Thursday, January 26, 2012

Homemade Refried Beans-Crockpot

My favorite part of a taco is the refried beans. When we eat tacos, my 2 year old just eats the beans with cheese.  Between the 4 of us, we will typically need 1 1/2 cans of refried beans for a meal of tacos (and I can only imagine this will be more when Aaron starts eating more foods).  At an average of $1 a can, that adds $2 to my taco meal!  To me, that's a lot, as I like to feed my family dinner on under $5-ish a night.  So, I looked in to making beans on my own!  A couple month ago, I stumbled upon this recipe on  It is super yummy, easy, and does not cost much at all!  Plus, as with everything homemade, you have the added benefit of knowing exactly what ingredients you are feeding your family!  Dry pinto beans are cheap in the bulk bins at Winco!

Homemade Refried Beans in the Crockpot:

In a crockpot, mix together:
  • 9 cups water
  • 3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and sliced thick (do not chop, you will pull these out when they're done cooking)
  • 1-2 jalepeno peppers, seeded and chopped 
  • 2 TBS minced garlic
  • 5 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin
Cook on High for 8 hours, adding more water if needed.  The original instructions state that if more than 1 cup of water evaporates during cooking, the temp is too high.  If your crockpot is known to cook on the hot side, and if you won't be home to supervise, I would suggest cooking on low and then adding extra time at the end, if needed (just to avoid all the water cooking off while you aren't there to replace it!).

Once the beans have cooked, strain them (reserve some of the liquid), and then mash with a potato masher.  Add in some of the reserved liquid to get your desired consistency.

At this point, I usually portion out a meals-worth of beans into Ziploc Freezer baggies.  I label them and then freeze them.  When we are having tacos for dinner, I just pull out a baggie and defrost it!  Sometime I need to add a bit more water once it has defrosted just to get it back to the right consistency.

This will usually feed my family about 2 meals (maybe a little extra for dipping some chips).  So, by comparison, I would have spent $4 for that many beans in a can.  I can make about the same amount of beans (with very little work) for under $2 (not a huge savings, but still 50%). And these are soooooo good!  You can, of course, leave out or change the seasonings to your likings.

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