These Instant Pot Refried Beans are a simple, healthy, and fat-free version of the classic Mexican side dish. No oil or lard required! Enjoy as a dip, side dish, or topping on your favorite Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes.
Easy Instant Pot Refried Beans Recipe
Instead of cooking the beans twice, as you would with traditional refried beans, you simply cook pinto beans until tender and then mash them until creamy. The other major difference? There’s no oil or lard needed in this recipe.
These make a flavorful and filling side dish and if you enjoy leftovers, double the recipe so you can use them in burritos or tacos later in the week.
This recipe is adapted from The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook by Megan Gilmore. I followed her recipe exactly with the exception of the added toppings, and a squeeze of lime juice. They were delicious!
Why You’ll Love These Homemade Refried Beans
Here are a few reasons you’ll love this refried beans recipe.
- Quick and easy. It takes less than an hour to prepare refried beans in the Instant Pot.
- Healthy. There’s no oil or lard in this recipe. Just beans, water, spices, and aromatics.
- Versatile. Instant Pot refried beans can be served as a dip, a side dish, or a topping to your favorite Tex-Mex dishes.
What You’ll Need
All you need to make homemade refried beans is some pinto beans, water, a few aromatics, and some spices. See the recipe card below for measurements.
- Dried pinto beans – You’ll need to soak them for 8 hours in advance, then drain before proceeding with the recipe.
- Aromatics – Yellow onion and garlic add additional flavor to the refried beans.
- Spices – Ground cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper season the beans. You can add a pinch of cayenne pepper as well, for some optional heat.
What Beans Are Used To Make Refried Beans?
Pinto beans are most often used to make refried beans, which are tender, creamy and have a slightly sweet, earthy flavor. They mash easily which makes them the perfect bean for refried beans. Black beans, however can be used in place of pinto beans if you desire.
How To Make Instant Pot Refried Beans
The Instant Pot significantly reduces the time needed to make homemade refried beans, while keeping the process super easy.
- Add the ingredients. Combine the soaked and drained beans, water, onion, and garlic in the Instant Pot. Stir to submerge the beans, then add the lid and turn the steam release valve to “Sealing”. Pressure cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.
- Release. Naturally pressure release for 10 minutes, then move the steam release valve to Venting for any remaining pressure.
- Drain the beans. Drain the beans, reserving the liquid.
- Mash and season the beans. Return the beans to the Instant Pot with 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid and the seasonings. Use a potato mashed to mash the beans to your desired texture. Taste test and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Enjoy. Serve warm with a garnish of cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Recipe Tips & Variations
Here are a few tips for making these Instant Pot refried beans.
- Soak the beans ahead of time. This recipe begins with dried beans but they do need to soak for 8 hours in advance. Drain before adding to the Instant Pot.
- Mash to your preferred texture. You can mash the beans until completely smooth or opt to leave some texture – up to you!
- Use an immersion blender. If you want smooth pureed beans, you can use an immersion blender instead of a potato masher.
- Taste test before serving. I find it best to start with a small amount of salt and then adjust if needed. Always give the beans a taste test after combining all the ingredients and add more seasoning if desired.
Ways To Serve Refried Beans
These Instant Pot refried beans can be served up as a dip or a side to many Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes.
If serving these as an appetizer or dip, feel free to add some garnishes. Chopped fresh cilantro, lime wedges, diced tomato, sliced jalapeño, diced avocado, and crumbled queso all work well. Then serve warm with your favorite tortilla chips.
And don’t forget to wash it all down with a skinny margarita!
How to Store & Reheat
- Fridge. Store leftover beans in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 week.
- Reheat. You can reheat leftover refried beans in the microwave or on the stovetop. They will thicken as they sit, so you may want to add an extra splash of water or broth to prevent them from drying out.
More Instant Pot Recipes You Will Love
- Instant Pot Chicken Taco Chili
- Instant Pot Beef Chili
- How To Make Quinoa in the Instant Pot
- How To Make Eggs in the Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
Instant Pot Refried Beans
- 1 cup dried pinto beans, soaked for 8 hours and drained
- 3 cups water
- ½ yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Optional garnish: Chopped fresh cilantro, Lime wedges, diced tomato, sliced jalapeño, diced avocado, crumbled queso
- Combine the drained beans, water, onion, and garlic in the Instant Pot.
- Stir well, making sure the beans are submerged. Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing. Select
- Manual/Pressure Cook to cook at high pressure for 20 minutes.
- When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then move the steam release valve to Venting to release any remaining pressure. When the floating valve drops, remove the lid and drain the beans, reserving the liquid.
- Return the cooked beans to the Instant Pot, and stir in ½ cup of the reserved cooking liquid, along with the cumin, chili powder, black pepper, cayenne, and ½ teaspoon salt. Use a potato masher to mash the cooked beans until smooth, leaving some texture if you like. (You can use an immersion blender for pureed beans, if you prefer.)
- Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt as needed, and serve warm with a garnish of cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.
- Store leftover beans in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 week.
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Photo Credit: Jess Larson