Owl Creek Farm » Recipes » Side Dishes » Homemade Refried Beans

Homemade Refried Beans

by Amy
Let the slow cooker do the work! Start these in the morning and you'll have your new favourite refried beans by dinner time.
20210317 1733361

A slow cooker makes homemade refried beans so easy, and homemade is so much better – recipes are customizable, and the food is better tasting and healthier, especially the salt content. Canned foods often have so much salt added as a flavour enhancer and preservative but that’s not so great for our health. This recipe does add some salt, but you can lower or even remove the salt and still get tasty homemade refried beans, and you can adjust the other seasonings to compensate for the lost salt if you wish.

We’ve been using this recipe faithfully since 2008, and I added it to the website on January 6, 2009. We’ve adjusted the seasonings since and the recipe below is the best version we’ve ever made! For the last several years, I’ve make a double batch and freeze it in 1 cup amounts to use like I would canned. Just take them out of the freezer in the morning and they’re ready to use in the evening, or you can thaw in the microwave (stir every minute).

To use in layered dips, let completely cook so it’s thick enough to form a layer. For most other recipes, you can use right after the beans have been blended smooth. We love it with taco beef using my Taco Seasoning, or with my Slow Cooker Pulled Pork and Spanish Rice – with lots and lots of cheese of course! Don’t forget to offer Guacamole on the side with sour cream and salsa, and you’ve got a great meal with happy tummies.

20210317 1733361

Homemade Refried Beans

Owl Creek Farm owlcreek.ca
Let the slow cooker do the work! Start these in the morning and you'll have your new favourite refried beans by dinner time.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 10 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mexican, Texmex
Servings 8
Calories 262 kcal


  • Slow cooker
  • Immersion Blender


  • 1 onion medium, peeled and halved
  • 3 cups dry pinto beans rinsed
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • tsp ground black pepper
  • 9 cups water divided, see instructions


  • Place the cut onion, 2 cups rinsed pinto beans, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp cumin, and 1½ tsp ground black pepper into a slow cooker.
  • Pour in 4 cups of water and stir to combine.
  • Cook on High for 8 hours, checking and stirring every 2 hours, adding just enough water as needed to keep beans barely covered.
  • Once the beans have cooked, mash the beans and onion with an immersion blender until as smooth (or chunky) as desired. Will thicken significantly when cool.
    20210317 1733361
  • Serve hot, or let cool and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for longer storage, up to 3 months.
  • For authentic refried beans (frijoles refritos), fry the mashed beans in an oiled skillet until a super thick paste forms.


If more than 9 cups total water is needed, use a lower heat setting next time.


Calories: 262kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 16gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 896mgPotassium: 1051mgFiber: 12gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 6IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 99mgIron: 4mg
Keyword beans, onion, pinto, slow cooker
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Aiden October 13, 2011 - 10:27 am

This recipe sounds great! The thing with refried beans you buy at the store is the lard. That and they are often not so big on tastiness. Bland would be more like it. Poor taste and lots of crap added. Ugh. While this spicy recipe seems to be just the opposite. Just don’t know if I could wait 16 hours. No will power.

Fred September 8, 2011 - 5:00 am

There is nothing like homemade food. So much of everything we eat is processed and it doesn’t take much effort to make something for real.

Tessa January 6, 2009 - 3:43 pm

Hello fellow Oregonian,

I think you just made my mouth water- I have to give this a try! I see you also home school, me too. Hope you’re having a great New Year so far.

Tessa (aka Dirtdigger at Blunders with shoots, blossoms ‘n roots)