How To Make Refried Beans In Crock Pot [COMPLETE GUIDE]

Refried beans, a staple in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, are a delicious and versatile side dish or filling. Traditionally, refried beans are prepared by cooking pinto or black beans and then mashing them with various flavorings. However, making refried beans in a crock pot simplifies the process, allowing the beans to slowly simmer and develop rich, deep flavors while requiring minimal hands-on effort. This article will guide you through the selection, preparation, cooking times, and troubleshooting of making refried beans in a crock pot, ensuring a perfect batch of creamy, flavorful beans every time.

Quick Answer: How Long To Make Refried Beans In Crock Pot

Making refried beans in a crock pot typically takes around 8 to 10 hours on low heat. This slow cooking process allows the beans to soften and the flavors to meld, resulting in a rich and creamy texture.



When making refried beans, the type of beans you select is crucial. Traditionally, pinto beans are the go-to choice for refried beans due to their creamy texture and mild flavor. However, black beans can also be used for a darker, earthier flavor. It’s essential to use dried beans rather than canned ones, as the slow cooking process in the crock pot allows the dried beans to absorb flavors and soften to the perfect consistency.


Selecting the right seasonings is essential to achieving the authentic, robust flavor of refried beans. Common seasonings for refried beans include salt, cumin, chili powder, garlic, and onion. Additionally, some recipes call for bay leaves or epazote, a flavorful herb commonly used in Mexican cuisine. The selection of seasonings should be based on personal preference and the flavor profile you wish to achieve in your refried beans.

Additional Ingredients

While the basic refried beans require only beans and seasonings, some recipes may call for additional ingredients to enhance the flavor and texture. This can include diced tomatoes, jalapenos, or even bacon or chorizo for a meatier variation. When selecting additional ingredients, consider how they will complement the overall flavor profile of the refried beans.


Bean Soaking

Before beginning the crock pot cooking process, it’s essential to soak the beans. Soaking the beans not only reduces the cooking time but also helps in breaking down the complex sugars in the beans, making them easier to digest. There are two common methods for soaking beans:

Overnight Soak

  • Rinse the dried beans under cold water to remove any debris.
  • Place the rinsed beans in a large bowl and cover them with enough water to ensure they are fully submerged.
  • Let the beans soak overnight, or for at least 8 hours.

Quick Soak

  • Rinse the dried beans under cold water to remove any debris.
  • Place the rinsed beans in a large pot and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil and let the beans cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and let the beans soak for 1 hour.

After soaking the beans, drain and rinse them before proceeding with the recipe.


While the beans are soaking, prepare the aromatics such as onions and garlic, if they are part of your recipe. Finely dice the onions and mince the garlic, ensuring they are ready to be added to the crock pot once the beans are ready.


Measure out the seasonings and other flavorings according to the recipe you are using. This ensures that the flavor profile of the refried beans will be well-balanced when you begin cooking.

Crock Pot Cooking Times For Refried Beans

Low Vs. High Heat

When making refried beans in a crock pot, using low heat is recommended. Slow cooking allows the beans to soften gradually and absorb the flavors, resulting in a creamy and flavorful texture. Cooking refried beans on high heat can lead to uneven cooking and may affect the final texture and flavor of the beans.

Cooking Time

The typical cooking time for making refried beans in a crock pot is approximately 8 to 10 hours on low heat. This allows the beans to reach a tender consistency and absorb the seasonings, resulting in a rich and creamy texture. It’s important to avoid stirring the beans too frequently, as this can cause them to break apart and become mushy.

How To Make Refried Beans In Crock Pot

Step 1: Draining And Rinsing

After soaking the beans, drain and rinse them thoroughly under cold water. This step helps remove any excess starch on the beans and washes away the compounds that can cause digestive discomfort.

Step 2: Adding To Crock Pot

Place the drained and rinsed beans in the crock pot. The soaked beans should be covered with 2-3 inches of water in the crock pot.

Step 3: Adding Flavorings

Add the aromatics and seasonings to the crock pot. This typically includes onions, garlic, salt, cumin, and any other desired seasonings or flavor enhancers. If using additional ingredients such as jalapenos, tomatoes, or other vegetables, add them to the crock pot at this stage as well.

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Step 4: Slow Cooking

Set the crock pot to low heat and cover it with a lid. Allow the beans to cook for 8 to 10 hours, or until they are tender and can be easily mashed.

