This Restaurant Style Refried Beans recipe is made in a crockpot, and you don’t need to soak the beans! As a result, the recipe is easy, and the beans come out creamy.

This recipe serves 12 and costs $2.13 to make. That’s just 18¢ per serving!

For more homemade bean recipes, try my Crock Pot Green Chile Pinto Beans Recipe, Instant Pot Refried Beans, and Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans Recipe.

An overhead picture of the finished Mexican Refried Beans in a white bowl that's garnished with shredded Mexican cheese and tortilla chips.

Careful: this Homemade Refried Beans Recipe is going to change your life!

Warning: Once you make my Restaurant Style Refried Beans Recipe, you’ll never go back to canned beans because this is an easy, delicious Mexican refried beans recipe!

I have been tinkering with this easy refried beans recipe for a couple of months. I am happy to report that I’ve SO nailed it! 

They’re straightforward to make and so tasty. Not to mention these beans cost a fraction of the cost of canned refried beans. 

And who knew refried beans and healthy belong in the same sentence?! Because they definitely could with this recipe!

I always have a few, or ten pounds, of pinto beans in my pantry (thanks, Costco!). My kids love these homemade refried beans, and I mean LOVE! They shovel them in by the spoonful.

What are refried beans?

Refried beans are a dish of cooked and mashed beans that is a traditional staple of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, although each cuisine has a different approach when making the dish.

The beans are made with raw pinto beans. They can be cooked when dry or soaked overnight, stewed, drained of most of the remaining liquid, and converted into a paste with a masher.

Refried Bean Recipe ingredients & cost

Per Serving Cost: $0.18

Recipe Cost: $2.13

  • 3 cups dried pinto beans – $1.11
  • 7 cups water – $0.00
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes – $0.16
  • 1 medium white onion – $0.70
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder – $0.06
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin – $0.09
  • salt and pepper to taste – $0.01

NOTE: I calculate the recipe prices by using name-brand grocery prices on grocery store websites.

All of the ingredients needed to make this Refried Beans recipe.

Refried Bean Recipe variations

  • *** If you use Chicken broth instead of the chicken bouillon granules, you will need 6 cups of broth and 1 cup of water!
  • To make this recipe, you’ll need an immersion blender. You can use a standard blender and run small batches through it, but it will take a while. (Also, if you go this route, you’ll need to hold the lid to the blender on SUPER tight!) The immersion blender that I use will run you about $40. I use it all the time, especially for soups!
  • When rinsing the beans, throw out any that float or are discolored. Also, keep an eye out for small stones, especially if you buy cheaper pinto beans.

How to make Crockpot Refried Beans

  1. First, place all of your ingredients, minus the salt and pepper, into your slow cooker.
  2. Next, cook the beans on high for 9 hours. Yes, 9 hours, please don’t cook them for less than that!
  3. Finally, using an immersion blender, puree the beans until smooth. Add water as needed and season with salt and pepper to taste. If you’re feeling decadent, add up to a stick of butter to the beans!

***For complete recipe instructions see the recipe card below!

A picture collage showing how to make this Refried Beans recipe.

How to serve Crockpot Refried Beans

SERVE: You can keep these out for about two hours before they need to be refrigerated. 

Refried Bean Recipe storage

How long do refried beans last in the fridge?

Cover and store the beans in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. 

Can you freeze refried beans?

You can freeze these beans in Ziploc bags in small batches. They will keep in the freezer for up to 4 months.

THAW: Thaw the frozen packets of beans overnight in the refrigerator.

REHEAT: Heat the beans in a saucepan over medium heat until heated through. You may need to loosen the beans with a couple of tablespoons of water when reheating them. 

Crock Pot Refried Beans rave reviews from readers

“Made this last night. Truly amazing and so easy!! Walking in the door after work, the house smelled yummy. Thank you so much!”

“Classic recipe I love refried beans! Can’t wait to make this again it was great”

“This recipe is as good as it gets for refried pinto beans; period (for what its worth, I am likely a refried pinto bean addict). Easy, inexpensive, reasonably “healthy”, and always nails.”

The finished Refried Beans in a white serving bowl.

How to make Refried Beans FAQs

Are refried beans vegetarian?

Many popular refried bean recipes contain lard. Using lard in the recipe makes the beans not vegetarian. However, my recipe does not call for lard. This method also helps to make the recipe a little more healthy than other refried bean recipes. 
To make them vegan, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. 

What do you eat with refried beans?

I love them on a tortilla or with some tortilla chips. Add some salsa with the chips and tortillas, and you’re golden! 
This Mexican Rice also goes great with the beans. You could even serve the beans alongside this Mexican Lasagna, and you’d have such a great meal. 

What makes refried beans refried?

