Recipe: Easy Slow Cooker Refried Beans

Slow Cooker Refried Beans from 100 Days of Real Food

Slow Cooker Refried Beans

I think I might be a little late getting on this bandwagon, but refried beans with melted cheese on a warm homemade whole-wheat tortilla is the bomb! Oh and don’t forget to top it with a little sour cream. I seriously cannot believe I am just figuring out how good this combination is. The reason why though is because I didn’t think I liked refried beans. That’s what happens when you only try them out of a can. But much like the difference between store-bought and homegrown tomatoes…homemade refried beans are light-years beyond the canned stuff! And with this super easy recipe below there is no excuse not to make them yourself. If you don’t already have one, you can buy the same slow cooker we have for about $25 and use it for this and other slow cooker recipes.

I am even going to pull out a bullet point list to tell you all the reasons why I like this recipe so much:

– Beans in general are super cheap and a good source of protein
– You don’t have to soak these dried beans overnight (which I often forget to do)
– They are sooo easy to make you could even do it with one hand tied behind your back :)
– You can freeze the leftovers for another day
– And for me, since I don’t normally love beans for textural reasons, this mashed up version is the perfect way to make them extra good

4.5 from 49 reviews
Easy Slow Cooker Refried Beans
Adapted from
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • ½ fresh jalapeno or other hot pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • One big pinch of cumin
  • 6 cups water
  1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high for 8 hours or overnight while you are sleeping.
  3. Remove the bigger onion chunks and drain the excess liquid. If desired, save the excess liquid to add back to the final product to get the optimal consistency (i.e. not too dry).
  4. Mash remaining beans with a potato masher and voila! You have homemade refried beans.


Other Slow Cooker recipes from “100 Days of Real Food”…

Pork Carnitas Tacos
The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot


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  1. Abbey |

    This recipe was stolen from AllRecipes and claimed as her own. Here is the link:

    Beyond that, you don’t need to remove the onion. It cooks into the liquid (why would you remove vegetables from your food?!). Anyways, drain the beans (onions and all) and use an electric mixer to mash, adding liquid as needed. The onions will blend into the beans.

    • Sarah |

      There are a lot of recipes for a certain dish or food that have similar ingredients. I don’t think anyone is claiming anything. :) Everyone has different versions and measurements they prefer. Both versions look yummy!

      • Sarah |

        And it is mentioned above the recipe that it was “Adapted from” :)

    • |


      I don’t know if one of the recipes has been changed or not, but as of this writing the one from Allrecipes is completely different recipe than this one.

      For example, this one calls for 2 cups beans and Allrecipes calls for 3. Both call for a half of a jalapeno so that right there is proof that they are different. The ratio of cups of beans to whole jalapenos for this recipe is 4 cups of beans to a whole jalapeno and the Allrecipes is 6 cups of beans to a whole jalapeno. That’s an enormous flavor difference!

      The same goes for other ingredients. It is wise to note that the same ingredients does not mean that it’s the same recipe. What matters is quantities of the same ingredients, and this one isn’t.

    • Raee |

      shut up Abbey.

  2. Jennifer |

    Any suggestions on the best way to freeze these? Thank you! Off to make them now for the first time. :)

    • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

      Hi Jennifer. You can freeze these beans in any airtight container.

    • |

      My personal preference is to freeze these (or any cooked beans) in gallon freezer bags. Before freezing, pat them down until they’re flat, then squeeze out the air and seal well; then pat them flat again if they lost shape. Next, stack them on top of each other in the freezer. Once frozen, you can stand them upright to make more room in your freezer; it’ll look like a filing system. lol!

  3. Jamie |

    I made these yesterday and they cooked all day in the crockpot and they were deilicious!!! I didn’t have a fresh jalapeño so I used a half can of roasted jalapeños (these cans are the little tiny ones). My husband and I both liked them a lot. I will be making these again!!

  4. Karyn |

    Um, yes you do need to soak beans. Always. Legumes, grains, and nuts ALL contain antinutrients and enzyme inhibitors that you want to neutralize before consuming!! I’ve started making plain beans according to Nourishing Traditions, and since we’ve been correctly preparing them, no more gas and bloating. You don’t even want to eat oats or rice unsoaked, much less BEANS!

    • |


      I would really like to know your source on this. I’m a nurse and I cannot find a study that has proven this. Do you mind sharing where you heard this? The closest I can get is an old (1985) dissertation (not a true study):

      Given that this is very old and we have new technology to measure such things, I have to call that dissertation into question.

      Please understand that I am not doubting you at all. I’m just saying that I can’t find a study and would love to read it if you know where I can find it. As a nurse, I’m always interested in nutrition. Many thanks!

  5. Michael |

    This recipe bland? No way, follow the recipe

  6. |

    My daughter-in-law passed on to me your recipe for these great slow-cooker beans….made them today, but used black turtle beans instead. …only needed 3 hours …and I am so pleased with the outcome! Thanks so much. We love black beans, and go through many cans …this is a great idea. One other change…I only added the salt after the beans had completed cooking due to the tendency for salt to toughen beans and legumes during the cooking process.
    Thanks for a great website …very inspiring and useful.

  7. Rachel |

    Oh…my…word. Perhaps the best thing since sliced bread here. I LOVE this recipe. Once done, I use my hand stick blender to blend everything (onions included). It’s delicious! I made this the other day with black beans instead of pinto and it was also AMAZING! The black beans though do cook much faster than pinto (like in half the time). Black “refried” beans were just as amazing. Kept the spices etc. exactly the same.

  8. Rachelle |

    I have made these a few times and I LOVE them! First time I followed the recipe exactly and found it did not have much of a spicy kick to them. But still they were delicious! Next time around I added 2 finely chopped whole jalapenos and 1 finely chopped habanero (seeds and ribs included). This was the spicy kick I was looking for. The outcomes of flavor are endless, this is a recipe you can definitely play around with when it comes to adding flavors.
    One more thing… These re-fried beans are a very versatile dish; at least they are in my home. I’ve made them a half-dozen times and never had any leftovers to freeze. My most recent use for the leftovers is turning them into soup. Chopped & sauted: onion, cabbage; chicken broth and about of cup of beans makes a delicious meal out of leftovers!

  9. Jennifer |

    Easy and delicious. I make these all the time.

  10. Teresa |

    Are the garlic cloves necessary, or can they be substituted for garlic powder?

    • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

      Hello. You can use powder.

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