Refried Beans (Crock-Pot)


If you’re like me (and many others) you have a cupboard or pantry stocked with a vast verity of canned, dried, or otherwise preserved foods. Most of which are heavily processed and contain more unpronounceable ingredients than they do natural ones. Normally this would not be a problem for me accept that my wife and I have started reading Michael Pollan (author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food) and decided to cut out as much “processed” food as we can. That is, without being overbearing, unrealistic, and dogmatic about it. There are times when nothing but a “good” can of cream of mushroom soup will do the job. 🙂

RF2One of the staples in my cupboard are cans of refried beans… that is, until I learned how to make them at home. Now don’t get me wrong, I still swing by the store for a can now and again, but homemade can be so much better. I believe you will find this recipe to be far tastier than any that come out of a can. Whether you put them on taco’s or mix them with hot sauce and cover them with cheese (my favorite and show to the right), I think you’ll come to love this recipe.


  • 2 cups dried pinto beans
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 5 tbsp garlic, minced (about 10 cloves)
  • 3 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander, ground
  • 1 tbsp lard (or butter, vegetable oil, or olive oil – but I like lard)
  • salt and pepper to taste

The first thing you’ll need to do is soak your beans over night. Place your beans in the crock-pot bowl and cover with 3-4 inches of water. There are many reason to soak your beans but two of them are key for me. First, soaking your beans will help remove some of the complex sugars (oligosaccharides) that can lead to gas. If that isn’t a good enough reason to soak the beans then just look at them. Their dirty! Soaking helps to removes some of the more stubborn dirt.  (If your reading this and have forgotten to soak your beans don’t worry, you can skip this stage if you need to. Just wash really well and allow to cook in the crock-pot a little longer.)

Once your beans are soaked you will want to strain and wash them. If you used the crock-pot bowl then rinse it out as well. Place the beans back into the crock-pot add garlic, cumin, coriander, and top with your chopped onions. Cover everything with water (no more than half an inch over the onions) and cook on low for 8 -10 hours. (I usually cook on low for 5 hours and high for 2 to cut down on some of the time) If your around the house while the beans are cooking you may find stirring them from time to time to be therapeutic.

When done, use a slotted spoon to remove your beans and onions from the majority of liquid in crock-pot. You are not trying to get rid of all the juice but you don’t want it to be “soupy”. Reserve your crock-pot liquid. I have read a few recipes that tell you to take the onions out before you move on to mashing but I think they add a lot of flavor so I recommend you leave them in with the beans and mash/blend it all together.

In a pot on the stove, melt your lard (or whatever you decide to use) on medium low heat and add beans. This signifies the “refried” part. Stir beans and add reserved liquid as needed, keeping on a low heat. Take your immersion blender (or hand masher) and blend the beans to desired texture and thickness. The more liquid you add the thinner the beans. I like my beans relatively thick and smooth so I use less liquid and blend them well.  Taste and add salt and pepper until you get the taste you’re looking for. This process may take a little while, so continue to cook on low until you get your desired outcome. Feel free to add more cumin and coriander as you like too. I hope you enjoy. Happy Cooking!

Adapted From:
Stephanie O’Dea @
I was first turned on to this recipe by my wife who made them and blogged about it @

About DH

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This entry was posted in Appetizer, Crock-Pot, Savory, South of the Border, Vegetables, Vegetarian. Bookmark the permalink.

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