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World’s Best Crock Pot Refried Beans

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

World’s Best Crock Pot Refried Beans

Yield: a whole lotta beans

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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 overnight.
  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.

Notes

*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.

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Deb

Saturday 3rd of September 2016

Can the beans be soaked overnight, or does it have to be a full 24 hours? Thanks!

Megan

Monday 5th of September 2016

Overnight is just fine - thanks for asking, Deb!

Liz

Thursday 3rd of September 2015

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.

Ashley

Wednesday 20th of May 2015

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!

Ashley

Megan

Thursday 21st of May 2015

Hi Ashley, I would say 4-5 days in the refrigerator and about 2-3 months in the freezer. ;) Megan

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