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

Instant Pot Refried Beans

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.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword easy dinner recipes, how to make refried beans, instant pot recipes
Prep Time 8 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 45 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 181 kcal
Author Kris Bordessa


  • 3 cups dry pinto beans
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 large onion quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 T. red wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder


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. Transfer to a food processor and whir until beans are a creamy consistency. 

    Or use an immersion blender right in the pot to "mash" the ingredients to a consistency that you like. (See notes.)

    If you don’t have either of these tools, get out your potato masher – that’ll work, too.

    cooked pinto beans in bowl of food processor
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Recipe Notes

Refrigerate or freeze for later use, or serve immediately. 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.

Using an immersion blender

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.