One of my favorite ways to make beans is to cook up a big batch in the slow cooker and then freeze what we can't eat now to make an easy meal for later. We also really enjoy making canned beans but this method is a great alternative.
To make this recipe all you need is a slow cooker and some pinto beans. I buy 5 pound bags of organic pinto beans from my co-op for only $8, and 5lbs cooks up to a lot of beans! When you make beans in the slow cooker DO NOT put more than 4 cups of beans in a 6 quart cooker. The beans will expand a lot!
Start by washing however many beans you need for your slow cooker, I have a 5 quart slow cooker so I used just under 4 cups. If the beans are organic they really don't need much washing. A nice rinse will do.
Cover the beans in water, make sure there is several inches of water above the beans. Turn the slow cooker on high.
This is after the beans have been cooking for only an hour. Make sure to keep adding more water as the beans expand and soak up what you've already added.
These are the beans after 4 hours, they are starting to look very yummy and smell really good now!
After 6 hours you might want to add in some spices. You don't have to depending on what you are going to use the beans for or if you want to leave them "un-spiced" for later spice additions. I chose to add a little bit of garlic powder and minced onion for just a hint of flavor kick.
Leave the beans cooking on high for 8 hours total. If you start them in the morning they will be ready in time for supper!
Now if you are a northerner you are done! Apparently however, in the south a true refried bean is brought to the stage picture above and then fried in some kind of fat. Sounds like fun to try sometime! You can use these beans just like you'd use any canned refried beans in a recipe. I like to cool down my extras and put them in freezer bags to save to thaw out for later meals. We love make ahead meals here!
How do you like to use easy refried beans?
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