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These Instant Pot refried beans are easy to make from dried beans, without hours of soaking! They taste just like restaurant style: and they’re healthy too.

Instant Pot Refried Beans

Do you make your own refried beans? Alex and I buy canned for a quick fix, but we’ve also started making our own at home. Homemade refried beans taste so seriously good, it’s worth making them when you have the time! The Instant Pot is actually perfect for homemade refried beans, because it skips the soaking time! Just throw the beans in with some seasoning, and in 1 hour they come out perfectly tender. Here’s how to make Instant Pot refried beans.

Refried Beans made in a pressure cooker

How to make Instant Pot refried beans

Homemade refried beans taste so much better than canned! They can also be healthier than many canned versions. Many canned versions use lard, but this Instant Pot refried beans recipe has a healthy spin. It uses only 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil for an equivalent of two cans of beans. It results in beans that are so full of flavor, you’ll find yourself buying bags and bags of canned pinto beans!

The great thing about the Instant Pot is that there’s no soak time. Many methods for cooking dried beans call for soaking them overnight. The you’ll need to check the pot quite a bit to taste and see if the beans are done. But the pressure cooker method, it’s almost totally hands off! Here’s how to make Instant Pot refried beans:

  1. In the Instant Pot, place finely chopped onion, garlic, and jalapeño pepper. Add cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, water, and dried pinto beans.
  2. Pressure cook on high for 60 minutes.
  3. Quick release.
  4. In a large saucepan or skillet, melt butter or olive oil. Add the cooked beans and cook until thickened, then mash them down with a spoon or potato masher until the desired texture is reached.
Beans in Instant Pot

What type of beans for refried beans?

This Instant Pot refried beans recipe uses dried pinto beans, which is commonly used for refried beans in the US. As we shopped for this recipe, Alex and I found a lot of variation in the dry beans labeled as “pinto beans.” There are lots of different varieties, with a range of colors. Feel free to use any type of pinto bean you like!

You can also make refried beans using black beans. Feel free to use black beans in this recipe: just taste when finished and if the beans aren’t tender, pressure cook a few more minutes. Or, use canned: follow our Refried Black Beans recipe to make a quick and simple version.

What makes this a healthy spin on refried beans?

Refried beans can have quite a bit of added fat, and usually it’s lard. These Instant Pot refried beans are incredibly delicious without a lot of added fat. There’s just 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil added to 3 cups beans (equivalent of 2 15-ounce cans). Adding butter makes for a creamier overall consistency, so we’d recommend if you eat dairy. For a fully plant-based recipe, olive oil works too.

How to add flavor but still keep the recipe healthy? Onion, garlic, jalapeño, and spices! These ingredients are low calorie, but big on flavor. The cumin and smoked paprika add complexity and depth that make these beans seriously satisfying.

Bean dip
Try them in our easy Refried Bean Dip

How to serve these Instant Pot refried beans

If you need some suggestions, we’re here to help! Alex and I recently served these refried beans as a side to go with tacos on the patio, and they were superb. Here are a few more suggestions:

What’s an Instant Pot? Which do you recommend?

An Instant Pot is a programmable digital pressure cooker (Instant Pot is the brand name; Instapot is a slang variation). Here’s the 6 quart Instant Pot that we use: we’d highly recommend it! There are many other fantastic brands of electric pressure cookers. The concept is to cook foods at high pressure, which cuts down on cooking time (versus a crock pot or slow cooker, which is the opposite). If you need more inspiration, here are all our Healthy Instant Pot Recipes!

Instant pot refried beans

This Instant Pot refried beans recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free (using the olive oil option).

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Instant Pot Refried Beans

Easy Instant Pot Refried Beans

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: About 3 cups 1x


These Instant Pot refried beans are easy to make from dried beans, without hours of soaking! They taste just like restaurant style: and they’re healthy too.


  • ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ cups dried pinto beans
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil for vegan)


  1. Finely chop the onion. Mince the garlic. Remove the pith and seeds from the jalapeño pepper, then finely chop it.
  2. In the Instant Pot, place the onion, garlic, jalapeño pepper, cumin, chili powder, pinto beans, water and kosher salt, and give them a stir. Lock the lid and place the vent in the “Sealing” position.
  3. Cook on high pressure for 60 minutes: Press the Pressure Cook button (making sure the “High Pressure” setting is selected) and set the time for 60 minutes. Wait while the Instant Pot cooks. (Note: It takes about 5 to 10 minutes for the pot to “preheat” and come up to pressure before it starts cooking. During cooking, avoid touching the metal part of the lid.)
  4. Quick release: Vent the remaining steam from the Instant Pot by moving the pressure release handle to “Venting”, covering your hand with a towel or hot pad. Never put your hands or face near the vent when releasing steam. Open the pressure cooker lid.
  5. Melt the butter in large saucepan or skillet. Add the cooked beans and their liquid. Cook for 5 minutes until they thicken, stirring occasionally. Then mash with a wooden spoon or potato masher until the desired texture is reached. Remove from the heat and serve.
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Instant Pot refried beans, Refried beans, Pressure cooker, Instant pot

Looking for Instant Pot recipes?

Need more inspiration? Here are some of our best Instant Pot / pressure cooker recipes:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. I have been looking for a recipe like this forever and I am so happy I found yours! I ended up needing to cook mine for 70 minutes to get the beans soft enough after I tried 60 minutes, so that just might be a variation based on the brand of beans or my particular instant pot. I also didn’t add salt or do the final step of adding butter at the end because I do the nutritarian diet, so instead I just got out my immersion blender and blended them that way.

  2. We Love this recipe. I upped the spices some and added a dollop of salsa to the instant pot and 1/2 more in the frying pan when thickening and mashing. delious

  3. I always have to soak beans because my son digests them better. Would I change the cooking time in the Instant Pot for this recipe if I soak the beans first? BTW, I made this as printed (without soaking beans) and it is SERIOUSLY the BEST refried beans I’ve ever had, so I just have to cook these for my son to enjoy regularly. Thanks!!

    1. We haven’t tried it, but it would definitely be less. I’d try 30 minutes and then put the lid back on and cook a bit more if necessary.

      So glad you love it!!