Spicy Refried Beans (Stovetop or Crockpot)

Homemade refried beans–easy, easy, easy! Basically, just dump pinto beans into a pot and simmer in water for a few hours, then add a few spices and salt and voila!

Seriously, it’s that easy.

Okay, so you have to blend it, too. Still easy.

The beans taste quite bland until enough salt is added, so don’t ignore this ingredient. However, add it gradually until the desired taste to suit your buds.

I sauteed finely chopped onions and minced garlic to enhance flavor in addition to the salt. I also sprinkled on some cumin and added some red pepper and paprika to kick up the spiciness. Next time I make this I might try simmering in chicken or veggie stock to see how that impacts the flavor.

Originally, I made this in the summer for the Mexican-themed party we had. Simmering 5 cups of beans makes waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much refried beans for 15 guests! Guess what we ate for days and days and days…

I did go for variety, though, by making a batch of 7-layer dip, tostadas, and refried bean taquitos with the mega leftovers. And I even packed some of it in a Ziploc bag and froze it, which tasted just fine once thawed. Now that was a happy discovery, for it means I can still make large batches and freeze most of it for later use.

Spicy Refried Beans (Stovetop or Crockpot)

Printer-Friendly Version


  • 2 1/2 cups dry pinto beans
  • 3 quarts water (9 cups for crock pot method)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 cup water
  • salt to taste (use 5 tsp. for crock pot method)


  1. Rinse the dried beans in water, making sure to get rid of any dirt.
  2. Add beans to a Dutch oven or large pot and cover with water–about 4 inches above the beans.
  3. Cook the beans for 2 1/2 hours by bringing the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook covered. Check periodically to make sure water isn’t completely absorbed; otherwise, beans will burn. For crock pot, combine all ingredients and cook on high for 8 hours.
  4. Once beans are cooked, drain and reserve excess water.
  5. In a large skillet, add olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onions along with the red pepper flakes, paprika, cayenne pepper, and cumin for about 5 minutes. Add to drained beans along with 1 cup of the reserved water. Using an immersion blender or a food processor, blend beans until desired consistency, adding more water as needed.
  6. Season with salt as needed (unless you included salt in the crock pot). It will take 2 or more tbsp.
  7. Serve with your favorite toppings: diced tomatoes, grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, guacamole…

Yield: about 6 cups

SOURCE: adapted from What’s Gaby Cooking and The Curvy Carrot and Real Mom Kitchen