When I first saw Crock Pot Refried Beans making the internet rounds a while back, I got kind of excited. I mean, I’m a fiend for the Crock Pot, surely I’ve made that clear by now. But the first time they really truly landed squarely on my radar was when the wonderful Simply Scratch posted a great-looking recipe for them. And even though they look terrific, unfortunately, they have lard. No-go for a vegetarian.
So I set out to make my own version of Crock Pot Refried Beans. My criteria was pretty simple: they must use dried beans, they must be super duper easy, and they must taste amazing.
Honestly? It took me about seven tries until I got these just right. I’d like to think that confession will inspire confidence in my recipe rather than doubt …
This recipe is so, so easy. While I’m usually all for fresh veggies, I love that this particular recipe takes no chopping – no peppers, no onions. Just a few whole cloves of garlic, a couple glugs of olive oil, some vegetable broth, and spices. And beans, of course.
Some versions of Crock Pot Refried Beans don’t include soaking time. This isn’t one. I’ve read that soaking beans is an important step in reducing the gas-causing compounds, and, well, I’ve found that to be pretty true. So I’m a bonafide always-soaks-beans kinda gal. Besides – it takes, like, two extra minutes of hands-on time to soak. Okay, and a tad more planning. Totally worth less discomfort and, um, you know. Noise and stuff.
So. First, I soak the beans in the Crock Pot overnight. In the morning, I drain and rinse the beans, then return them to the Crock Pot and add the other ingredients.
Then they cook. 8 hours or so.
Then I break out my immersion blender and blend the heck out of them. And then I let them cook in the Crock Pot, uncovered, for another 30 minutes or so to thicken up and get even more refried-ish.
And then there you have it. Creamy, perfect, frugal, oh-so easy refried beans. Now you can make tostadas. Or tacos. Or just eat a bowl straight up with some cheddar cheese melted sprinkled on the top. That, my friends, is the perfect snack.
You can also freeze them. I measure cups into zipper bags, label them, flatten them, and throw them into the freezer. Then I can just pull one out whenever I want a snack or we decide we want some super-easy tostadas for dinner.
So there ya go. Refried beans in the Crock Pot with no lard, no chopping, and hardly any work. Vegetarian, vegan, healthy, delicious. These easy Crock Pot Refried Beans are a happy new staple around here.
Oh, and here’s a little cost comparison for giggles.
- 1 pound of pinto beans = 6 cups of refried beans = $1.50 (roughly $1 per pound of beans + 50 cents for other ingredients)
- 3 15-ounce cans of vegetarian refried beans = $4.50 (assuming a decent price of $1.50 per can)
- Homemade from-scratch refried beans only cost 33% of what canned beans cost – a 66% savings!
I love saving money – not to mention knowing exactly what goes into my food.
Oh, and the Crock Pot. Gosh, I love my Crock Pot.
Easy Vegetarian Crock Pot Refried Beans (without Lard!)
- 1 pound dry pinto beans
- 3 cups vegetable broth + a little more for thinning (if desired)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4-5 medium cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 fresh lime (optional)
- Rinse beans under water and pick through, discarding any weird broken bean pieces or other debris. Place beans in a 3-quart or larger Crock Pot and fill Crock Pot with water to about 2 - 3 inches above the beans. Cover and let sit overnight, or for at least 8 hours.
- Discard soaking water by pouring beans into a colander. Rinse beans. Return beans to the Crock Pot.
- Add vegetable broth, olive oil, garlic, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, and salt.
- Cook on low for 8 - 10 hours, until beans are cooked through.
- Turn off Crock Pot and remove lid to allow beans to cool a bit so that they're safer to handle. Using an immersion blender, blend beans to desired consistency (you might like your beans to be 100% smooth, or chunky with a few beans still left whole). A note on liquid level: Crock Pots can vary, so if before blending, the liquid is still above the level of the beans, you may want to skim a little off and reserve the liquid for possibly thinning later on. Mine cook down and end up at the perfect consistency with exactly 3 cups vegetable broth, and I don't need to remove any of the liquid before blending.
- Turn Crock Pot back on to low and let pureed beans sit and cook for another 30 minutes or so. This will help the beans to thicken up and the flavors to develop.
- Taste and add additional salt if desired. I actually like to use 2 teaspoons kosher salt up front, but I like mine a bit salty. If beans are too thick, add additional vegetable broth and stir. If beans are too thin, let sit for a little longer and they will thicken up nicely.
- Squeeze half a lime over the top of the beans before serving, if desired.
- These keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 2 - 3 days, or you can keep them frozen for several months. They will thicken after sitting. Just thin with vegetable broth or water to the desired consistency.