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Slow-Cooker Refried Beans


If you remember, you can soak the beans in a large bowl of water in the refrigerator overnight (make sure they’re covered by several inches of water). In the morning, discard the soaking liquid and follow the recipe as listed. If you forget, or don’t want to soak them, proceed as directed below.


  • 2c dry pinto or black beans, picked over*
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 6c water
  • optional: chili powder, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, cumin, cider vinegar, lime juice, jalapeno, diced green chiles, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce


  1. Place the beans, onion, and water in a slow-cooker (make sure it has at least a 3quart capacity). Cook on high 3-4 hours until beans are tender and soft enough to mash.
  2. Remove beans and onions to a bowl (reserve liquid). Mash with a potato masher or puree. Stir in cooking liquid as needed to reach desired consistency. Keep in mind that the beans tend to thicken as they cool, so you may want to thin them out slightly. Stir in any desired flavorings.
  3. Beans will freeze well, so for storing leftovers, place in freezer-safe containers in the freezer until ready to use.


*when you “pick over” dry beans, you’re pulling out any broken beans or small pebbles.

**If you’re working with very old beans, I recommend pre-soaking overnight and they will take longer to get soft, more like 5-6 hours.