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Authentic Refried Beans | Instant Pot & Cooktop

Authentic refried beans or “frijoles refritos” (the original Spanish term) are tasty and filling comfort food. You will find this inexpensive staple in every Mexican restaurant. You, too, can make this hearty meal at home. It is an excellent side dish and a delicious base with infinite uses. 

Authentic Refried Beans in Bowl overhead

As a side, it goes along well with any Mexican dish. Use your refried beans to stuff your quesadillas or tacos. It is an excellent topping for chicken tostadas and a great fill for your homemade tacos. The earthy, slightly sweet flavor of your authentic refried beans will also pair well with chorizo and egg or your huevos rancheros. 

These drool-worthy Instant Pot refried beans will have you so deeply hooked on their flavor; you will never look at canned versions ever again. What’s more, our flavorful and creamy recipe here at The Spicy Apron is easy to make, prepping your beans in record time.


Our Instant Pot refried beans recipe makes moot the need to soak beans first. Boiling your beans in a pressure cooker is the fastest and easiest method of making refried beans. Take advantage of the Instant Pot no soak beans method and have your beans ready for frying in 45 minutes. That said, some people prefer to soak the beans ahead of time, which also works well. 

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Here is a fun fact, “refried” does not mean “fried twice,” as the name suggests. The prefix “re” in Spanish loosely translates to “very well.” The origin of the term refried is “frijoles refritos,” which, in Spanish, means “beans well fried.” 

Instant Pot Refried Beans

The beans are first cooked in water and then fried in a pan with fat and herbs. They are pan-fried once, not twice, as so many people think. There are also instances where they are baked with lard until crusty and dry. 


Pinto beans are most common in every authentic Mexican refried beans recipe. They are naturally tender and plump and will make it easy to mash extra creamy refried beans. 

Black beans are also a common choice. Their texture is firmer than pinto beans, and they are smaller. Therefore, they are not as easy to crush and will, for instance, slip through a potato masher’s grooves. You will need more elbow grease to work them into a smooth paste. Here is how to make Instant Pot Black Beans

At the end of the day, refried beans are but a puree of beans, flavored par excellence. Therefore, there is no good reason why cannellini or chickpeas should not make yummy refried beans as well.


Always add some aromatics when cooking your beans to avoid dull and flat beans. Garlic and onion will add a level of flavor to any pot of beans. This recipe takes the flavor up a notch with bay leaf, ground cumin, and oregano. You can always amp up the spiciness of your authentic refried beans with some fresh jalapeno or cayenne pepper. 

Instant Pot Refried Beans in pot with spoon

You can also cook them in chicken broth instead of water for additional flavor. Last, your choice of fat will also have a profound impact on the flavor of your dish. Lard is often used to flavor the beans and give them some oomph. Bacon dripping will infuse your beans with a smoky flavor.


To cook your beans on a cooktop, you will need to soak them overnight. Rinse them, place them in a large pot, then add enough water to cover them. Keep the water level one or two inches above your beans. 

Drain before cooking, place them into a stockpot, and add fresh water. Cover the beans by 1 or 2 inches. Cover, then bring to a boil and simmer for an hour. Drain, then fry.


You are in for a tasty and easy treat with our refried beans in the Instant Pot recipe. Rinse your beans and place them into your pressure cooker’s inner pot. Add six to eight cups of water or broth. Add your garlic cloves, salt, onion, bay leaf, and vegetable oil. 

Refried beans vertical with masher in pot

Secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 45 minutes. Allow the beans to sit for 15 more minutes before releasing any extra pressure. Take the bay leaves and onion chunks out, and then drain your beans. Sauté them with hot lard, add seasoning, then mash.


This Instant Pot will make easy authentic refried beans that are creamy and loaded with flavor. Use it also for these top ten free Instant Pot Recipes.

Authentic Refried Beans in Bowl overhead

Authentic Refried Beans Instant Pot

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

This authentic Mexican refried beans recipe from The Spicy Apron is easy and super tasty. The quickest way is to make Instant Pot refried beans but they can also be made on the cooktop


  • 1 pound dried pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more for taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons lard (can use olive oil)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon oregano


  1. Put rinsed beans plus 6-8 cups water in the Instant Pot inner pot (use enough water to cover the beans at least 1-2 inches. Add onion, garlic cloves, bay leaf, salt and vegetable oil.  Secure lid, ensuring the pressure release valve is turned toward sealing and pressure cook on high for 45 minutes. Then let sit and naturally release another 15 minutes. Release any remaining pressure.
  2. After the natural release is done, remove lid and remove bay leaves and large onion chunks. Drain beans into a colander that is placed over a large bowl to capture the bean juice. You will use some of the juice when sauteing the beans. Do not rinse the beans. 
  3. The next step can be done back in the Instant Pot or in a large pot on a cooktop. Put the inner pot back into the Instant Pot and turn on the saute mode. When hot, add lard (or olive oil if using). When the lard is mostly melted, add the cooked beans, cumin, garlic salt, onion powder, and oregano plus  ½ cup of the reserved bean juice and stir well. 
  4. When well-combined, smash the beans with a potato masher or large spoon until you get the desired consistency, adding more liquid as needed.
  5. Serve in all your favorite Mexican dishes or as a side dish topped with shredded cheese. 

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 148Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 629mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 5gSugar: 1gProtein: 5g
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