Go Back

Authentic Mexican Refried Beans (oil-free)

 These creamy beans make an authentic side dish with rice, a delicious topping on nachos, are perfect on tostadas or in tacos, burritos, or on Mexican Pizza. 

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword beans, pinto, refried
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 15 -ish people


  • 5 cups dry pinto beans
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 TBSP cumin (optional)
  • 2 TBSP salt
  • 1 whole onion, peeled and cut in half


  1. Place beans in a large bowl and cover with several inches of water. Let soak overnight or at least 8 hours.

  2. Rinse beans and put into an Instant Pot or Crock Pot. Add 7 cups of water (the water should just barely cover the beans), salt, cumin and a whole, peeled onion cut in half. 

  3. If using an Instant Pot, set to high pressure for 25 minutes. Let it release naturally. 

    To cook them in a crock pot, let cook for 3-4 hours on high. 

  4. Once beans are cooked, remove onion and discard. Either remove the beans with a slotted spoon and serve whole, or blend to make smooth.

To make smooth "refried" beans

  1. Use a ladle to fill your blender with beans, and include enough of the liquid so that it reaches about halfway up the blender side of the beans. Blend until very smooth. If needed, add a little more cooking liquid to make it blend. Pour into a container immediately while they are runny. They will be runny and thin at first, but thicken as they cool. They especially thicken overnight in the fridge.

    To add more flavor, add about 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable broth base and about 1/2 cup salsa (I always eyeball this part) and blend.

To freeze:

  1. These beans freeze very well in individual glass or plastic containers, and can be thawed on the counter, under hot water, or in the microwave for future recipes.  I always like to make a big batch and freeze some for a quick meal in the future.