Freezing Refried Beans and an Easy Refried Bean Recipe

close up of a bowl of homemade refried beansI love making large batches of recipes (cook once eat multiple times is my motto). So when I whip up my easy refried bean recipe, it makes a lot! Freezing refried beans is the answer.

I use what we need for a meal or two and the rest of the refried beans go straight into the freezer.

If you have not yet tried to make your own refried beans, know that you can also freeze leftovers of the canned variety!

Freezing Refried Beans

Let’s start with freezing refried beans and then we’ll get to the recipe.

There are multiple ways to do this. First off is what I do not recommend. I don’t recommend simply filling a gallon freezer bag with the beans and sticking it in the freezer. It’s just not practical. In the next few months when you need refried beans to make burritos, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you won’t need a gallons worth.

Freeze the refried beans in individual portions or recipe sizes!

That way when you need to defrost some, you can take out exactly what you need.

crockpot of cooked pinto beans and onions

The beans, onions, garlic, and jalapenos after cooking


When the beans are completely cool, transfer to storage containers.

Store in the freezer.


  • Glass Jars (make sure to not fill all the way to the top)
  • Quart sized freezer bags with 2 cups in each bag. Spread flat after sealing for more space effective storing in the freezer (and quicker thawing).
  • Plastic storage containers in desired sizes. Probably between 1 cup and 4 cups depending on how your normally use your refried beans.
  • 1/2 cup “blobs” in freezer bag. Line a baking sheet with wax paper, parchment paper, or silicone baking mats and drop the beans onto the sheet using a 1/2 cup measuring cup. Flash freeze by placing baking sheet into the freezer. Once beans are frozen, transfer to a freezer storage bag and double bag. It’s now very easy to pull out exactly what you need!


Put frozen refried beans in the fridge the day before you want to use them.

When mostly thawed, put beans into a pot on the stove and gently reheat. If they have dried out, add a touch of water to return them to your desired consistency.

Use as you would fresh refried beans.

(Of course you can always defrost the beans if you forgot to pull them out the day before.)

What are your tips for freezing refried beans?

Now we’ll move on to the recipe for these super easy homemade refried beans!

Yes, these would actually be called unrefried beans and not be considered authentic as there is nothing fried about them. But none the less, they have become a staple in our home the last several years.

I always cook 1 to 2 pounds of pinto beans up when I’m making these and freeze them as we discussed above.

This is how simple the recipe is:

  • Dump everything into the slow cooker.
  • Cook until very, very tender.
  • Mash.


  1. Now, the recipe does have fresh onion and garlic (and deseeded jalapeno too if you like a kick) in it, but you are welcome to omit them. If I’m out, I’ll still make up the beans with no seasonings in the cooking liquid and add extra onion powder, garlic powder, and salt when I’m smashing them up.
  2. These beans can also be made on the stove instead of the crock pot. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes and then cover and turn to low. Cook until falling apart. You’ll just want to watch the water level and add more if needed.


bowl of cooked pinto beans for freezing homemade refried beans

The beans and veggies after being scooped out of the slow cooker.

Homemade Refried Beans


  • Dried pinto beans
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Jalapeno
  • Seasoned Salt
  • Cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder


If you are looking up this post, you probably already have a lot of ideas. Beans make a great side dish topped with cheese and cilantro.

They also make a perfect fast and cheap lunch. Make bean tostadas or a bean and cheese burrito or quesadilla.

Use them in any recipe that calls for refried beans.

Easy and yummy refried beans in the crock pot. I love making a huge batch and freezing the leftovers!

I always use my potato masher to smash the beans. An immersion blender also works well.

Side note: There are concerns of toxins not being removed from the beans when cooked in the crock pot because it doesn’t get them hot enough long enough. I’ve found that on high my pot gets the beans up to a full boil. If yours doesn’t, you can boil them on the stove for 10 minutes and then return to the crock pot to finish cooking or boil for 10 minutes at the end of cooking.

bowl of finished homemade refried beans on a napkin

5.0 from 1 reviews
Easy Crockpot Homemade Refried Beans
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Tex Mex
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5 cups
These homemade refried beans are easy and freezer friendly. Great for making a large batch for side dish, burritos, tacos and more.
  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 deseeded jalapeno
  • 1 T. cumin
  • 2 t. seasoning salt
  • Optional, ½-1 teaspoon garlic and onion powder
  1. Rinse and soak the pinto beans overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse beans and place in the crock pot and cover with water.
  3. Add a peeled and quartered onion and peeled and smashed garlic cloves if you are using (and a deseeded jalapeno if you like a little kick).
  4. Cook on low for around 5 hours.
  5. Turn to high for the last hour to allow beans to come to a boil for at least 10 minutes and finish cooking.
  6. When the beans are tender and falling apart use a slotted spoon and scoop beans, onions, and garlic into a bowl. Reserve the cooking liquid.
  7. Add cumin powder and seasoning salt. Add garlic and onion powder if you didn't use fresh in the cooking process or if you need a little extra flavor.
  8. Use a potato masher and stir and mash the bean mixture until it is as smooth as you like. Add some of the reserved cooking liquid to make it as soupy as you like. It will thicken up as it sits at room temperature.
  9. Cool and separate into storage containers and freeze what you won't use the first week.
You can also cook the beans on the stove top for several hours until tender and falling apart.

If you don't have time to soak the beans the night before, simply increase the cooking time.


overhead shot of a bowl of refried beans topped with cheeseEasy and yummy refried beans in the crock pot (or on the stove). I love making a huge batch and freezing the leftovers!Originally published July 29, 2014. Updated August 10, 2020.

16 thoughts on “Freezing Refried Beans and an Easy Refried Bean Recipe

  1. Ai

    Thanks for the recipe! I love homemade refried beans but have never attempted to make them myself. And, I’m not a fan of the canned variety.

  2. Nellie

    Thank you for this easy recipe. We love refried beans but hardly ever eat them anymore because my
    hubby has heart problems and the ones you buy in the can have bad stuff in them. These sounds
    like they would be great. Can’t wait to make some.
    Blessings, Nellie

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      You are so welcome! These are super easy and it’s great that you can adjust the seasonings to be just what your family wants and you know exactly what’s in it. Hope you guys enjoy them.

  3. S.L. Payne

    I’ve been making mine in the crockpot too and they have become a staple for us too 🙂 My boys always look forward to burrito night with them (though they can make short work of one pound!) and I love how economical they are compared to the store bought ones. I started using some chipotle chili powder in mine and it has become a favorite. I want to try adding a jalepeno next time. So fun to see how you do yours!
    -S.L. Payne,

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  6. candi

    My friends have been telling me how to make this but I am a visual person so seeing the recipe makes sense now. I have always wanted to do this. I found you on the weekend re tweet party.


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