Thursday, September 20, 2012

Crockpot "Refried" Beans ($0.19 per cup)



$0.19 per cup          73% savings          save $33.47 yearly
 

Have you ever had something or tried something or seen something and LOVED it so much, that you wanted to share it with everyone? The first time you see a truly HILARIOUS video, and you want to make sure all of your family and friends see it to, because it was that funny... or the first time you discovered the magic of a free Krispy Kreme doughnut fresh off the rack, and promptly asked everyone you knew if they were aware of the inspired genius of the glowing red light... or when your very first baby giggled for the very first time and you tried to video it, replicate it, and show it off to as many people who showed even the slightest interest in your child, because, to you, it was the BEST thing ever?

Well... that's kinda how I feel about these beans.

Yep. Beans.

Okay, so beans aren't really comparable to newly giggling babies, but still...

Refried beans have been a staple food in my life since I was a child. They were a staple in my Dad's life when HE was a child. And... I'm pretty sure they were staples in his parent's lives.

The refried beans I had as a kid came from a can. Rosarita, was the brand, and boy did I love 'em! They were tasty and they were easy. It's no wonder we ate them constantly. We used them for bean and cheese burritos, soft tacos, tostadas... ahhhh!... tostadas!...  Er... Ahem... Moving along...

Now, I'm passing on the "bean" tradition to my children. The only difference is, we make our own beans in the crockpot. I buy a big bag of dried pinto beans at the store, and in no time, I've got a huge batch of homemade "refried" beans cooking in the crockpot so I focus my attention on other things. We eat refried beans almost weekly, and I LOVE it! I can stand on my soapbox all say long and declare the virtues of these beans:

1.) A four-pound bag of dry pinto beans runs $3.68 at Walmart.
2.) They are fat-free, and don't involve any "re-frying"
3.) They are protein-rich.
4.) They are fiber-rich.
5.) They are so, so, so, so, simple to prepare.
6.) They freeze really well.
7.) They taste amazing.
8.) My 8-month old can eat them.
9.) They are a sure-win with the kids
10.) They make for a great food storage recipe, especially when you pair them with homemade flour tortillas.
11.) They are SUPER cost-effective.
12.) They have less sodium, and NO weird preservatives that the canned versions have.

And the list goes on into an endless happy oblivion of tasty goodness. So, as someone who loves these beans very much, my desire is to share them with you. Please, please make these at least once! You'll be so glad you did!

Crockpot "Refried" Beans

*Makes about 16 cups

Note: I haven't usually taken time to soak these beans overnight, and they've always been tasty and my family has never experienced any adverse effects. However, I've read that soaking the beans can improve their quality, so take that into account before making these.

INGREDIENTS
2 lbs pinto beans
1 large onion, chopped
4 Tbsp. jarred minced garlic
*Up to 2 1/2 Tbsp salt (This is the absolute max if you don't pre-soak your beans.)
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp cumin
10 cups hot water

* You can use as little as 1 Tbsp. of salt It depends on how you like your beans, and if you soak them first or not.

DIRECTIONS
Rinse the beans in a colander. Pick out any bad beans.


Combine all the ingredients in the crockpot. Remove any floating beans. Cover, and cook on HIGH for 4 hours and on LOW for 2 hours.

Uncover, and remove extra liquid. Leave enough liquid to reach the desired consistency when the beans are mashed. (We like our beans somewhere between the very-liquidy restaurant style beans, and the canned version of refried beans.)

Mash beans with a potato masher to desired consistency.

Serve warm. Store in air-tight containers in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks, or freeze in ziplock bags for later use.

~ Savings ~


Cost Breakdown:
4 lbs dry pinto beans - $3.68 = $0.92/lb = $1.84
3 lb onion - $1.96 = $0.245 each = $$0.49 for 2 small
26 oz. salt - $0.42 = 122.75 tsp = $0.003/tsp = $0.023
32 oz. jarred minced garlic - $4.48 = 181 tsp = $0.025/tsp = $0.216
8 oz. black pepper- $3.84 = 37.75 tsp = $0.102/tsp = $0.204
2 oz. cumin - $3.12 = 22 tsp = $0.142/tsp = $0.284
Total Recipe Cost: $3.06
Cost per Cup: $0.19

The Contender:
Old El Paso Vegetarian Refried Beans (15 oz.): $1.25
Cost per Cup: $0.71

Savings: 73%

"Over a Year" Scenario:
Make Crockpot "Refried" Beans 4 times: $12.24
Use Equivalent Old El Paso Vegetarian Refried Beans: $45.71
*Money Saved: $33.47

201 comments:

  1. Okay seriously you are in my head! :) I've been wanting to make these because we eat lots of mexican food. I was seriously going to ask you if you had a recipe, haha. I'm trying these soon! Thanks for sharing the recipe!!! You're awesome! :)

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    1. Happy to help! These beans are very basic, and the flavors are very subtle, because we always end up eating them with salsa or other condiments... so if you want to amp up the seasonings feel free to do so! These beans are awesome! Let me know how they turn out for you.

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    2. I make these ofton but i add a seeded chopped jalapeno and a half pound of bacon or a ham hock. discard the meat when it is cooked. This adds a spicy flavor to an already great recipe.

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  2. Made these tonight, and had them on tostadas! So yummy! Best part is I have about 10 cups worth split into bags to go in the freezer! Yessssss!

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    1. Oh, I'm so glad! Thanks for taking time to share your success!

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  3. I have always wanted to make my own refried beans because I only like them from restaurants and not the can, so I made these tonight and they are fabulous! Thanks!!

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    1. That's great! I'm so glad you enjoyed them! We pretty much scarf them down like crazy here. :)

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  4. Making these today! Thanks for the recipe. If I freexe them how would I defrost them to use at a later date? TIA

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    1. You're going to love these! My preferred method for defrosting the beans is to put them in a pot on the stove, cover, and heat on low, stirring every few minutes, and gradually turning up the heat as the beans soften, and warm up. The time it takes to do this will depend on how much you are re-heating. I usually re-heat about 2 cups at a time, and it takes me about 10 minutes. Good luck! I'd love to hear how they turn out for you!

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    2. My grandmother used to put things into milk cartons to freeze. Easy to store and you just peel off the carton to reheat!

