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slow cooked and refried beans

I cannot believe this is the first year I’ve ever made beans from scratch. I think the conflicting information of soaking or not soaking, and the possibly overnight business made me say, not today on every day.

We went big with a bag of $1.99 beans this past Christmas Eve to go with our Mexican cravings and Tim’s Margaritas.

And again a few months later for the ladies. (Comments not recorded but very hilarious.)

And again and again since then.

Each of these times, the dish that keeps getting passed around is not the Margaritas or the slow roasted Pork, but the beans – and with it the begging question, what the heck is in these things?

Bacon fat.

Nitrate free and organic bacon fat if that makes you feel any better. But none the less, from the heavens bacon fat. And just like the french fries at V44, it makes all the difference.

It’s ridiculous.

Especially the refried way. All I can say is try it.

Beans for a side or refried.

shemadeitshemight | heatherbursch | beans, cilantro, onions, bacon fat

Unbelievably good slow-cooked pinto bean recipe

Whether you use pinto beans, black beans, or any of the methods listed below, you will end up with a bowl of the most delicious homemade beans to add to your tacos, tostadas, and rice bowls.
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  • 1 lb dried pinto or black beans
  • 2-3 tablespoons of bacon fat or oil of your choosing
  • 5 sprigs of cilantro
  • 1 white onion
  • 1-2 teaspoons of salt - reserved for the end!


Prepping the Beans

  • Dump the beans on a cookie sheet to pick out any little rocks or oddballs that can sometimes be in a bag of beans.
  • Optional: Soak the beans in a bowl of water to cover for an hour or overnight. Rinse the beans and then proceed with recipe. You don't have to do this, but it can make them easier to digest.

Stovetop Instructions

  • In a large pot pour in the beans, 2 1/2 quarts of water to cover, bacon fat, chopped onions and the cilantro stems tied with kitchen string. DO NOT ADD SALT! Bring this to a boil and then turn to low simmer. You want to keep the water moving while you cook the beans.
  • The beans should cook uncovered for 2 to 2 1/2 hours and up to an additional hour or so for dry unsoaked beans.
  • Add water along the way if the beans are not moving around in the liquid or seem to be drying and coming above the surface.
  • The beans are done when soft and mashable, so take a spoon and scoop a couple out, let cool slightly and taste test. If they don't mash in your mouth when you taste them, then keep it going. NOTE: At this point they will taste quite bland, do not worry, the magic is happening.
  • SALTING INSTRUCTIONS: When you think the beans are soft enough and finished cooking, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, stir and cook for 10 minutes more. Taste test and add another 1/2 teaspoon of salt, stir and test again.

Crockpot Instructions

  • Add beans with 2 quarts of water to a pan and bring to a boil on the stovetop. Once boiling, dump the beans and water, bacon fat, chopped onions, and the cilantro bundle. DO NOT ADD SALT!
  • Cook on high for a minimum of 4-6 hours for soaked beans, 6-8 hours for dry beans. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt at the end and let beans continue to simmer if you can. Before serving, taste and add more salt as needed.

Instant Pot Instructions:

  • Add beans with 2 quarts of water Instant Pot along with bacon fat, chopped onions, and the cilantro bundle. DO NOT ADD SALT!
  • Press the pressure cooking button and set to 25 minutes. Put the lid on your pot and seal. Press start.
  • When time is up, let your beans naturally release for about 10 minutes. Release pressure and open.
  • SALTING INSTRUCTIONS: Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, stir, and press the saute button on your open Instant Pot. Let your beans cook and simmer for 10 minutes or so. Taste again and salt more, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon at a time.

To make refritos or refried beans:

  • In a large skillet, melt 2-3 more tablespoons of bacon fat, butter, or oil. When fat is about to sizzle, add 2 garlic cloves crushed.
  • Fry garlic just until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Add 3 1/2 cups cooked beans in their liquid with a large measuring cup or soup ladle.
  • With a potato masher or fork, sauté and mash the beans over medium heat, stirring. Let the liquid cook down into a thick sauce with the mashed beans. If beans are drying fast or sticking to bottom of pan too much, turn down heat or add more liquid. Stir and mash until the consistency that you like. Taste and season more to your taste.
  • Salt to taste only and serve warm.

This post contains affiliate links to products I know and love. I recommend any of them for this recipe!


Calories: 187kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 243mg | Potassium: 651mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 34IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg
Servings :10
Author: Heather Bursch
Keywords: black beans, chicken tacos, Mexican, pinto beans, refried beans, refritos, rice and beans, tostadas
Did you make it? Mention @heatherbursch or tag #shemadeit so we can admire your work!

shemadeitshemight | heatherbursch | refried beans with tostadas

To make this a meal in our house, we warm up corn tortillas or make crispy tostadas, add beans plain or refried, cheddar or Queso cheese, avocados and salsa. Then we go crazy. It’s so delicious.



*I just read today that adding salt, vinegar or tomatoes to beans before they are cooked and tender can make the beans tough and interrupt the cooking process. Save your salt until the end!



Last Updated on June 16, 2022 by Heather Bursch

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