Healthy Crock Pot Refried Beans

I have always loved Mexican-ish foods: tacos, nachos, burritos, oh my! So becoming a vegetarian wasn’t that difficult for me because you can substitute beans for meat in tons of dishes!

Last year, I was so sick of opening cans of refried beans. Is it actually vegetarian or is it made with lard? Which brand tastes the best? And then I would always add things to the beans to make them taste better. There had to be a better way and this is totally it!

When I first started making refried beans in the Crock Pot, I knew we would never go back. Yes, it does take more time and planning than simply opening a can, but it is so worth it!

I know exactly what is in the beans and can tweak it for my taste! This recipe can be made with just pinto, but I do like to mix black beans and pinto beans. It does make the color a little darker, but it is so delicious!

The beans can easily be frozen in freezer bags to keep on hand. The most important part of this recipe is removing extra liquid from the beans when they are done. If you leave to much liquid, the beans will be really runny. If you like it like that, perfect! If you like it a little thicker, make sure you pull off as much liquid as possible. You can always add it back in later if the beans are too thick or it is also a perfect base for soup!

Healthy Crock Pot Refried Beans


3 c Pinto beans (I usually use half black beans and half Pinto beans)

5 c water

4 c vegetable broth

1 onion, quartered

3 cloves garlic

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

½ tsp black pepper

Optional: 1 fresh jalapeno, sliced


  1. Rinse the beans in a strainer.
  2. Add all ingredients in crock pot, stir to until well combined.
  3. Cook on HIGH for 8 hours or until beans are soft. Add more water if needed. (I did not need to)
  4. When beans have opened and are soft, they are done.
  5. If there is a lot of liquid, remove as much liquid as possible. (The more liquid, the runnier the beans)
  6. Use an immersion blender to blend beans until desired consistency. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a potato masher to mash the beans. If beans are too dry, add liquid back into the beans or more water as needed. 

*I do like to save some of the whole beans, instead of pureeing them. They are so good to just eat plain or in burritos!

To freeze: Wait until cool, then put in a Ziploc freezer bag. Lay flat in freezer for easy storage.

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