Build a Better Burrito with these Instant Pot Refried Beans

This recipe for Instant Pot refried beans is destined to become a family favorite. I’ve been making a version of this recipe for years now, ever since my friend Jane shared her recipe. I’ve switched from making them on the stove top to making them in my Instant Pot, though, since it’s much faster.

Need more ideas for using budget-friendly beans? There are a dozen bean recipes to try here!

bowl of homemade refried beans with more bowls of cilantro and chopped onion on a teal background


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Budget beans

There’s a lot to love about beans, but the fact that they’re so danged inexpensive is a big one. Dried beans can be purchased in bulk and store well. (And of course, they’re even less expensive this way!) Refried beans are an inexpensive meal in themselves, or great for making burritos (with Spanish rice), as a side dish to tacos, or as a hot dip.

I’ve been making our favorite refried beans for years, but recently modified the recipe to work in my 6-quart Instant Pot. No Instant Pot? No problem! Make my stovetop homemade refried beans

Not sure what an Instant Pot is? Read my introduction to Instant Pot cooking here!

The best beans

Classic refried beans are made with pinto beans, but this recipe could technically be made with any kind of bean. Why not refried black beans?

I think it’s important to note that even though this Instant Pot refried beans recipe is our favorite, it’s not going to pass muster as “authentic” refried beans. We’ve tried a lot of recipes over the years and this is the one that my people ask for again and again, authentic or no.

Instant Pot Refried Beans

Now that you know what kind of beans to use and whether or not you’ll soak them, you’re ready to make Instant Pot refried beans! And folks, it couldn’t be easier. Simply combine the beans, onions, and garlic with water in the bowl of the Instant Pot and push a few buttons.

Ingredients

Pinto beans   Dry pinto beans are the basis for this recipe. They’re budget friendly and easy to keep in the pantry. Read below to decide if you want to soak them before cooking or not.

Onion — You can use any kind of bulb onion you have on hand — white, yellow, or red.

Garlic — Use whole cloves of garlic for this recipe. You’ll cook them in the Instant Pot and 

Seasonings — Red wine vinegar gives these refried beans a little tang and is the ingredient that seems to make the flavor for my family. Then, of course, the chili powder, cumin, and salt. 

To soak or not to soak

With the Instant Pot, you can easily go from hard, dry pinto beans to fully cooked beans in an hour. But soaking beans before cooking them can make them more digestible. And for many people that means fewer…side effects.

Soaking beans helps to remove the phytic acid from beans, too. Phytic acid is considered an “anti-nutrient” — you can read more about that here. If you do soak the beans, be sure to drain the soaking water off and start with clean, fresh water for cooking them. 

Once the beans are cooked, there are several ways to prepare them. You can simply use a potato masher to achieve the desired consistency. You can use an immersion blender. Or you can use a food processor to “mash” these Instant Pot refried beans. The finished consistency of these beans is entirely up to you.

Instant Pot refried beans, after blending in a food processor bowl

Related: Canning Dried Beans: Planning Ahead for Fast and Easy Meals

★ Did you make these Instant Pot refried beans? Don’t forget to give them a star rating below! ★

bowl of homemade refried beans with more bowls of cilantro and chopped onion on a teal background

Instant Pot Refried Beans

Yield: 6 cups
Prep Time: 8 hours
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 45 minutes

Build a better burrito with these Instant Pot refried beans! Homemade from dried beans, they're budget friendly and a great addition to taco night.

Ingredients

Instructions

How to cook pinto beans in a pressure cooker

  1. 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. (If you just need cooked pinto beans, leave out the onions and garlic.) Be sure that the ingredients don't exceed the halfway mark in the cooker as mentioned in the Instant Pot manual.
  2. 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.)

Instant Pot refried beans

  1. use a slotted spoon to remove beans from cooking liquid, retaining the cooking liquid. Transfer to a bowl to use an immersion blender or the bowl of a food processor. Process until beans are a creamy consistency, adding cooking liquid as necessary to reach desired consistency. 
  2. If you don’t have either of these tools, get out your potato masher – that’ll work, too.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  4. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a week.

Notes

Makes approximately the equivalent of 5 – 16oz cans of refried beans.