Step 5: Mashing

Once the beans are tender, use a potato masher or the back of a spoon to mash the beans to your desired consistency. For a smoother texture, you can use an immersion blender to blend the beans until smooth and creamy.

Step 6: Adjusting Consistency

If the beans are too thick, you can add a small amount of water or broth to achieve the desired consistency. Stir the beans well after adding the liquid and allow them to cook for an additional 20-30 minutes to ensure the flavors meld.

Step 7: Final Seasoning

Taste the refried beans and adjust the seasoning as needed. This is the time to add additional salt, pepper, or any other seasonings to achieve the perfect flavor profile.

Step 8: Serving

Once the refried beans have reached the desired consistency and flavor, they are ready to be served as a delicious side dish, filling for burritos, or topping for nachos.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Beans Are Not Softening

If the beans are not softening within the expected cooking time, it’s possible that the beans were old or had been stored for an extended period, which can affect their cooking time. In this case, you can continue cooking the beans for an additional 1-2 hours, periodically checking for tenderness.

Beans Are Too Watery

If the refried beans turn out too watery, you can rectify this by allowing the beans to cook for an additional 30-60 minutes with the lid off, allowing excess moisture to evaporate and the beans to thicken.

Beans Are Too Thick

Conversely, if the refried beans turn out too thick, you can adjust the consistency by adding a small amount of water or broth and cooking them for an additional 20-30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Adjusting Seasoning

If the flavor of the refried beans is not as robust as desired, you can adjust the seasoning by adding more salt, cumin, or other seasonings. Remember to add small amounts at a time, tasting after each addition to achieve the perfect flavor balance.

Making refried beans in a crock pot is a convenient and flavorful way to prepare this classic dish. By carefully selecting the right beans, seasonings, and additional ingredients, and following the proper preparation and cooking techniques, you can achieve a batch of creamy, rich refried beans that are perfect for enjoying as a side dish or incorporating into your favorite Mexican-inspired recipes. With attention to detail and a little patience, you can create homemade refried beans that rival those found in your favorite Mexican restaurant.

Achieving Perfect Texture

Refried beans are a popular Mexican dish that adds a delicious and creamy touch to any meal. Traditionally, refried beans are made by cooking pinto beans with seasoning and mashing them until they reach a smooth consistency. While the traditional stovetop method is effective, using a crock pot offers a convenient and hassle-free way to achieve the same great taste and texture.

One of the key factors in making refried beans is achieving the perfect texture. Refried beans should be smooth and creamy but still have a slight texture. The crock pot method allows the beans to cook slowly and gently, resulting in beans that are perfectly tender and easily mashable.

To achieve the desired texture, start by rinsing the pinto beans and removing any small rocks or debris. Then, place the beans in the crock pot and add enough water to cover them by about two inches. Set the crock pot to low heat and let the beans cook for about 6-8 hours until they are soft and tender.

Once the beans are cooked, drain them but reserve some of the cooking liquid. This liquid will add flavor and help adjust the consistency of the beans later on. To mash the beans, you can use a potato masher or a fork. Start by mashing the beans lightly, leaving some intact for texture. Gradually add the reserved cooking liquid until you reach the desired consistency.

Flavor Infusion

While achieving the right texture is crucial, the flavor of refried beans is equally important. By using a crock pot, you can infuse the beans with delicious flavors that will make them irresistible.

To enhance the flavor of the refried beans, start by adding aromatics such as chopped onions, minced garlic, and jalapenos to the crock pot along with the beans. These ingredients will impart their flavors to the beans as they cook slowly.

You can also add spices and seasonings to elevate the taste of the refried beans. Common spices include cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, and oregano. Combine these spices with the beans and aromatics at the beginning of the cooking process, and let them simmer together, infusing the beans with their savory essence.

For additional depth of flavor, you can also add a ham hock or bacon to the crock pot. These ingredients will impart a smoky and rich taste to the beans as they simmer. Remember to remove the ham hock or bacon before mashing the beans.


The aroma of refried beans cooking in a crock pot is simply mouthwatering. As the beans and seasonings simmer together, the tantalizing scents fill the kitchen, creating an inviting atmosphere.

The combination of onions, garlic, and spices infuses the air with a savory and aromatic smell. The slow and gentle cooking process ensures that the flavors meld together, intensifying the aroma further.

The addition of smoky elements like ham hock or bacon creates a wonderful scent that will make your kitchen irresistible. Imagine walking into a kitchen filled with the warm and comforting aroma of refried beans slowly cooking in a crock pot. It’s enough to make anyone’s mouth water.

