Instant Pot Refried Beans

Instant Pot Refried Beans

One of my favorite things to make in my Instant Pot has to be beans and bean-based dishes, and Instant Pot Refried Beans are absolutely no exception. They turn out beautifully and they’re drop-dead simple. Toss your beans in the pot with an onion, an herb or two, a little spice if you like, and go & do whatever it is you’re doing. There’s no babysitting and there are no worries about precise timing or being johnny on the spot at the end of the cooking period.

Instant Pot Refried Beans

Instant Pot Refried Beans


Once your beans are done, the keep-warm function on the Instant Pot will take over and they’ll just sit there, all warm and soft, waiting to be turned into lovely frijoles refritos whenever you’re ready. Easy peasy!

About Instant Pot Refried Beans:

Instant Pot Refried Beans are lovely, with no effort at all. Back in the day, I used to soak the beans (I still do, but more on that later) then cook the beans for who knows how long on the stove, might be an hour, but it might be several, simmering, stirring, tending, checking. And then, just as I was taught by a friend from Mexico, I’d transfer the beans (at that point, they’re referred to as “pot beans” or Frijoles de la Olla) to another pan with a little lard or another type of fat (sometimes bacon drippings) that I had sauteed a diced onion in and mash the beans, adding back in the cooking liquid as needed. They were/are wonderful.

But so much easier is making the Instant Pot Refried Beans. Add everything to the pot, push the button and walk away. When finished, drain off some of the liquid (Save it;  you might need to add more back in) then mash right in the pot with traditional bean masher (a machacadora), or a potato masher, the kind with the little round holes in it, an immersion blender or a mixer. You can also add them to a blender (that makes the smoothest beans) or your food processor if you want. As you mash or blend, add more liquid until the beans at your perfect texture. Thick and chunky, smooth or creamy – make them however you like them.

The best part of Instant Pot Refried Beans (besides how easy they are) is that they have tons of flavor (you don’t need a lot of water to cook them) and you can flavor them any way you want! Make them traditional with a little onion, epazote & a touch of your preferred fat (it adds flavor, richness and keeps the pot from sputtering so much). They’re my fave just like that. Or add in a little spice (like my Homemade Mexican Pinto Bean Spice) or some green chile or chipotle or whatever is your fave flavoring. Once the beans are cooked, hit the saute function, taste, and adjust your seasonings. Simmering will take away the raw flavor of any spices you might want to add at that point.

If you’re a fan of Rosarita Refried Beans in a can try a little of my Pinto Bean Spice and a tablespoon or two of vinegar. then drain and mash by your chosen method. If you really like creamy refried beans, after they’re finished and mashed, try a little sour cream or crema.

Mexican Pinto Bean Spice

Mexican Pinto Bean Spice

Around the House:

I thought I’d take a break and show you a few flower pics. Years ago, towards the back of my garden, I planted white phlox to fill in and brighten up the bare area around my ancient lilac. When my garden was mostly destroyed this last year by marauding rabbits and squirrels, I encouraged the phlox to fill in and take up some of the space. I’m still missing my flowers (just last week the squirrels tore up a Siberian Iris I transplanted into a new space, my new clematis I planted (to replace the old 20-year-old one the squirrels tore out) a coneflower, a sunflower, and a lipstick plant all given to me by a neighbor, along with a few bites of my tomatoes) but I’m enjoying the phlox in all the different variations.

That’s a little like saying you’re enjoying the junkers you’ve replaced your fleet of collector cars with, but I’m trying to remain positive!! These all started from a few white phlox the OG Phlox as I call them. They’re a rather wild tangle. Phlox is an inexpensive way to fill up space, comes back and reproduces easily and the butterflies and hummingbirds seem to like it.

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Making Instant Pot Refried Beans:

And back to the Instant Pot Refried Beans! I pretty much already took you through the process already. There’s one thing that I absolutely do, whether cooking beans on the stove or in the Instant Pot. I brine my beans. That means I presoak them, and in the case of brining, I do that with added salt. It makes such a difference in the taste and how quickly & evenly the beans cook, and there are a lot of advantages to either soaking or brining. I have a post all about Brining Beans to look over if you want.

Many people cook their beans or bean dishes in the Instant Pot without soaking. I’ve tried many times and never had great results. Beans do not cook evenly in the Instant Pot if they aren’t soaked: When the majority of beans are done, some are too firm and/or crunchy. Cook them longer until they’re all soft and some will have disintegrated. I don’t know what to say to those who say you don’t need to soak. I’m flabbergasted – either I’m too picky or they aren’t picky enough – or both. I highly encourage you to pre-soak, and especially to brine. Life is too short for mediocre beans.

