Crockpot Refried Beans

Crockpot Refried Beans
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What I’m listening to: Nothing Is Wasted, Jason Gray

I am a big fan of restaurant refried beans – the authentic, house-made variety. The kind that are steaming hot, creamy, and spread out on your plate, chasing after that rice. I am not a fan of canned refried beans – the thick globs of brown mush that taste more like a can than a bean. I’d rather have no beans than canned beans. Living in California definitely turned me into a bean snob. I admit it.

Every time I’m in a Mexican food restaurant, I order beans with my tacos or enchiladas. But when I used to make tacos or enchiladas at home, I would have to skip the beans. I missed them. Terribly. Finally, I learned how to make homemade beans. I’ve never looked back. They are so easy to throw in the slow-cooker (you don’t even have to soak the beans in advance) and they taste fantastic. This recipe is very forgiving – I’ve tweaked it all sorts of ways over the years. You can make spicy beans, cheesy beans, thicker beans for bean dip, thinner beans for a side dish or burritos. I’ve tried it with chicken bouillon or chicken broth. Cumin, no cumin. I’ve used fresh garlic and garlic powder. I’ve tried it with butter, lard (which is traditional), and I’ve made it several times without any fat at all, just using the juices from the pot to thin out the beans. I’ve mashed them with a potato masher, I’ve poured them into my Vitamix blender, and with this batch, I used my hand immersion blender. Use this as your base recipe and then, feel free to play around with it until you’ve achieved your ideal refried beans.

Crockpot Refried Beans

Yield: 10 servings

IMG 3473 Crockpot Refried Beans

Adapted from Allrecipes and Chef In Training

Ingredients

  • 3c dry pinto beans (black beans also work, if you prefer)
  • 9c water
  • 5 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1t garlic powder
  • 2t salt
  • half of a yellow onion, peeled, but left whole
  • 1/4c butter, melted
  • 1c milk
  • Enough reserved juices from the pot to achieve desired consistency

Instructions

  1. Place dry beans in the bottom of slow-cooker. Pour water over top. Add the bouillon cubes, garlic powder, and salt. Place the onion half right on top of the beans. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until beans are very soft and fall apart when mashed (if you undercook your beans, they will be grainy and difficult to mash).
  2. Remove the onion and drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Return the beans to the pot, add the melted butter and the milk. Blend with a hand immersion blender until creamy and smooth, adding reserved juices from the pot until desired consistency is achieved (more milk can also be added if you like them creamy). Note: the beans firm up as they cool, so make them looser than you think you need to. Serve promptly. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator.

Notes

For spicy beans, add fresh jalapeno to the pot. For cheesy beans, top with jack cheese after blending.

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 Crockpot Refried Beans

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31 comments
slickenuf
slickenuf

Love this recipe!!!!!  My husband says they are the best I have ever made, and I have tried a few different ones. I did read you shouldn't add salt till the last 2 hours, it helps to keep the beans soft.  I do add a can of green chiles and a teaspoon of cumin, 

HanaTian
HanaTian

My daughter made these yesterday to take to a pot luck and they were delicious! No more canned refried beans for this family!

Great, easy recipe.

Sassy2631
Sassy2631

Can I do this on high for 4 hours?

Pete Certain
Pete Certain

I used this again (for the 3rd time) last weekend to make a 6 layer bean dip for a party: Layer of beans, layer of cheese, layer of beans, layer of cheese, layer of beans, and finally.... a layer of cheese. I've been enjoying leftovers as nachos at work a couple days this week. Thanks again for this awesome recipe!!!

pastoralaska
pastoralaska

I made a double portion of these with black beans yesterday... Delicious. And so were my steak fajitas in the Optigrill. :)

Pete Certain
Pete Certain

I have been looking for something besides beef roasts with potatoes to cook in our slow cooker and this just might be it! The picture looks like you have eliminated the texture of the bean skin pretty nicely, can you see or feel them in the final product? You know how I just love the texture of plant skins ;-)

Susie Cruisie
Susie Cruisie

I made this today, my first-ever attempt at refried beans. Oh. My. Gosh. I moved from Southern California to Canada and after 15 years away I had forgotten what a bowl of creamy heaven it is to have the real thing instead of canned. They turned out perfectly and your recipe is easy to work from. I used pork bouillon since that's what I had, reasoning that Mexican cooks would use pork lard instead of butter. Omitted the salt since bouillon is so salty on it's own--but I should have trusted you, as I had to go back and put it in. I sprinkled some epazote onto the bowls I was serving, then topped with jalapeno havarti. (Monterey Jack would have been better but I can't always get it here.) I'll make this again and again, thanks so much for a delicious dinner! I have several more of your recipes printed to try--Apple pullapart bread for Easter Sunday!

