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.
4.71 from 79 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!


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


  • 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


  • Shredded Mexican cheese blend optional
  • unsalted butter optional


  • 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).



  • 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! 


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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Recipe Rating


  1. After thawing, are they still good to use cold in a Mexican layer dip?

  2. Do I need to soak the beans overnight before cooking them?

  3. Is 1 lb. package (16 oz.) of dry pinto beans equal to 3 cups?

  4. I’m excited to make this. When making fresh, how long do you recommend leaving it in the refrigerator? I would like to make this ahead of time for a taco bar night and trying to determine how far in advance I can make it. Thanks!

    1. Hi Liz, these will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

  5. Could this recipe be halved and still work?

  6. excellent this recipe, really inviting

  7. Beth Sachs says:

    These refried beans were delicious with Mexican lasagna!

    1. Ok now I want your recipe for Mexican lasagna!

  8. Anne Miller says:

    My family loves refried beans – I don’t – at least until I tried these! They are so delicious! I did have better luck with 6.5 cups of water vs. 7 and used 2 cups of diced onions. Don’t be afraid to add salt at the end – makes all the difference, really! We use 1 tsp salt in ours. Freezes great, makes a ton, is easy and super cheap! Thanks!

  9. Just discovered your recipes and website. I love how simple and informative and straight to the point you are! Will definitely be perusing more of your food ideas!

    1. I’m so glad. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. 🙂

  10. Better with bacon drippings. Your welcome!

  11. I have tried so many refried bean recipes and they just fall flat. These are absolutely delicious! I am so happy to have this recipe – definitely a keeper! Thanks so much.

    1. I’m so glad you loved the recipe; it’s one of my favorites! Thanks for stopping by to let me know. 🙂

  12. Brenda Deramee says:

    Can you cook two batches at a time?

    1. I don’t think 2 batches will fit in the same slow cooker. So you will need 2 slow cookers.

  13. Jennifer R Womack says:

    This recipe is amazing! I have looked for a restaurant quality refried bean recipe for a long time and I finally found it! 🙂 I make it at least weekly now. I also make homeade chips to go with it and we just snack on the chips and dip. The downside of it is the smell. My house smells soooo good all day long but I have to wait 9 hours to eat them! LOL!!

  14. Should I cook them for 9 hours on HIGH or LOW? Thanks!

  15. Hi, just want to let you know that I tried this recipe and absolutely loved it. Love how easy they are to freeze. I’ve made them in several variations. Some I keep plain. Others I’ve added green chiles, or small cubes of cheddar or pepper jack cheese.

  16. This is my go-to recipe for pinto/refried beans. Easy to make and delicious! Thank you!

  17. I’ve been looking for a good refried bean recipe and I found it. These are delicious.

  18. I love your price calculations. It is very helpful when I am planning what to make. Thank you for putting this together!

    1. Dayna Jankowski says:

      Thank you for sharing your review:)

  19. Delicious – and I’m not even the biggest fan of refried beans. For us, it works better with 6.5 cups of water vs. 7 and 1 tsp of salt. Taste and try! If you hit the right amount of salt, they come to life and are SO good! Thanks for the great recipe!

  20. I have made this recipe a few times and love it. I would like to make a double batch for a church lunch. Wondering if you’ve ever done this and how much to adjust the cooking time?

    1. Hi Rachael,

      I’ve never tried making a double batch of these beans, mainly because I don’t have a crockpot large enough for a double batch. However, with that said, If you do have a crockpot large enough for a double batch, the cooking time would be the same.