, I have cooked them on high for 8 hours. I think that if you cooked them on low, I would probably do it for 12-15 hours, just to make sure they are cooked all the way. :) Good luck with slow cooking! I would die without my crockpot! :)

    • says

      Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? But shouldn’t you soak them for a few hours jus to get all the junk out? (and you know, like when the skin comes off the beans as they sit?)

    • says

      I have never, ever soaked them! After cooking so long at such a high temperature, everything just kinda mashes together, skins included!! I do rinse them before adding them to the slow cooker . . . they are delicious!

    • says

      The purpose of soaking beans overnight (and then pouring off the soak water and replacing it) has nothing to do with cooking technique and everything to do with the intestinal comfort of those who eat LOL I tried going without soaking them ONCE and my guts paid dearly for the omission. So just be aware ;)

  2. says

    These are the only refried beans we eat now. I made them for my in-laws and they turned out blah instead of amazing as they usually are but I used dried onions & garlic. Lesson learned, use FRESH garlic & onions…it’s worth the work.

  3. says

    I made these last night. I put them in my crock pot on low around 1am. After lunch today, I strained off the water and “refried” them. Twelve hours was just fine. I could smell the beans all the way upstairs when I woke up this morning. I don’t have a potato masher, so I used an immersion blender instead. It took a little longer, since I had to keep scraping it out, but it turned out well. Next time I think I might make these with black beans.

  4. says

    I don’t like chunks of onions or peppers or garlic in my beans, do you think they could go in a cheesecloth packet and thrown out after cooking the beans? or could I substitute powdered versions?

    • says

      Hi! I have never tried the powdered versions, however we have had a couple of people tell us that it doesn’t work- the flavors are off. The high heat and long amount of cooking make the onions, peppers, and garlic completely disintegrate and when you mash the beans, they mash right along with them. There are never any chunks of onions or peppers left. I think that you could put them in a cheesecloth, but I don’t know if the beans would taste the same. Let us know if you try it!

  5. says

    Tried these this week– Wonderful and smells sooo good cooking– I will never buy canned again- Thanks so much for the recipe!

  6. says

    I have made these several times now and will NEVER go back to canned! These are now a staple in my freezer. Thanks for a great recipe!!!!!!!!

  7. says

    Everyone always says “soak your beans overnight” Is that not the case with the crock pot method? It sounds like you just rinse them and let them dry? I am exited to make this for dinner next week!

  8. says

    just put these in the crock pot now for dinner tomorrow. did i read the recipe right and i only had to halve the onion? not dice or chop? do i need to remove the onion after cooking??
    it already smells yummy and only 5 minutes in….

    • says

      Yep! You read it right . . . just halve the onion and be done. The onion seriously disintegrates into the beans when you mash them up. You could remove it if you wanted to, but you definitely don’t have to. :)

  9. says

    I just made a batch a few days ago! We like a little more cumin and use veggie stock/broth. I freeze them in 2 cup containers. You need to thaw them in the fridge for about a dsy, but they’re still amazing. I start mine at 10 pm (just before I go to bed) and they are ready at 6 am when we get up. You do want to sort and rinse them well, as sometimes there are small rocks.
    When jalapeños aren’t available, I add in a large can of diced green chile peppers.

  10. says

    I’ve been making these for the past few months and they are AWESOME!!! A single batch is divided into about 3 dinner servings for the four of us. I freeze them flat and line them up in my freezer door. I’ve defrosted them in the fridge overnight as well as defrosted them in the microwave – both work well.

    I can’t tell you how awesome it is to hear my boys get all excited for homemade beans. :-) Thank you!!

  11. Krazy Kristi says

    Made these yesterday, they are yummy! Much better and cheaper than store bought re-fried beans. I did use canned green chilies as our jalapenos in the garden aren’t ready yet. Can’t wait to make another batch with jalapenos!

  12. Laura says

    I read somewhere once that you’re not supposed to salt the beans until after they cook…Can anyone confirm that or explain reasoning behind it? Thanks.

  13. Amy says

    These are SOOOO delicious!! I’ve tried other crockpot “refried” bean recipes before and they were just so-so. I think the difference is the jalapeno, fresh garlic, and chicken stock. I made this super easy on myself by mashing them in my electric mixer. I just threw them in straight from the crockpot (I used a slotted spoon so I didn’t get too much liquid in too) and mixed with the paddle attachment until I had the perfect “refried” bean consistency. Couldn’t be easier! NEVER buying canned beans again!!

  14. Tina says

    These taste fresh and authentic and are so easy to make. Never going back to canned! We live in Switzerland, and a can of refried beans costs more here than it costs me to make a whole batch in the slow cooker. Thanks for sharing this great money-saving, tasty recipe; I’m really glad I discovered it.

  15. jen says

    Just made these today, fantastic! Don’t have a slow cooker so baked them in a dutch oven for about 4 hours @350. Added a pinch of smoked paprika for bacony flavor. So good and easy.

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