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    3. Thank you for the explaining how to thaw them! The recipe looked great! I read it and discovered I had a 2 pound bag of pinto beans in the pantry. The recipe is in the crockpot now!

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  5. I noticed this calls for 1 onion, is it necessary? I have a few non-onion eaters in my house.

    Thank you!

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    1. Hi Momma Rae,
      I've never tried it without the onion. It adds a wonderful flavor (without seeming onion-y) and when you mash them up, your non-onion eaters won't even know they are there... they won't even see them, I promise! But, if you are worried you can try it without and see what you think. If you do that, let me know how it goes.

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    2. Use onion powder...we do that all the time! Although I tend to agree with Andrea that you probably wouldn't notice the onions in here since they're cooked and mashed.

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    3. I was wondering about the onion too. I like onion flavor, but don't want it to be too much. Glad to know it really doesn't show up. I hated to try it without, since it seems like it would be a big part of the flavor.

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    4. I chop up the onion and put it in my food processor with just enough water to process it to smithereens. Voila! All the onion flavor and NO ONE knows the difference.

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    5. try grating the onion. That's how we hide it around here

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    6. We don't personally use onion....but we do use half chicken stock, half water for ours...other than that almost exact same recipe....very good with onion as well if we opt for something different :)

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    7. Many tummies in our family can't handle onions. Boo! I've tried omitting the onion from this recipe and they still taste incredibly yummy! Now, I've not made this recipe with the onions, so maybe I don't know what we're missing. I expected them to not taste the greatest without the onion, but I could eat these by the spoonful! We use them in Brown Bag Burritos and when we eat beans and rice. Oh so good! And I've made them on the stove before, but I LOVE the controlled temp in the crockpot and it's so low maintenance! Awesome recipe!

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  6. Tried these tonight and they were great. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. My husband adds bacon in this.... its amazing. Just be careful because it can get too salty if you go bacon overboard :)

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  8. Are you soaking and boiling the pinto beans prior to putting into the crockpot? Or are the beans going in dry?

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    1. Hi there! I rinse the beans, then put them in without soaking them first. Just be to use HOT water or they will take longer to cook. Good luck!

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    2. THANKS! I am making them now :)

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  9. Great recipe! Soaking the beans for 24 hours in water before cooking greatly improves digestion. It's the only way beans have been prepared for thousands of years, but our society often skips that step. So, if you can plan ahead you will recieve the full nutrients from the beans!

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    1. Hi, if I soak them for 24 hours first, do I discard that liquid before I put them in the crockpot? And then put fresh water in crockpot and proceed as directed?

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    2. Yes! the reason you soak the beans it so they will release the enzyme that causes gas and other digestion problems. Get rid of the soak water and start with fresh water. Also, your beans won't take as long to cook so you may need to cut down the cook time.

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    3. Would you have to reduce the amount of cooking water then? If so, do you know by how much? Thanks!

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    4. I also want to know the answer to this! Anyone have an estimate?

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    5. Try cooking them for 4 hours on high. Check them, and if they're not done, give them a little longer. (8 hours on low would work too.) You really can't over-cook them since they're just going to be mashed up anyway. This recipe is really forgiving when it comes to the length of cooking time. :)

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    6. As to water amounts, I would say make sure the beans are covered, plus 1/4 inch, they won't boil down too much in a crock pot.

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    7. I made this recipe once without soaking and they were perfect. I just made it again. Not sure if the cooking time was less, since I didn't check, but I definitely should have used less water. I'm not sure how much less, but they are very watery after mashing. I think I'll scoop some water off the top next time after they're finished cooking, then mash, then add back some of the cooking water to get the right consistency. Not sure how to get them to cook down in the crockpot. And I don't really want to dirty and wash a stock pot to cook them down on the stove...

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  10. Would love to do this!! Reading the instructions it says to cook on high for 4 hours and low for 2 hours? So on low would be? I could just do it on high, but I like slow cooking everything...=)

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    1. I'd do 10-12 hours on low. :) Good luck! Let me know how they turn out for you.

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    2. Thank you for your fast reply!

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  11. Saw this recipe on pinterest. Made these last night and they were fantastic! I made a half portion, since it's just the two of us. Thank you for sharing!!

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  12. just FYI, that soak liquid that you are then using to cook and consume contains oligosaccharides, tannins, phytic acid and trypsin inhibitors. for me this is a great idea in theory but not good in practice.

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    1. a good point you make
      everyone - after soaking your beans for 24hrs
      DRAIN , RINSE and USE FRESH WATER to finish the recipe
      if you don't wish to waste the soak water your plants or lawn will make good use of it :)

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  13. I must be the only person left on the planet without a crock pot. I really, really want to make these. Do you suppose I could just cook them in a covered pot for a long, long time and get similar results?

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    1. You probably could but you'd have to watch them, tend them, occasionally stir them & you wouldn't be able to leave the house. With a crockpot you just put everything in & basically ignore it.

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    2. I have cooked things in the oven at about 225 in a covered dutch oven when I have stuff that doesn't fit in the crockpot. Works with beans - you have to keep a little eye on them, but they don't stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.

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  14. I just made refried black beans using this recipe. They are delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

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  15. Hi! I'm a beginning cook, so I wanted to verify the hot water to be used. Would that be boiled water or just hot from the sink?
    Thank You!

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    1. Hi there! I just use water from the sink... as hot as it gets. :) Good luck!

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  16. I have a ton of Navy beans, think this would turn out okay with those?

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    1. Hi there! I've never tried it with navy beans before, but I'd imagine the general principles are the same. Unfortunately, I don't store dried navy beans. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes for you. :)

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  17. Do you put the salt in at the beginning? I've been told as a general rule to avoid putting salt in with dried beans while cooking because it makes them hard.

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    1. I've read that about salt as well. The first time I made these beans, I hadn't heard about the sale "rule." I just wanted to make things easy on myself, and put everything in the crockpot at the same time. It worked out well for me. Perhaps if you add the salt at the end (which would be fine by the way) they may take less time to cook and soften.

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    2. I read in Cooks Illustrated that if you soak the beans with salt, their texture improves. I tried it with black beans, and they were much creamier, less mealy/grainy. I did add a little more salt with the cook water, since most of the salt was pored down the drain with the soak water. I highly recommend salting them while soaking.

