Enjoy Refried Beans just like the ones at your favorite Mexican Restaurant! This side dish is so easy to make, has zero added fat, and requires just 4 ingredients!
There are 2 essential pairs of food that one must enjoy when dining at a Mexican restaurant- chips & salsa and Spanish Rice & refried beans. Now you can have them right at home along with Beef Barbacoa, Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas, or Baked Chicken Taquitos!
Slow Cooker Refried Beans
These beans cook low and slow in the Crock-Pot creating soft and tender beans. The onion and garlic are blended up with the beans giving the mash so much delicious flavor. Enjoy these refried beans as a side dish to your favorite Mexican meal or as a snack with chips!
Ingredients for Refried Beans:
- Dry Pinto Beans– These are inexpensive and have a minimum self life of 1-2 years but are actually considered non-perishable if stored properly.
- Onion– Yellow or sweet onions work great in this. I buy a big bag of sweet onions every couple weeks from Costco so I almost always use sweet onions in most of my cooking. They’re so yummy!
- Garlic– Use fresh cloves. Just peel, no need to crush since everything will be blended at the end.
- Salt– Beans need quite a bit of salt. They need at least 2 teaspoons but feel free to add another 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, to taste.
How to make Refried Beans:
Time needed: 18 hours and 10 minutes.
- Prep the Beans
Sift through beans, removing any stones and place in a 6 quart slow-cooker pot (or a large bowl). Add ~12 cups cold water and allow to soak overnight.
Drain off soaking water and rinse beans about three times.
Place beans in the slow cooker along with the onion, garlic, and 10 cups of water (about 2 inches above beans), cover, and cook on high for 5-7 hours or until beans are soft.
- Drain & Mash
Ladle out and reserve 1 cup of liquid. Pour beans through a colander in the sink to drain.
Place beans back in the slow cooker or in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 2-3 teaspoons salt. Puree the beans (as well as the onions and garlic) with an immersion hand blender or in batches in a regular blender. Add cooking liquid back to the pureed beans to reach desired thickness. Mash beans to your liking- chunky or smooth.
If serving a large group, keep the beans in the slow cooker set on warm.
Store beans in air tight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
YES! Especially these ones that have no added fat. In just 1/2 cup of these beans there are 6 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein! Beans also a great source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Portion 2 cups refried beans into quart size bags. Expel air, seal, and flatten. Place in the fridge. Once cooled, place in the freezer.
Thaw by placing bag in the fridge the day/night before, on defrost in the microwave, or in a large bowl (or pan) of cold water (like thawing chicken).
Soaking the beans before cooking helps remove some of the indigestible carbohydrates (raffinose) that cause gas and bloating. They should soak for 8-12 hours and be thoroughly rinsed afterward. Rinsing every 3 hours during the soak can help even more.
Feel free to add more flavor with cumin, oregano, and/or chili powder.
It’s really up to you. The kind from a can is quite thick but if you get it at restaurants, the beans are not nearly so dry/thick.
The pinto beans can also be eaten whole (discard onion and garlic). This is a great healthy snack for little ones eating solid foods and learning the pincher grasp. One of my children refuses to eat the beans mashed but will eat a whole bowl of them whole so maybe start your picky kids with some intact beans first.
Use these refried beans in Mexican Layer Dip, burritos, tacos, or on nachos!
TOOLS USED TO MAKE THIS REFRIED BEANS RECIPE:
- Slow Cooker– This is very similar to the one I use but it has the addition of a lockable lid which is awesome for when you are transporting food for a party or potluck, especially soup.
- Hand Blender– This is such a great tool to have in the kitchen! I love it more making dressing, soup, and these fried beans!
- Wolf Gourmet Blender– This blender is amazing! It a power house that can blend anything. I love it and use it for everything from smoothies, to soups, to dressings. KitchenAid Blender– If you’re not ready to commit to a high power blender, this one is great! This one served me well in making smoothies and pureeing soups and sauces for 8 years.
LOOKING FOR MORE MEXICAN SIDE DISHES? CHECK OUT THESE:
- Seasoned Black Beans
- Spanish Rice (Mexican Rice)
- Mexican Potatoes
- Black Bean and Corn Salsa
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- 2 pounds dry pinto beans
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled, quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
- Sift through beans, removing any stones and place in a 6 quart slow-cooker pot (or a large bowl). Add ~12 cups cold water and allow to soak overnight.
- Drain off soaking water and rinse beans about three times.
- Place beans in the slow cooker along with 1 onion, 4 cloves garlic, and 10 cups of water (about 2 inches above beans), cover, and cook on high for 5-7 hours or until beans are soft.
- Ladle out and reserve 1 cup of liquid. Pour beans through a colander in the sink to drain.
- Place beans back in the slow cooker (or in a large bowl (if you think you might scratch your pot with the hand blender). Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt. Puree the beans (as well as the onions and garlic) with an immersion hand blender or in batches in a regular blender. Add cooking liquid back to the pureed beans to reach desired thickness. Mash beans to your liking- chunky or smooth. (If using a regular blender, add enough liquid to get things moving.)
- Serve or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To freeze, place in plastic quart size freezer bags, press flat, and freeze up to 6 months.