In America, we might first think refried beans mean the beans have been fried twice. However, the word refried comes from the Spanish name frijoles refritos. The translation for this phrase means well fried. Therefore, they are not cooked twice but rather cooked well until soft enough to mash into the creamy beans that we all love.

Do Mexican restaurants use lard in refried beans?

Most restaurants do use lard in their refried beans. That is one reason I prefer to make them at home. I can get the same great taste from the seasonings without adding in the extra fat.

What kind of beans do Mexican restaurants use?

The two most popular types of beans found in Mexican restaurants are pinto and black beans. Pinto beans are, of course, used to make refried beans, while black beans are served as a side dish in soups, salsas, or enchiladas. I have an excellent recipe for Restaurant-Style Black Bean Soup that is delicious!

How to season refried beans?

Here are some tips on how to season refried beans:
Add aromatics: Adding chopped onions will give the beans a slightly more complex flavor.
Add spices: Cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper are commonly used to season refried beans.
Add fat: A few tablespoons of butter or a dollop of sour cream can add richness and creaminess to refried beans. For a cheesy and gooey texture, you can also add cheese, such as cheddar, Monterey Jack, or cotija.
Add herbs: Adding fresh herbs, such as cilantro, can give refried beans a fresh and flavorful boost.

What can I add to refried beans to make them creamy?

There are a few things you can add to refried beans to make them creamy:
Fat: Adding fat to refried beans will also help to make them creamier. You can use butter, shortening, lard, or even olive oil.
Dairy: Adding dairy products to refried beans is a great way to make them creamy and rich. You can use sour cream, Greek yogurt, or cream cheese.
Avocado: Avocado is a great way to add creaminess and healthy fats to refried beans. Mash it up and stir it into the beans.
Cheese: Cheese is another great way to add creaminess and flavor to refried beans. You can use shredded cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, or queso fresco cheese.

A serving spoon picking up some Refried Beans from a crockpot.

More Mexican inspired recipes

A close up overhead picture of the finished restaurant style Refried Beans in a white serving bowl.
4.72 from 76 votes

Homemade Refried Beans Recipe (Crockpot)

Recipe Cost $ $2.13
Serving Cost $ $0.18
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 9 hours
Total Time 9 hours 5 minutes
12 people
This Restaurant Style Refried Beans recipe is made in a slow cooker, and no bean soaking is required!

Equipment

  • slow cooker
  • cutting board
  • chef's knife
  • immersion blender

Ingredients
 
 

  • 3 cups dried pinto beans rinsed and picked over
  • 7 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons chicken bouillon granules (or 2 bouillon cubes)
  • 1 medium white onion diced (or 1 Tablespoon onion powder)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

GARNISHES:

  • Shredded Mexican cheese blend optional
  • unsalted butter optional

Instructions

  • Add all of the ingredients, except for the salt and pepper to the crock-pot. 
  • Cook on high for 9 hours. At this point, the beans will be tender and a bunch of them will have popped open.
  • Use an immersion blender to puree the beans until smooth.
  • Add more water as needed, or if you're feeling decadent, add up to 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter to make creamy, out-of-this-world beans.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with shredded Mexican cheese (optional).

Video

Notes

  • This recipe makes about 6 cups of beans. 
  • Some readers have not cooked the beans for the full hours and they end up with watery beans. You must cook the beans for the entire 9 hours, I cannot express the importance of this enough! 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 177kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 213mg | Potassium: 699mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 3mg

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This post first appeared on FFF on August 15, 2015. I have since updated the pictures and added a recipe video. 

Finished refried beans inside of a crock pot with text overlay for Pinterest.

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221 Comments

  1. This is my go-to refried bean recipe. I’ve made it for a few yrs. I’ve been trying to recreate my husband’s Mexican grandfather’s refried beans that were the best beans my husbands ever had. There’s only 1 taqueria with beans that come close. When I make these beans and add the white Mexican cheese his grandpa used it’s pretty close too I always double recipe and it’s perfect! I do have a big family and a big crockpot! Thanks for recipe! They’re amazing!

  2. Wonderful and easy and everyone loved them.

  3. Tara Morris says:

    This recipe makes THE most delicious refried beans! So easy to put together in a crock pot, cook overnight and in the morning all you have to do is add the butter and a little sea salt. I don’t have an immersion blender so I just used a potato masher and it worked great. This will now be my go to recipe for refried beans ❤️

    1. Dayna Jankowski says:

      Thank you for sharing this kind review, glad you enjoyed it!

  4. This recipe is so easy to follow, I added some diced jalapeno to it because we like the spice of it. I have always had a problem making refried beans even after my mom spent years teaching me. This recipe means no more canned beans for me. My household loves them.

    1. Dayna Jankowski says:

      I’m so glad it’s a hit! Thanks for sharing!