Easy Slow Cooker Refried Beans

76 Reviews / 4.6 Average
This has to be the easiest way to cook refried beans! Cooking them in the slow cooker means you skip half the work as you normally would on the stovetop. Best part about this recipe is that you can freeze the leftovers for later. I've adapted this recipe from allrecipes.com.
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Slow Cooker Refried Beans from 100 Days of Real Food

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
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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534 thoughts on “Easy Slow Cooker Refried Beans”

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    We love these beans! I’ve tweaked the ingredients a little to our taste preference (basically more of all of the ingredients except the water and beans), and make bean burritos to freeze. We eat them regularly and top with vegetables, meat, or eat plain with hot sauce. Definitely a staple in our meal rotation!

  2. Krystle Willmore

    5 stars
    The flavor of the beans were great! My kids loved them too. My only problem that I ran into was once they were done in the crockpot there was literally no water leftover to even take out. In fact I had to add new water so it wouldn’t taste so dry. Did I do something wrong?

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi there. Hard to say what happened there but the amount of moisture will vary. Some pots cook a bit faster than others.

  3. 3 stars
    I feel like this is the exact recipe on the NuPak bag but you added words of elaboration to directions.
    It’s a great recipe but it’s weird you don’t mention its the one off the bag.

    1. I have honestly never heard of NuPak (I buy my dried beans in bulk), but I am not surprised there are other similar bean recipes out there … it’s a staple food made from a few simple ingredients!

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve made this quite a few times. I live in Denver and things dry out quickly so I usually add 8 cups of water. Today I didn’t have a jalapeño on hand so I added a chipotle pepper in adobo. Worth a shot!

  5. Elizabeth Deegan

    I want to make these for a dinner party this weekend as a side dish. How many would you say one recipe feeds?

  6. 5 stars
    I love this recipe. I have m
    ade them many times. I recently got an Instant Pot. Have you ever tried making them in one? If so, do you have instructions?

    1. 5 stars
      I make these in my instant pot often. Put everything in, make sure the lid is set to sealing, and select beans/chili. (High pressure, 22 minutes.) I still soak mine overnight before cooking this way.

  7. 5 stars
    I was having trouble getting the texture right w a hand held potato masher, but once I used my hand held electric mixture, the beans became smooth and creamy! Didn’t have to drain off any liquid either.

  8. 5 stars
    wow, this turned out great, even with a snag! I looked into the crock this morning and it was very watery, so I drained what I could, but still had the consistency of a watery soup. a number of things I did could have caused this, including having a slow cooker that can’t do 8 hours on high, so I might have got the times wrong.

    Long story, it was watery, but i ended up adding some corn starch and it was perfect! great flavor :)

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi there. I’ve made this with canned beans (4 cans, drained) but I can not give you a specific recipe. I cooked it for a shorter time and did not need to add much water. Sorry that I cannot be more specific but I often ad-lib when adapting recipes. :)

  9. Great recipe. I’ve made these many times. At the end, I use a stick blender and blend half of it and I add some bacon fat and crumble some bacon over the top and stir it in.

  10. 5 stars
    Love these beans!!!, Unfortunately, I just decided this afternoon to make them today. Can you cook them on high for a shorter amount of time, or does It not work the same with beans?

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi. Slow and low works best for dried beans. I’ve used canned beans in a pinch for time and it worked well. I used much less water, obviously since the beans no longer absorb it.

  11. 5 stars
    I used 1/2 water & 1/2 unsalted lowfat chicken broth & switched a comparable amount of green chilies for the jalapenos. I also pulsed the whole thing in my food processor. Couldn’t imagine throwing those onions out! Yum!

    1. This is the best way to do beans. If the beans are fresh from a recent harvest they will cook in about 30 minutes where I live (high altitude), about 45 minutes for last years harvest (what is usually in stores). Start with 25 minutes then release pressure and check, if needed add 10-20 minutes. No pre-soaking is required, just pre-rinse.

  12. 5 stars
    I need to make this recipe as a side dish for a Mexican themed meal this weekend, but I need to do it for a crowd. Have you ever tried doubling the recipe and if so, how does that alter the cooking time? Thank you!!

  13. This is pretty close to my recipe — I add a few TBsp tomato paste and a TBSP of mild/medium chili powder. I also add more jalapeno, but that’s a personal taste for sure.
    Glad to see so many people making their own refried beans and other bean dishes. 2016 is the Year of the Pulses as declared by the United Nations… just a few more months to celebrate :-)
    Thanks for the recipe.

  14. So funny to read this recipe. I have never measured my ingredients, but have been making my beans with these ingredients for years! I make a double batch and freeze the leftovers for tostadas for another meal. You can use the same recipe with black beans also and add colored peppers.

  15. I have been making our ‘smashed’ beans this way for a few years. I make a huge batch, though – 2-3lbs of dry beans every other month. They freeze really well in smaller portions and are super easy to reheat.

    Regarding the cooking water (or bean broth), I save it and use it to make a large batch of enchilada sauce (which also freezes well!)

    Thanks for sharing all your ideas with us! You have made our transition to real food easier over the last few years!

      1. I drain the cooking liquid off of the beans into a separate bowl and set it aside to use when I make crock pot enchilada sauce. I basically substitute this bean broth for the chicken broth most recipes call for.

        As I mentioned above, I usually cook 2-3 lbs of beans at a time and freeze them in family size portions. I do the same with enchilada sauce.

        I stir the following ingredients together in my crock pot:
        8 C bean broth
        4 C crushed tomatoes
        1/4 C olive oil
        4 T chili powder
        3 T ground cumin
        1 T dried oregano
        2 t salt
        Cook on high 4 hours or low 8 hours.
        Combine 4 T cornstarch with 4 T cold water until smooth.
        Pour into sauce and cook on High for 30 minutes, until slightly thickened.
        Once it is cooled, I divide it into Four (3 C) portions.

  16. 5 stars
    These are now a staple in our home- I make these beans almost weekly…My husband can’t get enough of them in his breakfast burritos. I can’t believe how easy and healthy they are! I just use an immersion blender at the end and blend up the onion (why lose that yummy flavor?) with all the beans.

    1. 5 stars
      That’s a great idea of blending up the onions. Seems like a waste to toss them when they can be blended and mixed. in. I will give this one a try. Thanks

  17. Do the refried beans freeze well? I think my family could use this recipe for two meals. Or, another option would be to make half a batch. Has anyone ever tried that? If so, is 8 hours on high still the correct time and setting? Thanks!

    1. Yes, the refried beans freeze well! I make them and then freeze in 1 cup ziploc plastic bowls, then pull them out as needed for meals. If you forget to thaw them, just simmer on low to reheat.

  18. 5 stars
    I made these today but substituted kidney beans. They. Were. So. Good. Definitely adding this to our regular rotation!