Learn how to make Refried Black Beans from scratch using basic ingredients and a pressure cooker. They’re budget-friendly, freezer-friendly, and the perfect healthy side dish for serving alongside your favorite Mexican food.
Why You Should Make Beans from Scratch
Aside from homemade refried beans tasting so. much. better. than store-bought beans, it is also significantly cheaper.
One can of store-bought refried beans costs anywhere from $1.50-$3.00 in 2023. One pound of dry black beans currently costs $1.44 at my local Walmart.
Now, one pound of dried black beans can make the equivalent of 4 canned cans of refried beans. This means when you make refried beans from scratch, you can make 4 cans of beans for the price of 1 store-bought!
If you are trying to save money on groceries, this is an amazing way to cut costs and feed your family for less. I’ve been doing this for over 5 years, and the savings have more than paid for my Instant Pot, and then some.
This refried bean recipe requires just 10 simple ingredients.
- Black beans: For this recipe, you will need a pound of dry beans that have not been cooked yet. Replacing the dried beans with canned black beans will not work. The amount of liquid and the cook time is specifically designed for dried beans.
- Water: Using water to cook these beans is the most economical option. If you are trying to make these beans for as cheap as possible, water is great and makes for delicious beans. If you have a bit of room in your budget, use vegetable broth. It will take the flavor to the next level and infuses the beans with an umami, savoriness.
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- Onion: Both yellow onion and white onion work well in this recipe. Red onion may also work, but I have not personally tried it.
- Jalapeño: Adds a bit of spice without overpowering the flavor. Depending on the heat level of your jalapeño, you can use up to a full pepper.
- Tamari: Adds salty, umami flavor. If you are not gluten-free, or prefer it, soy sauce is a great option. Coconut aminos is not a good alternative – it is too sweet and not salty enough. If you prefer a soy-free option, I’ve used Ocean’s Halo Soy Sauce Alternative that I get at Walmart and have had great results.
- Maple syrup: Adds a touch of sweetener to balance the savory, creamy flavors. If you don’t have maple syrup, agave is another good option.
- Liquid smoke: Optional, but adds a smokiness that is so delicious in these creamy refried black beans.
- Spices: These homemade refried beans are spiced with paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, ground cumin, and kosher salt. If you prefer extra smoky beans, replace the paprika with smoked paprika.
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How to Make Refried Black Beans from Scratch
- Sauté the onion and jalapeño. Directly in the Instant Pot using the sauté function, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, avocado oil, or a splash of water. Once hot, add the onion and jalapeño and sauté until fragrant and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients. Add the marinade ingredients, black beans, and water or broth. Stir to combine.
- Cook for 40 minutes. Cook the beans under manual high pressure for 40 minutes. Allow the pressure to be released naturally for 10 minutes, then release the remaining pressure.
- Blend the beans. Using an immersion blender, blend the beans directly in the remaining cooking liquid until you have reached your desired consistency. I personally like to leave a few beans whole. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can also use a potato masher to do this – it will just take a bit longer to achieve the perfect texture.
- Serve. Serve these refried black beans from scratch immediately while hot, or allow them to cool and thicken, then serve. Enjoy!
These homemade refried black beans are the perfect side dish for any of your favorite Mexican dishes. Serve it alongside, Carne Asada Tacos or Potato Tacos, Beer Braised Enchiladas, Baked Taquitos, black bean tostadas, tortas, or add it to a burrito.
Lastly, you can enjoy it as a bean dip appetizer topped with fresh cilantro, fresh jalapeños, and freshly squeezed lime juice, plus additional condiments like vegan sour cream, salsa, guacamole. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips and cocktails like a Hibiscus Margarita or a Frozen Strawberry Margarita.
Can I make these beans in the slow cooker?
If you have not yet invested in a pressure cooker, you can cook these black refried beans in the slow cooker. View the full slow cooker cooking instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Can I use this recipe to make traditional refried beans?
If you’re in search of a refried beans recipe, check out my Instant Pot Refried Beans. It is made with similar ingredients, but is tested specifically using pinto beans.
Do I need to wash my beans?
Yes, before cooking with dried beans or whole grains, it is always best to rinse them thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris that is on the surface of the beans from processing and packaging.
How do I thicken my refried black beans?
While hot, these refried beans will be on the thinner side, but as they cool, they will thicken CONSIDERABLY. I would recommend making the recipe as is and allowing them to cool fully and set overnight in the refrigerator for that classic thick texture.
When I make these beans, I almost always double the recipe, freeze them, and then reheat when ready to eat. This makes them the perfect texture and is one of my most-made quick side dishes.
Storage and Freezing Instructions
Leftover refried beans will keep an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Before refrigerating, allow the beans to cool to room temperature.
These beans can also be frozen. To freeze, transfer the beans to a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. My favorite way to freeze beans is in 1-cup and 2-cup portions. This allows me to defrost the exact amount of beans I need without any food waste.
Beans frozen in smaller portions also defrost and reheat much faster (I microwave 2-cup portions in 7-8 minutes).
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More Instant Pot Recipes
Easy Refried Black Beans Recipe
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 yellow onion - finely diced
- 1 jalapeño - finely diced
- 2 tablespoons tamari - can substitute soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup - can substitute agave
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 pound dried black beans - rinsed and drained
- 4 cups water - can use vegetable broth for more flavorful beans
Instant Pot Instructions
- Using the sauté function on your Instant Pot, sauté the onion and jalapeño in avocado oil for 5 minutes or until fragrant and translucent.
- Next, turn off the Instant Pot to stop the sauté and add in the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine and add the lid. Make sure the valve is set to SEAL. Cook for 40 minutes on high pressure.
- After 40 minutes, allow the Instant Pot to depressurize naturally for at least 10 minutes. Manually release the remaining pressure by switching the valve to the “venting” position.
- After cooking, there should be some liquid remaining. Blend the beans with your immersion blender directly in pot with remaining liquid until you have reached your preferred texture. I like to leave a few beans whole. Alternatively, if you prefer extra smooth beans you can blend them in a blender or food processor.
- Leftover beans will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer.
Slow Cooker Instructions
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once warm, add avocado oil and heat until warm. Add the onion and jalapeño and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently until fragrant and translucent.
- Transfer the sautéed onion and jalapeño to the slow cooker bowl along with the remaining ingredients. Add an additional cup of water or broth (slow cookers require more liquid than Instant Pots).
- Cook on HIGH for 8-10 hours, or until beans are soft and tender. Time needed will vary depending on your slow cooker.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the beans directly in the cooking liquid until your desired consistency.
- Serve immediately or allow to cool completely for later use. The refried beans will thicken considerably over time.
Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.