Easy Slow Cooker Refried Beans

I love making dried beans in the slow cooker.  They are healthy, easy and cheap. More importantly, they are much more tasty than canned beans.  For this recipe I make two pounds of beans (which is about $2) and you end up with the equivalent of about 8-9 cans of beans.  These are great as a side dish, in taco salad, tacos, burritos and tostadas.  I sometimes even send them in a thermos with the kids to school with some cheese sprinkled on top.

Refried Beans


2 pounds (about 6 cups) dried pinto beans, rinsed and soaked
10 cups water
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced (or 3/4 tsp garlic powder)
3 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 1/2 tsp salt


1.  The night before you plan to make the beans, rinse them and put them in a large bowl and fill with water.  Make sure to get plenty of water in the bowl because they will expand.
2.  The next morning, rinse and drain the beans.
3.  Add the beans, water, onion, garlic and spices (except for the salt) to the slow cooker.
4.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
5.  During the last hour, add the salt.  (This is debated among cooks, but many say that the beans are not as soft and dry out when salt is added early on.  So I’ve always added the salt near the end.)  If you add the salt early it’s going to be just fine!
6.  Scoop out most of the water, reserving some in case you need to add it back in.
7.  Use an immersion blender to mash up the beans to desired consistency. Alternatively, you can use a potato masher or regular blender (you will have to work in batches) to mash up the beans.
8.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
9.  Serve or freeze.
10.  To freeze, put cooled beans in freezer bags or freezer friendly glass mason jars.  When ready to eat pull beans out of the freezer to thaw.  Warm the beans on the stove.


1.  You don’t have to soak the beans over night.  If you don’t want to do that, cook the beans on high for 4 hours and then turn to low for 2 – 4 hours.  I prefer to soak the beans because many people believe they are easier to digest when soaked/sprouted so it’s the way I’ve always done it.
2.  If you prefer, you can keep the beans as whole pintos.  You will most likely want to cook for only 6-8 hours if that’s the case because they will get pretty soft.  You might also want to leave out the onion and sub 3 tsp onion powder, unless you like soft diced onion with your whole pintos.  You can still freeze them whole; I’ve done it quite a bit.

freezer refried beans

Beans bagged and ready for the freezer.

9 thoughts on “Easy Slow Cooker Refried Beans (Freezer Friendly)

  1. […] In my “What We Ate” posts each week I’ll share some of the recipes we ate for dinner the previous week. I love to get inspiration from what other families are eating so I thought it might be helpful to some of you. Please leave a comment if you have questions about any of these recipes. And if you know of a recipe that you think we might like please share it with me! *** We had our church Easter potluck Sunday afternoon so we just snacked Sunday night. I had a small bowl of soup. ***Leftover Chicken Enchiladas Verdes from Panning the Globe and Homemade Refried Beans […]

  2. This was really good!! I have tried homemade refried beans before and they were so dry, my family didn’t like them. I’m so glad I gave this recipe a try. Maybe it is adding the salt at the end that made it not turn out so dry. It’s a perfect recipe. Thank you!!

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