Pressure Cooker Refried Beans

It seems like everyone’s going back to basics these days, and these pressure cooker refried beans fit the bill! They’re so much tastier than those canned beans, and easy, too! Creamy and filling, they’re perfect in or alongside all your favorite Mexican dishes!

Bowl of refried beans with tortillas in the background.


Onions and Garlic

The power couple of deliciousness, amiright?? Onions and garlic aren’t just delicious though! They are excellent for heart health. Garlic and onions are part of the allium family, well known for properties such as lowering cholesterol, lowering stroke risk, and having an overall protective effect on the heart. They are high in antioxidants, which is the likely source of their health effects.

Garlic can have a blood thinning effect in larger quantities, though. A property worth knowing about if you are taking blood thinning medication.

Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are the traditional bean used in refried beans. You can also use black beans or, presumably, any other bean you want. Another type of bean may affect the cooking time if the size is much different from pinto beans.

Legumes like pinto beans are important to include on a heart healthy eating plan. Many studies have been conducted on their health benefits. They are known to help decrease blood cholesterol levels, and consuming ½ cup a day is associated with a 38% lower risk of having a heart attack. Another study found those who consume legumes 4 times per week have a 22% lower risk of heart disease than those who eat less than one per week.

Homemade Vegetable Broth

I make my vegetable broth from kitchen scraps and keep it in the freezer in 2 or 3 cup portions. That makes it easy to use anytime I need it, quickly.

Making my own also means I have complete control over how much salt is in it – which is none. You can get the recipe here, or look for a vegetable broth with the lowest amount of sodium at the store you can get.

Herbs & Spices

Herbs and spices are concentrated sources of antioxidants, and are essential for adding tons of flavor to most dishes. Especially when you need to reduce the amount of sodium you consume.

Blue bowl filled with refried beans, with tortillas and salsa in the background

How to make refried beans in a pressure cooker

Using a pressure cooker makes these refried beans easy. Start by using the “saute” mode to saute some chopped onion and garlic in a bit of oil – until you can smell the garlic.

Once fragrant, add all the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Tighten the lid and set the pressure cooker to 45 minutes on high.

Allow the pressure to natural-release for 25 minutes before manually releasing any remaining pressure. Drain the beans into a bowl to reserve the cooking liquid, and return the beans to the pot.

Use an immersion blender to semi-puree the beans (to whatever consistency you like), adding some of the reserved cooking liquid a bit at a time. I ended up using a little under a cup of liquid, but I like my refried beans firmer. Add as much as you need.

Taste it. If you feel like it needs a little salt, add it now.

This recipe freezes well, too! Measure out 1 1/2 cups and put it in a freezer container or zipper bag. That’s the amount in a can of refried beans, so now you can simply thaw and use any time you need!

Bowl of refried beans on the top of the picture, with a pot of cooked pinto beans on the bottom with an immersion blender in them.

If you’re looking for recipes to use these refried bean in or beside, check out these related posts! And if you make Pressure Cooker Refried Beans, be sure to let me know in the comments!

Close up of a bowl of refried beans
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Pressure Cooker Refried Beans

These refried beans use basic ingredients and are cooked in a pressure cooker for a much quicker version of the classic side dish!

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Finishing time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 15
Calories 113 kcal
Author Laura Yautz


  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • ½ Large Onion, chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 lb Dry Pinto Beans, rinsed and sorted
  • 4 cups Water
  • 3 cups Homemade Vegetable Broth (or Low Sodium Vegetable Broth)
  • 1 ½ tsp Oregano
  • 1 ½ tsp Cumin
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne, or to taste (optional)
  • Salt to taste


  1. Add oil to pressure cooker, and heat on Saute. Add onion and garlic, and saute a few minutes, until fragrant.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients, and stir to combine.
  3. Seal the pressure cooker, and set to 45 minutes, on high.
  4. Once the timer ends, allow the pot to naturally release pressure for 25 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure.
  5. Drain the beans, reserving the liquid.
  6. Return the beans to the pot. Use an immersion blender to roughly puree the beans, adding the reserved cooking liquid to achieve the desired consistency. Alternatively, you can use a food processor or potato masher instead of an immersion blender.

  7. Taste and add minimal salt, only if needed.
  8. Measure into 1 ½ cup portions to freeze.
Nutrition Facts
Pressure Cooker Refried Beans
Amount Per Serving (0.5 cup)
Calories 113 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 0.2g1%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.5g
Sodium 3.9mg0%
Potassium 430.6mg12%
Carbohydrates 19.5g7%
Fiber 4.8g20%
Sugar 0.9g1%
Protein 6.6g13%
Vitamin C 2.4mg3%
Calcium 36.1mg4%
Iron 1.6mg9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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