Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Recipe for Pressure Cooker Refried Beans with Onion, Garlic, and Green Chiles

Refried Beans in the pressure cooker
Delicious refried beans, made in the pressure cooker!

Life as I know it is being seriously disrupted right now at Chez Kalyn by a huge house remodeling project. If you're a regular reader, you know about the original plans for house renovations, since I've been sharing photos. But that plan morphed into me deciding to tear off a small addition that was stuck on to the back of my house, and add a big new space that will be my future office/studio as well as guest bedroom for visiting food bloggers or relatives. There will also be a real laundry room and a hall that leads out under a covered deck that was part of the original plan. I feel very grateful to be able to improve my house like this, and it's going to be wonderful, if only I can survive the next few months with all my office and photo stuff packed into the rest of my tiny house, where the dining room has been converted to blog central with two long tables side by side making a desk and photo table.

So now you understand why there may be a lot of comfort foods appearing on the blog in the next few months! These refried beans were certainly comforting, and although I really was winging it on making refried beans in the pressure cooker, I loved how these beans turned out. I'm learning more about using the pressure cooker every time I try it, and if you're an experienced pressure cooker user, I'd love to hear in the comments how you use the pressure cooker to make refried beans.

Pressure Cooker Refried Beans with Onion, Garlic, and Chiles
(Makes about 6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

2 cups dried pinto beans (I used unsoaked beans, but if you want to soak the beans they will cook a bit more quickly)
1 T + 2 T olive oil (use olive oil for South Beach Diet, but if you're not a dieter you can use lard or bacon grease)
1 cup chopped onion
2 T minced garlic
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chiles (I used Anaheim chiles, but you can use hotter chiles if you prefer.)
1 tsp. salt
grated cheese, for serving (I used four cheese Mexican blend, which is a fairly low-fat mix of cheeses)
thinly sliced green onions, for serving

Put beans in pressure cooker with enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Add 1 T olive oil to cooker, then lock lid, bring to high pressure, and cook 30 minutes (probably only about 20 minutes for soaked beans.) After 30 minutes, turn off heat and let pressure release naturally. (I think you could also release the pressure quickly if you were in a hurry, since the beans will be mashed anyway.)

When pressure has released, add chopped onion, minced garlic, canned green chiles, and salt. Lock lid again and pressure cook 10 minutes, then let pressure release naturally. (Again, I think you could release pressure quickly if you wanted to.)

When pressure has released the second time, remove lid and without draining, mash or puree beans to desired consistency. I like my beans rather creamy, so I used an Immersion Blender, being very careful not to overblend and liquefy the beans. At this point, beans will definitely be more runny than you want, but I like the idea of keeping the flavor that's in the cooking water.

When beans are as smooth or chunky as you prefer, heat 2 T oil in a heavy, nonstick pan. Add beans and simmer over low heat, stirring often, until beans have thickened to desired consistency. For me this took about 10 minutes. Serve hot, topped with grated cheese and thinly sliced green onions if desired.

Click Here for Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
Many people don't realize that low-glycemic dried beans are approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet, which makes refried beans perfect for South Beach Diet meals. I do tend to eat beans moderately for phase one, so for that phase I'd serve this as a side dish with something like Grilled Lime and Chipotle Pork Chops or Grilled Halibut with Garlic-Cilantro Sauce. For phase two or three, you could use these beans to make burritos or tostadas with low-carb or whole wheat flour tortillas. I do recommend using a low-fat blend of cheese to keep this South Beach Diet friendly.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

Pressure Cooker Refried Beans with Onion, Garlic, and Green Chiles

Other Bloggers Do Refried Beans:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
A Life Pursuit: Refried Beans from Homesick Texan
Refried Beans from Simply Recipes
Crockpot Refried Beans from A Year of Crockpotting
Refried Beans from Gluten-Free Mommy
Refried Beans from Kirsten's Home Cooking
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon! counter customizable free hit
counter customizable free hit
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. Beans are a comfort food for me too! Your pressure cooker recipes are a constant reminder for me that I need to buy one. Good luck with the remodeling.

  2. Joanne, I can't rave enough about how much I love the pressure cooker! It's one of my favorite kitchen things now.

  3. I still have the image in my mind of my grandmother's old (and terrifying) pressure cooker, but I know that these days they are an entirely different beast! I love the idea of being able to cook dried beans in a short time while still maintaining that wonderful texture. Maybe 2009 will be the year I get a pressure cooker....

  4. I hope your renovations continue to go well. We're renovating our house bit by bit and everything always seems to morph into a bigger project :) I haven't used a pressure cooker since I was a kid, but am more and more tempted to get one.

