Slow Cooker Refried Beans

Slow cooker refried beans adapted by Our Best Bites from The Homesick TexanSo we have quite a few bean recipes on Our Best Bites–I mean, we’re not the beaniest blog out there, but I’ve come a long way from the newlywed looking at beans in the bean aisle, thinking I should buy them because they were dirt cheap but wondering what in the heck I would ever do with them. But one thing we haven’t had (until now) is refried beans, or even any pinto beans at all. And part of it is because this recipe is one of my FAVORITE recipes in my collection (and it’s not even mine, it’s from probably my favorite blogger cookbook, The Homesick Texan) and I felt like if I shared it, it would suddenly be less special to me or something.

One of the things that I find so amazing about this recipe is that it is SO simple and so cheap–I mean, the ingredients list is pretty sparse and things you likely already have in your refrigerator and pantry. And yet these are the most delicious refried beans I have ever eaten. This is just something everyone needs to learn to make so when payday is 3 days away or when you haven’t been to the grocery store in 2 weeks or when we’re in the throes of a zombie apocalypse, at least you’ll have something incredibly yummy to eat.

You’ll need 1 pound of dry pinto beans (rinsed and sorted for stones and shriveled beans), onions, garlic, a seeded jalapeno (which is notably missing from my pictures…my jalapeno was moldy and I had a kid with pink eye and another one cutting a canine, so I decided to forgo the jalapeno in order to not to subject the world to their delightfulness), vinegar or liquid from a jar of jalapenos or banana peppers, bacon drippings (or lard…or vegetable oil if you’re a vegetarian/vegan/not cool with saturated fat…but really, I mean bacon drippings), and salt to taste.

refried beans ingredients

Place the rinsed beans in a medium saucepan. Fill the pan with water so there’s 1″ of water covering the beans. Cover, bring to a boil, and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and drain the beans.

Place the beans the pot of a slow cooker and fill the pot with water so there’s about 2″ of water covering the beans. Add the jalapeno, 1 onion, peeled and cut in half, and 4-6 cloves of smashed, peeled garlic.

pinto beans in pot

Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours (high elevations may take longer, so plan accordingly).

When the beans are tender, reserve 1/3-1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and add the vinegar or liquid from the jarred peppers to the reserved liquid. Drain the beans, discarding the rest of the liquid. Place the beans (and cooked vegetables) in the jar of your blender. Add 1/3 cup of liquid and blend until the desired consistency is reached (I like mine pretty smooth), adding more liquid if necessary.

Mince the remaining 1/2 onion and 2-4 cloves of garlic. Heat the bacon drippings in a large cast iron skillet (if you have one) over medium heat. When the drippings are hot, add the onions and garlic and cook until tender. Add the bean puree and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently until the drippings and beans are incorporated and are light, fluffy, and hot. Salt to taste. Serve alongside Mexican food, wrapped in tortillas with cheese, or by themselves. Makes 8 1/2-cup servings.

Our Best Bites version of Homesick Texan's Refried Beans. Best. Ever.



  1. Sounds yummy! My sister makes a nearly identical recipe, but instead of adding the bacon grease or oil, she adds one package of low fat or non fat cream cheese and a little more salt or Suzy Q Santa Maria seasoning. The cream cheese gives you a wonderful creamyness like refried beans, but has less fat. I can’t even tell the difference, they are so good!

  2. I have a couple of questions too — I definitely plan to make this!
    1. I assume you don’t chop the jalapeno, just halve and seed it and put in?
    2. Do you discard the onion, jalapeno and garlic cloves after cooking? Or do they stay in and get blended up with everything else?
    3. Is there an advantage to using a blender rather than a food processor for blending?

    1. 1. Nope, don’t worry about chopping it.
      2. Just blend it in with everything else.
      3. You could totally use a food processor–the only concern is that you’re blending up 6 cups of beans and they’ll be semi-liquid when you’re done, so you don’t want them to leak out of the bottom hole, you know?

      1. Thanks!! I will have to see if my food processor is big enough — it’s way easier to get all the goodness out of it than my blender! But I appreciate the warning!! 🙂

  3. I’m sorry–I’m a little dense, too. Are we supposed to add the vinegar/pepper liquid to the reserved liquid that we’ve taken from the beans, or do we add it to the pot of beans that still have the majority of the liquid in them? These look really yummy. You guys never seem to run out of great recipes and fun ideas!

  4. I started following Homesick Texan’s blog a while back because you mentioned her in a post. This looks delicious!

  5. Ok I am confused! haha
    You said “reserve 1/3-1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and add the vinegar or liquid from the jarred peppers” so I will actually have 1/3-1/2 cup of liquid PLUS 2 TBSP of the vineger now mixed in a cup. From THAT mixture I remove 1/3 cup and add back to the beans that have been drianed?? Or am I adding the 1/3 cup liquid PLUS 2TBSP of the vinegar?

  6. Oh, Kate. I love how honest you are and how kind-hearted. I do that kind of thing, too, where I start to feel a kinship with something and don’t want to share it. But I’m glad you changed your mind and decided to do it anyway, because this looks delicious (and I have a bag of pintos in my cabinet and very little money in the bank). I hope they taste even better to you now that you’ve taught us how to make them, too :).

  7. Weird. You guys always seem to post either what I just ate, or what I’m planning on eating. Like, within a week of it being / having been on my menu. It’s uncanny. Anyway, I just made these two nights ago, pretty much the exact same recipe. They really are delicious! And they freeze really well. I always wonder what I’m going to do with so many beans, but I just freeze the leftovers in ziplock baggies and you can pop em out any time you need something fast. Just as fast as (and much tastier than) the canned variety.

  8. I was JUST thinking that I need to find a good refried beans recipe, instead of buying the cans at $1 each (crazy!). We’re having super nachos tonight…but shoot! my good ‘ol southern girls’ supply of bacon drippings in the fridge is out.

    (BTW the blog post formatting is wacky today- different font sizes, sentences pasted inside other sentences.)

    1. Okay, the weirdest thing is that I noticed it in the post, but when I went in to edit it, everything looked normal! I don’t think WordPress understands that it shouldn’t mess with me right now, haha.

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