Refried beans are an inexpensive meal in themselves, or great for making burritos, as a side dish to tacos, or as a hot dip. They’re especially inexpensive if you delve into cooking with dry beans. I’ve been making our favorite refried beans for years, but recently modified the recipe to work in my 6-quart Instant Pot. (If you want to read the backstory on my refried bean recipe, go here.)
Easy Refried Bean Recipe
3 cups dry pinto beans
4-1/2 cups water
1 large onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
Put dry beans in the reservoir of your Instant Pot and add enough water to cover the beans by 4-5″ or so. Soak eight hours or overnight. Drain beans then add onions, garlic, and 4-1/2 cups water to the pot. Be sure that the ingredients don’t exceed the halfway mark in the cooker as mentioned in the Instant Pot manual.
Close and lock the lid, turning the steam valve to “sealed.” Using the manual setting, enter 28 minutes and walk away. When the cycle completes, use the natural release method. Simply let the pressure come down on its own until the lid unlocks. (About 20 minutes.)
Add remaining ingredients then use an immersion blender right in the pot to “mash” the ingredients to a consistency that you like. Alternatively, transfer to a food processor and whir until beans are a creamy consistency. If you don’t have either of these tools, get out your potato masher – that’ll work, too.
Here’s the (slightly) tricky part. Depending on the hardness or dryness of the beans, sometimes there’s more liquid remaining than you need. You should be able to see liquid just below the beans. If there’s much more than that, use a ladle to drain some off, otherwise your final product may be a bit runny. Reserve the excess liquid, though, in case you need it to create your preferred consistency.
Refrigerate or freeze for later use, or serve immediately. Makes approximately the equivalent of 5 – 16oz cans of refried beans.
Note on soaking beans: If you opt not to soak your beans you’ll need to use more water. In that case, I’d cover the beans by 3″ of water. Just be sure that you don’t exceed the halfway mark in the cooker.
No Instant Pot? No problem! My stovetop refried bean recipe is here.