Bisabuelita's Crock Pot Refried Beans (Vegetarian)

"This is the modern, vegetarian version of my Great-Grandma's refried beans' recipe. Real butter replaces bacon fat (manteca). I hope you enjoy these beans!"
photo by Sharon123 photo by Sharon123
photo by Sharon123
Ready In:




  • Soak beans at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours in plenty of water. (I soak the beans in the crock pot.).
  • Add to the beans one of the garlic cloves, finely minced, 2 tablespoons of the onion, bay leaf and a dash of black pepper.
  • Cover and cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours (or until beans start to boil) then cook on LOW for approximately 5-6 additional hours. Or cook on LOW all day for about 9-10 hours.
  • Once cooking time has commenced, check to see if beans are soft. DO NOT drain!
  • Heat a cast iron skillet* on medium heat and saute the onion, other garlic clove, cumin powder, and oregano in a little bit of oil. With a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked beans to the skillet and begin by mashing using a potato masher. Add some reserved cooking liquid to help mash; mashing to desired consistency. (I puree most of the beans as we like our beans on the soupy side.).
  • Once the beans are mashed to your liking, stir in the liquid smoke and butter, and about 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring constantly until butter is melted. Taste and adjust all seasonings. You will probably need more salt.
  • Serve and garnish each serving with a sprinkle of grated cheddar cheese and some green onion slices.
  • Save about 2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid for reheating the refried beans. DO NOT use water to rehydrate!
  • *Cast iron will alter the color of the beans. This does NOT effect the taste.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Sooo good. I changed the amount of smoke to 1/8 tsp and left out the butter, and used the kidney beans that I had on hand, and my hubbie, baby and I all loved them. From all the other postings, it seems that this recipe is quite versatile, and being vegetarian, I'm so happy that you posted this recipe, as I've been searching for one that didn't have all exotic ingredients. I froze it in 4 parts, and they defrost really well too!
  2. Yummy! It was so nice to come home and smell these delicious beans cooking in the crockpot! Thanks Cookgirl! Made for the Cool Beans event in the Photo forum.
  3. This was so delicious. I made a few adjustments to my taste. I used the crockpot as instructed, but I used 1/2 c. onion, 2 bay leaves, 3 garlic cloves & 2 chicken bouillon cubes. ( I know that's not veggie.) I followed the rest of the recipe as is. These were the most delicious beans I've had without bacon, sausage or ham in them. I'm hooked on them! Thank you for a healthier bean recipe!
  4. These beans were not bad. I personally did not like the liquid smoke addition, next time I may leave it out entirely. They tasted more like barbequed beans to me. I would also add more garlic next time and use powdered Mexican oregano instead of regular oregano. I didn't find that these had the classic Mexican refried beans taste I was looking for, but maybe if it's tweaked then it can be achieved.
  5. These were good beans, we ate them all over a few days. Thanks for posting.



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