These Instant Pot Refried Beans are the perfect staple when you're craving a Mexican-inspired meal. They're easy, require minimal prep (plus no soaking time!), and the time is cut in half thanks to the Instant Pot.
Refried beans are a great source of protein and fiber. Traditionally, refried beans are generally made with pinto beans, but some parts of Mexico also use black beans or red kidney beans. The term refried beans come from "frijoles refritos" where "refritos" actually means "well fried", not refried. The beans are soaked, cooked, mashed, and then well-fried in a fat source, such as butter, oil, or lard.
Since we like to make things quick and simple, many recipes today do not actually "well fry" the beans. We make the beans and mash away. You are welcome to add the additional step either at the beginning or the end in a different skillet but I do omit the extra cooking on my end!
For this Instant Pot Refried Beans recipe, I use the following ingredients:
- Pinto Beans. I do not pre-soak. The purpose of using the Instant Pot for beans is to avoid the extra step.
- Seasonings. Ground cumin, paprika, garlic cloves, and onion powder. You can use taco seasoning, however, I usually have these ingredients on hand and I can control the flavors and sodium content.
- Water. I use water for cooking the beans as it is easier and a more budget-friendly option. However, you are welcome to use vegetable broth for an additional flavor boost as well.
- Garnish options: cilantro, jalapenos, cotija cheese, vegan cheese, or lime.
📖 Instructions or Step by Step
Sort through the pinto beans and remove any debris, beans that are split or shriveled.
Add the sorted beans, water, seasonings, and garlic into the Instant Pot. Close and seal the lid, and set to pressure cook on high for 1 hour. Let the pressure naturally release.
Use a large bowl to strain the beans and catch any excess water.
Finally, use a potato masher, blender, or immersion blender to mash all of your beans. I like to use an immersion blender directly in the instant pot. I add about ¼ cup of the reserved water to the beans at a time until I reach the consistency I desire.
💭 Variations and Substitutions
To make it spicier, you can add fresh jalapeños (serrano pepper for a real kick!) to the recipe and an additional teaspoon of paprika. I personally like to make mine less spicy so it works for those less tolerant of spice in my family (my little humans).
To make black beans, you can follow this recipe but set the Instant Pot to 50 minutes instead of 1 hour.
You can also top these beans with cilantro, jalapenos, cotija cheese, vegan cheese, fresh onions, or lime.
To store your refried beans, let the beans cool, place the beans in airtight containers, and refrigerate (Food safety tip: it is recommended to refrigerate food within 2 hours of preparation!). Refrigerate for 3-4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
To freeze: Let the beans cool completely, then portion them into freezer bags (labeled with a date). Remove as much air as possible, and freeze them flat for up to 3 months. If you use smaller/single-serve portions for little ones in the house, you can also use ice cube trays. To freeze the beans in ice cube trays, after cooling the beans, scoop the beans into each compartment and let them freeze. Once frozen, remove them from the tray and place them in a freezer bag for future use.
To reheat: Place the frozen beans in the fridge overnight to let them thaw. Warm the beans on the stove or in the microwave until thoroughly heated. Add a bit of water or vegetable broth until you reach your desired consistency.
How to use Instant Pot Refried Beans
My favorite recipe to use beans is in my Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole. You can also use them in enchiladas, your favorite bean dip (I like to make this with any leftover beans), or homemade nachos!
More Tex-Mex Inspired Recipes
- Vegan Esquites (Mexican Street Corn Salad)
- Crispy Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos
- Vegetarian Quesadillas with Crumbled Tempeh
- Vegetarian Creamy Corn and Black Bean Soup
More Instant Pot Recipes
- Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili
- Instant Pot Pav Bhaji
- Instant Pot Minestrone Soup
- Instant Pot Thai Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup
- Instant Pot Biryani
Instant Pot Refried Beans
- 1 cup pinto beans
- 4 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Sort through the pinto beans and remove any debris, beans that are split, or shriveled.
- Add the sorted beans, water, cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic, and salt to the Instant Pot. Close and seal the lid, and set to pressure cook on manual, high for 1 hour (Tip: if you make these often, you can program it into your "beans" setting for quick use in the future). Let the pressure naturally release, about 15-20 minutes.1 cup pinto beans, 4 cups water or vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, 3 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 2 teaspoons salt
- Use a large bowl to strain the beans and catch any excess water.
- Use a potato masher, blender, or immersion blender to mash all of your beans. Add about ¼ cup of the reserved water to the beans at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
- Garnish with cilantro, jalapenos, cotija cheese or vegan cheese, fresh onions, or lime. Serve warm!
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