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Refried beans in a serving bowl with a spoon dipped in, garnished with fresh cilantro and small bowls of salsa and guacamole nearby.
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5 from 2 votes

How to Make Refried Beans

Learn how to make refried beans using an Instant Pot for creamy and authentic Mexican side dish. Perfect for serving with all your favorites!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 264kcal
Author Yumna Jawad


  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt divided
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  • Rinse the dried beans and remove and discard any debris. Place beans in an Instant Pot along with the water, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika and ½ teaspoon salt. Set the lid on the pot with the valve set to ‘seal’.
  • Set on manual high pressure and cook for 30 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then manually open the valve to release the remaining pressure. Drain the beans, reserving 2 cups of the bean broth, and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, but not brown, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
  • Add remaining smoked paprika and salt, then add cooked beans. Add 1 cup of the reserved bean broth and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans begin to break down. Using a potato masher, mash the beans directly in the pot. Add ½ cup more bean broth at a time and continue to cook until the beans are creamy, 3-5 more minutes
  • Remove from heat and enjoy.


Storage: You can store leftover refried beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. To reheat, add a little water or broth to the beans and heat them in the microwave or stovetop.
Mash them up. A potato masher or immersion blender will help you achieve the perfect creamy texture for your refried beans.
Add de-seeded diced jalapeno when sauteeing the onions. it adds a nice roasted pepper taste to the onions and really makes the refried beans stand out.
Don’t skip the bean broth! Reserving that liquid is the best way to incorporate the most flavor into the beans while mashing them. Start with ½ a cup until you reach a somewhat loose and creamy consistency. You may not need all the broth, but it’s better to have more than not enough!
Use different beans. You can use black beans instead of pinto beans for a slightly different taste and texture.
Garnish with fresh herbs and toppings. Top your creamy refried beans with fresh cilantro, chopped onions, or crumbled queso fresco will add flavor and texture to the dish.
Add more flavor. Season your refried beans with a smoky, spicy kick with cumin and chili powder. Additionally, using vegetable broth instead of water for cooking the beans will add a depth of flavor to the dish. You can even use the vegetable and bean broth to add creaminess and infuse more flavor into the final product.


Calories: 264kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 309mg | Potassium: 819mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 130IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 3mg