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Instant Pot Refried Black Beans

Thanks to the pressure cooker, homemade refried black beans from scratch are just an hour and some change away – not overnight! Delicious, healthy, economical and versatile, you’ll want to serve Instant Pot refried black beans over and over again!

Instant pot refried black beans in large skillet

If you follow a basically healthy diet, you no doubt are cooking a lot more than you used to. That’s probably why you’re here: you just purchased, or are considering purchasing, a pressure cooker, and you need recipes and guidance because you want to create healthy, delicious meals for your family.

One of my favorite holistic outcomes of a veggie-strong diet is that it gets people into the kitchen once again. That’s probably not everyone’s favorite outcome, lol, but it’s the natural reversal of western civilization’s trend towards the pre-packaged, over-processed convenience foods that destroy our health and well-being.

It’s worth noting — or, perhaps, warning — however, that the availability of processed vegetarian convenience foods grows every year, due in large part to major conventional brands gobbling up the small independents, who had won our hearts and wallets with their sweet packaging and pithy marketing, and introducing them to a larger, nationwide audience.

Good, in theory, but, as those monster brands bring their manufacturing and cost efficiencies to bear on these once visionary companies, the quality begins to break down, and we’re back to where we were before: foods loaded with additives and created through highly mechanized processes we would never consider doing at home.

I’ve watched the industry for a loooonng time, and it happens over and over and over again: a clean-eating brand is bought out by monster brand X, and soon, carrageenan and monosodium glutamate and high fructose corn syrup appear on ingredient labels (or don’t appear on labels, in some cases — remember the Kashi/Kellogg scandal?) where previously there were none.

That’s why you’ll find that food blogs like this one are plentiful: cooking at home is the best way to undo the ills caused by the food industry, and you’re joining an ever growing number of people seeking recipes to cook up, rather than convenience products to heat up.

Preparing black beans to cook in the Instant Pot

Now, on to the beans!

Before the Instant Pot, I never cooked beans from scratch. I confess: I’m just not that organized, lol. Stove top beans from scratch are a weekend thing (in my household, at least), and require an overnight soak that immediately causes a roadblock for the entire recipe. More than once did I have the angelic intent to cook up black beans from dried, only to discover the night before that I didn’t actually have enough beans on hand to even do the soaking. Assuming, that is, that I even remembered the soak in the first place.

But with the Instant Pot, homemade bean dishes need no pre-soak, and they go from dried to table in an hour. An hour! It hardly seems possible.

Refried black beans in a large skillet, topped with onions and cilantro

Now, I consider most canned vegetables and legumes (<< beans) to be okay choices (frozen is better). They're likely high in sodium, but are otherwise usually pretty decent, ingredient-wise, especially if you choose an organic brand. And the fact is, I used canned refried black beans for most of the years of my adulthood, and would continue to do so, if the Instant Pot hadn't entered my life.

Why homemade Instant Pot refried black beans are worth making

  • Most of the cooking time is completely hands-off, accomplished by the pressure cooker.
  • You can control the texture: do you like creamy refried black beans? You got ’em! Or maybe you prefer a little lumpy texture to it. Go lumps! The choice is yours. No matter the brand, I’ve always found canned refried beans to be sticky and weird (and sometimes come out of the can can-shaped, like cranberry sauce!). Not so with homemade.
  • You can boost the flavor however you want. I like to add epazote (a traditional Mexican herb used with beans), and cook the beans with onions.
  • It looks like it’s going to be a disastrous mess to clean up, but it’s really not. Black beans magically scrape right off of dishes and pans.
  • You can make just enough for dinner, or extra to portion out over the entire week.

Instant pot refried black beans

I usually land in the “make extra” camp: I love Instant Pot refried black beans in bean burritos and quesadillas, spooned on top of baked sweet potatoes, or alongside rice. They’re so versatile, and hang out happily in the fridge for several days.

In case you’re curious, I have two Instant Pots: the the 6 quart DUO and the 3 quart LUX mini. The 6 quart is perfect for small families or batch cooking and meal prep (e.g., making a big batch of beans or rice to freeze). The 3 quart is perfect for one or two people, for soup, baked potatoes, and hard boiled eggs. The 3 quart has a fairly small footprint, so it ends up staying on the counter a lot. Both of them are older models, but they work great, and are very affordable right now. I {heart} my Instant Pot, and I hope you will, too!

Karen xo

Instant Pot Refried Black Beans
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Instant Pot Refried Black Beans

Thanks to the pressure cooker, homemade refried black beans from scratch are just an hour and some change away - not overnight! Delicious, healthy, economical and versatile, you'll want to serve refried black beans over and over again!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Instant Pot refried black beans
Servings: 8
Calories: 140kcal
Author: Karen Gibson


  • 1 1/4 cups dried black beans about 8 ounces picked over for debris
  • 3 cups water or vegetable broth plus extra for sauteeing
  • 1 onion minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried epazote or 1 sprig fresh (optional, but delish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Hatch chilis
  • kosher salt


  • Add the beans, liquid, 1/2 of the onions, garlic, and herbs to the Instant Pot container. Close the lid and seal the vent. Set for high pressure for 40 minutes (if using an Instant Pot model with the Bean/Chili setting, use it instead and increase cooking time to 40 minutes). When cooking is complete, let pressure release naturally, about 15 minutes. (If it goes longer than that, you can finish with quick release.)
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth (or 1 tablespoon oil) in a large skillet (cast iron, or enameled cast iron recommended) over medium heat until simmering. Add the remaining onions and Hatch chilis, and saute until soft, about 8 minutes.
  • Drain the beans in a large sieve, reserving the cooking liquid. Add the beans to the skillet and mix thoroughly with the onions. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 10 minutes.
  • For chunky refried beans, use a potato masher to break up the black beans to your desired consistency. Add small amounts of the cooking liquid as necessary. (Make sure you're using a skillet with a surface that can take metal tools if your masher is metal.)
  • For smooth and creamy, restaurant-style refried beans, transfer the contents of the skillet back to the pressure cooker pot. Add 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid, and use an immersion blender to smooth out the beans. Add more liquid, a little at a time as necessary, until the beans reach your desired consistency.
  • Sprinkle a 1/2 teaspoon of salt over the beans and mix well. Taste, and add more salt as needed, a pinch at a time.


Calories: 140kcal
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.

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Recipe Rating

Fran Andersen

Wednesday 5th of August 2020

Very very good. So easy and the taste is exceptional. The only thing I did different was I added 2 Tbsp of bacon grease. Your recipe gets a 10 score from me. **********


Monday 10th of August 2020

Thanks, Fran! :D

Trisha Morgan

Monday 15th of July 2019

These were perfect, exactly how I like them! A little onions, some chiles. Not too smooth, not too chunky. I love that homemade beans are so easy in the insta pot!