I also mentioned an herb called Epazote. If you love refried beans and have found yours seem to lack the subtle flavor of refried beans you’ve had while out or maybe at someone else’s house, it might be that you’re lacking that flavor that comes from Epazote. It’s also said to be carminative (helps with digestion. The soaking helps with that, too.) I grew my own last year, and it was only after doing so that I recognized it as a weed I’d come across before! And this spring, there was epazote springing forth throughout my yard! Too bad all those rabbits and squirrels didn’t eat that instead of all my flowers! Refried beans are perfectly fine w/o epazote, but if you have access to a Mexican market, give it a try.

Instant Pot Refried Beans

Instant Pot Refried Beans = not too pretty but darned tasty!

Saving Money on Instant Pot Refried Beans:

Let’s face it – canned beans are not a huge budget breaker, but homemade Pintos beat them out in flavor and price! I love to buy my Pintos at Aldi and I believe that the last time I took notice of the price there it was for a three-pound package for $2.49. If you’re curious, that makes the beans about 83 cents a pound. A pound of pintos is usually about 5 1/2 to 6 cups cooked, and just a little less if mashed into refried beans. The cost of my refried beans (not counting spices, etc.) counting on 6 cups is about 15 cents a cup. Since a can of refried pinto beans is usually about 1 1/2 cups worth, the price of the dried beans at 1 1/2 cups for comparison is about 23 cents.

I honestly don’t know what the price of a can of refried beans is, probably around a buck these days? So there are some savings. Unless you eat a LOT of beans it’s not probably not going to affect your budget that much (but dried is def the way to go if serving a crowd!) but the difference in quality between homemade and canned is reason enough to pull out the Instant Pot!

Anytime I make pinto beans or refried beans, even if it’s just for myself, I make a pound and freeze any extra in 1 1/2 cup portions. They reheat beautifully, although a little liquid may need to be added. Then they’re at the ready to use for a burrito or a side dish.

Instant Pot Refried Beans

Instant Pot Refried Beans


Instant Pot Refried Beans

The best Homemade Refried Beans, customized to your taste!

  • Author: mollie kirby
  • Prep Time: Presoak 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 5 to 5 1/2 cups refried beans 1x
  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Mexican or Southwestern


  • 1 pound of picked over and presoaked or brined Pinto Beans
  • 1 tablespoon of oil, bacon drippings or lard
  • 1 onion, halved pole to pole
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Mexican Pinto Bean Spice, homemade preferred, optional
  •  water to cover by one inch
  • a sprig or two of Epazote, optional


Add all ingredients to Instant Pot. Seal and set to High Pressure, 20 minutes. Allow to go to Keep Warm Function for 10 minutes then release pressure in small spurts, stopping and letting the pot sit for 30 seconds if anything other than pure steam comes out. (If timing isn’t an issue, the pressure may be released naturally for longer or until the pot is completely depressurized.)

Remove sprigs of Epazote and discard. Remove onion and slice off the hard stem end, then return to the pot. If desired, bring to a simmer, taste and adjust seasonings.

Drain the liquid from the beans, reserving it. Mash in pot as desired, adding liquid as needed, until desired texture and thickness is reached. Do not discard the remainder of the cooking liquid yet, as beans will thicken as they sit and may need additional thinning.

Alternatively, remove the beans from the pot to a blender or food processor and pulse, adding liquid as needed to achieve desired texture.


  • Presoak beans in Instant Pot by adding beans, 3 tablespoons salt one tablespoon oil and water to cover by two inches. Set to High Pressure 2 minutes.  When finished let the steam out carefully in short bursts. If anything other than steam comes out or if there is foam or sputtering, stop and wait for 30 seconds, then restart. Drain and rinse.
  • The cooking time for beans may vary; presoaking helps but test several in the pot and add additional time as needed.
  • Store in refrigerator, lid ajar until cool, then cover. While this amount of beans are safe to store as is, in the interest of food safetly, do not store large amounts of refried beans in one large container. Divide into two or more.
  • Beans may be frozen and reheated at a later time. More liquid may need to be added.

Keywords: Instant Pot, Refried Beans, Dried Beans, Pinto Beans

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I’ll be sharing Instant Pot Refried Beans at Fiesta Friday #290 this week. I’m “hosting” this week, along with Angie of Fiesta Friday, so be sure to stop by and check out all the posts from all the bloggers! I’m seeing great things so far!


Instant Pot Refried Beans are beautifully flavored & cooked with no effort in very little time! After a presoak, they can be done in about half an hour. That's total time. Because so little water is needed, these are going to be some of the most flavorful beans you can make! Customize to your taste, making them thick & chunky or smooth and creamy, add spice or not. You'll never go back to canned or stovetop beans again. #InstantPotFrijolesRefritos #InstantPotRefriedBeans #InstantPotBeans

15 thoughts on “Instant Pot Refried Beans

  1. I really need to reacquaint myself with the Instant Pot. Sometimes I forget I have it! Btw, I’m jealous of your phlox. Rabbits ate mine to stubbles! They really love phlox! And a bunch of other things, I guess. Thanks for cohosting with me!!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      That’s so funny because they ate everything pretty much BUT the phlox!! It’s just a crapshoot pretty much, what the rabbits don’t eat the squirrels dig up!! The thing with the Instant Pot, although a lot of ppl use them, it seems like the bloggers I “know” don’t. It would be fun to have someone else excited about it! Ahem…maybe you? lol!!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Thanks Liz!! We get some mildew mostly on the phlox and the lilacs, but it’s usually never bad enough to worry about. Last year it spread to my basil, and it happened so fast! Now that just killed me! It was gorgeous one day, looked a littly wilty the next and then it was gone….although I’mstill not sure if that was just plain old mildewor something worse. It went into a new spotthis year and is doing fine!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Wendi, I do love the IP – as you might have guessed!

