Easy Mexican Side Dish Recipes – Refried Beans

I found this recipe on a site called Flowers in His Garden over 2 and a half years ago, and have been making them for my family ever since.  If you’ve ever been to a Mexican restaurant and loved the creamy refried beans they served, well these taste just like them once you toss a little shredded cheese on top.  My favorite part about this recipe is it’s simple.  Just soak the beans overnight, toss everything in the crock pot the next morning {plus a little water} and turn it on. Then just give the mixture a whirl in the blender right before you are ready to serve. This recipe makes about 4 traditional sized cans worth, so there will be plenty leftovers to freeze as well.


3 cups dried pinto beans
1 large onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt


Place dried beans in a large and cover with 3 inches of hot water.  Cover and let sit overnight.  In the morning, drain the liquid off the beans, rinse them, then toss them in the slow cooker. Add enough water to cover the beans 1/2 inch.  Add the chopped onion, butter and salt.  Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours.

When the beans have finished cooking, place 2 – 3 cups of the mixture in a blender {I used a Blentec} and pulse until you reach the consistency you like.  Repeat the process until you have pureed all your beans. Some people like their refried beans super pureed like they serve in Mexican restaurants, and some people prefer them with bits of bean chunks still in them.  It’s totally up to you.

Top with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, or what ever you like.

These homemade refried beans go great with homemade tortillas, and they freeze well too.

Looking for more simple Mexican dishes you can make in your slow cooker?  Check out The Mexican Slow Cooker: Recipes for Mole, Enchiladas, Carnitas, Chile Verde Pork, and More Favorites By Deborah Schneider.  Amazon currently has the book in stock, and it has great reviews.

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  1. Chantell says

    Just so you know, if you plan on cooking the beans in the slow cooker, there is no need to soak them overnight. Love my crockpot for beans! Also, another little tip about beans: If they appear wrinkley, do not seem to get soft, they may be too old and they will never be soft. Just an FYI! 😀

    Beans! Beans! The magical Fruit ♪

    • Elizabeth F says

      Well it is a good idea to rinse off the soaking water and start with fresh water to cook. It helps with digestibility and with the you-know-what problem that beans can cause some people. And naturally of course you should wash and pick over before starting the soak.

  2. Elizabeth F says

    I really need to get my crock pot out and use for more things. I large batch refried beans also. I use 2 lbs of dried pinto, lots of onion. I do the presoak, then add the onions and cook till tender. I use a masher as the family prefers them chunkier rather than smooth.

    Someone mentioned bean that don’t soften…I was taught not to add salt to dry beans when they cook, not until after they are done.

    I package them into 1 C and 2 C containers in the freezer.

  3. Kathy says

    Mavis, I made your recipe today and it’s delish! I really don’t care for pinto beans unless they’re in a 15 bean soup but I’m kind of liking the refried beans now. Served with my homemade salsa and tortillas tonight and it was a hit. We great minds think alike. The manchild (oldest son) and Bubba (youngest son) don’t care for any of it but the chica (daughter) loved it all. Thanks for sharing. Now if only apples would come in because then it’s on to apple butter making!

  4. Melissa says

    This is “hands down” the best recipe for refried beans I have ever tried. I season them with the Bolner’s Fajita Seasoning instead of salt & pepper, http://www.fiestaspices.com and omg! This seasoning is a staple I keep in house and use instead of salt & pepper.. It is amazing and excellent when mixing with the beans. I am from San Antonio, TX so I am used to the lard and fat in the beans which I think is awful. I am such a healthy person and wanted an alternative for my daughter and this recipe is amazing! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Ann Chance says

    Another quick ( and amazing ) refrained bean recipe for those who love bacon!!

    2 cans of pinto beans (I use Bush brand)
    2-3 (or more) toes of garlic minced
    2 tsp olive oil
    2-4 strips of bacon
    Black Pepper to taste
    Grated cheese (however much you like)

    Cut bacon in 1/ 4 – 1/2″ pieces and cook with olive oil until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside. Cooked minced garlic in bacon fat, pour both cans of pinto beans including juice in the garlic/bacon and let it cook down for several minutes on medium heat until the liquid starts to bubble. With a potato masher, mash beans to the consistancy you like (the beans with thicken rather quickly). Stir in bacon and black pepper, top with cheese. So good!!

    • Mavis Butterfield says

      I use them for taco night and whenever I am serving enchiladas. Occasionally I will serve just beans and rice for dinner too. :)

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