Refried beans via the crockpot


Poor refried beans – always an after thought in a mexican meal served at my house, dumped out of a can and reheated.  Then untouched by mostly everyone.  But I felt they had a greater potential that was just not tapped into by the kinda dog food looking canned products I have used in the past.

This recipe provides you a velvety, delicious accompaniment and ingredient to whip up some quick healthy meals with.  And it freezes well (which is good because it makes a boatload of beans!).  So divide it up among some freezer bags and stash them away for later.

Idea: I smeared a layer of this on a tortilla, placed that in a pan over medium-low heat, topped with grated monterey jack cheese and another tortilla.  Cooked until bottom side turned a little golden brown, flipped, and this was a very well received toddler dinner.

Idea: Warmed up tortilla’s filled with layer of beans, rice, cheese, avocado, squeeze of lime and sriracha.

Idea: in a bowl with cheese, avocado and squeeze of lime on top of it. Perfect along side tacos.

Idea: Defrost some chopped spinach, drain and mix into the beans for some green action.

Since this makes such a huge batch, I found it difficult to add the proper amount of salt to the initial cooking batch to have it taste the way I wanted it to.  Whenever you use it, please give it a nice sprinkle of sea salt or kosher salt before consuming.  It will really wake up those delicious beans.

Refried beans via the crockpot


  • 1 bag of dried pinto beans
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and roughly chopped up
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 Tablespoons butter - room temperature
  • sea salt and pepper


  1. You need to soak the beans the night before - so dump them into the crockpot before heading to bed (take a peak when you do and pull out any funky looking beans, etc) and cover with water - you want the water to be a few inches higher then the beans. Keep crockpot unplugged of course - just soaking.
  2. In the morning, drain and rinse the beans, cover again with same amount of water and put on high for 5-6 hours. Test a bean to make sure it is easily crushed with your fingers or a fork. Either scoop the beans out with a slotted spoon, or carefully remove insert and with a colander set over a large bowl in your sink, drain them. You want to save some cooking liquid in case you have to thin out beans when pureeing.
  3. In a large pan add the oil, heat it up over medium-high heat and then add the onion. Cook until it starts to soften and turn translucent. Add the garlic and chili and cumin and stir together. Keep cooking 2-3 more minutes, stirring to ensure nothing burns.
  4. Into a food processor add the onion mixture and the drained beans, butter, few grinds of black pepper and 2 teaspoons sea salt. Puree until smooth - if it is not smoothing out well, add some of the cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time.
  5. This makes a large amount - I divided it up into bags and froze a large portion of it for later.


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