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Slow Cooker Black Beans with Cilantro

Black beans with cilantro are great for a side dish, and they’re easy to make in the slow cooker!

Click here for more Slow Cooker / Pressure Cooker Recipes on my other site!

CrockPot Black Beans with Cilantro

(This easy side dish made in the slow cooker was first posted in 2006 and updated July 2012 with step-by-step photos and better instructions.)  I can’t remember where I first saw this recipe, but I jotted it down in a little notebook I carry around to write down ideas for the blog.  Then when I decided to use cilantro in every recipe for a month I remembered this recipe and tried it.  I loved these flavorful black beans that were so easy to cook in the slow cooker without heating up the house.  The dried cilantro that seasons the beans while they cook isn’t in any way a substitute for fresh cilantro, but in something like this that’s cooked for a long time, it adds a lot of flavor. I get my dried cilantro from Penzeys, but if you don’t have dried cilantro, I’d suggest oregano as a substitute.

Dried beans are allowed in small servings even for phase one on the South Beach Diet, and black beans are one of my favorites. For recipes like this that start with dried beans, it’s important to soak them, and it’s also important to use reasonably fresh beans or you may have a hard time getting them softened.  (If your beans are more than a year old, throw them out and get new ones.)  These beans were a perfect candidate for the slow cooker, but if you don’t have a CrockPot, you can easily cook the beans in a pot on the stove.

Rinse the black beans and throw out any broken ones; then soak overnight in the slow cooker.

The next morning rinse the beans and drain them.  (This helps remove some of the excess starch that can make beans hard to digest.)

Put the soaked beans, chicken or vegetable stock, dried cilantro, and garlic in the slow cooker and cook all day on low.

I like this best when the beans are kind of soupy and quite soft, which will probably take at least 8 hours on low.  (If you want firmer beans, start to check after about 7 hours.)

When the beans are done to your liking, add a generous amount of fresh chopped cilantro.

And just for fun, here is the original photo of this dish from back in 2006, which is not bad at all.  Nowdays I like my beans a little softer than the ones in this photo.

Slow Cooker Black Beans with Cilantro
(a CrockPot recipe, about 8 side dish servings. I would use at least a 4 quart crockpot for this recipe so there’s plenty of room for the beans to expand.)

4 cups dried black beans (measure before soaking; beans must be soaked overnight)
6 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock ( used homemade stock, but canned would be fine)
2 T dried cilantro
1 T garlic powder (or use 2 T chopped fresh garlic)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (measure after chopping)

The night before you plan to cook this, rinse beans and pick out broken pieces. Place beans in a large pot or in the slow cooker, cover with cold water by several inches, and soak overnight.

The next morning, rinse and drain beans, then place beans, stock, dried cilantro, and garlic powder or fresh chopped garlic in CrockPot slow cooker. Cook all day on low, 8-10 hours for very soft beans. (If you want firmer beans, start to check after about 7 hours.  If you don’t have a Crockpot, combine ingredients in a large, heavy pan and simmer on low for about 2 hours.)

Wash fresh cilantro and dry well. (I used a salad spinner.) Chop enough cilantro to measure one cup. When beans are well softened, turn off Crockpot and stir in fresh cilantro. Serve immediately, garnished with additional chopped cilantro if desired.

These beans can also be used in burritos, mixed into taco meat, or on a salad.

South Beach Suggestions:
Beans cooked like this make a perfect side dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet. I served my beans with Cuban Flank Steak. This would also taste great with Grilled Halibut with Cumin and Lime, Sauteed Scallops with Garlic, or Curried Chicken on the Grill with Cilantro Chutney.

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.

More Tasty Ideas with Black Beans:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Red Bell Pepper, and Cilantro from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos with Lime from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Slow Cooker Puerto Rican Black Beans with Sofrito from The Perfect Pantry
Spicy Black Beans and Tomatoes from Budget Bytes
Carribean Black Beans and Rice from Food Blogga
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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40 comments on “Slow Cooker Black Beans with Cilantro”

  1. I know I'm years late with this, but just found this recipe while looking for a different way to cook my black beans.

    If you don't have dried cilantro, try using ground coriander, which is the cilantro seed. I've never used dried cilantro, but I've used ground coriander when I didn't have fresh. That might hold up better to long cooking than fresh cilantro.

  2. I'm going to make this using frozen cilantro chicken from my grocery store (HEB). I'm not a South Beacher so I'll serve it over brown rice. Can't wait!

  3. Carrian and Kelley, this is quickly becoming my favorite method for cooking beans (although I like the pressure cooker when I'm in a hurry.)

  4. I've done a similar version with pinto beans but not black beans. Thanks for helping me think outside the box! (or crockpot………)

  5. Kalyn, I've been craving (strangely enough) rice and beans. Cannot wait to try this out with our steak burritos later this week!!

  6. Glad you are excited about the blog.

    To be honest, I would not make this with canned black beans. What makes the flavor here is cooking the beans for a long time with the spices. Canned beans would not be nearly the same in the crockpot (plus they would disintegrate).

    You could do canned beans and simmer them on the stove with the dried spices and just enough chicken stock to cover the beans by about 1/2 inch if you wanted something similar. Or enter "canned black beans" into the search bar and you will find a lot of recipes using them.

    Good luck!

  7. About how much chicken stock would you put if using canned black beans, and for how long in the crockpot? I just found your blog and am SO excited to find more SB recipes that I like! I'm such a picky eater.

  8. Glad to know you are looking forward to trying some of my recipes. You could make this with all fresh cilantro, but I don't know that it would be quite the same. I definitely would still put the fresh cilantro in close to the end of the cooking time because long cooking completely destroys the flavor of fresh cilanto. Let me know how it turns out if you try it!

