Instant Pot Refried Beans

Instant Pot Refried Beans

The Spruce

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
114 Calories
4g Fat
15g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 114
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Sodium 249mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 3mg 13%
Calcium 37mg 3%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 316mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These refried beans are a snap to prepare in the Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker. There's no soaking required, and you'll have refried beans in a fraction of the time they would take on the stovetop or in the slow cooker.

You can infuse some extra flavor into the beans by replacing one-third to one-half of the water with vegetable stock or chicken stock (low sodium or unsalted). Or add chopped jalapeño peppers to the beans along with the onion and garlic. Use olive oil for vegetarian refried beans or use lard or bacon drippings for a more classic flavor. To boost the flavor even more, brown the chopped onions in a small amount of vegetable oil before adding the remaining ingredients.​

Note that the cook time can vary depending on the age of your beans, your altitude, and other factors. If the beans are not tender after pressure cooking for 45 minutes, cook again for another 10 minutes using a natural release. Feel free to use black beans instead of pinto beans. 

1:21

Click Play to See This Instant Pot Refried Beans Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried pinto beans, about 2 cups

  • 7 cups water

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped onion

  • 3 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons bacon drippings, lard or olive oil

  • 1 dash cayenne pepper, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Instant Pot refried beans
    The Spruce
  2. Put the dried pinto beans in a large bowl and cover them with water; pick them over, discarding any malformed or damaged beans. Look for bits of stone or debris.

    Beans in a bowl covered by water
    The Spruce
  3. Rinse the beans thoroughly and discard the water.

    Rinsed, drained beans in a bowl
    The Spruce
  4. Transfer the beans to the pressure cooker. Add the water, onion, garlic, salt, cumin, oregano, pepper, bacon drippings (or lard or oil), and a dash of cayenne pepper, if using.

    Ingredients for refried beans in a pressure cooker
    The Spruce
  5. Cover the pot, lock the lid, and set the steam valve to "sealing." Choose the bean/chili button and add 15 minutes for a total of 45 minutes of cooking time. Or use the manual setting for 45 minutes at high pressure.

    Pressure cooker lid locked
    The Spruce
  6. When the beans have finished cooking, let the pressure drop naturally for 20 minutes and then release the steam vent. Test the beans to make sure they are tender. If not, return to pressure for 10 minutes.

    Cooked beans in a ladle over Instant Pot
    The Spruce
  7. Place a colander or large sieve over a large bowl and drain the beans. Set the liquids aside.

    Draining the beans over a bowl
    The Spruce
  8. Put the beans in the empty pot. Puree them with an immersion blender. Add some of the reserved liquid as needed for the desired consistency and reserve the rest for another use.

    Pureeing the beans with immersion blender
    The Spruce
  9. Taste the beans and add more salt, as needed. 

    Salt in a spoon over refried beans in the Instant Pot
    The Spruce
  10. Dish out into bowls and serve.

    Refried beans with cilantro and jalapeños
    The Spruce

Tips

  • An alternative to the immersion blender is a standing blender. If you choose to use the blender, let the beans cool slightly before blending and crack the lid to avoid any hot splashes.
  • Refrigerate the refried beans for up to three days or freeze them in freezer bags or containers in single-serving size or meal-size portions for longer storage.

How to Use

  • Serve refried beans as a side dish with a garnish of shredded cheese, chopped red or green onions, sliced jalapeños, chopped cilantro, diced tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, or guacamole.
  • Thicken soups, stews, or chili with refried beans.
  • Use them as a topping for nachos.
  • Add refried beans to burger or meatloaf mixtures—burrito burgers are assembled with refried beans.
  • Add the refried beans to burrito or taco fillings.

What Setting Do I Use on My Instant Pot for Beans?

Depending on your model of Instant Pot, you can use the beans setting or the manual/pressure cooking setting for cooking dried beans. Be sure to cook your beans at high pressure if using the manual setting.

How Do I Use the High Pressure Setting on My Pressure Cooker?

The default setting when using the manual or pressure cooking setting on an electric pressure cooker like the Instant Pot is high pressure. Some models don't even offer a low pressure setting. To double-check that your cooker is at high pressure, consult your manual and look for the icon or visual indicator showing high pressure.