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Instant Pot Refried Beans

January 26, 2017

By Kath Dedon


Do you have an Instant Pot? If so, you can make Instant Pot Refried Beans in about 2 hours. No kidding!

There’s no need to soak the beans. Just rinse them well and look for any bits that should be removed.

I used Michael Natkin’s recipe on Serious Eats as my guide. He used a stovetop pressure cooker and cooked the beans under pressure for 35 minutes. Knowing that the Instant Pot cooks at a lower PSI than stovetop pressure cookers, I added 10 minutes and set the time for 45 minutes. The beans were cooked perfectly!

When cooking dried beans in any type of pressure cooker you should add some oil to the pot. The beans froth and foam less when oil is added so the steam vent won’t get clogged.

It’s also important not to fill the pot more than halfway when cooking starchy foods that tend to foam (like dried beans or rice). A pound of beans worked well in my 6-quart pot. I would not try to double it.

I followed Michael’s lead and used the sauté button to quickly cook the onion, garlic, and oregano before adding the beans and water and sealing the pot. I think this step may be unnecessary. Next time I will simplify and just put everything, except the salt and bacon grease, in the pot!

You may have heard that people love the Instant Pot because they can get rid of other appliances like their slow cookers. I, for one, will not be doing that. While my Instant Pot Refried Beans were cooking, my slow cooker was busy making Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork. It was very handy to have both to prepare our Mexican feast!

Speaking of slow cookers, Laura and Carrie wanted to know if these beans could be prepared in a slow cooker. A quick Internet search brought up Sommer Collier’s guest post on The Pioneer Woman blog all about making refried beans in a slow cooker. Although I haven’t tried it, I am sure you could do it with this recipe. I would put all of the ingredients, except the bacon grease, in a 6-quart slow cooker, including the 8 cups of water. Cook on HIGH for 8 – 10 hours. Drain the beans, reserving a couple of cups of the liquid. Put the beans and 1 cup of the liquid back into the slow cooker. Blend with an immersion blender or a potato masher. Add more cooking liquid, ¼ cup at a time, if needed to get the desired consistency. Stir in a tablespoon or two of bacon grease or butter, if desired.


Update 4/10/21I made this using Mayocoba beans from Rancho Gordo. They made exceptionally creamy and delicious refried beans.





Instant Pot Refried Beans

(Adapted from Michael Natkin’s recipe on Serious Eats)


(print the recipe)


Serves 10 – 12


1/4 cup oil (I used avocado oil)

1 medium white onion, diced (about 1 cup)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

¾ teaspoon ground cumin (optional, I forgot to add it the first time I made them and the beans were still great)

1 pound (about 2 cups) dried pinto beans, rinsed and picked over for stray material

8 cups of water


To add after cooking:

1½ teaspoons salt

1 – 2 tablespoons bacon grease or butter (optional, but good!)


Onions, garlic, dried oregano, pinto beans, and the cumin that I forgot to add 😉



  1. Press the Sauté button on the Instant Pot. Add the oil and onion. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, oregano, and cumin and cook, stirring, for about another minute.



3. Press the Keep Warm/Cancel button to turn off the Sauté function.

4. Add the beans and the water to the pot. Stir and seal the pot. Make sure the pressure release handle is in the sealing position.

5. Press the Manual button and set the time for 45 minutes.

6. When the 45 minutes of pressure cooking is up, press the Keep Warm/Cancel button to turn off the pot and let the pressure release naturally. (This will take up to 40 minutes. I noticed the float valve was down at 40 minutes, but it may have popped down 5 or 10 minutes before that.)

7. Open the pot and use good pot holders to remove the stainless steel cooking pot. Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid.

Draining the beans over a Pyrex pitcher in the sink



8. Put the beans back in the pot.



9. Add the salt, bacon grease, and 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Using an immersion blender or potato masher, blend the beans to the desired consistency. Add more cooking liquid, ¼ cup at a time, if needed. (I didn’t need additional liquid.)



10. The beans can be kept warm in the Instant Pot. Put the lid on and press the Keep Warm/Cancel button. My beans kept fine for a couple of hours.




13 Comments leave one →
  1. Ron @ Lost In A Pot permalink
    February 3, 2017 6:09 am

    Great recipe Kath,
    I made these yesterday and we loved them. Didn’t have avocado oil, but instead used fresh butter. We decided to have the beans over rice instead of refried. FYI, your 2 hours is spot on.

    • February 3, 2017 6:32 am

      I’m so glad you liked the beans, Ron! Thanks for letting me know. 🙂

  2. February 4, 2017 5:58 am

    I don’t have an Instant Pot, but I did just recently acquire a Breville Fast-Slow cooker, which is along the same lines. Love making beans in it!

    • February 4, 2017 6:29 am

      I love beans and electric pressure cookers make it so easy to make them on a regular basis. Love it! Thanks for stopping by, Frank!

  3. September 4, 2017 9:50 am

    Just made them and it worked perfectly! Can I freeze them once mashed?

    • September 4, 2017 10:46 am

      I’m so glad it worked for you! Thanks for letting me know. They should freeze well, I think. If they seem a bit dry when you defrost them, just stir in a bit of water.

  4. Bobbi Erickson permalink
    December 24, 2018 10:22 am

    My favorite recipe for refried beans! I make them quite frequently!
    Thanks for this amazing recipe!

    • December 24, 2018 11:24 am

      Thanks for letting me know, Bobbi! I made them again just this week. So good, and easy!! Happy Holidays to you and yours. 🙂

  5. Angelica permalink
    January 24, 2019 1:40 pm

    How many cups of dry beans are equivalent to 2 lbs? I buy beans 8n bulk and don’t own a scale.

    • January 24, 2019 2:38 pm

      2 lbs of dried beans is 4 cups.

      If you have the 6-quart Instant Pot, though, I wouldn’t try to cook more than 1 pound. You can’t fill the pot more than halfway full with the beans and the water when cooking beans. If the pot is too full, the foam can cause the valve to clog.

      If you have the 8-quart Instant Pot you might be able to cook 2 pounds.


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