Slow Cooker Refried Beans


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Slow Cooker Refried Beans are easy to make and turn out ultra-creamy with butter as the secret ingredient. Great as a side dish or alone!

This recipe for Slow Cooker Refried Beans is one of the first recipes I learned how to make in my slow cooker. It is such a great side dish, and it makes a ton of beans.

refried beans in a slow cooker with cheddar cheese and green onions on top.
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How to make Slow Cooker Refried Beans

slow cooker with pinto beans, chicken bouillon, yellow onion, garlic and cayenne pepper.

You will need these ingredients:

  • Pinto beans
  • Sweet yellow onion
  • Chicken bouillon cubes
  • Garlic cloves
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Water
  • Salted butter

My method to add an amazing caramelized onion flavor to the beans is to brown thick sweet onions slices in a skillet.

4 slices of yellow onion frying in a cast iron pan.

My mom gave me a vintage Mexican cookbook and it used this method for their refried beans and it really does add so much flavor.

browned yellow onion slice in pan.

Should I soak my beans overnight?

You do not need to soak your beans overnight. If you cook the beans long enough, they cook up perfectly tender.

If you are adamant about soaking the beans you can, and use this same recipe, the cooking time is the same.

pinto beans in a slow cooker with fried onions, garlic, cayenne pepper and chicken bouillon cubes.

How long to cook:

Cover and cook the beans on the high setting for 5-6 hours or on the low setting for 10 hours.

Adding butter to make refried beans:

I add a stick of butter to my refried beans for flavor. Slow cooker refried beans don’t actually get refried in a pan rather they just get blended up. Adding the butter gives the flavor of the classic stove-top refried beans without the mess and work of frying.

cooked pinto beans that have most of liquid drained off. Stick of butter on top.

How to make refried beans smooth:

For ultra-smooth beans, I recommend using an immersion blender. An immersion blender is a handheld blender that sticks down into the slow cooker and whizzes around pulverizing the beans. Note that I take out about half of the liquid from the pot before adding the butter and blending.

Don’t fret if you don’t have an immersion blender. The beans can be put into a regular blender and pulse until smooth or even easier use a potato masher and smash the beans right in the slow cooker.

pureed pinto beans in a slow cooker with chips and cheese on the side.

How to thicken too runny refried beans:

  • Leave the lid off and let the moisture evaporate off.
  • OR Make a cornstarch slurry with a small amount of cold water and cornstarch. Stir into the beans.
close up of refried beans in a slow cooker with wooden spoon in it.

Are your beans too thick?

Save the extra pinto bean broth from cooking, these juices are great for adding back into the beans and smoothing them out. If you did not save these, add a splash of water and stir.

creamy refried beans in a slow cooker with cheese and green onion on top.

If you happen to own two slow cookers, this recipe for Slow Cooker Refried Beans goes excellent with my Chicken Enchilada Casserole. If I am going all out, I will make this Spanish Rice Recipe from Lil Luna too.

Here are other great bean recipes here on the blog:

Want to make more magic in your crockpot? Stay up to date and subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on FacebookInstagramPinterest, Tik Tok, and YouTube.

pureed refried beans in a slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Refried Beans

4.83 from 52 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 10
Easy Slow Cooker Refried Beans with sautéed onions, garlic and butter to finish them off.


  • 1 lb. pinto beans
  • 1 sweet yellow onion
  • 2 Tbsp. cooking oil
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, (wait to add this at the end)


  • This is a no soak recipe! The beans cook up perfectly without soaking. If you feel you must soak the beans overnight you can still do this recipe, but the cooking time remains the same.
  • Slice the onion into 4 large slices. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat add the cooking oil. Add the onion slices and brown them on both sides.
  • Sort the beans, discard any rocks or dirt clumps. Rinse the beans and add them to the slow cooker. Add the cooked onions on top of the beans
  • Add the chicken bouillon cubes, garlic and cayenne powder. Pour over the water.
  • Cover and cook on HIGH for 5-6 hours or on low for 10 hours.
  • When the cooking time is done ladle off about half of the pinto bean broth, save this broth just in case you need to add more liquid back.
  • Add the stick of butter into the beans. Using an immersion blender blend the beans until smooth. If you do not have an immersion blender, you can mash with a potato masher. Add the reserved broth if the beans seem too thick.

How to Video

Sarah’s Notes

How can I make in an Instant Pot?
  • Using saute setting brown the onion in oil. Add remaining ingredients except for the butter. Cook on high pressure for 35 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. Follow the remaining instructions above.
Want to double this recipe?
If you have a 6-quart or larger you can double this recipe. The cooking time stays the same but be sure to keep the lid on the entire time.


Calories: 188kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 474mg | Potassium: 242mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 310IU | Vitamin C: 2.1mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition info is auto-generated. This information is an estimate; if you are on a special diet, please use your own calculations.

Made this recipe? Leave a comment below!

First Published 11/10/2013

Updated 06/09/2019

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  1. Michelle says:

    5 stars
    I made these for a party of 25, and wanted to give myself time to make sure they turned out ok, so I cooked them on low for 11 hours through the night (doubled the recipe) and the only modifications I made were I used only one stick of butter instead of two , minced garlic instead of whole garlic because that’s what I had on hand and threw in half a jalapeño (stem and seeds cut out). They were done at 6am the next morning and I used my immersion blender to blend them. I tried 3 spoonfuls and omg…they came out so good. I’m SO happy with them and excited to share them at my brothers 50th birthday taco bar party today!

    1. Sarah Olson says:

      These beans are SO good and I know everyone will love them at the party.

    2. Kris says:

      For the party of 25, was doubling enough? I am thinking about tripling it for a party of 60. Thoughts?