MamaG
MamaG

I'm so excited to make this recipe--my first homemade beans! It's in the CP as I type. My problem is that I didn't get them in in time for dinner. My CP does run a little hot/fast so I'm wondering if I'll burn the beans if I turn the CP to high for an hour or so at some point during the day? Better do it early or later in the cooking process? Thank you!!

ruthieshepherd
ruthieshepherd

Hello! I just found your site through Pinterest. The crockpot refried beans one. I'll be using it today! I just had to stop in and share that I'm from Sterling. ;)   Aaah, home. I'm glad you are enjoying your new home. You'll have to stop by and say "hello" to my mom at Fred Meyer. She takes care of the kiddos there. :)  

DonnaAsbridge
DonnaAsbridge

Do you have any recommendation for a milk substitute? Is broth ok for vegan beans? Or is soy milk better?

Julia
Julia

I found you via google & I have your recipe simmering away in my crockpot right now. Thanks for sharing. They look yummy:)

Hygienejessie19
Hygienejessie19

I have a dumb question... When you say 1t is it a teaspoon or table??

Mary Zander
Mary Zander

Wow, these were perfect, just what my daughter and I have been try to make! I just added a little more garlic and a little less milk. Thanks so much!

ErinRobinson
ErinRobinson

Oh, DANG that looks good!  I love these so much that in restaurants I always ask for no rice and more beans.  I found out about crockpot beans three or four years ago and make them constantly, but I have never heard of using milk before.  Awesome!  I'll try that next time for sure.  Thanks.

Diane
Diane

I have fond memories of a Mexican restaurant housed in a warehouse in Salt Lake City.  Patrons walked past the kitchen on their way to the tables and were treated to a glimpse of the vat 'o beans.  They were smooth, delicious and so vastly superior to anything I had ever had previously.  I can't wait to try this recipe to see if I can duplicate!

Hannah
Hannah

You're beans look delicious! I cant stand the canned type either :) x 

ErinLibrarian
ErinLibrarian

I am so glad you have shared this with the rest of the world. We have never looked back either.

Laura
Laura

Looking forward to making these. I never utilize my Crockpot often enough, and I almost always have these things on hand. And, we certainly eat enough Mexican. Always black beans though, so this will be great! Thanks!

alaskafromscratch
alaskafromscratch moderator

You can try it, but I wouldn't recommend it; if the beans are undercooked at all, the texture of the refried beans (after blending) will be grainy. Hope this helps!

alaskafromscratch
alaskafromscratch moderator

Lol Pete! The texture entirely depends on how much you mash/blend the beans. For smooth beans, give them a good whirl in the blender and add more of the cooking liquid. This should smooth them out well for you. Good luck!

alaskafromscratch
alaskafromscratch moderator

@MamaG It should be fine if you turn it up to high. Just add more water if the beans start to dry out too fast. Hope they turn out well for you! :)

alaskafromscratch
alaskafromscratch moderator

@DonnaAsbridge I've made these without milk a few times and just used the cooking liquid from the pot to thin them out. They're not as creamy that way, but the flavor is still there. I don't see why soy milk wouldn't work as an alternative if you want that creaminess from the milk. Let me know how they turn out for you. Enjoy! :)

alaskafromscratch
alaskafromscratch moderator

Wonderful! Glad you found me. Hope you love these. 

Sassy2631
Sassy2631

These were amazing, my husband is Mexican and he approved. He devoured them. I will be making these often

Sassy2631
Sassy2631

Thanks, If they're not done all the way I will continue them. I've seen other recipes cook these in high to. I shall find out, lol. Thank you

Julia
Julia

 @alaskafromscratch I had to come back to tell you - these were THE BEST!!!! i've tried so many bean recipes that tasted so blah, but not these. THANK YOU THANK YOU!

alaskafromscratch
alaskafromscratch moderator

@MamaG Wooohoo! Thanks for letting me know how they turned out. :) 

MamaG
MamaG

@alaskafromscratch Mu husband said, and I quote, "These are the best beans I've ever had"! Major score! You rock! 

alaskafromscratch
alaskafromscratch moderator

You might have just made my day! I'm so glad you love these... I love them too! :) Come back soon. 

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