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Cooking Techniques

There are a few techniques to keep in mind when making refried beans in a crock pot to ensure the best results.

First, make sure to soak the pinto beans overnight before cooking them. This step helps to soften the beans and reduces the cooking time. Soaking allows the beans to absorb water, which helps them cook evenly and become tender.

Second, take care not to overcook the beans. While it’s important to cook them until they are soft and easily mashable, overcooking can result in mushy beans with no texture. Keep a close eye on the beans as they cook and test their tenderness by gently pressing against one with a fork. If it mashes easily, they are ready to be drained and mashed.

Lastly, remember to adjust the seasoning and consistency of the refried beans as needed. The reserved cooking liquid can be used to thin out the beans if they are too thick. Additionally, taste the beans and add more spices, salt, or pepper if necessary to reach the desired flavor profile.

Crock Pot Tips For Refried Beans

To ensure the best outcome when making refried beans in a crock pot, here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind:

  1. Use a liner: Consider using a liner in your crock pot to prevent any sticking and make cleanup easier.
  2. Stir occasionally: Although the crock pot method is mostly hands-off, it’s a good idea to give the beans a gentle stir once or twice during the cooking process to prevent any beans from sticking to the bottom.
  3. Adjust cooking time: The cooking time can vary depending on the specific crock pot model and the desired tenderness of the beans. If you prefer firmer beans, reduce the cooking time slightly. If you prefer them softer, increase the cooking time.
  4. Be mindful of salt: Add salt towards the end of cooking, as it can make the beans tough if added at the beginning. Taste the beans and adjust the seasoning accordingly before serving.
  5. Freeze for later: Refried beans freeze well, so consider making a larger batch and freezing portion sizes for future use. This allows you to have homemade refried beans at your convenience.

Creative Crock Pot Refried Beans Recipes

While the classic refried beans recipe is flavorful and satisfying, there are also several creative variations you can make using a crock pot. Here are a few ideas to inspire your culinary creativity:

  1. Spicy Chipotle Refried Beans: Add chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to the crock pot along with the beans for a smoky and spicy twist. The heat and tanginess of the chipotle peppers will add a whole new dimension to your refried beans.

  2. Black Bean and Corn Refried Beans: Combine pinto beans with black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes in the crock pot. The combination of different beans and the sweetness of the corn will create a flavor profile that is both hearty and refreshing.

  3. Cheesy Refried Beans: Stir in some shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese into the mashed refried beans. Allow the cheese to melt and incorporate into the beans for a creamy and cheesy goodness that will take your refried beans to the next level.

  4. Vegan Refried Beans: For a vegan option, omit the animal-based ingredients such as ham hock or bacon. Instead, enhance the flavor with vegetable broth, smoked paprika, and nutritional yeast. The nutritional yeast will add a cheesy and savory taste to the beans.

  5. Refried Bean Dip: Make a creamy and flavorful dip by combining the mashed refried beans with sour cream, chopped green chilies, diced tomatoes, and some shredded cheese. Warm the mixture in a crock pot, and serve with tortilla chips or fresh vegetables for a crowd-pleasing appetizer.


Making refried beans in a crock pot is a simple and convenient way to achieve delicious and creamy beans with minimum effort. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you can master the art of making perfect refried beans. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in a dish that is bursting with taste and aroma. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or experiment with creative variations, the crock pot method will undoubtedly elevate your refried beans to new heights. So dust off your crock pot and get ready to savor the velvety smoothness and incredible flavors of homemade refried beans.


What Are The Ingredients Needed To Make Refried Beans In A Crock Pot?

The ingredients needed are 2 cups of pinto beans, 7 cups of water, 1 onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1/4 cup of vegetable oil.

How Long Do I Need To Soak The Beans Before Cooking Them In The Crock Pot?

It is recommended to soak the beans overnight for at least 8 hours before cooking them in the crock pot.

Can I Use Canned Beans Instead Of Dried Pinto Beans?

Yes, you can use canned beans instead of dried pinto beans. However, it is important to rinse them thoroughly before cooking them in the crock pot.

Do I Need To Stir The Beans While Cooking In The Crock Pot?

Yes, it is recommended to stir the beans every few hours while cooking in the crock pot to ensure that they are evenly cooked and don’t stick to the sides.

How Long Does It Take To Cook Refried Beans In A Crock Pot?

It takes about 8-10 hours on low heat or 4-6 hours on high heat to cook the pinto beans until they are soft and tender, and can be mashed easily to make refried beans.