Slow Cooker Refried Beans

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Refried beans a favorite at our house, since they are easy to grab to make a quick and easy dinner.  Mexican food always sounds good, but as you probably know, restaurant meals can be terribly high in calories. So more and more I am trying to create my own dishes in a healthier fashion.


There are now fat free brands available at the grocery story.  Still, I like to know just what ingredients are included in a dish, so I decided it was time to try them for myself.  After comparing a number of recipes I came up with this combination.

These aren’t really refried, which makes them all the healthier.  This recipe is done in the crockpot, contains no fat, and makes enough to last our family a few months at least. They came out great!

It’s also one of those times the slow cooker is so handy.  I love to toss  ingredients in and forget about them.

When the beans had finished cooking, I removed them from the liquid right into my Ninja master prep professional blender.  Then I added a little of the liquid.  It didn’t take much, but you can make the beans as thin or thick as your family prefers.

To get the blend I prefer, I ran half the cooked beans through my Ninja (review link below) until fairly smooth.  Then I took half the remaining beans and ran them in the Ninja for 6 seconds.  I combined the remaining whole beans, the partially blended beans and the nearly smooth beans together for a combination of the textures.
You can use a potato masher if you prefer, adding a little more of the liquid to make it easier to blend.
It fills the entire crock pot, so count on having some left.  I kept what we would use right away then froze the rest in serving size containers.  You can use a sandwich size zip bag or a plastic container to freeze the beans.

I’ll be doing this again.  It’s less expensive and there is the major plus of knowing exactly what is in them.  Now we are ready for rice and beans or burritos, or whatever!  Try it out, and see if you don’t agree.

If you are looking for other recipes to accompany the beans, try my recipe for Cauliflower Enchiladas, Shrimp Burritos, Vegetarian Enchiladas with Soy Crumbles, or Cauliflower & Bean Burritos.  Don’t forget the Spanish Cauliflower Rice!  You can put together an entire Mexican feast easily with any of these popular choices.

Slow Cooker Refried Beans


Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 16 cups

  • 2 pounds dried pinto beans
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 - 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 10 cups hot water
  1. Soak beans overnight.
  2. In the morning, rinse, then pour into a large slow cooker.
  3. Stir in the onion, garlic and seasonings, then add water.
  4. Cook on High 4 hours.
  5. Reduce heat to Low for an additional 2 to 2.5 hours.
  6. Remove beans from liquid, mash or run through a blender until it is as creamy as you like.


The Ninja 

My review of the Ninja Master Prep Professional 

If you’ve read nearly any of my recipes, you will probably already know how much I love this little appliance.  When I think of all the blenders I owned before that so often disappointed me, I am extra glad I found this gem.  Seconds.  That is all it takes for most any task.  Few seconds at that.

The first time I used it was to chop onions.  I made the mistake of thinking it would need 15 seconds at least.  It didn’t!  6 seconds was enough for a rough chop.  Between the double blades that are much more effective than the  old style blender, and the top mounted motor, it is easier to use and far easier to clean.

If that isn’t enough, do check out my review on the Ninja.  It shows photos of its use, from grinding coffee beans to crushing ice, to blending frozen butter with flour.  It is amazing!

Brown and Cook Slow Cooker

I keep hoping my old slow cooker will break down so I can justify buying this new one!  I LOVE that you can use the removable  container to brown on the stove top, then set it in the slow cooker to do the rest.

Somehow when I have to brown meat in a separate pan first, I wonder why I don’t just cook it all the way in that pan.  This really eliminates that issue, making for a richer dish (with the crumbs and flavor that come from browning, plus making for such easy, one dish clean up.

It’s programmable besides.  The stoneware and the lid are both dishwasher safe too!  That is really everything I could want in a slow cooker!



Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Mystery Suspense Reviews .

Author: Merry

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