      One thing I like about it that I never hear mentioned is the pot is a great size (I have a six-quart) and because the sides are straight up and down it’s efficient in the size, not too bulky. It’s easy to handle, not too heavy to lift and can be washed easily in the sink or tossed in the dishwasher and it fits well because there are no handles. It can be a struggle to deal with lifting large pots and pans (and lets not even get into heavy slow cooker liners or my fave cast iron skillet!) when cooking things like soup, pot roast or stews or in this case, beans. And I find it’s a big struggle sometimes to clean large pots and pans!! And the IP pot fits in the fridge well, so if after dinner I’m not up to cleaning up much, I just cover whatever I’ve cooked and store it in the fridge right in the pot.

      Also in most recipes in the IP since things are cooked with pressurized steam when you make things you don’t usually need a lot of liquid so it can be great to avoid all or most of straining out boiling water or liquid. No hot steamy pans for spaghetti, hard-boiled eggs, etc. to lift and drain.

      Another thing that might interest you is that you put everything in the pot and set ti and many recipes are very forgiving (not all, though) so when everything is an effort, you can just leave it and go put your feet up or whatever you need to do to take care of yourself while the pot takes care of dinner with no tending or stirring.

      It’s been kind of a lifesaver for me on tough days There’s a learning curve, and you can’t cook “everything” in it like some ppl seem to want to but what it does it does so well. There are a ton of easy “dump” recipes, too, with few ingredients or you can def cook more complex things with more care, too. I can’t tell you how many times the IP has been a “save” because you can actually take frozen chicken, dump it in the pot with a few ingredients and get dinner on the table.

      I highly recommend it for people who are dealing with chronic issues, fatigue, and so on. When I first got ill, I went downhill just because it was such a struggle to make anything nutritious and I ate sometimes ate poorly as a result, so it was a downward spiral. The IP can def make things a lot easier. I make things in it that I probably wouldn’t even make w/o the IP because they are out of reach for me with fussier traditional methods that suck up so much of my time or energy.

      • God bless you for leaving this extremely helpful review. You hit on all the issues I wondered about in using an IP. Like the weight, cleaining and fitting into the fridge. Plus the ability to make healthy meals with less of an effort. All four of my kids are still at home so by the time evening rolls around, I am exhausted.
        The brand you are using with the straight sides sounds wonderful………is there a brand you would recommend?
        Bless you, again, for taking time out of your busy day to leave such a lengthy and helpful response! 🙂

        • FrugalHausfrau

          Wendi, there are so many brands (I have insomnia so sometimes see the infomercials!) and some have lids that will brown things, too. So you can get the top of a casserole, I suppose or brown the top of meatloaf. I think that’s interesting, but I don’t know how well they work and I frequently take things out of the IP like chicken wings or ribs and brown them in the oven and it seems that a lid that browns (and you can get a lid for the IP, it’s called a Mealthy but it’s pricy, about 60 bucks) might be of minimum value because it only browns the top layer.

          I chose the Instant Pot brand because it is so popular and there are so many recipes out there for it. I got mine during Amazon Prime Day when it usually drops to 59 to 69 dollars for a six-quart. I got my daughter hers on Amazon right before Christmas when it dropped down to 59 dollars, too. A lot of people pick them up at Khols sales, when they are on sale, maybe have a coupon and get those dollars back. Sometimes I see them cheap on FB marketplace garage sale sites, and sometimes ppl luck out and find them at second-hand shops – that’s because now and then you hear of someone buys one and doesn’t even open it or just don’t like cooking with it. The cheaper ones are basic. You can get IPs that are programmable with Bluetooth and have all kins of fancy stuff. Mine is a six-quart DUO seven functions.

          If you’re interested in checking out the IP you can join the Instant Pot Facebook page and see what everyday ppl (as opposed to bloggers like me) are making. You can just lurk for a while (a lot of ppl do) or ask questions. Most ppl there are super nice.
          How old are the kids? Just trying to get an idea of their appetites, because the IP comes in different sizes.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Thanks Kat! And they were great but I have to say I might have a little bit more passion for that No Bake Banoffee Cheesecake you just posted!! And yes I noticed it, just haven’t commented yet!! Banoffee Pie is one of my faves, cheesecake, too, but combined oh my!!

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