Recipe | InstaPot Refried Beans

IMG_4951I’m a vegetarian and my boyfriend is omni. He’s a good sport though. I’m not afraid to make him some meat, if he wants, but most of the time he happily obliges to eating vegetarian while at home. Because, you know, who is going to complain when someone is cooking a full meal (besides children, obviously)?


On days where we just don’t feel like going out, we’re in a hurry, or I don’t feel like cooking we turn to old faithful—refried beans. No joke, we could easily go through 2 cans a week for just two of us. They’re fairly inexpensive and shelf-stable, so it’s just a backup we have stocked at all times.


But the sodium isn’t awesome. And do we reeeeaallly need to keep buying five cans at a time? It seems so silly. We’re addicted to burritos, but there had to be an even better way.


I got an InstaPot for Christmas. Holy hell, that thing is awesome. It’s kinda big, but you can use it as a slow cooker as well. So, put your Crockpot on a shelf in the basement and keep this all-powerful tool in its place.


You can get an Instapot here. (yes, it’s an Amazon Affiliate link, so I get a tiny portion if you buy from my link.)


I was scared to make these beans. I know they should be easy like everything else in the InstaPot, but I had seen so many people say they couldn’t get beans right. I decided to channel my days as a science major and consider it an experiment.


Guess what? They came out awesome (don’t let that terrible photo fool you). I did end up buying an immersion blender beforehand (because I’ve been wanting one and it was time), which really helped out.


Just follow the instructions below. Obviously, you can get creative with it—add jalapenos, chiles, more or less cayenne powder, etc.


InstaPot Refried Beans

  • 2 c. dried pinto beans (1 lb.)
  • 2 c. low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (I use no-chicken broth)
  • 5. c. water
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped (or 3 t. squeeze garlic)
  • 2 t. salt
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • 1/4 t. cayenne (optional)
  • 3 t. onion powder (or half of a fresh onion, chopped)
  • 3 T. olive oil (or bacon drippings/lard if you’re not vegetarian)
  • Sliced jalapenos (optional and use your judgment on spice level)


*when done cooking, I add more salt, garlic salt, and onion powder to taste


1.) Rinse beans and pick through to find shriveled or discolored beans. Also, check for debris and stones.

2.) Transfer beans and all ingredients to the InstaPot (or pressure cooker of your choice). Stir well.

3.) Place lid and ensure the vent is in the “sealing” position. Press the “bean/chili” button and add 15 minutes so the total cooking time is 45 minutes.

4.) When the pressure cooker is finished, leave the beans in for 20-25 minutes, then manually release the pressure.

5.) Using a colander over a large bowl, drain the beans and save the liquid. Put beans back in the InstaPot and use an immersion blender to smooth them out. Add as much as the bean liquid as necessary to get the desired texture. Alternatively, if you don’t have an immersion blender, you can put them in a blender. Just let them cool a bit first.

6.) Taste blended beans and add more seasonings to taste.


Beans will hold up in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. You can definitely freeze some if you want, too.



Sam works in advertising/marketing by day and moonlights with startup consulting, dating profile overhauls, and event planning. She lives in Columbus with her two dogs and spends her free time writing, drinking coffee and local beers, getting zen with yoga, catching a good concert, and laughing with friends. She doesn't give a shit if you're offended by lewd language, so #dealwithit.

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