These Instant Pot Refried Beans cut cooking time in half compared to your traditional refried bean recipe. That means less time between you and a delicious serving of this creamy recipe. Perfect as a side, dip, or main dish.
The Instant Pot version of one of the most popular Mexican side dishes is finally here!
Refried beans are a staple recipe in my home and Mexican restaurants alike, and for good reason! They’re healthy and full of fiber, making them great as a filling or topping in main dishes.
They’re also creamy and full of flavor, which makes them great as a side and even a dip.
Do you ever make burritos, nachos, or tostadas and feel like something’s missing? The answer for me is almost always refried beans! Just add a layer of refried beans and then it’s perfect.
This recipe uses an Instant Pot pressure cooker, which makes cooking them so much faster. No soaking required!
Ingredients You’ll Need
One of the best things about refried beans is that it uses simple and common ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.
- Mexican oregano and cumin – Staple spices to give your beans that hearty and earthy Mexican flavor. If you don’t have Mexican oregano, regular oregano works just fine.
- Garlic, onions, and jalapeños – When this trio is sauteed and added to your beans, it will help build flavor and make your kitchen smell delicious (which is a nice bonus). Jalapeños can be optional if you want to omit the heat. You can also substitute another pepper to turn up or tone down the heat to your liking.
- Olive oil – I used olive oil to saute the garlic, onions, and peppers but you can use any cooking oil you prefer.
- Dried pinto beans – Refried beans are traditionally made with pinto beans, but you can use dried black beans or white navy beans also.
How to Make Instant Pot Refried Beans
For the dried beans, you’ll need to sort through them and take out any that are split or shriveled, as well as looking out for any small rocks that may have made their way into the bag.
The best way to do this is placing your beans in a large bowl and sorting through them a handful at a time.
I remember doing this so much when I was a kid and almost going cross-eyed, or cheating my way through and of course end up missing a couple rocks that would eventually make their way into my serving of beans. Don’t skip this step friends.
Add the sorted beans and water into the Instant Pot, close and seal the lid, and set to pressure cook on high for 50 minutes. Once it’s done, let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes before manually releasing any remaining pressure.
Pour the cooking liquid into a bowl over a strainer and set the liquid aside. You’ll use this later.
Now you’ll add the olive oil, garlic, jalapeño, onions, ground cumin, Mexican oregano, and salt. Then saute in the Instant Pot until the onions begin to caramelize. This should take about 5 minutes.
Turn off the Instant Pot and add your cooked beans back in with the sauteed mix. Mix them together and let the beans cook with the residual heat for a couple of minutes to really meld the flavors together.
Add ½ cup of the residual cooking liquid into the pot that you previously set aside and stir.
Now it’s time to mash the beans.
Depending on the consistency you like, you can use a potato masher if you like it more chunky, or use an immersion blender or regular blender if you like it more smooth. I used an immersion blender directly inside the Instant Pot.
Sometimes when you reach this step, the beans need more moisture so you may need to add more of the reserved cooking liquid if you think it needs it.
At this point, give the beans a taste and season with additional salt to your liking.
Lastly, and my personal favorite, top with a sprinkle (or a lot) of cotija cheese, dash of cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime!
VARIATIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- You can omit jalapeños all together, or substitute them for another pepper. To make this dish less spicy, I recommend using bell peppers. To make this dish more spicy, I recommend using a serrano pepper.
- Not a fan of pinto beans? Dried black beans or white navy beans are also great with this recipe.
- Shredded Mexican blend cheese or crumbled queso fresco are also great toppings for refried beans.
- 1 pound dried pinto beans, cleaned (about 2 cups)
- 6 cups water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (or other fat)
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño, minced (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plust more to taste
- Pour the dried beans into a large bowl. Pick out and discard any beans that are shriveled or split, as well as any small rocks that may have made their way into the bag.
- Add the sorted beans and the water to the Instant Pot. Close the lid, set the pressure valve to the seal position, and pressure cook on high for 50 minutes.
- Let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes, then carefully open the valve to release any remaining pressure.
- Set a large bowl underneath a strainer or colander. Pour the beans and the cooking liquid into the strainer so that the bowl underneath catches all of the cooking liquid. Set aside.
- Turn on the saute function on the Instant Pot and set to medium. Add the olive oil, garlic, jalapeño, ground cumin, Mexican oregano, and salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to caramelize.
- Turn off the Instant Pot and add the cooked pinto beans. Stir and let the beans cook in the residual heat for 2 minutes.
- Add in 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid and stir to combine.
- Taste and season with more salt, if necessary. Serve with a sprinkle of cotija cheese and a squeeze of lime juice.
- Makes about 4 cups total.
- Refried beans will last about a week in an airtight container in the fridge.
- When reheating the beans on the stovetop or in the microwave, add a tablespoon of water or broth to help keep the beans moist.