Slow Cooked Refried Beans Recipe

The first time I made this recipe I told the friend that shared it with me (I followed most of her suggested variations though I used more salt) that I felt empowered.  That may seem silly but every time I make something from scratch I feel better and better about the food I make for my family.  Do I mess up?  Often!  I think you have to keep trying though.

One of our “fast” food options is rice and beans so making refried beans from scratch kind of goes against the “fast” aspect of things but this is easy to throw together and you can freeze it so I think it is still a fast recipe.  You’ll need a slow cooker, something I thought as a vegetarian family we’d never get real use out of!  More photos here.


Knife, cutting board

Slow Cooker


Food Processor/Blender/Potato Masher


3 cups of rinsed dry pinto beans (no need to soak!) (about 1 lb. 3 oz.)

1 onion, quartered

4 ounce can of hatch chiles

5 cloves of minced garlic

4 teaspoons of salt

1 1/2 teaspoons of black pepper plus 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

9 to 10 cups of water (I do 10 because when you’re filling cups quickly under running water they don’t fill up entirely)

Fresh lime juice


Put the beans, onion, chiles, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin in the slow cooker then add the 9 cups of water.  Stir, close the lid and set your slow cooker on high for 6 hours.  My friend remarked that hers takes only 4 or 5 hours on high and the recipe calls for 8 on high but my cooker only has a 6 hour high setting and it worked well.  You’ll need to add more water as needed, you don’t want too much to evaporate so maybe adjust your heat settings as needed as well.

The beans are so very good, you drain them and reserve the liquid.  I run mine through the food processor and add liquid until the consistency is as you like it.  I also add lime juice for flavor.  Now that we’ve made this a few times I can estimate you’ll get 3 pounds of beans if you run them all into the food processor but we’ve been reserving whole cooked beans to eat because they are so good that way.

I love that this is tomato free, flavorful, and much cheaper than canned beans.

Check out the other recipes on the 7/22 Allergy Friendly Friday at!  This week the theme is farmstand recipes so I was hesitant to include refried beans but I got the go ahead (on twitter) to post it.

11 thoughts on “Slow Cooked Refried Beans Recipe

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