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    3. Margery, it's good to have you on here. That's so funny about the salt... I think beans must have a lot of misconceptions, because there are many people who will swear up and down that adding any kind of salt before the beans are done cooking will cause them to be hard. Thanks for you input. With all the differing viewpoints, I'm not sure which is really correct, but I DO know that I've cooked these beans (not soaked, but it sounds like that would work fine too) WITH salt many times with fabulous results. So, thanks again for stopping by with your input!

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    4. I find I like the flavor better if I cook them with the salt. Waiting till the end the beans don't soak up as much of the salt flavor ( I usually serve whole beans). I have never had them turn out hard even when cooking with salt.

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  18. This is a great recipe! I'm excited to try it. For your cost comparison, could you factor in the electricity it takes to power a crockpot? (I think it'll still be cheaper and healthier homemade, but I can't help but get stuck on the details :D).

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    1. Hi Carolyn. :)
      I tend to get stuck on the details too. Factoring in that cost is a great idea, but it would be extremely difficult to do. When I started Pennies & Pancakes, I decided NOT to factor in costs like electricity to cook vs. cost of gas to run to the store (or taxes on ingredients for homemade dishes vs. taxes on ready-made store bought food.) If only there were an easy way to figure all that out. I just mentally decided those "extra" costs" would have to cancel each other out for the purposes of this site. Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

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    2. Oh you're so sweet - it's so kind of you to take the time to respond! I agree - I think figuring out all of those costs would be really tricky. I just found your blog on Pinterest and I just realized how similar we are! I also grew up penny pinching and put myself through college with scholarships, and I also think it's important to balance costs and health, but not worry too much :). You're doing a great job, and I look forward to reading your blog!

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    3. From what I have read a crock pot or slow cooker uses the same amount of electricity as a light bulb (not much) they are very efficient.

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  19. I made this today and it was wonderful! Even my 4yo asked 'can I have more of that tasty food?' Thank you so much for a great recipe!

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  20. I made 2lbs. earlier today. I have a small crock so I had to do it in 2 batches. I first did the 24hr soak. Batch 1 was quite watery but it'll be okay. The 2nd batch was drained completely, then mashed, then I added back a few tbsps of the liquid to soften the batch. Results are good. Now I have enough beans for a month. Thanks for all the tips listed above.

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  21. These are delicious. I followed your recipe exactly. When the beans were done I used my immersion blender to mash them up. I made an assembly line of tortillas, cheese and beans and made the burritos recipe. Small investment of time equals healthy, cost effective meals. My son and I do not eat processed food so this was great for us to have on hand when we are too busy or tired to cook.

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  22. I made these beans this last week, we ate a few burritos and tostadas! Yesterday & today I put 25 burritos in my freezer. I think I love you. :-)

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  23. Could I leave the crockpot on high for 6 hours if I use cold water? I work a 6 hour day, and would like to put them in when I leave. But I cant get home to change the settings...

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    1. I've never tried cooking them that way, but I imagine they'd turn out fine. If you try it, be sure to let us all know how they turned out! Good luck!

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    2. I've made them before and cooked all day while at work or all night while I was sleeping with no noticeable difference.

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  24. I am utterly confused about how long to cook these. The instructions say 4 hours on high or 2 on low, and then a comment below says 10 - 12 on low? And then 6 hours on low? Can you please clarify? So excited to make these!

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    1. Hi Megan,
      I think you may have mis-read the original instructions (happens to me ALL the time!). These cook for 4 hours on high AND then 2 hours on low. I can see how it could have been easy to misinterpret though. In the comments, I was addressing the potential cook times for only on low (10-12 hours), and if a person wanted them to be done at the end of a 6 hour work day (would have to be done the entire time on high... 6 hours on low wouldn't be sufficient, and she didn't have time to come home and adjust the temperatures like the recipe calls for. Yes, her beans will cook longer... but they're going to by mushed up anyway. SO (blah, blah, blah) I'd say just go with the 4 hours on high and 2 hours on low. I hope you love 'em!

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    2. ... and to re-iterate... I COMPLETELY get why you were confused! :)

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  25. Just wanted to let you know that I found this recipe on Pinterest and just finished making them. YUM!!!! Wow, the flavors are perfect. I just ate it plain out of a bowl! lol I used my immersion blender at the end, which helped a bunch, too. Thanks for the great and SIMPLE recipe!

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    1. You are more than welcome! I'm glad you liked them!

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  26. Looks and sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing . . . I'll be making them sometime this week! :)

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  27. Here is a great article about soaking or sprouting grains, beans and legumes. I can't wait to try this recipe, but after I soak the beans for 24-48 hours. Thanks!
    http://nourishedkitchen.com/soaking-grains-nuts-legumes/

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  28. Hi Andrea! Have you ever made this using fresh garlic? I'm a little nervous, though, because since 1/2 teaspoon jarred minced garlic equals 1 fresh garlic clove I would need to use 18 fresh cloves of garlic for this recipe. Does that sound excessive to anyone else? Can I get your opinion please?

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    1. Hi Jenny!

      I know it sounds a bit excessive. We love our garlic around here! I've never used fresh cloves in this recipe because the large jar of minced garlic is so much cheaper. All I can do is promise you that the 4 Tbsp of jarred minced garlic works perfectly. If you are nervous, you could start with 9 fresh cloves, when you cook it, and after you mash the beans, you can taste them and if you still want more garlic, you could mince some more and cook them in a little oil over the stovetop and thoroughly incorporate them into the beans. It might be a case of trial and error. Hopefully this doesn't prevent you from trying them though, because these beans are seriously AWESOME! Good luck!

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    2. I used four cloves, it was great!

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  29. Hello! I am SO excited to find this recipe b/c I LOVE refried beans. Would eat them every few days if I could. My hubby and I do not like to get the canned ones, though, for a number of reasons.
    I want to go out to the kitchen and start a batch right now, but of all the many beans and lentils in my pantry, I do not have pinto beans. Can you make them with any other? I have black turtle, red kidney, and navy. Thanks!
    Shanna

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    1. Hi Shanna,
      I'd give it a go with the black beans. :) Good luck!

