‘Refried’ Beans in the Slow Cooker

Earlier this year I discovered Amy’s Organic Refried Beans, quite possibly the best tasting canned refried bean there is.

But my love affair was cut short when I added up how much my new indulgence was costing. $4 per 14 oz (398 ml) can times three cans a week equals a little too much of the family food budget spent on canned beans.

So I set out to create a homemade version of these amazing refried beans. I started out with a basic slow cooker refried beans recipe and then kept tweaking it until I achieved my desired taste. I haven’t done a side-by-side comparison with Amy’s refried beans but based on ‘tastebud memory’ I think my recipe is pretty close.

I usually make this with non-organic ingredients but you could easily make an organic version.

One of the things I like best is that there is no need to pre-soak the beans. Not that it’s hard to do so, but it’s just one less thing to have to plan ahead for.

Slow Cooker ‘Refried’ Beans Recipe


  • Dried pinto beans, 1.5 cups
  • Dried black beans, 1.5 cups
  • Onion, 1 large
  • Red bell pepper, 1 medium to large
  • Jalapeño pepper, 1 medium (optional)
  • Crushed garlic, 2 tbsp
  • Tomato paste, 1 can (14 fl.oz / 398ml)
  • Vegetable broth, 6 cups

Coarsely chop the onion and red pepper and add to a 4-quart slow cooker along with the dried beans.

Seed and finely chop the jalapeño pepper. I highly recommend wearing rubber gloves when you do this. For medium spiciness, use 1 jalapeño, for mild use half or none.


Add the jalapeño, garlic, tomato paste and vegetable broth and stir well.

Cook on high for eight hours.

Turn off the slow cooker and let it sit for an hour. This will allow the beans more time to soak up the liquid.

Transfer to a pot and mash with a potato masher until creamy. Any residual liquid will blend in with the beans as they are mashed.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours + 1 hour
Yield: 7 cups


This makes a large batch of refried beans. I usually freeze half, then use the other half in various recipes. You can make burritos, a layered bean dip, nachos, serve it along side stir-fried vegetables or beside eggs at breakfast. There’s something magical about the combination of refried beans and a runny yolk.

How do you like to serve your refried beans?


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