These Instant Pot Refried Beans are creamy and cheesy and sooo good! They’re made from dried beans and there’s no need to soak them – just dump, cook, mash and mix in the cheese and then Voila! The most delicious refried beans you’ve ever tasted!
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Ya’ll “Refried Beans” aka Cheesy Pinto Beans are so my jam! Thanks to a good friend and her authentic family recipe she passed on to me with a secret ingredient that makes them over-the-top amazing!!!
I’ve been making these mashed pinto beans on the stovetop and in the crockpot for more than 15 years. And today we’re getting all kinds of crazy and making them in the Instant Pot!!
These Instant Pot Refried Beans are ridiculously delicious, creamy and cheesy and full of savory yummy flavor with a velvety texture. Prepare yourself my friend… you’re going to fall in love.
So we’re all about Mexican food in our house. Huevos Rancheros happens almost every Saturday for brunch. It always includes these Cheesy Refried Beans, runny eggs and of course warm tortillas (or in my case crispy tostadas – ahhhh, I’m literally drooling on myself right now!).
I just never get tired of them.
To be honest these homemade refried beans are not really refried at all. They’re dried pinto beans cooked in the pressure cooker with onions, garlic and spices. Then drained and mashed with the addition of cheddar cheese and wait for it… evaporated milk!
Yesss – that is the secret ingredient.
And it’s the reason these refried pinto beans have such a luscious and velvety texture, and the most creamy and addicting flavor!
As you know refried beans aka frijoles refritos, are a classic Mexican/Tex-Mex staple. They make a tasty side dish or in my case the perfect topping for my Mexican Pizzas.
What can I say? Taco Bell’s got nothing on me!!
They are so delicious and versatile….
How to Serve Refried Beans:
- Serve them as a side dish at your next Mexican fiesta with some pork carnitas and an elderflower margarita!
- Spread them on tortillas, burritos, tostadas, enchiladas or tacos.
- Serve them as a delicious cheesy bean dip with tortilla chips or warm flour tortillas.
- Layer them with other delicious Mexican ingredients like guacamole, salsa, cheese, etc. and make a 7-layer dip appetizer – mmm!
- Or slather them on some tortilla chips with cheese and call them nachos!
Although I’m kind of an expert at refried beans, it required a lot of testing to get this Instant Pot recipe right.
You see I’m super picky about the texture of the beans. They should be soft and creamy and cooked ALL the way through. Annnd they should not be too dark or burned after they’re cooked.
I worked through all of these issues with these pressure cooker beans and I’m excited to report they are fantastic!
Traditionally, pinto beans are used to make refried beans. An interestingly enough they are the most popular bean in United States and Northwestern Mexico. When cooked they have a really smooth and creamy texture and flavor.
Allow me to share all my secrets with you…
How to Make the Best Instant Pot Refried Beans
Note that I used a 6 quart Instant Pot for this recipe.
- First, add olive oil to the IP and turn on the saute mode (more/high) for 1 minute. Then stir in the onions and saute for 4 minutes. Next add in the minced garlic, then saute one more minute. Now turn the saute mode off.
- Rinse your pinto beans and look through them to make sure there aren’t any bad beans or small stones in them. (Also, see note below about the beans).
- Add the dried beans, chicken stock, water, cumin, salt and pepper, then close the lid on the Instant Pot and set to 60 minutes high pressure. It will take 14-15 minutes for the pot to come to pressure.
- Next, allow the IP to naturally release pressure for 30 minutes. (Almost all the pressure will have been released at this time.) Then carefully release the rest of the pressure manually and remove the lid. Keep the IP on “warm mode.” (If you see any beans that are darker than the rest or that look burned remove them from the pot and throw them away.)