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  30. Hi, I made this recipe today and loved it except they were on the salty side. Was it supposed to be 2 1/2 tsp instead of 2 1/2 tbsp. I put 2 tbsp in and it was so salty we could barely eat them. I plan to make another batch tomorrow without salt to even it out. Also, I used fresh garlic and it worked wonderfully (so making it even cheaper!) I used about 8 cloves. Thanks so much for the recipe!!!

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    1. Hi there! Sorry they were a bit on the salty side for your taste. We do use 2 - 2.5 Tbsp of salt and that works well for our family... Although once I made them with a little over 1 Tbsp (ran out of salt... don't know how THAT happened) and they were just fine. The nice things about this recipe is that it's versatile, and you can customize the flavors to your preference. Let me know how your second batch turns out! I'd love to hear. :)

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    2. I also put in 2 TBSP of salt and it is too salty for my family. Any other ideas besides making another complete "saltless" recipe? We do LOVE them, they are just a bit too salty. Thanks!

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    3. Oh man! I'm sorry it was too salty. I know this response is coming sort of late, to answer your question, you could try adding water if you don't mind your bean mixture a little thinner. Or, you could resort to opening up some regular canned pinto beans, and mashing them in with your homemade ones. I hope this helps!

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  31. Holy. Crap. I was doubtful about the whole fat/low cumin recipe, but these are *reallyflippinggood*. I haven't been this excited about a recipe in ages. I have been sharing it and singing it's praises since I took the first post-mash taste! I backed the salt down quite a bit, I didn't even grind my cumin fresh this morning, and they still have loads of flavor! THANK YOU for this recipe!

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  32. I soaked my beans overnight, and did 6 hours on high, starting with cold water, and they're AWESOME. I backed the salt way down, but left everything else as is and HOLYCRAP they are so flavorful! I almost doubted you on the cumin, because I am a cuman-aholic, but these came out with so much flavor! Amazing how something so simple can be so amazingly good. I am sharing the heck out of this recipe. I am committing this recipe to *paper*, I love it so much. And that's a high honor in this house.

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    1. Well I am just so flattered that my recipe made it to *paper.* :) I'm really happy you seem to love these beans as much as I do. I can't sing their praises enough. Thanks for taking time to write such a nice comment!

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  33. If I make a half recipe, do I cut the time in half as well? Or do any amount of beans need the full 6 hours to soften?

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    1. The beans will still need plenty of time to cook. They'd probably be done before the 6 hours are up... maybe at 5 hours, but I've never done a half recipe to know for sure. Check them at 5 hours, and give them more time if needed. Alternately, if you were to cook a larger recipe, they're need more time. Good luck!

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    2. I just checked the beans at 2 hours on high, and they were still plenty hard. I'm going to do the full 6 hours. Like you said above, you can't really overcook since they are going to be mashed anyway. Thanks for the quick reply!!

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  34. Oh no, I literally bought a can of refried beans an hour ago!

    Thanks for this recipe, though, will definitely be trying it soon. Looks delicious.

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  35. These were delicious! Made them last night. Only changes made was using only 1 1/2 Tbsp salt and that I soaked the beans in water for 4 hours, then rinsed before placing in crock pot. Even with soaking first, the 4 hrs on high, then 2 hrs on low was perfect. Made your food storage granola bars last night too - also yummy!

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    1. Amanda,
      I'm so glad you enjoyed both recipes! I love 'em both. In fact, I'm doing another batch of beans today. :) Thanks for your kind comment!

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  36. Instead of mashing our beans I put them in my Kitchenaid mixer and beat with the flat paddle. So easy!

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    1. Why did I never think of this? You are a genius!

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  37. I'm a Grad student with a limited budget and limited time. I just turned these beans into 18 frozen burritos for less than .50cents each with leftover beans in the freezer for a taco night. Considering the high cost (not to mention unhealthy) lunch options on campus or the price of frozen burritos from the store filled with who knows what, I couldn't be more pleased. Thank you for the awesome recipe, I'll never buy gross canned beans again!

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    1. Gina,
      Thanks for you comment! I love hearing from people who've benefited from these posts. I hope you find the rest of this site helpful. Good luck with grad school!

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  38. This looks great! I can't wait to try it. Just yesterday I was using canned refried beans and thinking I should use my dried beans instead (I have a lot!). Glad I saw this! I have a blog as well and I was wondering if I could share this there. I'm new to blogging, so I don't know the etiquette yet. Could you explain how I could share and properly "link back" to you? Or, should I not be asking such a thing in the first place?! Maybe you could enlighten me a little. :)

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    1. Hi Jenny!

      Welcome to the blogging world. :) You are more than welcome to share this! Send me an email, at penniesandpancakes@gmail.com, and I'll give you all the info you need. :) I look forward to hearing from you!

      Andrea

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  39. I'm so glad I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest! I made these last night with a couple slight adjustments to fit my family's taste and my boys raved over these beans. The stinkers had never told me that none of them like the canned beans we've always used. I can't wait to make these with black beans next time. Thanks!!!

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    1. Paula,

      Hooray!! If the boys love 'em they must be good. :) Let me know how it goes with black beans.

      Andrea

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  40. Honestly I was a little put off by the really light color of the beans but then I took a bite and holy mother these are amazing. I only used 4 tsp of salt and that was enough for me and I had to drain off a lot more water than I had anticipated at first. These put canned beans to shame. I did do my overnight soaking just because I have always done that - never knew why until I read the above comments. I will honestly probably never buy canned refried beans again. I could just eat them straight from the crock pot. I used my emersion blender and it was so easy. Thank you!

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    1. April, I totally understand about the color. Long ago when I was a canned bean-eater (is that a real term?) and I made these beans for the first time... well I thought I'd blown it. NOPE! Huge success! I think they must add something to the canned version that results in a darker color. Anyway, YAY! I'm so glad you liked 'em!

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  41. Ok seriously, these make some of the best refried beans I have ever eaten. and I used them to make the bean burritos which are also awesome. I put 30 back in my freezer! I grew up in a mexican food restaraunt and have sampled ALOT of beans LOL! Don't be afraid to try this recipe its so easy!

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    1. WOW! Thanks for the high praise. :) Glad you like them!

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  42. Making these right now - only thing is, I could not fit 10 cups of water in my crockpot! I soaked the beans over night (and then some) so they were super plump! I am hoping with only 8 cups of water that everything turns out okay. They smell fantastic.

