21 June, 2020

DIY, in the kitchen. A guys approach to the best instant pot refried beans.

I know, I know, I have been away from the blog for quite some time. Sorry about that. I've had far too much life going on, and what not work, or family time I have had wrapped up, has been invested in my Youtube channels, so the blog got neglected. Heck even my channels got kind of neglected. 

Anyway, my Fathers Day treat as it were, is for one of my favorite meals, however my wife is terrified of the pressure cooker, so I figured since I was doing that, I would share with you the recipe and some thoughts. Enjoy!

Having been raised with a serious DIY ethos, it should come as no shock to anyone that my DIY includes cooking as well. And I am actually known to be a very good cook by my friends. I often get asked for certain dishes once folks try them. Yes I have had some duds, but I also have had some real winners. And some of them, not all of my secrets, I will share with you here.

One of my biggest issues over the years has been just the amount of time and effort some dishes take to prepare, so I tend to be a fan of time and labor saving devices in the kitchen. Enter the Instant Pot.  I bought ours a few years ago honestly, with the main intention of being able to jam a whole frozen chicken in it with some broth, sprinkle some easoning on the outside and cook the thing for dinner should we forget to prepare or even thaw anything for dinner…

I have been struggling with various Instant Pot recipes, many of the recipes I find online are either horrid, or I am just too dumb to get it right, so I often end up with wasted food (money) or just a disappointing meal. It would seem that many folks just aren’t all that forthcoming with good recipes, or they are just bad cooks that share lousy recipes.

The BEST Instant Pot Refried Beans (I have found yet).

My beautiful wife and I are Texans, her a native, and myself blessed by God to be here in my adult life, and as such we tend toward Tex-Mex cooking. One of the items that used to be a shortcut for us was always a let down, canned refried beans. Even the best of them are just, meh…

Now with most of the Tex-Mex dishes we love, substandard refried beans won’t do, and we have tried so many different recipes, with so many miserable failures, that when we found one that was “close enough” and modified it to our tastes, the results ended up being delicious and more importantly, repeatable!  We use these as a side dish for Tamales, and while we know not authentic, in tacos and fajitas, and on weekends, with Migas con Barbacoa… I’ll post up a recipe about Migas later.


Before I give you my recipe, I need it to be clear, I am assuming you know how to safely operate an instant pot, a hand / immersion blender, and know what the consistency of refried beans should be. It is very difficult to describe in writing, so I am trusting you just know this.

Now do you want to get on with the recipe?

Prep Time. 5 min.

Cook time. 45 min.

Post cook processing time. 15 min.

Total. 1hr 5 min.

Yields approximately 4.5 cups.

Serving size .25 cup

Calories per serving. 21.3


Tools and equipment needed.

  • Hot pads or oven mitts.
  • Instant Pot, you can use other brands, but I don’t know the controls on them, make your own adjustments. I have written this with the Instant Pot IP Duo 60 6qt model in mind, make your adjustments accordingly.( NOTE: If I did not already own the IP Duo 60, and was in the market for an instant pot, I would give the 8 quart DuoCrisp some serious consideration as it adds air fryer, and with the right accessories, dehydrator functionality https://amzn.to/3ehvMDD)
  • Immersion Blender. Otherwise known as a hand blender, or stick blender. You can use a handheld potato masher as well,  the idea is to smash the beans smooth and mix with the remaining liquids.(https://amzn.to/3hKaiS9)
  • Measuring cups and spoons.(https://amzn.to/3hNBK1d)
  • House power, generator, solar power with inverter, whatever it takes to reliably power your instant pot. (For those of you new to my Blog, I deal with Camping a lot. This recipe can be done in the camper, IF you have power).
  • 5qt stainless steel mixing bowl and a stainless steel colander that fits inside of that.
  • Clean fork.
  • Sealable glass bowls to serve and store. The 2 cups of beans when done will slightly more than double in volume when done. Consider storing in a 4 cup container and using the rest when they first come out!

  • 2 cups dried pinto beans sorted and rinsed. (sorted means to insure there are no bad beans, and no foreign matter in their midst that sometimes happens).
  • 1 tsp natural sea salt.
  • 3 Tbsp Fiesta Brand Extra Fancy Pinto Bean Seasoning. (https://amzn.to/3enncmW)
  • 3 Tbsp strained bacon drippings.
  • 7 cups water
  • 3 – 4 bay leaves


  • Take the inner liner from the instant pot and fill up with fresh, cool water to the 7 cup line. Return liner into Instant Pot.
  • Using the colander if not already rinsed, rinse the sorted beans, shake dry and pour into instant pot.
  • Add pinto bean seasoning, bacon drippings, salt, and bay leaves.
  • Put lid on instant pot, and set vent control to the pressure / non venting setting.
  • Plug in instant pot, and set it on the Bean / Chili setting. Adjust the cook time to 45 minutes.
  • Let the instant pot go through its cycle, and come down on pressure on its own. I believe the manual calls that naturally depressurize.
  • Once depressurized, typically at the 55 minute mark, remove the lid, and with a clean fork pick out the bay leaves.
  • Take the mixing bowl, place colander inside.
  • Using the hot pads / oven mitts, CAREFULLY remove the liner with the beans / liquid mixture and pour into the colander. Replace the instant pot liner.
  • In one motion, lift, let the liquid drain just so that it isn’t pouring out, dripping is okay, move the colander to the instant pot and pour the beans back in. This should have retained just enough liquid, but set the mixing bowl with the liquid just in case you need some to thin the bean mix out a touch.
  • Using the immersion blender, blend beans until smooth and creamy texture. If the final mix is too thick, slowly add no more than ¼ cup of liquid if not less at a time and mix until you come up with the right consistency.
  • Serve with your favorite Tex-Mex dish as an ingredient, or as a side dish itself with maybe cheese and onions…

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