World’s Best Crock Pot Refried Beans

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I don’t know about you, but if I can make a big batch of a particular food item and freeze it in portions for later use, I will. This is one of those classic recipes where I do just that, because it makes a whole lotta delicious beans that the entire family loves (and double bonus – beans are cheap!). 

I freeze my World’s Best Crock Pot Refried Beans in these Tempered Glasslock Storage Containers. If you plan on also freezing your beans in portions, just make sure you only fill your container 3/4 full – that way the beans have room to expand when they freeze and won’t shatter the glass container.  

And whatever you do, don’t skip sorting through your beans. I’ve found several small rocks in my various bags of different beans over the years. Now just imagine biting down on a rock as you’re chewing…  I know, not good, right? It would probably result in an expensive trip to the dentist. So sort your beans! 

What’s your favorite way to eat refried beans? I prefer mine in a Grain-Free & Vegan Soft Tortilla quesadilla, with an all sheep-milk cheese (like a Manchego). I also like to eat them with rice, pulled pork, and homemade pico de gallo {wipes drool off of keyboard}.

I hope you enjoy this recipe!

All my love,
Megan (with a long E)

Crockpot Refried Beans by Allergy Free Alaska

World’s Best Crock Pot Refried Beans
Serves: a whole lotta beans
  • 2 pounds dried pinto beans, sorted & rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Water for soaking
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 8-10 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 jalapenos, seeded and diced (*optional - see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth for non-vegan)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2-2 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
  1. To the bowl of a 6-7 quart crock pot (this is the crock pot I own), add the rinsed and sorted dried pinto beans and the apple cider vinegar.
  2. Fill the bowl up, an inch from the top, with water and soak for a full 24 hours.
  3. Use a colander to strain the beans and discard the soaking liquid. Rinse with fresh water.
  4. Rinse and dry the crock pot bowl and add to it the soaked pinto beans, onions, garlic, jalapenos, dried oregano, ground cumin, ground black pepper, vegetable broth, and water (do NOT add the sea salt at this point, otherwise the beans will never soften).
  5. Place the bowl in the crock pot, cover, and cook on high for 6-10 hours or on low for 8-12 hours.
  6. When the beans are soft, turn off the crock pot and add the sea salt. Use an immersion blender to blend the beans to the desired consistency. Please note, the beans will appear to be runny, but will thicken up as they cool.
Recipe Notes from Megan
*Just a heads up to parents making this recipe for small children: Two jalapenos makes these beans slightly too spicy for my 5 year old, but perfect for my 9 year old. So please adjust the heat according to your family’s needs.

Q: Why do you soak your beans with apple cider vinegar? A: When you use an acid medium, like apple cider vinegar, during the soaking period it can help neutralize the enzyme inhibitors (phytates), which makes the pinto beans more digestible and nutrient-dense. Some might say ACV isn’t needed when soaking pinto beans, because they are relatively low in phylates, but I still prefer to use it.

Never salt beans prior to cooking, otherwise they will never soften; only salt beans once they are soft and cooked through.

 This recipe is linked to, Marvelous Mondays, Fat TuesdayAllergy Free WednesdayGluten Free Wednesdays,Waste Not Want Not Wednesdays, Frugal Day Sustainable Ways, Full Plate Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, and Gluten Free Fridays. 

This post may contain affiliate links which I may receive a small commission from (without any additional costs to you). The money earned from these commissions helps me maintain this website. Thank you for your support in this way!  


    • Megan says

      Hey Wendy!
      Funny you say that… I was just thinking this past weekend that I’d like to get another crock pot. Two could be very handy; I only have one! 😉

    • Megan says

      You’re so sweet; thank you Cassidy! Oh you have to try homemade! I definitely prefer them to canned, and love having a stash in the freezer to round out a quick meal. 😉

  1. Pat McGrady says

    Thank you for the website. It is amazing the amount of ‘stuff’ God has blessed us with in our lives.The photos of your daughters are absolutely beautiful, the husband is cute, too, but you have with God’s grace, blessed me and I thank you. Your comment that looking at you doesn’t show anything wrong hit home w/ me too. The neurologist told my husband and I “it’s all in her head”. Several months later, the GI specialist found celiac. It took about 5 years to get diagnosed, but I am getting better now. The adventure continues.
    Your site has shown me that all my fussing and complaining has not gotten me healthier, but has made me not want to be around me, either. I thank you for taking the time to share your life with me, through the site. Some of the recipes look yummy, too. I plan to try the beans today, I’ll soak them later this am. Why apple cider vinegar?
    Thank you for reminding me that God is in charge.