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    1. Hi Michelle,

      They should turn out fine. (I end up draining excess water) The salt, garlic, and cumin might be a bit stronger than it would normally be, but flavor is never a bad thing. Still... let me know how they turn out, okay?

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  43. These are the best beans I have ever had. I am about to make them for the searond time, and I seriously cant wait to eat them. My Dad is very picky about his beans and he thought these were better than my Mexican Grandfather's! One tip: I saved the extra juice I drained to "re-generate" the beans after they had been refrigerated or frozen. Thank you for sharing your amazing recipe!

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    Replies
    1. Wow, Rachel! What a nice compliment! I think I may be blushing... :)

      Thanks for the tip on saving the extra liquid from the beans!

      Delete
  44. My family loves this. I add a small can of salsa after they cook, also. I have tried it with black beans and it is also good. I put it on low right before we go to bed and we wake up to amazing smells. Or I start it in the morning, but they are hectic and rarely get it done before 10. We have 8 kids and it is cheaper than opening many cans of beans. I haven't gotten around to freezing it because it gets eaten so fast.

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  45. After the beans are cooked and mashed, I add leftover bacon grease for flavoring along with cumin and garlic salt. Beef and bean burritos. Fry and drain a pound (or what every you have) of good 80/20 ground beef. Drain extra fat. Add to beans, add chopped green chilies (canned). Stir and season to taste. Freezes well.

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  46. I can't wait to try this! I love easy AND saving money. Score! :)

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    Replies
    1. You're going to love them, Deborah! They really are that good. Let me know how they turn out for you, okay? :)

      Delete
  47. I found this recipe linked on Money Saving Mom, and I would appreciate it even more if you offered a printer-friendly version of this recipe like she does on her site! Just a thought.

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  48. Oops! Just saw it . . . all the way at the top. Thanks!

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  49. Hi, as a bachelor who loves mexican food I'm very interested in this recipe but was wondering if you had any suggested recipes to use WITH the beans? I mean I can see maybe making burrito's with them and adding some cheese but I don't even know how much to use per flour tortilla or how to wrap those rascals correctly. ;)

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    Replies
    1. Hi famewolf,
      These beans are great with a lot of things (primarily Mexican-food): tacos, burritos, tostadas, enchiladas, chimichangas, served as a dip with salsa, guac, cheese, lettuce, and tomato for chips, or on Navajo Tacos. As far as actually making burritos goes, you should check out my recipe for Bean and Cheese Burritos in the Recipe Index section. It even has a step-by-step tutorial on how to fill and fold burritos using flour tortillas.
      I hope this helps! Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
    2. Thank you for the followup..I will be sure to check the recipe index. Can anyone suggest a rough estimate of how much liquid they are removing before mashing?

      Delete
  50. In the printable version, have you got the HIGH and LOW the wrong way around for the slow cooker times? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Nicola,

      So, I just double-checked. Everything seems to be in order. :)

      Delete
    2. Directions are for 4 hours on high AND 2 hours on low.

      Delete
  51. I just made these today - so AWESOME (and so super easy). Best of all, they are husband-approved and vegan (I have had to restrict my diet for health reasons but no one else in the family has to). This is a food we can all love together - thanks so much!

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    Replies
    1. Hooray! I'm so glad your whole family can enjoy them together. I run into issues of members of my family not agreeing on the same dish quite often. (I tend to have more exotic tastes than my children... and sometimes simpler tastes than my husband). Having recipes that ALL of my family will enjoy is a wonderful thing. I'm so glad this one fits the bill for yours.

      Delete
  52. I'm confused on the time to leave these in the crock pot. It says HIGH for 4 hours and LOW for 2 hours. But every recipe for a crock pot puts the high temperature for less time - since it is cooking at a higher temperature it will cook faster, and puts Low using more time.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mary Ellen,

      Sorry it's confusing! I came up with this recipe myself, and I was unaware of any typical "rules" for crockpot cooking. I just know that the 4 hours on HIGH and 2 hours on LOW works perfectly. I'm sure it would also work with different times and temps. (These beans are kinda hard to mess up... they can't really get overcooked). Again, sorry about the confusion!

      Delete
  53. Amazing! Great, easy recipe. Found it on Pinterest. I soaked my beans in salted water overnight and I'm cooking them in two batches as my slowcooker is smaller size. The first batch just finished and taste great with a smooth texture. I ran out of fresh garlic and so I'm hoping my second batch tastes just as good after adding some garlic powder!

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  54. I made my way over here through pinterest, and tried this recipe today. So GREAT! I grew up in San Antonio, TX but have been living in the midwest for about 10 years now. I am a self-proclaimed Tex-Mex snob and let me tell ya, this recipe makes me feel like I am sitting in my fave tex-mex joints back in SA. Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Wow! High praise. :) I think they're pretty awesome, myself, but it's always nice to hear that I'm not the only one. :) Thanks for taking time to say so!

      Delete
  55. I found a 25 lb. bag of pinto beans on closeout at Kroger for $11! I am SO excited to try your recipe!

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  56. Amazing. Absolutely delicious! I soaked the beans overnight and rinsed really well before cooking. Now I can't wait to try it with black beans!

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  57. I just wanted to let you know that I tried this tonight and the beans turned out amazing! I think it's the BEST refried beans I've ever had. Thanks for the recipe!

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  58. Do you suppose you could use great northern beans with this recipe?

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    Replies
    1. I'd imagine they'd cook up fine... although I've never done it personally. They'd probably make for some super yummy white bean chili... or in ham & bean soup. I'd have to try them first to let you know for sure though.

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  59. Yum! Thank you so much for the recipe. I put them on low and overslept. They still turned out great. My husband said they were better than the restaurant beans.

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  60. We made these this weekend as well. The only thing I changed was to use dried, minced onion. (It was all I had ... ) They were fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

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  61. Made these today. Thank you so much for your amazing recipe! I tried it with the 1 tsbp of salt and it was perfect for my taste. I had two bean burritos for dinner ;)

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  62. We started making these a few months ago and have made several batches. These are awsome. I like that I can freeze them in small containers and just heat some up for quick buritos. We also use it to make a cheese and bean dip which taste great. I may have to heat some up when I get home later.

