Restaurant-Style Slow Cooker Refried Beans

Why are refried beans so good at Mexican restaurants and so NOT good when you buy them canned at the grocery store? It’s because any truly good Mexican restaurant makes their own refried beans. Homemade refried beans made from dried pinto beans are not only leaps and bounds tastier than their canned counterparts (though I can hardly even make this comparison in good faith), they are insanely economical. For just a few dollars, you can make enough delicious beans to last your family for quite a few meals. 

This recipe for restaurant-style slow cooker refried beans really couldn’t be more simple and hands-off. Throw together the ingredients in the morning and leave them to cook while you’re at work, and you’ll come home to a wonderful-smelling kitchen and super yummy beans that taste great in burritos, tostadas, tacos, or on the side of your Mexican favorites. Don’t buy canned beans. Make them yourself, and your family will thank you.   


1 lb. dry pinto beans, rinsed

1 onion, peeled and quartered

6 cloves of garlic, smashed

1 serrano pepper, quartered

2 tsp. cumin

2 Tbsp. olive oil

8 c. chicken broth or water 

Salt and pepper

Place all ingredients in a large slow cooker (except for the salt and pepper). Set to high and cook for 8 hours or low for 12 hours. 

Drain the beans in a colander (reserving about a cup of the water) and place them back into the slow cooker. Using an immersion blender, blend until the beans reach your desired consistency. If the beans are too thick, add some of the cooking water until they are just how you like them!

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or store in an airtight container for later use.

Leave a Reply