- Strain most of the liquid off the beans (about 3 cups) but don’t throw it away just in case you need it to thin out the beans (or use it for the base of a soup in the future!). Next, smash the beans using a potato masher. You can also use an immersion blender and blend the beans to your desired texture, but I prefer to leave mine a bit chunky with some beans left intact. Stir in ½ cup of evaporated milk and continuing mashing the beans for a more smooth and pureed texture. Add in a little more milk at a time if you feel like it’s too thick. (Note: You can always add more liquid but after they’re mashed you can’t really remove it.)
- Now add 8 ounces of cheddar cheese cut into 1-inch chunks, and more salt if desired. I like to leave some of the cheese intact when stirring it in. If the beans seem too thick add more evaporated milk or cooking liquid back into the beans to thin them out (or use the same when reheating – if you don’t devour them all in one sitting).
Some advice about your Instant Pot and dried pinto beans:
- Just an Instant Pot FYI – Every now and then you need to swap out the rubber pressure ring in your IP for a new one. This will ensure the device comes to pressure and keeps pressure more efficiently.
- To wash the beans, I like to use my hands and rub the beans together while running cold water over them in a strainer. This ensures that all the dirt comes off.
- Believe it or not, dried beans can get old. This will cause them to take longer to cook, and even stay tough and chewy no matter how long they are cooked. Dried beans are best used in one year. You can use older beans, but they won’t be as creamy!
And there you have it… all my best advice for making the most delicious cheesy and creamy Instant Pot Refried Beans!
I can’t wait for you to whip up a batch of these frijoles refritos and have your own Mexican fiesta!
How to Store, Freeze and Reheat Instant Pot Refried Beans:
- You can refrigerate these refried beans for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
- When freezing, allow the beans to cool completely, portion them into plastic resealable storage bags, and press them flat to save space in your freezer. They can last for up to 3 months in the freezer.
- To reheat the beans: add them to a sauce pan over medium heat with a little evaporated milk, chicken stock or the reserved bean broth and simmer, then serve.
- If the beans are frozen you can either allow them to thaw overnight in the refrigerator or warm them gently on the stove top with some additional chicken stock , evaporated milk or water. The beans will thicken as they cool so it will be necessary to use one of the liquids mentioned to reheat them.
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 14 ounces dried pinto beans, rinsed
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups water
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cubed
- **NOTE** I used the 6-Quart Instant Pot for this
- Add olive oil to the IP and turn on the saute mode (more/high) for 1 minute.
- Add the onions and saute for 4 minutes, then add minced garlic. Saute one more minute, then turn off saute mode.
- Add the rinsed beans, chicken stock, water, pepper, cumin, and 2 teaspoons salt, then stir.
- Close the lid on the Instant Pot and set to 60 minutes high pressure. It will take 14-15 minutes for the pot to come to pressure.
- After 60 minutes of cooking has completed, allow the IP to naturally release pressure for 30 minutes. Carefully release the rest of the pressure manually, then remove the lid. Keep the IP in "warm mode."
- Strain off AND RESERVE most of the liquid from the beans (it will be about 3 cups). Then use a potato masher to mash the beans. You can also use an immersion blender and blend the beans to your desired texture.
- Stir in 1/2 cup of evaporated milk. Mash the beans even more if you’d like. If you feel the beans are too thick, add a little more milk at this point.
- Add 8 ounces of cheddar cheese chunks and 1 teaspoon salt. I like to leave some of the cheese intact but also stir some into the beans until they are fully melted. If the beans seem too thick add more of the reserved cooking liquid back into the beans.
- Every now and then you need to swap out the rubber pressure ring in your IP. This will ensure the device comes to pressure and keeps pressure more efficiently.
- When rinsing the dried beans, I like to use my hands and rub the beans together while running cold water over them. This ensures any dirt or residual debris comes off.
- Cooking times can vary a few minutes either way, depending on
your pressure cooker, the size of the beans, and the age of the dried beans.
Serving Size1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving Calories 249Total Fat 13gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 32mgSodium 808mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 5gSugar 4gProtein 14g