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  63. O M G!!!! I just got done mashing my beans and had to jump on the computer to say W O W!!! THANK YOU! Your recipe gave me the courage to cook my first batch of beans ever! I never wanted to attempt it because of all the prep work, your recipe made it easy. And they taste incredible!!!! I will serriously never buy a can again! I was able to get a two lb bag of beans, the minced garlic,onion and the cumin all at the .99cent store, wow what a bargain these are!!! Now the next three batches will only cost $3!! (3 more bags of beans, as there is more garlic cumin and onions enough to do so) I feel like i won the food lottery! ;) Thanks again for such a wonderful blog and such wonderful recipes!!!!! ~Jenn~

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  64. just want to confirm...this is my 1st time trying to make refried beans. is it 4 hours on HIGH and 2 hours on low? or the other way around? i have them cooking on high right now for 4 hours, but i thought that if you had more time, you set it on low. and if you have less time, you set it on high, since the temp is higher. thanks!

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  65. never mind. i read through the comments, and saw that it is 4 hours on high AND 2 hours on low. not either or, as i am used to seeing crockpot recipes. my bad. well, dinner will be ready at 7, instead of 5 tonight. i am making 4 dozen burritos with these beans. some are for dinner tonight, and the rest are to freeze for post-baby meals! may try to take out our dinner portion beans after 4 hours, and see if they can work for dinner without the extra 2 hours. thanks!

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  66. We made these yesterday. SO GOOD! Each of my 4 picky eaters DEVOURED them! My 7 year-old said "These beans are so good ... I can't stop eating them!" It is such a good feeling as a mom for my kids to love something so wholesome, with no weird added chemicals/ingredients. I think these should be compared to Baja Fresh or Cafe Rio beans (save even more $$) because these beans aren't even in the same league as the canned stuff! Thanks for the recipe. I see these becoming a staple in our home. (love your Blog, Andrea-- you do a great job. -love your Roomie, Laura)

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    Replies
    1. "Laura Gwen Webb!!!!!.... Haycock." :)
      I miss you! It's so fun to see your name on here, and even more fun that you liked the recipe. (These beans are pretty much the bomb.com around here...) Thanks for the high praise, and I'm super happy that your kiddos liked them. I have some semi-picky eaters too, and sometimes it makes me want to pull my hair out. Luckily, I have a few recipes in my arsenal that are kid-pleasers, so if all else fails, I turn to those... these beans are one of those recipes. My kids have yet to turn up their nose at a bean burrito. :) Well, my dear old roomi, I love ya, and I hope all is well with you and your sweet family. Take care!

      Delete
  67. Thank you for posting this recipe!! This is my favorite "refried bean" recipe because a) it's so easy and b) it tastes the best of any recipe I have ever tried and c) I love that it's a slow cooker recipe and I don't have to babysit it. I will be directing anyone I know to this awesome recipe!!

    Angela

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  68. Yum, so good and simple! Thank you!

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  69. I've made these twice in the last 2 months (since discovering this recipe). THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH! I love refried beans but do not like eating them out of the can.
    Question: I have read that soaking the beans helps make them more digestible. True?
    Delicious either way! :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Shanna. I'm so happy you like the beans! As far as digestability goes, I suppose since all the research says "yes" they're more digestible when pre-soaked, the answer to your question is yes. However, with pinto beans, the difference must not be very great. I've made these beans many many times soaked and not soaked. I have yet to detect a difference. :) Hope this helps!

      Delete
  70. I have had this recipe for awhile but had not made them until last night. I can't keep my spoon out of them, they are soooo good. I did add bacon grease after removing excess liquid, about half cup. Will never ever buy canned again!

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  71. Found this recipe on pinterest... made it today... the family agreed best "refried" beans ever!!!
    This recipe will definitely go into our rotation! Thanks for sharing!

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  72. I made these today for my daughter's birthday party (taco bar). They are FABULOUS. Great recipe. So easy & hands off.
    Thank you!!

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  73. How do these taste without mashing? Does this recipe make a good pot of old fashioned beans?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jack. They taste great whole. I'd use them in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, etc. Of course, my kids (okay, okay, and me) love eating them straight from the pot after they've finished cooking, and I've drained the extra liquid.

      Delete
  74. I made these the night before last! I halved the recipe and added a diced jalapeno. The beans were SO good! Yum! We had our friends, a husband and wife, over for dinner and she said they were the best beans she ever had! Win! :-) And they tasted great even before mashing as well. I was torn between leaving them whole and mashing them. I mashed them this time, but next time, I will leave them whole! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

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  75. We have a potluck at work this week, centered around a chili crockpot. A few of us are vegetarian, and I am in fact, vegan. Eyes are on me to make a vegan dish, and I searched for a vegan crockpot dish and this one is PERFECT! I will make this in a couple of days and I am sure it will be a hit! A few of us will be making this our main dish and avoiding the chili. I'll bring along a stack of tortillas and I just know this will be a hit. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe, because using a crockpot for work parties is the best way to go. That ensures the dishes are served hot, and everyone loves that! Cheers!

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  76. Ok, I must have done something wrong! After 8 hours in the crock pot my beans are still not soft! I'm leaving them in overnite on lowso we'll see...So disappointed, I'm having a taco bar and would love to have a crock pot full of refried beans! Any ideas what went wrong?

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    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry! How frustrating... I can only think of a few things that COULD have gone wrong: Did you use cold water or HOT (the recipe calls for HOT because it shortens the cooking time a bit.) 8 hours on LOW works for my crockpot, but I've learned that it doesn't work for everyone else's crockpot. Those are the only two things I can think of. I'm sorry they weren't done when you hoped they would be!

      Delete
  77. I made these today except I used the pressure cooker. I'm never quite organized enough to use the slow cooker. Anyhow, 30 minutes on high and 15 minutes off the heat while the seam released and they were perfect (I did pre-soak my beans for about 18 hours). So yummy! Thanks for the recipe.

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  78. This recipe is AWESOME! I live in a house full of picky eaters and 2 of my kids refuse to eat beans at all....UNTIL NOW!! They actually ask for seconds! I've told so many people about this recipe and I know they all think I'm nuts but I don't care....THANK YOU!

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  79. I am so excited for dinner!!! Beans are in the crock pot!!!!

