Making your own refried beans is so easy with a slow cooker, that it’s sad to think how many cans of the stuff are sold every day. Homemade is so much better – customizable, better tasting, more versatile, 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).
Homemade Refried Beans
- 1 onion - medium, peeled and halved
- 3 cups dry pinto beans - rinsed
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1½ 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.
- Serve hot, or let cool and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for longer storage.