Re-fried beans, much like carnitas, are usually cooked twice (boiled and then fried). Your pressure cooker can infuse flavor while boiling; so, let’s switch this classic recipe around to capture more flavor in less time and (best of all) with fewer pans to wash!

Traditionally, to make re-fried beans a cook would either use canned, boiled, or pressure cooked beans.  Then,  saute them with aromatics and lightly fry everything before mashing and serving.Instead,  we’re going start with the aromatics: saute’ them in the pressure cooker before cooking the beans – infusing them with flavor from the inside out.

I deviated a tad from this classic Mexican recipe by adding my favorite aromatic – parsley stems. They add a very light green note that cannot be achieved by simply sprinkling its leaves for garnish. Also, I have to confess to using whole-milk plain yogurt instead of sour cream for garnish – you get the same tang for less fat (40% versus 4%). Ole’!

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
3 L or larger  none    7-10 min.    High(2)  Natural

4.3 from 7 reviews
Pressure Cooker Re-fried Beans
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Use pinto, borlotti or cranberry beans (or a mix of all three) following the same cooking time in this recipe. I didn't have enough borlotti to make the recipe, so I topped-off my measuring cup with cranberry beans. The oil in this recipe can be substituted with any fat - including lard or bacon fat!
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley (or cilantro), stems and leaves divided and chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 2 cups dried borlotti (or pinto) beans, soaked
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. In the pre-heated pressure cooker, on medium heat without the lid, add the oil and saute the onion, parsley stems chipotle and cumin until the onions just begin to soften.
  2. Add the beans and water.
  3. Close and lock the lid. Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker reaches pressure, lower to the heat to the minimum needed to maintain pressure. Cook for 7-10 minutes at high pressure.
  4. Open with the Natural release method - move the pressure cooker to a cool burner and wait for the pressure to come down on it's own (about 10 minutes).For electric pressure cooker, disengage the “keep warm” mode or unplug the cooker and begin counting 10 minutes of natural open. Then, release the rest of the pressure using the valve.
  5. Remove a heaping spoonful of beans (for garnish) and sprinkle the rest in the cooker with salt, and mash using a potato masher to the desired consistency.
  6. Serve sprinkled with whole beans, parsley and an optional dollop of sour cream (or plain whole-milk yogurt).


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  1. Haha I will make sure too! Thank you both for the heads up!

  2. Can you use canned beans instead?

    1. Yes. But it won’t taste as good.

  3. Hi! I have made these a few times, and every time I think I either measure out 2 cups of PRE-SOAKED beans, or just use the 2 cups of dried beans (that are always bigger after using the quick soak method) – so now I decided to ask, do I measure the 2 cups of beans when they are dry OR after they have been pre-soaked? I hope this makes sense. :)

    1. Jessica, I’m glad you asked – this is a common point of confusion for many cooks. Most recipes calling for dried beans give you the dry bean measure. So for example for this recipe: measure two cups dry, then soak!

      You’ve been doing it right. : )



  4. You can also use more liquid than with this recipe (for example 1 lb pintos to 8 C water), cook then under pressure as directed, then reserve the liquid to a skillet and reduce over high heat to 1 or 2 cups and add in when you mash the beans. This concentrates the flavor from the aromatics AND ensures that there is plenty of water to cook the beans fully to hydrolyze the indigestible sugars.

    I find that adding a little chicken broth instead of the salt boosts the flavor, and I crisped a couple of rashers of bacon (for the non-vegetarians) in the oil before adding the vegetables. (I had a BLT afterwards!).

  5. I know you addressed this in a previous comment but I am still a bit confused.
    Is this recipe for pre soaked beans from the beginning or dry?

    1. Never mind! I just re-read and saw it calls for soaked. I missed that somehow repeatedly! Sorry. :)

      1. Aha! Now my bad for not reading ahead!! Hahaha!



    2. Janine, it says on the ingredient list that you measure the beans dry and then soak them.

      You can do it! : )

      If you haven’t already, take a look at my Pressure Cooking School Bean Lesson:



  6. If I have no choice but to use rinsed canned beans, is there a difference in cook time?

    1. Yes, you would just need to warm them through. But I have not tested this recipe with canned beans – my guess would be 5 minutes.



      P.S. 1 can strained beans = 1 cup dry beans

  7. Would love to try this recipe in my Instant Pot Ultra 6 qt. However, I’m new to pressure cooking. How do I convert this for my IP?

  8. Hi Laura
    I want to make two modifications to the recipe, and am wondering how I could do this.
    1 – I want to double or triple the size. Any changes for this?
    2 – After I soak my beans, I want to boil them first so that I can scoop off and remove the white foam that comes up on top (have been recommended to this so the beans are more digestible).
    How do I first boil the beans? After initial boiling like this, would I adjust the cooking directions at all?
    Thanks so much

  9. I absolutely love this recipe! It comes out every time and is full of flavor! I am now spoiled and cannot go back to store bought canned refried beans!

  10. I am learning to cook again at the age of 60 due to severe brain trauma that has left me with memory troubles. I’m married to a Hispanic, but couldn’t remember how I did the refritos. I also had to relearn how to use the pressure cooker as I couldn’t remember how to attach the lid and how to get it to pressure at first. It was quite the experience!

    I want to thank you for this recipe as I’m picky about my beans. I forgot to soak them, but just cooked them longer with 6 cups of water when I realized what I had done. They came out beautifully and so tasty! We were all surprised to have good refritos again as that is something we thought I probably wouldn’t be able to relearn to any of our satisfaction, much less my picky taste for them.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  11. Hi Laura – Tried this recipe . . first time using my Instant Pot – your recipe is published in the Instant Pot recipe book. Would love to see more information . . specifically step #3 – “says lower the heat to minimum needed to maintain pressure. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes at high pressure” doesn’t say how to actually do that with the Instant Pot controls? Have you supplied this info for anyone else? Frustrated in Auburn! Thanks for any help you can provide!

  12. I’m very new to Instant Pot and this was my first recipe. I was confused by the range of cooking times,so I decided for 7 min and did natural release and the beans were cooked. However, I looked at some of the other pinto bean recipes for soaked beans on the internet and they all pretty much called for 15 minutes on high. I’m really confused as to why this recipe worked at 7 minutes. Is there some thing I am not looking at that makes the cooking time in this recipe so much less?

    1. Susan, cooking times can vary from manufacturers and recipe writers. The cooking times on the hip pressure cooking website are based on my personal testing of each ingredients with the goal of achieving the best results in a minimal amount of time. While others guesstimate on the longer side to be sure, I have actually tested nearly every bean in the cooking chart many times until I found the right cooking time.



  13. will this recipe come out if I cut it in half…… or is there something else that I should do

    1. Yes, you can cut this recipe in half without changing anything else (i.e. cooking time).



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