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Refried beans topped with grated cheese and chopped petite tomatoes served in a cast iron skillet

Instant Pot Refried Beans

Homemade refried beans using dried pinto beans are easier than you think. With just a few ingredients and a little bit of elbow grease, you've got everyone's favorite side dish for Mexican food.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 42 minutes
Natural Steam Release 20 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 230 kcal
Author Adapted from Savory Spice Shop


  • 1 cup dried pinto beans sorted for misfits and rinsed
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 heaping tablespoon lard
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter divided
  • 1 small onion fine minced
  • 2 cloves garlic fine minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar packed
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Chipotle Chile Powder
  • 2 cups shredded cheese Montered Jack, or Queso Panela
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • Chopped cilantro to garnish


  1. Add beans to Instant Pot and cover with 8 cups of water. Add the scoop of lard.

  2. Close Instant Pot and set to pressure cook on high for 40 min. When finished, allow pressure to naturally release for 20 minutes before venting and removing lid.

  3. Reserve 1 1/2 cup cooking liquid before draining beans.

  4. In the meantime, In a large cast iron or oven-safe skillet melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Once the butter is starting to show bubbles, add minced onion, stirring often for 2 - 3 minutes.

  5. Add garlic, salt, brown sugar, cumin, and chipotle powder and cook for 30 seconds, or until lightly toasted and fragrant.
  6. Stir in cooked beans and 1 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer a couple of minutes to marry the flavors.

  7. Use a potato masher to mash beans into a chunky paste. Add more of the cooking liquid for a creamier texture.

  8. Add the lime juice, 1 cup of cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons butter and stir until combined. Top with remaining 1 cup cheese and place skillet under broiler for 1 to 3 min., or until cheese is melted, bubbling, and beginning to brown.

  9. Top with cilantro or chopped yellow and red petite tomatoes, or both. Serve as a side dish or with chips as a dip.

Recipe Notes

Serve as a side with rice, as a filling for tacos and burritos, or as a dip.

Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Refried Beans
Amount Per Serving (4 cups)
Calories 230 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 38mg13%
Sodium 779mg34%
Potassium 387mg11%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 441IU9%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 185mg19%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.