Instant Pot Refried Beans (No Soak Recipe)

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Instant Pot Refried Beans have the perfect consistency and cook in a fraction of the time as boiling beans on the stove top. Best of all, there’s no need to soak dry beans when you pressure cook them!

Instant Pot Refried Beans sprinkled with cheese and served in a white ceramic bowl.

Mexican refried beans (aka frijoles refritos) make the perfect side dish for Taco Tuesday. My favorite way to make them in in my Instant Pot.

Besides dried beans, this simple recipe uses fresh ingredients for amazing flavor that’s as good as my favorite Mexican restaurant. I love making a double batch of beans so we can eat them 2 nights in a row!

Next time you want to make creamy refried beans for Mexican Food night, give this Instant Pot recipe a try. The whole family will ask for it to be included on your monthly meal plan.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of dry pinto beans
  • 2 tablespoons of bacon grease
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 5 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 quart of chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf

Equipment

  • Strainer
  • Cutting Board
  • Knife
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Instant Pot
  • Mixing spoon
  • Immersion blender

By the Numbers: How to Make Instant Pot Refried Beans

Follow these simple step by step instructions to learn how to make the best refried beans in your Instant Pot electric pressure cooker.

Step 1: Rinse and Sort Beans.

The first thing you want to do is put 1 pound of dried pinto beans in a strainer and run them under cold water to rinse them. Also make sure to remove any stones or damaged beans.

Pinto beans in red plastic strainer over sink.

Step 2: Saute Onion.

Next, press the Saute mode button on your Instant Pot, then add 2 tablespoons of bacon grease and 1 cup of chopped onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent. Add 5 cloves of minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot.

Chopped onion being sauteed in an Instant Pot.

Step 3: Add Remaining Ingredients.

Add 1 quart of chicken stock, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning, 1 bay leaf and the pound of rinsed beans to the Instant Pot. Use a wooden spoon to stir well.

Liquid, spices and pinto beans in Instant Pot ready to be cooked.

Step 4: Pressure Cook Beans.

Put the lid on your Instant Pot and make sure the pressure release valve is in the sealing position. Press the Pressure Cook button and set it to cook on high pressure (or Bean mode) for 60 minutes.

Once the cook time is up, allow for a full natural pressure release. When all of the pressure is released, remove the lid and throw away the bay leaf.

Note: Be patient and wait for all remaining pressure to release on its own. Using a quick release with beans can cause hot water to spray out of the valve all over your kitchen.

Pinto Beans cooked in an Instant Pot with water, chicken stock, spices and a bay leaf.

Step 5: Strain Liquid from Cooked Beans.

Strain all excess liquid into a large bowl. You want to reserve it, not toss it, because you’ll need to add some or all of it back into the beans.

Liquid strained from pinto beans being cooked in an Instant Pot.

Step 6: Make Pureed Beans.

You can use a potato masher to smash the beans first or go straight to blending them with your immersion blender. As you do this, you’ll slowly add the liquid you saved back into the pot a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency. The beans will keep getting thicker as they cool, so keep that in mind as you’ll adding liquid.

Immersion blender blending up refried beans in an Instant Pot.

Step 7: Serve Refried Beans.

Serve your homemade refried beans as a side with your favorite Mexican dish. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and other toppings before serving, if desired.

White bowl of homemade refried beans sprinkled with cheese on a wood table in front of an Instant Pot.

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Tips and Tricks for the Best Instant Pot Refried Beans

Answers to all of your questions about making this delicious refried bean recipe in the Instant Pot, including tips and substitution ideas.

1. Isn’t it important to soak beans?

While you do need to soak beans in many recipes, that’s not necessary with the Instant Pot. When using a pressure cooker, the beans will cook evenly without being soaked. As a bonus, pressure cooking removes most of the anti-nutrients from beans, which can often mean less gas!

Learn more about cooking beans in the Instant Pot, including cook times, tips and recipes.

2. My beans are over or undercooked…

There are all sorts of factors that can affect Instant Pot cooking times. Things like altitude and the model of your pressure cooker can change things a bit.

Pinto Beans always take an hour to cook in my Instant Pot, but it may take more or less time in yours. If you find that your beans are under or overcooked, adjust the cooking time next time until you find the right timing for your preferences.

3. Are these like the refried beans at Mexican restaurants?

Absolutely! I find that at most Mexican restaurants, the refried beans are a bit runnier than I make them at home (it stretches them farther!).

If you’re looking for that texture, just keep adding more cooking liquid as you blend until the beans are thin enough. If you need more liquid, I recommend chicken broth over fresh water.

4. How to make refried black beans?

You can absolutely make refried black beans using the exact same method. Black beans don’t take as long to cook as pinto beans – see my Instant Pot Black Beans recipe for more info!

5. How to make vegetarian refried beans?

If you want vegetarian refried beans, replace the bacon fat with olive oil. You may also want to substitute vegetable broth for my homemade chicken broth.

6. Can this recipe be doubled or tripled?

Making a big batch of beans can be a real time saver. As long as you can fit the ingredients into your Instant Pot without them reaching the halfway line, then you can make a bigger batch.

