Instant Pot Refried Beans Are Pretty Darn Good

A recipe so good and so easy that I am writing it before I forget what I did.

The resulting recipe using Olive Oil is Vegan, but don’t let that scare you, I served mine with some grated cheese on top in the Mexican Style.  It’s a mild dish, and I am estimating that it’s about 150 calories per serving cooked with Olive Oil, More if the spices and onion are cooked with animal fats which is more traditional.

Personally I recommend making this recipe with double the spices and onions.  I found it as written bland and not authentic.  Doubling it was much closer to what I expected from my favorite Mexican Restaurant.

Finally, I used a potato masher to get the texture right but these beans were creamy like a good yogurt when I was through.

Soaking them in Baking Soda really is necessary, if not required!   It also drastically reduces the gas you get when you soak them in Baking Soda. 

So here’s what to do with all those beans you impulse bought to help you through any emergencies!

Ingredient list:

  • Dry Pinto Beans – 8 oz/1/2 pound/225 grams
  • Water – 3 cups for soaking plus about 3 cups for the Instant pot.
  • Baking Soda – 1/2 teaspoon once for the soak, once for the Instant pot.  It makes your beans extra silky soft.
  • Oil or Fat for cooking – Bacon Grease, Lard,  or other rendered fats are traditional.  I used a deeply green Olive Oil because I just didn’t want that many calories added back to a light side dish.
  • Onion – 1/4 to 1/2 Minced Fine
  • Garlic – 1-2 cloves Minced Fine
  • Cumin – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Oregano – 1 Sprig or 1 teaspoon dry.

First, soak your beans: Yes, the night before.  Do it, you will be thankful.  This will give you creamy beans that will seem to melt as you prepare them.

  • For 8 ounces/ 1 cup dry/ 225g of pinto beans, add them to a large bowl with 3 cups of water.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of Baking Soda and swirl the water around.
  • Cover the bowl and ignore overnight.
  • I waited 12 hours.

Second – Cook your beans in the instant pot:

  • Drain the beans – you will notice that the water is brown and somewhat syrupy.
  • Rinse the beans thoroughly.  I gave mine three passes through the water until clear.
  • Drain the beans again.
  • Add beans to the Instant pot.
  • Add enough water to cover the beans plus at least a thumbnail extra over top.
  • Close and seal the Instant Pot.
  • Cook on the Beans Button or 25 minutes plus Natural Release.

Third – Prepare your spice mixture:

  • 1/4 onion diced quite small.
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic to taste.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry Oregano or 1 sprig fresh.
  • 1 Bay Leaf.
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cumin.
  • Salt to taste.

Fourth – After Natural Release, Cook your Spice Mix

  • Drain the Instant Pot of the water.
  • Remove the Beans and set them aside.
  • Add your oil or fat to the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  • Turn the Instant Pot to Saute and allow it to warm the oil to cooking temp (shimmering).
  • Add the Spice Mixture and Onions to the pot.
  • Cook the Onions well until they become clear to translucent.

Finally add the beans to the instant pot and stir.  At this point the beans will be very tender.  I did not need a mixer to get the proper silky texture to my Refried Beans.  Authentic Refried Beans do tend to have some unbroken beans in the mix.  If you are unsatisfied with the smoothness, blast it with a stick blender or potato masher until you are.

Made with Olive Oil, this should be well under 200 calories per serving for a quarter of the batch with a healthy portion of cheese on top.  Your Mileage May Vary!