This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.

This easy, no soak Instant Pot Refried Beans recipe is the perfect side dish for your favorite Mexican dinner or using in everything from burritos to bean dip! 

Beans are not only delicious but also healthy and filling! Be sure not to miss some of our other favorite bean recipes, like Charro Beans (Frijoles Charros), Cafe Rio Black Beans, and our Best Baked Beans.

An image of a large bowl of instant pot refried beans with montery jack cheese and jalapenos on top.

Instant Pot Refried Beans

For a long time I resisted getting an Instant Pot pressure cooker. Even once I got one, I was intimidated by it and would still make beans on the stovetop, like these Brazilian Black Beans Without A Pressure Cooker

Then I got brave and made Charro Beans (Frijoles Charros) using my Instant Pot and I was hooked. Cooking beans is definitely my favorite use for my Instant Pot.

It’s easy, fast, and they turn out perfect every single time. And the cleanup is way easier too!

An image of a bowl of creamy homemade refried beans.

These refried beans bring in the great flavors of jalapenos, onions, and mixed seasonings to create an amazing Mexican flavored side dish. And you don’t even need to remember to soak the beans in advance since the Instant Pot will do all the work for you!

These refried beans are also naturally gluten-free and can even be vegetarian if you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Serve them with Homemade Mexican Rice (aka Spanish Rice) and your favorite entree (chimichangas for me, please!) for a fantastic Mexican platter that would rival anything from a restaurant!

My favorite way to use them is to make double decker tacos by spreading the homemade refried beans on a small flour tortilla, then wrapping that around a crunchy corn tortilla shell and filling with the best ground beef taco meat and all the fixings. It’s so good!

Refried beans are a pretty common that pairs well with practically anything. Unfortunately, they can be a pretty intimidating one to make from scratch as well.

Thankfully, this Instant pot refried beans recipe is incredibly simple and can give you delicious and creamy beans in a short time. And if you don’t have an instant pot handy, you can also make these refried beans on the stovetop! 

An image of a bowl of mashed Mexican pinto beans.

How to Make Instant Pot Refried Beans

  1. Rinse your beans and remove any rocks.
  2. Turn a 6 quart (or larger)  Instant Pot to SAUTE mode. Add in the oil. When the oil is hot, add in the onion and jalapeno and saute for 2-3 minutes until they begin to soften. Add in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add in the chicken broth, water, bay leaves, salt, cumin, oregano, and beans, and stir to combine.
  3. Seal the Instant Pot and set to cook on HIGH (manual) for 45 minutes. Do a natural release for 25 minutes at the end of the cooking time, then vent any remaining pressure.
  4. Remove the lid and discard the bay leaves. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking liquid and drain and discard any remaining liquid from the beans.
  5. Use a potato masher or immersion blender to mash the beans until they are the consistency you like, adding in some of the reserved cooking liquid as needed. The beans will thicken as they are mashed and continue to thicken even more as they cool.

A collage of images showing how to make refried beans in the instant pot.

I usually add about 1 cup of the cooking liquid back in and mash the beans only about halfway because I don’t like them totally smooth. But you can use more or less liquid and mash them smoother or chunkier as you like.

Thinner, smoother refried beans provide a more restaurant-like experience, in my experience, while thicker, chunkier mashed beans are closer to the kind you get from a can at the grocery store and what I would typically use in recipes like bean dip.

How to Make Refried Beans on the Stovetop

You can use the same recipe below to make refried beans on the stovetop, if you don’t have an instant pot.

  1. Rinse your beans and soak them overnight in a large pot filled with water. Or if you forget to soak overnight, cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to a boil for 2 minutes. After that, turn the burner off and soak for 1 hour before continuing. Drain the soaking liquid from the beans.
  2. Saute the onion, jalapeno, and garlic in a little oil, just like in the Instant Pot directions, then add the drained beans. Add the broth and enough fresh water until the beans are covered by at least an inch of water.
  3. Add the bay leaves, salt, and spices, then bring the water and the beans to a boil on high heat. Once the water is boiling, cover the pot and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 2 to 3 hours, until the beans are nice and tender. You will know they are done because they will be soft and the skin will start to split open. Be sure to check the water level every 30 minutes or so, just to make sure there is still plenty of water and add in more if needed.
  4. Once the beans are soft, drain most of the cooking liquid from the beans into a separate bowl. Don’t dump it out because you will likely need to add some of it back to the beans to get them to the right consistency.
  5. Add in the oil and while using a potato masher, mash the beans until they reach whatever refried bean consistency you prefer (I prefer mine fairly smooth), adding in reserved cooking liquid as necessary. Taste as you go and if the beans are too salty, just add regular water instead of the cooking liquid.
  6. Serve with your favorite Mexican entrees and top with grated cheddar, Montery Jack, or cotija cheese!

