Slow Cooker Refried Beans

Slow Cooker Refried Beans

Whether you want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a special meal or are just craving quality Mexican food, give these slow cooker refried beans a try. They are on a whole new level beyond refried beans from a can, yet are surprisingly easy to make.

I often had trouble cooking dried beans properly until I used this slow cooker method from Southern Living. You don’t even have to plan ahead and soak the beans overnight. And, the beans use only a tiny amount of oil, so are healthy as well as delicious.

You can use these beans anywhere you would the canned variety: in burritos or tacos, as a base for dip, or alongside Mexican rice. Or, try them in one of our favorite recipes:

Slow Cooker Refried Beans


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups dried pinto beans, rinsed and sorted
  • 4 cups water
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic, cumin, and a pinch of red pepper (or more if you like things spicy), and continue cooking, stirring often, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Transfer the mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker and stir in the beans and water.  Cover and cook on low until the beans are tender, about 6 1/2 hours.
  • Carefully pour everything from the slow cooker into a large nonstick pot.  Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Place the pot on medium heat and use a potato masher to mash the beans until they are as smooth as you would like.  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until enough liquid has evaporated that the beans reach your desired consistency, usually around 15 minutes.    
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar.  Season with additional salt to taste.

If you happen to be spending Cinco de Mayo in the great outdoors, try our Dutch Oven Nachos.

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