It’s important that you do not fill your pot up past the halfway line as you need to leave room for the beans to expand. If you fill it too full, you could also end up with liquid spraying out the steam vent or a burn notice.

That said, you’ll be able to make more in an 8-quart than a 6-quart Instant Pot, so if you’re cooking for a crowd go with the larger model.

7. How to make them fluffier?

The secret to fluffy refried beans is lard (just like with tamale masa)! You’ll want to whip some extra lard or bacon fat into the beans at the end to make them fluff up more, but it’s not necessary. They taste amazing as is.

8. How to make spicier beans!

We love spicy beans, so I often will toss a diced jalapeno in with the onion in step 2. Be sure to taste the jalapeno before adding as some are spicier than others! Another option for extra flavor is canned green chiles.

9. Alternative to an immersion blender?

If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender. It will make the beans smoother with less texture.

When blending hot ingredients, be extra careful as pressure can build up in the blender from the heat… which can lead to hot beans being sprayed all over your kitchen. Leave the lid slightly cracked, blend a small amount at a time and transfer the beans to a bowl as you go.

You can also use a food processor or even a potato masher if you prefer chunky refried beans. It takes a bit more muscle to mash them than blend them, but you can control the texture better.

10. How much is in a can of beans?

If you want to use homemade refried beans in a recipe that calls for canned refried beans, you may wonder how much you need to use. A standard can of beans contains 15 ounces, or about 1 ½ cups of beans.

11. How much to cook per person?

In general, you should plan for a minimum of ¼ cup of dried beans per person if you’re serving refried beans as a side dish. There are usually about 2 cups in a pound of pinto beans, so you can serve 8 people with one pound of beans. More is always better.

12. How to store leftovers?

You can store any leftover refried beans in an airtight container for about 3 days in the fridge. You can also freeze refried beans in single-serve or meal-sized portions and just re-heat for dinner. Freezer bags work great because you can press them flat so they take up less freezer space and defrost faster.

13. How to re-heat refried beans?

Refried beans dry out when refrigerated, so be sure to save any leftover liquid from the Instant Pot for when you need to reheat your beans. Add the beans with extra liquid to a small pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until warm and adding more liquid as needed.

Do not reheat them under pressure in your Instant Pot or you’ll likely get a burn notice.

14. Can you make refried beans in a slow cooker?

I personally don’t recommend making beans in a crock pot unless you soak the beans overnight and parboil them first. It’s critical to get them to a temperature above 212° F for at least 10 minutes to make them safe to eat, which is why my Slow Cooker Navy Bean Soup recipe asks you to parboil the beans first.

15. Mexican dishes to serve with refried beans?

There are so many amazing Mexican food recipes that pair well with refried beans including;

If you want the refried beans to be the centerpiece rather than a side, top them with some Cotija cheese and fresh cilantro for a delicious dip for tortilla chips!

This is such a basic recipe that you can whip up a batch and wrap the beans up in tortillas for delicious bean burritos! They make a great lunch for kids and grownups.

16. Sides and toppings to serve with refried beans?

Some of my favorite meals are Mexican food, so I have tons of sides I like to prepare.

Close up of Instant Pot Refried Beans with shredded cheddar cheese in a white bowl with serving spoon.

Instant Pot Refried Beans Recipe

Learn the easy way to make refried beans in the Instant Pot and you'll never make them any other way. Electric pressure cookers make the best beans and it doesn’t take a long time like the stovetop!
5 from 9 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Pressurizing Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Recipe Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup onion - chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease - or lard or olive oil
  • 1 quart chicken stock - or filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons taco seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound dried pinto beans - rinsed and sorted

Equipment

Instructions

  • Thoroughly rinse the beans in a strainer, removing stones and broken or moldy beans.
    Pinto beans in red plastic strainer over sink.
  • Turn your Instant Pot on Saute, then add the bacon grease and onion. Saute until the onion becomes translucent. Add the garlic in and cook for 30 seconds, then turn of the heat.
    Chopped onion being sauteed in an Instant Pot.
  • Add the chicken stock, taco seasoning, salt, bay leaf and rinsed beans to the Instant Pot and stir to combine.
    Liquid, spices and pinto beans in Instant Pot ready to be cooked.
  • Put the lid on your Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 60 minutes, then allow for a full natural release of pressure. Open the lid and discard the bay leaf.
    Pinto Beans cooked in an Instant Pot with water, chicken stock, spices and a bay leaf.
  • Drain beans in a strainer set over a bowl so you can save the liquid. Don’t toss it!
    Liquid strained from pinto beans being cooked in an Instant Pot.
  • Use an immersion blender to mash the beans and slowly add the reserved liquid back until you get the consistency you like. They’ll thicken more as they cool.
    Immersion blender blending up refried beans in an Instant Pot.
  • Serve your amazing refried beans as a side dish with your favorite Mexican recipes.
    Refried beans in white ceramic bowl and Instant Pot on wood table.

Nutrition Information Per Serving

Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 472mg | Potassium: 408mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2mg

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