With the Instant Pot, you can easily go from hard, dry pinto beans to fully cooked beans in an hour. But soaking beans before cooking them can make them more digestible. And for many people that means fewer...side effects.

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.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 175Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 20mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 8gSugar: 2gProtein: 11g

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bowl of homemade refried beans with more bowls of cilantro and chopped onion on a teal background

Originally published January 2016; this post has been updated.

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About the author: Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle. She’s a certified Master Food Preserver and longtime gardener who loves to turn the harvest into pantry staples.

18 comments… add one
  • Nicole Feb 17, 2020 @ 6:48

    I have been challenging myself to make things in the Instant Pot. These were amazing!!!! I left too much liquid in so they are a tad runny but thinking about using in a soup now.

    • Kris Bordessa Feb 18, 2020 @ 18:16

      I’m glad you liked them!

      • Nicole Feb 19, 2020 @ 16:48

        I had to circle back…..the beans thickened up in the fridge….”liked?”
        LOVED! These are amazing! Thank you again for sharing. I will go look and see what else I can make from your site.

        • Kris Bordessa Feb 20, 2020 @ 7:26

          I’m so glad!! We love them, too, but you know — people DO have different ideas of what tastes good.

  • M Apr 23, 2019 @ 8:31

    I love refried beans, and as a Southerner, a bowl of creamy pinto beans with a little ketchup on top and a corn pone with a slice of Vidalia onion is almost a religious experience. Add a mess of greens—collard, turnip, mustard… if you have them. I love Alton Brown’s oven method for collard greens but haven’t tried them in my instant pot yet. He uses rice vinegar, and it’s much better than the other vinegars I’ve used. ACV or pepper vinegar is used when serving so everyone can dress them however they please.

  • Al Dodd Mar 4, 2019 @ 12:42

    I made these for supper tonight. Very easy and fast. They taste great. No more store bought refried beans in my house from now on.
    The recipe made enough for 4 meals at least.
    I was careful with the liquid and held back a lot of it as I pureed them otherwise they would have been way too runny. I used lemon juice instead of wine.
    Thank you.
    Al

  • Mary Dec 5, 2018 @ 9:07

    Do you blend the onions and garlic along with the beans. Or do you take them out before blending the beans?

    • Kris Bordessa Dec 5, 2018 @ 9:15

      Blend them all together!

  • Sasha Aug 20, 2018 @ 8:00

    I have a 3qt insta pot. Do I need to alter this recipe or can I still make it in my insta pot?

    • Kris Bordessa Aug 22, 2018 @ 18:11

      Yes; my IP is a 6-quart. I’d suggest cutting the recipe in half. Be sure the ingredients don’t exceed the level recommended by the manufacturer.

      • Sasha Aug 26, 2018 @ 16:10

        Thanks! I did it in two batches. These are delish!! I’m making another batch now!

  • Sophie Jul 31, 2018 @ 20:23

    Thank you! These have become a go-to for our family.

    • Kris Bordessa Aug 5, 2018 @ 16:37

      Awesome!!

      • Nilsa Manibusan Jun 1, 2020 @ 15:34

        I’m looking forward to trying this recipe!
        I had a friend who made hers in a slow cooker with a tiny bit of baking soda. She said it helped with the gases as it cooked. Wondering if you have ever heard of this technique and what you think? Would this work during during soaking? Would it work in the instant pot? Does it work at all?! :0)

        • Kris Bordessa Jun 21, 2020 @ 15:49

          I have heard of this, yes. Some people swear by it. I don’t imagine it could hurt to try.

  • Pao Mar 28, 2018 @ 8:08

    I’m confused… I thought the point of making brand in the instant pot was to avoid the time soaking.
    I haven’t made pinto beans in the IP, but I never soak black beans

    • Kris Bordessa Mar 31, 2018 @ 14:32

      You’re right, in that the pressure cooker allows us to cook them fully without the soaking step. However, soaking helps remove the lectins in beans, so for health reasons, many people (myself included) continue to soak beans before cooking them. More on that: https://gundrymd.com/remove-lectins/

  • Michelle Mar 24, 2018 @ 19:12

    Delicious!
    Simple and easy recipe for a great dinner.

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