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Instant Pot “Refried” Beans

Refried beans are a comfort food for me. I love a full plate of Mexican food, and the refried beans are an integral part. Yum! Though not much to look at, they are a delicious and inexpensive side that fills up the empty places. And Instant Pot Refried Beans have to be the quickest and easiest way to prepare refried beans from scratch.

Although canned refried beans are quick and easy, these homemade Instant Pot refried beans bring taste and economy to the table. (literally and figuratively) Little is added to a cheap bag of pinto beans to make this recipe, but you will be amazed at how flavorful they are! I’m always hoping for an excuse to add them to the menu.

Looking down onto plated, cheese-topped refried beans.

How’d those beans get so good?

Without the fat, how can these Instant Pot refried beans be so good? It’s really still a mystery to me as well. I guess the answer must be perfect seasoning.

You have some zing from chopped jalepeno and garlic. There’s a half onion you throw in without even slicing. Then there’s cumin, black pepper and salt. Sometimes the simple foods can be the most wholesome and satisfying.

So why wouldn’t you leave the can behind and choose a more flavorful, uncomplicated, lower fat option?

Lots of Liquid

When you remove the lid after cooking, you will notice what seems to be entirely too much leftover liquid. And your beans will still need to be mashed. You can handle this two different ways.

  1. Drain the extra liquid and add liquid back as needed. After you’ve strained off the liquid, be sure to reserve it. Mash the beans with a potato masher and gradually add cooked liquid back until you reach the desired consistency. I recommend this if you are serving immediately.
  2. Just mash all the liquid into the beans. Eventually I find I need all the liquid anyway, and I have just been mashing it altogether with good results. Although they will appear soupy at first, if you wait about 15 minutes they will be absolutely perfect. It’s quite amazing how quickly they thicken after they are mashed.

Smile for the Camera, Sweetie!

I have loved this recipe for years! But I’ve never posted it before because refried beans don’t like to be photographed! Have you tried to take pictures of brown food and make it look delicious? I don’t know if these photos will do the beans justice, but let me promise you they are as good as they look. Or even better!

A close up picture of cheese-topped refried beans.
Refried beans grilled into a cheesy quesadilla.

Perfect for Taco Night

Instant Pot Refried Beans will give you 4 cups of cooked beans which would 8 – 1/2 cup servings. And if you use the refried beans as a side for Taco Night, they will stretch even further.

The Recipe

This Instant Pot Refried Bean recipe is one that I adopted from a slow cooker recipe. Now I love the slow cooker recipe (when I lower the extreme amount of salt) but I wanted a smaller batch, quicker version. This electric pressure cooker recipe makes much more sense for modern day cooking.

Lovely thickened refried beans.

Instant Pot Refried Beans

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Pressure Time and Cool Down: 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

Refried beans without the refry.


  • 1 half onion, peeled
  • 1 ¼ cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 Tablespoon jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • 3 cups water


  1. Place all ingredients in the interior of the Instant Pot.
  2. Secure the lid in its sealing position. Set cook time for 90 minutes, high pressure.
  3. Release the pressure by selecting natural release. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing the lid.
  4. Mash all ingredients together with a potato masher. The refried beans will seem watery at first, but the liquid will absorb into a proper texture as the beans continue to sit.*


*You can also drain the liquid and set aside. Mash beans and add reserved liquid as needed.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 115Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 444mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 5gSugar: 2gProtein: 7g

So whether you are pinching your pennies or trying to make more from scratch, this easy Instant Pot recipe is a perfect substitute for canned or traditional refried beans. If you’re trying to eat healthier or lower fat, these refried beans are also a great way to get some plant-based protein. Or if like refried beans and you want to go on a little food adventure, give Instant Pot Refried Beans a try.

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