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Instant Pot Refried Beans | Pressure Cooker & Cooktop

Move over black beans, my Instant Pot Refried Beans are here to stay! “Frijoles refritos” (the original Spanish term) are tasty and filling comfort food and so easy to make.

Refried Beans in bowls overhead

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. 

And the beans are good for you! Yes, this is an easy, healthy recipe you and your entire family will love.

As a side, it goes along well with any Mexican dish. Use your refried beans to stuff your quesadillas or taquitos. 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 hooked. You will never look at canned versions ever again. This creamy and flavorful recipe is easy to make in record time thanks to the electric pressure cooker.

Do You Have to Soak the Beans For Instant Pot Refried Beans?

Nope! That’s the beauty of this Instant Pot refried beans recipe! You do not need to soak them first. 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. 

Watch the FULL video tutorial here on my YouTube Channel

YouTube Video Thumbnail showing beans

And I invite you to subscribe to my YouTube Cooking show here if you are interested in more quick and easy tutorials!

Are Instant Pot Refried Beans Actually Fried?

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.” 

Overhead of pinto beans and onions in a pressure cooker

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. (But no lard if you’re sticking with a vegetarian or vegan diet!)

Which Type of Beans Should I Use?

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 with savory herbs or seasonings. Therefore, there is no good reason why cannellini or chickpeas should not make yummy refried beans as well. (Check out my Instant Pot Chickpeas recipe here.)


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. (My personal favorite!)

Cooked Instant Pot Refried Beans overhead with spoon

You can also cook them in vegetable or 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. But stick with olive or avocado oil if you’re wanting vegetarian or vegan Instant Pot refried beans.


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.

How Do You Make Instant Pot Refried Beans from Scratch? 

  1. Rinse your beans and place them into your pressure cooker’s inner pot. (see full recipe below)
  2. Add six to eight cups of water or broth. Add your garlic cloves, salt, onion, bay leaf, and vegetable oil. 
  3. Secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 45 minutes. Allow the beans to sit for 15 more minutes for a natural release before releasing any remaining pressure.
  4. Take the bay leaves and onion chunks out, and then drain your beans. Sauté them with oil or lard, add seasonings, then mash.
Smashed Refried beans vertical with masher in pot

Tools Used In This Recipe:

This Instant Pot will make easy authentic refried beans that are creamy and loaded with flavor. And be sure to check out my free Top Ten 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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