  9. Just found your blog via Crockpot 365. We are South Beachers since 2004 and LOVE eating this way- so healthy and we feel great. We don't sick nearly as often and our girls are growing up eating this way. I'm going to be using your recipes a TON! Thanks in advance.

    Quick question- can I use fresh Cilantro in the crockpot or does it have to be dried? I have fresh- no dried 🙂

  10. The beans are measured before they're soaked. Sorry if that was confusing.

  11. I want to try this today but I ended up confusing myself with a silly question — 2 cups (about 1 pound) of dry beans turns into 4 cups when I soak them overnight — does this recipe use one and a half pounds of beans or only 1 pound of soaked? Thanks!

  12. P.S. for Becky, I think I will add that to the recipe, thanks!

  13. Becky, I'm pretty sure I used my oldest crockpot for this, which is 5 1/2 quarts. It may not need to be quite that big, but I'd use one that's at least 4 1/2 quarts to give room for the beans to expand.

    I think this will freeze very well.

  14. This sounds great! A couple of questions…does it matter what size crockpot you use? Also, do you think the leftovers freeze well? I'm the only black bean fan in my house 🙂

  15. Ana Luisa, fun hearing from someone in Mexico. I like epazote a lot, but it's not that common in the U.S. Thanks for sharing your bean soaking method.

  16. We eat beans as part of our daily meals, and I love black over the other brown kind.
    I prefer to use "epazote", although cilantro is always good, too.
    I soak dry beans the quick method:
    pick over, rinse then put into pot and cover with water, bring to boil, turn off heat and let stand for 1 hr. Drain soaking water, then cook as desired. Never fails!

  17. Tiffany, if you like black beans these are easy and good.

  18. This looks so good! We will be trying that for sure 😀

  19. I'm glad you are enjoying the blog. However, I feel like I should tell you that corn is not recommended for South Beach (not for any phase really, although you could probably eat it occasionally for phase 3.) I highly recommend reading the book if you do try the diet; it helps you understand why some foods are not allowed.

  20. I'm trying this today!! I am so absentminded that I forgot to prep the beans overnight, so I just had to get some canned beans for this first-run…not "officially" doing SBD yet, just dabbling with recipe ideas before taking the plunge! I'm serving them along side your Southwestern Pot Roast.

    I've got them in the crock pot for a few of hours on HI, with a diced bell pepper and a few shallots as well as about a cup of frozen corn. It looks and smells wonderful so far! Thanks so much for keeping all these recipes coming, Kalyn. You're making SBD seem incredibly ACCESSIBLE!!! 🙂

  21. Sounds amazing!! I'll bet it would make for a yummy taco filling, too.

  22. Laura, yes but in the header section of the Vegetarian page it says this: "Some dishes contain chicken stock, which can easily be substituted with vegetable broth." I felt that was sufficient, rather than saying that on every recipe that contained stock.

  23. I'm sure you know this, and that everyone knows you can switch things to veggie versions, but using CHICKEN STOCK means that the recipe is not vegetarian! It's amazing how many people don't think of this.

    Just thought I'd say something, since this is in the "vegetarian" section of your blog. Not quite vegetarian…

  24. Kati, I love hearing that! Thanks so much for letting me know you are enjoying the blog.

  25. I made this recipe last nite and I am making two more of your recipes this weekend. Thanks to your website my husband and I have each lost 70 pounds and my husband is off of his insulin. I can’t imagine the time it must take to maintain this blog, thank you again. Kati

  26. Janna, I just got a pressure cooker recently and am looking forward to using it to cook beans!

  27. Hi Kalyn,
    I make black beans in the pressure cooker. I don’t even soak them-just cook for about 30 minutes and bingo, delicious beans ready to eat.

    I’m sure you know, but don’t add salt to beans while they’re cooking, or the skins will get tough and it will be hard to get them done.

  28. Anonymous, you could certainly duplicate this with canned black beans, but I’d use a lot less chicken stock and cook it for a much shorter time. Let us know how it turns out if you try it.

  29. Can you make this with canned black beans (drained and rinsed)?

  30. Oh my gosh I have to try this too!

  31. Kalyn, this recipe looks great. I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy (and rely upon) your blog whenever I’m doing South Beach! I’ll probably be trying out some South Beach recipes myself on my blog during the coming weeks.

  32. I think this looks great, I love beans and am always looking for new dishes to add them to.

    Ari (Baking and Books)

  33. Kalyn, I just saw a recipe for Cilantro Canapes in the November Better Homes & Gardens. You are going to want to make this, even though it involves bread!

  34. Hey Kalyn, I’m one of those cilantro-haters and waiting for cilantro-free recipes 🙂

  35. Whether it’s a soup or a side dish, it still looks delicious.

    I love beans, they’re very rarely found in professional cooking, which is strange – they’re a perfect starchy alternative to potato.

  36. Brady your recipe sounds great. I’ll try it for sure. And your recipe is perfect for SB, even though I know you’re not a South Beacher. Everyone else, if you’re eating this over white rice, use Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice (or brown rice) for South Beach.

  37. I love black beans. They are really filling and delicious with cilantro-I usually serve mine over white rice. I have a similar, but super quick recipe that I thought I’d share:
    1 T olive oil
    3 cloves garlic, chopped
    1 small white onion, diced
    1 large can black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 tsp cumin
    salt and pep to taste
    cilantro and/or scallions for garnish

    Sautee onion and garlic in oil, add drained beans and spices and heat through.
    Really simple and great with grilled chicken.

  38. Bill, it’s not soup. It’s a side dish of beans, kind of like the black beans served with Cuban food.

  39. That looks pretty thick for a soup.

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