I Made My Own Refried Beans! Why, I feel like I could do just about anything now.

Homemade Refried Beans — Slow Cooker Style


  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 3 cups dry pinto beans
  • 8  cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 t. salt
  • 1 3/4 t. fresh ground black pepper ( I just threw some on)
  • 1/8 t. ground cumin
  • 9 cups water

Rinse the beans, throw out the ones that float to the top. Mix them with the rest of the ingredients in the slow cooker.

Cook on low overnight…

I had these going by 7:00 in the evening. I intended to take them off the heat first thing in the morning… But I kind of got going with my day and forgot, so they ended up slow cooking for about 15 hours.

While I was reading up on homemade recipes for refried beans, one of the comments mentioned that, the older the beans are, the longer they need to soak. I’ve had these pinto beans lying around for at least six months. The first recipe I tried with them (and the reason I bought them) was liked by no one, and I haven’t had the inclination to touch them again until now.

Now I can’t help but wonder: How old were they when I bought them? Maybe they were already old from the get-go and I didn’t soak them long enough that first time and that’s why the recipe didn’t turn out.

Who knows? My point is — not only was 15 hours not too long for them to slow cook; it’s very possible these beans needed that extra time.

Whatever the reason, they turned out scrumptious. Really. Better than the canned, in my opinion.

First, though, I drained them, reserving the liquid in a separate bowl in case I needed to add some later.

I took out the onion chunks, too –they’re just for marinating, people.

When I saw what I was left with, I really wondered if I had just wasted 65 cents worth of pinto beans and the 10 minutes of my time I had invested into preparing them (including taking pictures).

I mean, really. Does that look very appetizing?

I started smashing them into mush with a potato masher. I quickly wondered what on earth I was thinking and switched to a stick blender, just stuck it right there in the pot they slow cooked in.

I quickly realized I had not drained enough of the liquid and stopped to scoop out a little more.

The Finished Product:

Now, I have not one drop of Latino blood in me, but these beans taste pretty yummy. Like I said, better than the canned.

And cheaper, too. I am so not a number-crunching connoisseur, but I would wager that these ingredients do not total more than $1.00.

This recipe made about six cups.

Or one and a half liters, if you live outside the United States.

I bagged them up in one three one-quart freezer zip locks.

I thought I had estimated roughly the amount of one can per bag, but I just used one today and I could tell it was more, so next time I’ll probably bag up four from the same recipe.

Can you tell I’m not Type-A?

And I really should just store them in the fridge: I go through about a can a week around here. I think I just wanted to revel in my Becky-Homeckyness like I’m someone who routinely cooks in bulk from scratch to store up a cache of food.

Not only were these beans cheap and tasty, I’ll warrant they’re healthier, too. Have you ever tried a can of organic refried beans? Did you notice how different the consistency was from the regular non-organic? I don’t even want to think about which of those unpronounceable preservatives causes the changes in texture and consistency; I tried to buy more organic back before the first time we lost our tenants in our rental house, before I woke to reality and realized it just wasn’t in the budget.

Now “organic” refried beans are not only in the budget, they even help it!

Do you have a homemade refried bean recipe you love? Feel free to share it in the comments! Never tried to cook dried beans before? I highly recommend giving these a try. If I can do it, really, truly, anybody can.

19 thoughts on “I Made My Own Refried Beans! Why, I feel like I could do just about anything now.

  1. I’ve never had any luck with cooking beans in the crock pot. They never seem to get soft. I’ve made sure the beans were fresh and followed all the directions, etc. I’ve had great success cooking them in my pressure cooker though.


  2. oh i really want to try this, we love refried beans in sooo many things. i hope i dont screw it up lol
    btw are these less salty? i have high blood pressure


    jolyn Reply:

    You totally control the amount of salt! I added 3 t. as you can see. You wouldn’t have to add any! That’s the beauty of cooking from scratch!


  3. Thanks so much for this recipe!! We use refried beans a lot when we have tacos and such! This recipe just made it on my freezer cooking menu! It will be nice to have some on hand! I am starting to make most of my stuff from scratch! Thanks again!


  4. After reading about how your $5 dinner friend cooks and freezes beans, I did that with a huge bag of pinto beans a couple of weeks ago. I just made my very first homemade refried beans last week with some of these beans. You’re so right – MUCH better than canned. We have two Hispanic foster kids right now, and they both gave them a thumbs up! :)


    jolyn Reply:

    I was just about to make some black beans using her stovetop method! My goal is to stop buying canned beans altogether, one by one. I use black beans all the time.

    Did you season them at all while cooking? Or just once you were ready to use them in a recipe?


  5. This sounded like a great quick recipe! You’ve gotten my attention. Even though I don’t eat much of refried beans. My husband is a big fan of it. So I will definitely try. I love quick and delicious crock pot recipes! Thanks for sharing!


    jolyn Reply:

    I make a “dinner dip” almost every week that uses refried beans. I loved this recipe in it even better than the canned.


  6. Another thing I’ve been doing with pinto beans – cooking them for my chili. I use a bag of the beans, cooked, to 4 lbs. of meat. Then eat some soup and freeze some. We eat a lot of chili in the winter.
    And the last two batches I made I made with ground turkey instead of ground beef. The first time I did it because we have run out of our grass fed beef and I hadn’t gotten around to ordering. We had company and no one knew until I told them. I use all the same seasonings etc., just substitute the turkey – not nearly as greasy.


    jolyn Reply:

    I bet Don was quite surprised! We haven’t had much chili at all this year. Probably because Hubs is gone. I’m going to try the pinto beans next time we do. How do you season them?


    Jerilyn Reply:

    Just with salt and pepper while cooking. You could put half an onion in too. Or celery if you have some you need to use up.


  7. I just started making my own refried beans, too!! Maybe a month ago. I’ve done it twice now, and I totally know what you mean by feeling like a little Becky-Homecky. I haven’t tried adding the spices and onions to the soaking water, though. VERY good idea! I’ll try that next time!!


  8. These are awesome. I am vegetarian and one big problem I have is finding refried beans (in USA at least) that are not made with meat products added…. Home made is perfect.



    jolyn Reply:

    They DO sell “vegetarian” refried beans in a can! But why buy that when you can make your own for less and they taste so much better? 😉


    Forest Parks Reply:

    Agreed, I made them quite frequently, much less sodium too.


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