An image of a bowl of refried beans sprinkled with chopped cilantro.

Are these refried beans vegan?

These beans are not vegan because they call for chicken broth. You can switch it out for vegetable broth to accommodate vegetarian and vegan diets.

How do you make thick refried beans?

By reducing the amount of liquid added to your mashed beans you can have thicker beans. Also, the more you mash your beans, the thicker your beans will naturally become.

So if you are looking for a thicker pot of refried beans, mash well and add very little of the reserved cooking liquid.

Tips for the Best Instant Pot Refried Beans

  • Don’t try making this recipe using canned pinto beans. Not only are dried beans less expensive, but I think they taste better too.
  • You don’t have to mash these beans at all if you need whole pinto beans. The cooked beans are great on their own as soon as they are done cooking without mashing and will freeze well this way too.
  • You could swap out pinto beans for black beans, if you want refried black beans. Everything else in the recipe can stay the same.
  • You CAN soak the beans for 8-12 hours if you want to. Some people say it makes digestion easier (beans are known for being the musical fruit after all), but I’ve never personally found this to make much of a difference for my family.

Storing & Freezing Instructions

Refried beans can be made up to 4 days ahead and kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them. Then just warm them up in the microwave or on the stovetop. 

Refried beans also freeze really well for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe ziploc bag. Just let them thaw overnight and then reheat. You may need to add a little additional broth or water to thin them out since refried beans thicken as they cool.

I let the beans cool completely, then I portion out a couple of servings into quart-size bags. Squish the bags flat and press all of the air out before freezing so that they stack easily in the freezer.

An image of a bowl of refried beans topped with shredded Monterey Jack cheese and sliced jalapenos. 

Other Mexican Recipes You’ll Love!

You can also FOLLOW ME on INSTAGRAMPINTERESTFACEBOOK, and TWITTER for more great recipe tips and ideas!

Instant Pot Refried Beans
Yield: 12 servings

Instant Pot Refried Beans

This easy, no soak Instant Pot Refried Beans recipe is the perfect side dish for your favorite Mexican dinner or using in everything from burritos to bean dip! 

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Additional Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried pinto beans (2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons oil (olive oil, vegetable oil, and canola oil all work)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, stem and seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Grated cheddar or monterey jack cheese, or crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese for garnish
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sliced jalapeno

Instructions

Instant Pot Instructions

  1. Rinse beans and pick through to make sure there are no rocks. No need to soak the beans.
  2. Turn 6-quart (or larger) Instant Pot to SAUTE. Add the oil. When hot, add the onion and jalapeno and saute for 2-3 minutes until they begin to soften.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
  4. Add the chicken broth, water, bay leaves, salt, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and beans. Stir to combine and make sure there are no bits of onion stuck to the bottom of the Instant Pot liner.
  5. Seal the Instant Pot and set to cook on HIGH (manual) for 45 minutes. Do a natural release for 25 minutes at the end of the cooking time, then vent any remaining pressure.
  6. Remove the lid and discard the bay leaves. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking liquid and drain and discard any remaining liquid from the beans.
  7. Use a potato masher or immersion blender to mash the beans until they are the consistency you like, adding in the reserved cooking liquid as needed. The beans will thicken as they are mashed and as they cool. I usually add 1 cup of the cooking liquid back in and mash the beans only about halfway, but you can use more or less liquid as you like, and mash them even more for a thinner, more restaurant like experience.

Stovetop Instructions

  1. Rinse beans and soak overnight in a large pot filled with water. Or if you forget to soak overnight, cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to a boil for 2 minutes, then turn the burner off and soak for 1 hour before continuing. Drain the soaking liquid from the beans.
  2. Saute the onion, jalapeno, and garlic in a little oil, just like in the Instant Pot directions, then add the drained beans. Add the broth and enough fresh water until the beans are covered by at least an inch of water.
  3. Bring the water and beans to a boil on high heat. Once the water is boiling, cover the pot and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beans are nice and tender. You will know they are done because they will be soft and the skin will start to split open. Be sure to check the water level every 30 minutes or so, just to make sure there is still plenty of water and add in more if needed.
  4. Once beans are soft, drain most of the cooking liquid from the beans into a separate bowl. Don't dump it out because you will likely need to add some of it back to the beans to get them to the right consistency.
  5. Use a potato masher or immersion blender to mash the beans until they reach the consistency you like, adding reserved cooking liquid as necessary. Taste as you go and if the beans are too salty, just add regular water instead of the cooking liquid.
  6. Top with grated cheese and serve with your favorite Mexican entrees!

Notes

  • The finished beans can be frozen for up to 3 months. Just thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat on the stove or in the microwave. You may need to add a little water or chicken broth to thin them out a bit.

Recipe adapted from Well Plated.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 188 Saturated Fat: 5g Sodium: 489mg Carbohydrates: 24g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 1g Protein: 8g