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  80. Made these and they are great! I took an idea from another poster and added some bacon, also, used a submersion blender for fast smooth beans. I got 12 cups at the end. I might have left too much liquid, but they are wonderful. Thanks for the recipe!

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  81. I was running low on time and had canned pinto beans on hand, but this recipe was totally doable on the stovetop! I used two cans of beans (drained and rinsed), then quartered the measurements for the other ingredients except water. I then added just enough water that I could see it peeking through the beans in the 2qt saucepan. I simmered them until they were good and soft, then used the immersion blender before adding a hefty pinch of real bacon bits. I went very lightly with the salt, both because canned beans tend to have salt already and also because I knew I'd add the bacon.

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  82. I had to stop by and add my thumbs-up on this recipe too! I really like refrieds, but had never even considered making them at home. We make our own enchilada sauce but beans? Just a brain blank!
    These were so very GOOD! In fact, I am wishing that some were thawed out so I could eat some for breakfast!

    We did 2 lbs of dried pinto beans in a 5-qt crockpot overnight. I added a few dashes of Frank's hot sauce too.
    We did have to add more water towards the end, and left them in there longer than they needed to be (I forgot about them! LOL), and they still turned out so tasty!

    The 2 lbs ended up making almost a gallon of refried. I bagged it up into portions for our family and froze them.
    Can't hardly wait to try more of your recipes.
    Thank you so much for sharing them.

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  83. I made these last night and they were amazing! I used 2TB of salt, I think next time I might use just 1TB to start, but never the less, they were delicious! I'll never buy that canned junk again!

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  84. These are AMAZING! Thank you!

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  85. Just found your blog and this recipe was too interesting not to try... well, they are absolutely DELICIOUS!!! And better yet they are healthy! I have to say I only made 1/2 of the recipe, but I'll be making them again!!!!

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  86. These are DELICIOUS! Better than any canned or restaurant version, and I love knowing that I made them and that I controlled exactly what went into them--and they were ridiculously easy! We're having some with dinner tonight, and I'm using the rest to make burritos to put in the freezer for lunches. Thanks for sharing!

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  87. Im seriously kicking myself right now. I shouldve asked what size crock pot you're using. I'm only 6 cups of water in and i'm at the top. :( this always happens to me! Wish me luck it turns out fine anyways (poo)...

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  88. We have made these at least 5 times now. We love them. We have tried them with Pinto beans, Black beans, and Roman beans. We like the black beans the best, but they all turned out great. They are now a staple in our house. Thank you for sharing this fantastic and easy recipe!!

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  89. I just wanted to let you know that I've made these twice now, and will be making them again this week. WOW! Who knew it was so easy to make such wonderful beans?!

    I tweaked it a little to our family's tastes... I add a couple tablespoons of chili base to it, which adds a nice smokiness to the beans.
    Note that this recipe is VERY forgiving! The first time I made it, I left it on low to cook all day, as I would not be around to fiddle with it. I added extra water, making sure they wouldn't burn up. I checked them when I got home that night, added more water to them, and promptly forgot all about them! They cooked all NIGHT long too! Ha!
    As it turned out, letting them cook for around 20 hours eliminated the need for any mashing, and made for beans so tasty, I was snitching spoonfuls right out of the pot! For those who might find it helpful, I made two pounds of pinto beans in a 5 qt crock pot for a perfect fit. It made one gallon of refrieds, which I divided up into freezer zip bags for future meals.

    Thank you again for sharing your recipe that I would have never even given a thought to. I will never buy canned refried beans again! : )

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  90. We have made these at least 5 times now. We love them. We have tried them with Pinto beans, Black beans, and Roman beans. We like the black beans the best, but they all turned out great. They are now a staple in our house. Thank you for sharing this fantastic and easy recipe!!

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  91. OMG!These beans are wonderful!I found you through Money Saving Mom. I am new to this blogging thing so if I say something inappropriate, please forgive. I have been searching for ways to save money on groceries among everything else. Go to Money Saving Mom and through her to you. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. My grand daughter is sort of a picky eater but she LOVES rice and beans - so we go to the local Mexican restaurant quite frequently. I have tried several different rice recipes and as of yet had no success in finding a comparison to the rice served at the Mexican restaurant. BUT NOW - these refried beans are THE BEST I have ever eaten. SHE LOVES THEM!! I made my first batch yesterday and so far she has had either a bean/cheese "taco" at every meal or just beans. I made several of the burritos and put them in the fridge. Have frozen separate servings of the beans in my muffin pan also. Just warmed up one of the burritos and put some fire roasted tomato enchilada sauce over it for supper and WOW! just keep being blessed by this recipe. THANKS SO MUCH! looking forward to more -- and if you happen to have discovered the elusive Mexican rice recipe I looking for, I would appreciate your sharing it. THanks Again and God Bless You!

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  92. I too got here through Money Saving Mom and this recipe is amazing! My husband loves bean burritos (us a little less when he has them) :) But he is a happy man now that I know how to make these on the cheap. I will be making up bean and cheese burritos for the freezer to be sure my little ones have burritos whenever they want them. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  93. I made these last night and they were delicious! My 2 year old had two bowls full!

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  94. Two thumbs up! Actually, eight thumbs up -- my hubby and two kids love them too! Definitely a keeper.

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  95. Wow...these look fantastic. I usually use a pressure cooker, but I'll give these a try. I see there were lots of questions about the cook time. I think if you edited the instructions to say "Cover, and cook on HIGH for 4 hours followed by an additional 2 hours on Low", you might be able to stop answering that question. Thanks for the recipe, can't wait to try it!

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  96. I have a pot of these beans going now and I just tasted a bean to see if it was softening and it is so good. I had made refried beans before with bacon fat and they were bland, but these taste great. I even substituted the onion with a frozen green pepper and onion mix that I had on hand. I am becoming your biggest fan. Lol. I made your bagels and tortillas in the past week. I will have to make more bagels because I have over-indulged in them. Your recipes are great.

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  97. How long can you keep these in the freezer?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Misty!
      Sorry it has taken me so long to answer your question~ I ended up having my baby 5 weeks early, so things have been crazy. :) I'd put them in the freezer for up to 4 months.

      Delete
  98. These sound delish, can't wait to try! Have you ever canned these once they've been cooked and mashed? I've canned pinto beans in my pressure canner and then mashed them. Just wondering.