    • Megan says

      Dear Pat,
      Your note brought me to tears this morning. Thank you, ever so much, for blessing me with your comments and sharing your story. I’m so happy your GI specialist was able to finally diagnose you and give you the answers you so desperately needed! Praying your body continues to heal.

      When you use an acid medium, like apple cider vinegar, during the soaking period it can help neutralize the enzyme inhibitors (phytates), which makes the pinto beans more digestible and nutrient-dense. Some might say ACV isn’t needed when soaking pinto beans, because they are relatively low in phylates, but I still prefer to use it. 😉

      Big hugs to you from Alaska!!

    • Megan says

      Shirley, you are sweet! Thank you so much for the compliments! 😉 We can get sheep cheese at our local grocery store. It’s very expensive, and there are only 2 we can have, but I’m very thankful for them.

      Even still though… what I wouldn’t give to have some parm, havarti, smoked gouda, fresh mozzarella…. etc! ;D

  2. says

    Oh, I’m going to try that!

    I make batches of refried beans – I eat them with eggs, for either lunch or breakfast – but I’ve been cooking the beans first and heating and mashing them with seasonings second, before freezing them. This looks a lot easier! (And only one pan – he who does dishes won’t mind that… LOL)

  3. Leslie says

    So I made these beans this week and they are delicious! We’ve been enjoying them both as whole beans and blended smooth like refrained style. Mmmm yum! Thanks for sharing.

    • Megan says

      You’re very welcome, Leslie! Thanks so much for stopping by and letting me know you liked them. 😉 Have a great weekend!

  4. says

    These beans are absolutely delicious! Like others, I didn’t even bother blending them as they are just that good by themselves. Just a note, adding salt will not stop the beans from softening. I added salt in the beginning and the beans softened just fine. Thanks for sharing such a delicious recipe!!

    • Megan says

      Hi Julie,
      I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the beans! I’ve tried several times to make beans while adding the salt to them while cooking. Every time I’ve done it’s ruined the batch. The beans just haven’t softened, no matter how long I cook them. I still recommend waiting until the end to add it, BUT, to each their own. As long as you’re happy with the end result – that’s all that matters! 😉

  5. Ashton says

    I’m excited to try this recipe, it seems so much easier than how I have been making refried beans. Also, I love your bowl, where is it from?

  6. Gia says

    Hi Megan, I don’t have an immersion blender but would a higher end regular blender work? I hate to go and buy an immersion one just for beans. My mouth is watering looking at all of your recipes. :-) Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge!

    • Megan says

      Hi Gia,
      Yes, a regular blender would work out just fine! Just don’t fill it all the way up. Do it in batches and only fill it 1/2-3/4 full. Cover the lid with a towel, and then puree. If it’s too thick for your blender you can add more liquid, but that will mean a soupier consistency.
      :) You’re so welcome!

  7. Connie says

    Made these last night………..finished today……very easy. I cut in half for the first time, but will make the whole thing next time……I am eating healthy, non processed, so love this! Having taco salad tonight! thank you!

  8. Lauren says

    Sounds perfect for the Blood Type A and Genotype Teacher meal plans without the vinegar and jalapenos. Doing it all in one pot sounds great, however, I prefer to do a quick soak separately: Combine beans and hot water in a pot; bring to a boil and let boil for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and cover; let sit for 1 hour and drain. I suppose you could add the vinegar during this part, too. Anyway, I am going to make these: sounds like a great way to have the beans on hand for a vegetarian meal.

  9. Ashley says

    How long do these last in the fridge and in the freezer? It sounds like this is a boatload of beans! I’m excited to try out this recipe!


  10. Liz says

    I made these yesterday to have on hand in the freezer with a new baby coming. They are delicious! Full of nuanced flavor. I used two jalapeños, but I think they were a bit mild since it wasn’t spicy at all. Although I did leave out the seeds, so I might change that up next time. I have been using another recipe for years, but this one is even better. Thank you so much for the awesome post! As a side note, before I got an immersion blender I used a potato masher to get the “refried” consistency, and that worked just fine. It just leaves a bit more texture.


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