  5. Hi Kalyn - I've been meaning to write a comment for sometime. My family and I started the South Beach diet in August of last year and your web site has been a godsend. For the first 2 weeks all I did was prepare vegetables, I found your phase 1 roundups to be so helpful. When we got to phase 2 things lightened up a bit. My 2 teenage girls and I have lost a combined weight of 50+ lbs. My husband not so successful. The holidays were a bit hard, but I hope we are back in the swing of things. You have been an inspiration and your blog has great recipes, a number of them we have tried and like alot. Please keep up the good work! This is how I make lower fat refried beans and in Southern Arizona I am up against great competition. After cooking about 2 lbs pinto beans (I soak and then drain the liquid, cooking for several hours in fresh water covering beans by an inch or so, no pressure cooker yet) In a heavy saute pan I heat 3-4 tbls of canola oil until hot and then with a slotted spoon put 2 cups of beans in pan and mash with potato masher constantly stirring and adding cooking liquid and more beans until you have the consistency you like. I season with salt, garlic and onion powder. I also add cheese such as the four cheese blend you mentioned or Queso Fresco which is somewhat lower in fat. I freeze any leftover beans to use in other recipes. Thanks
    Julie I.

  6. I love beans, they are my main source of protein because I don't eat meat. These look wonderful!!

  7. Lydia, I do hope you get one; would love to compare notes with you. And yes, dried beans in 30 minutes means no more canned beans!

    Laura, I'm very excited about renovations. I think you'd love the pressure cooker if you're into beans!

    Julie, thanks so much for that nice feedback, and thanks for sharing your method for making refried beans. The pressure cooker is just faster, but I know you can make great beans just by boiling them; my sister-in-law Lisa makes great refried beans.

    Maria, they were great! I've had them for lunch three days in a row now!

  8. I am always looking for ways to use my pressure cooker more. I love it!

  9. mmm i love refried beans... are you trying to get me over my pressure cooker phobias? :D

  10. Love refried beans. I also love knowing I'm not getting stuck with a lot of fat I can't see because I cooked them myself.
    Beautiful photos. It's a trial getting through a renovation, funny how even when they're well done, they can take on a life of there own.

  11. Pam, same pressure cooker love going on here!

    Sarina, bye bye pressure cooker phobia! The new ones are so safe!

    Tanna, this is my second round of renovating, but the first time it was so major I had to live somewhere else, so in a way it's my first time really living through it. I'll be okay though. I'm super excited and I can tell it will go quickly. Glad you like the photos,; this was the first time shooting photos in the "new" office in the dining room!

  12. I was just reading David L.'s blog about feta cheese and wanted to say that I love your feta cheese recipes and have made more than one of them. The cucumber dill feta cheese salad is bookmarked in fact!

    I wish you the best with your renovations. I thought I'd go insane when I was getting my kitchen done here and I'm getting renovations done in another apartment I don't even live in and it still drives me insane. ;)

  13. Hi Kalyn,I am Egyptian in the midle east,this type of food is the breakfast of most of our people,but we use the fava (broad) dried beans and we call it(fool Medammes).We do not refry,we mash the hot(fool)in a deep dish using a fork or a spoon then add some oil(flax or olive or sunflower oil),one fresh lime juice,salt,and may be one mashed boiled egg and tahin(optional but recommended) and eat that with whole grain pita..enjoy.Famous options are add grean salad espcialy made of cucumber(which matches much wih the flavor)and tomato,may be green onions or waterlace .

  14. Murasaki, how fun hearing that you're a feta cheese fan too, clear over in Spain, and when I went to your blog I see you were making a recipe of my friend Ilva from Lucullian Delights. What a small world!

    Nariman, thanks for sharing how you make your version of beans. I've eaten something similar to what you describe at a Salt Lake restaurant called Mazza, which has wonderful middle eastern food. I didn't know this was eaten for breakfast though, but it sounds great to me! (Also I love that type of salad; I think it's similar to the Middle Eastern Tomato Salad I learned to make from a friend who is Iranian.)

  15. Looks really good! I've always wanted to get a pressure cooker. It is so convenient.

  16. OMG I never knew ppl where so afraid of the pressure cooker! I'm mexican and in my country we use it like,mmm, everyday, specially for cooking beans. Even thought, I must admit there has being at least one time each member of my family had a not so nice pressure cooker incident..haha

    I think ppl is afraid bcs of the pressure? Sometimes is just too much and they do not know what to do. What I used to do (I don't have a pressure cooker with me anymore here in Shanghai) is just put the pressure coker in the sink under the faucet and just let the cold water do it's job..

    My mom is such a fan of this, and with your post I'm having so much fun remembering those great moments mom and I had shared in her kitchen. Gracias Kalyn.

    Oh, yeah, btw those frijoles refritos look so deliciosos :-)

  17. I love beans. I could eat them at every meal I think. I used my new pressure cooker for the first time last night. I can see that it's going to open up a whole new world of cooking beans on weeknights. Excellent! I also love this post. I want to eat those beans right now. :)

  18. Here's some tips from a book I have that talks about pressure cookers: "You may wish to use a pressure cooker for some grains to shorten the cooking time. In that case, add less water, about 1 1/2 cups of water to 1 cup of the grain. (WARNING: Do not cook any cracked grain in a pressure cooker because it may clog up the escape valve and cause an explosion.)"

    Your renovation project looks nice. I remember that little room in back, so if its expanded that will be nice. I also love the new front porch. I feel you can't have a house with too many porches and porches can never be too big. They expand your house by giving you a living area outside.