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    Replies
    1. Lysa I've wondered the same thing. This is a great recipe, I've made it 3 times now. It just takes up some precious real estate in my fridge. So I did some research... apparently it's VERY hard to can pintos once they have been mashed. Apparently you can process them whole, to blend/mash and use later. http://www.rural-revolution.com/2011/01/refried-beans-last-frontier-of-canning.html

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  99. Thank you for this awesome recipe. We had a mexican themed birthday party for my step daughter...these beans were super easy to make and sooooo..tasty....everyone loved them!!

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  100. I made these this weekend with a slight variation. I've been soaking (overnight, pour off water) and cooking big batches of beans in my large crockpot with a few tablespoons of millet added in the beginning (takes away gas issues) and then freezing them, for years. We decided to have nachos for lunch at the last minute so I quickly placed a bag of my cooked beans on the stove and added the ingredients. I let them cook for about 45 mins. It worked out great! Thank you!!! Learned a few tips/ideas from the comments. I was one of those who was told years ago that salt would make the beans hard...I'm going to add salt to the soaking water next time. Thank you everyone!

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  101. I am making these for the second time. I love love love this recipe! The beans turn out great after being in the freezer and they are so much better the caned beans!! Thank You

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  102. I soaked overnight & its a soupy mess. Dinner was supposed to be bean enchiladas & I dont know what to do to save it.

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    Replies
    1. Oh no! I'm so sorry! Did you remove the extra liquid already? As it says in the directions, I always remove all but one cup of the extra liquid before I mash them. Hope you can save them!!!

      Delete
  103. I will have to try this. I always make my refried beans with bacon fat added in during the mashing. Never heard of making tasty refried beans without the fat. In fact, that is the whole point of refried beans, "refried" means adding fat in after they have been cooked.

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  104. Can you freeze them for future use? Definitely will try this recipe!

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    Replies
    1. Debbie, you bet! These freeze really well. I like to use ziplock bags. :)

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  105. This recipe sounds delish. I think I am going to try it this week. I did want to mention that we have really lost the understanding of why our grandparents and ages before soaked their beans. Sure, it made cooking easier but if you think of how nuts, beans, seeds, legumes, and grains get "replanted" in nature, you realize that they can't get completely digested in order for that to happen. There are things in them called phytates and phytic acid that keep them from being fully digested. And, if they don't get fully digested then that also means there are nutrients that are locked inside that we can't get to. In fact, those compounds actually take nutrients from our bodies in order to be digested (that's why they are called ANTInutrients). Soaking in an acidic medium breaks down the phytic acid and phytates and allows us to fully use the food.

    Also, check your garlic in a jar. It might be cheaper but a) it's less potent so you use more, 2) there is likely other preservatives in there besides just oil and garlic...many contain a formaldehyde based preservative! 3) the oil is likely a low quality vegetable oil which is probably rancid (but the garlic masks the taste and smell) and most likely a GMO. Rancid oil causes inflammatory reactions in our bodies, as do the GMO proteins. Most vegetable oils are also heavily processed: heated, bleached and then deodorized because the process makes them rancid! 4) most of the wonderful properties of garlic are lost within a few hours to a day or crushing it. Garlic is one of those wonderful foods for our bodies and our health! It is really quite inexpensive so I highly recommend just using fresh whole cloves!!!

    All that said, when you use whole ingredients, a recipe like this is nutrient dense and extremely affordable, hopefully allowing families to spend more of their money on good quality meats and produce (yeah for pastured, organic meat and organic produce!!)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Colleen,

      Thank you for your comment! As far as the jarred garlic goes, mine contains garlic, water, and citric acid (preservative). I use jarred because it seems like we go through a TON of garlic in our cooking. While I'm certain that nothing beats fresh garlic, this jarred version is just super convenient and works well for my family. But you're right... fresh garlic is wonderful for health purposes, and the flavor can't be beat.

      My little family can't wait till we're in a position to buy organic/whole foods all the time. For now, we try to be as healthy as possible while living on an (extremely) tight budget. :)

      Like others before you, you make a good point about soaking. Just be sure that for THIS recipe, if you soak before cooking, you'll need less water when cooking in the crockpot. If you try this recipe out, I'd love to know what you think.

      Thanks again for your input!

      Delete
  106. Can I make with dried black beans?

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  107. Trying these right now. Smells so good. Hope they turn out.

    Bellasmom

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  108. These are seriously wonderful! We noshed our way thru the first recipe and I'm making them the 2nd time. Thanks for the great reciple.

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  109. When I decided to try to make these my family said I was just being cheap, but now I HAVE to make them all the time!! We eats them for lunch, dinner, snacks (we use it as a chip dip) my daughter even heats it up with melted cheese as a to-go breakfast!!! I think we are officially OBSESSED!
    Thank you so much!!

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  110. The directions say FOUR hours on high and TWO hours on low. Would it not be reversed?

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  111. Never mind....read the comments and got clarification. sorry!

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  112. Muchas gracias por la receta ( Thank you s much)

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  113. A slow cooker draws .4 amps on the low setting .
    At .4 amps by 8 hours is a total of 3.2 amps (.768 kWs)
    used for the duration of the cooking time.
    The current price of electricity is 10.9 cents per kWh.
    Using the slow cooker to make dinner cost us approximately 14.19cents .
    Price in Minneapolis, Minnesota in January, 2014.

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  114. Lol, I can't believe you can equate the love of beans with the love of Krispy Kreme doughnuts! I'm totally trying this recipe :).

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  115. I tried your recipe but I could never get it to come out in the smooth consistency as you find in the store. Any suggestions?

    manycraftcreations.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Try using an immersion blender (or regular blender), or a food processor... otherwise, just keep mashing them manually till they reach the consistency you like.

      Delete
  116. I am a vegetarian and this recipe looks amazing. I really didn't want to get refried beans forma can and this looks so simple even I can make them. I had a question though, I don't have a crock pot and my friend things the cooking times might be different on the stove. Would cooking the beans 4 hours high 2 hours low work on stove top? If not what time should I try to hit?

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    Replies
    1. They wouldn't need to cook that long. Just bring them to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Cover, and let cook until done (3-4 hours?) Good luck!

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  117. These look amazing!! Thanks for sharing!

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