    Not to be a downer on your new project, but we made some rennovations to our house and it took about twice as long as was scheduled. It seems like something always goes wrong, whether its the weather or unavailable workmen or an inability to get exactly what you want.

  19. Pigpigscorner, I am loving the pressure cooker just for the shorter cooking times.

    Heidileon, I think a lot of people who are afraid of pressure cookers are thinking of the old models, which actually could explode. New pressure cookers with the valve built into the lid, are very safe. Nice that it made you think of your mom!

    Kristin, have fun with the pressure cooker! I know you'll love it.

    Geri, thanks. I haven't cooked grain yet, but I'm a fan of the books by Lorna Sass, and she has a lot of good tips about cooking just about anything in the pressure cooker, so I'm trying to read up on it. About the renovations, I have the most wonderful contractor, and I know he'll get it done for me as fast as possible, factoring in the weather. One reason I decided to expand the project is because I'm having such a great experience with him.

  20. Homemade refried beans are so good!

  21. Kalyn, I feel for you! About 5 years ago we added a two-story addition to our house while living in it- it was a real trial! I have to say, I have always been a little afraid of pressure cookers and I have never used one. Your refried beans look so wonderful!

  22. Kevin, aren't they just the best!

    Deborah, I was scared of them too, but the new ones are completely safe. So glad I got brave and tried it.

  23. Kalyn, these beans look delicious. I love my pressure cooker and learn new things every time I use it. I'm also scouring blogs to learn about a variety of diet requirements and gluten free cooking in order to add to my range as a cook. I thoroughly enjoy everything I find on your site.

  24. Winestainecloth, thank you! What a nice comment. Always nice to hear that people are enjoying the blog.

  25. Hi Kalyn,
    I have enjoyed reading all about your renovations. I love reading about other people remodels. I am envious.
    It looks like it will be beautiful. And what fun to have a bigger brand new office. I can wait to see those pictures. Enjoy the process. It looks like yours is moving along nicely.

    The beans look good too.

  26. Refried beans are a fave. Is it gross to say that one of us has been known to eat them cold occasionally straight from a can? Your dish sounds great!

  27. Wow!
    Now that's yummy.

    I love beans.

  28. I love my pressure cooker and I love refried beans. I'm going to have to try this. I hadn't thought of cooking unsoaked beans - what a fabulous short cut.

  29. Hi,

    Is it possible to use fresh chiles instead of canned? If so, how much do you recommend, the same amount as canned?

    I'm trying to be more healthy these days and cutting out canned foods as much as possible. And since our grocery store carries lots of chiles thought I would ask.

    Thanks in advance!

  30. You can definitely use fresh chiles instead of canned, but I can only guess at how much to use as I'm not that experienced cooking with fresh ones. I'd guess maybe half as much, chopped up with the seeds removed, unless you really like it hot.

  31. Kalyn, I have been loving your recipes over the last few weeks. They have been a great compliment to my south beach diet cookbooks and have greatly expanded my families taste repertoire. I was stuck home w/ a sick baby a few months ago and caught a home shopping network presentation on electric pressure cookers. I spoke w/ a few people who have the old stove top ones which probably would not work in my household. I've tried to do some research to get more info but it doesn't look anyone writes about pressure cookers any more. Since so many of your readers seem to have some good hands on knowledge I didn't know if anyone could recommend a good pressure cooker to buy or specific features I should look for or try to avoid. Both my husband and I work full time w/ 4 children in the house so I am VERY interested in anything that will help on those crazy evenings when I am too pooped to pop. Thanks

  32. Hi Anne Marie,
    The newer models of pressure cookers have safety valves that make them very safe; completely different from pressure cookers of old. I don't have an electric one, but I do know a couple of other bloggers who have a Cuisinart electric pressure cooker and like it. The one I use most is Kuhn Rikon brand, definitely an investment, but I've been very happy with it.

    I also have been happy with pressure cooker books by Lorna Sass (maybe google her and they will be available from She has several books that give suggestions and cooking tips.

    Finally, to find pressure cooker recipes and information, I would recommend Food Blog Search:
    I just tried it and found a variety of pressure cooker recipes from many food bloggers.

    Have fun with it!

  33. I made these last night...again...LOL

    I used an overflowing cup of Hatch chiles that I roasted last year and then froze in batches....didn't realize this was going to be such a hot batch, but you just never know with chiles.

    I LOVE this recipe! Thank you for sharing.

  34. Karyn, so glad you've been enjoying it!

  35. Kalyn, on the face of it, refried beans aren't the most complicated food to make. Making them taste good is another story. I've been trying to make good tasting refried beans for years. I've finally found my go-to recipe for beans. Thank-you so much for sharing this wonderfully simple recipe.

  36. Ross, you are so welcome! So glad you like my version.


I'm so happy you're taking the time to comment on Kalyn's Kitchen! I love hearing from people who stop by, especially if you're sharing feedback or asking questions about a recipe I've posted here.

I've recently changed my comment settings so people can comment without signing in, but you will need to check the box to show you're a live person, and comments on older posts won't show up until I publish them. Thanks for understanding!

And if you really like the recipe, Pins, Shares, Tweets, and Yums are always appreciated!

Blogging tips