Kalyn's Kitchen

How to Cook Dried Beans in a Crockpot or Slow Cooker

This post will show you How to Cook Dried Beans in a CrockPot or Slow Cooker! This post compares results for cooking soaked or unsoaked beans, with everything you need to know to make perfect slow cooker beans. Dried beans are the start of so many tasty dishes, and they’re so inexpensive when they’re cooked from scratch in the slow cooker. Check Dried Beans for all the dried bean recipes on this site.

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How to Cook Dried Beans in a Slow Cooker found on KalynsKitchen.com

Why is learning How to Cook Dried Beans in a Crockpot Slow Cooker such a big deal? This post will tell you why I think cooking your own beans from scratch is well worth the trouble, and give you the easy process for cooking dried beans in a slow cooker!

Why Eat Dried Beans?

Dried beans are one of those foods that have everything going for them. Beans are inexpensive, and they’re a good source for many vitamins and minerals, plus they’re also high in fiber, high in protein, and naturally low in fat, sugar, and sodium. Many types of dried beans are listed among The World’s Healthiest Foods, and beans are also listed as one of the Superfoods that we should all be eating often.

Not only are beans nutritious, they’re loaded with healthy slow-burning complex carbohydrates, and are low on the glycemic index, making them a good food choice for anyone who’s concerned about blood sugar, whether for weight-loss or health reasons. If you’re strictly watching your carbs you may want to eat them more sparingly, but even in small amounts dried beans add a lot of flavor and nutrition to many dishes.

Why Bother with Cooking Dried Beans from Scratch?

The flavor of beans from a can is incomparable to the deliciousness of freshly-cooked dried beans! And dried beans that are cooked from scratch are so much more budget-friendly than canned beans. You can cook a batch of beans and freeze them in small containers to keep in the freezer. And cooking your own beans eliminates the cans that fill up your recycling container!

How to Cook Dried Beans in a Slow Cooker: Do You Need to Soak the Beans?

Learning how to cook dried beans in a crockpot slow-cooker is one of those wonderful ideas I discovered through food blogging.  After I tried cooking beans this way, I did the experiment outlined below to see how soaking the beans would affect the cooking time.  I cooked my beans on high, but if you’re not going to be home you can always cook them for a longer time on low.  The cooking time of dried beans will vary greatly depending on how fresh the beans are, so I can’t give you the exact cooking time, but I’ll give you the approximate times. (See after my recipe for ways other food bloggers use their slow cookers to cook dried beans.)

I started with 2 cups of dried pinto beans, using beans from the same package for both crockpots.

I soaked the beans in the green crockpot overnight (about 10 hours.)

Beans in the brown crockpot were not pre-soaked.

Beans in both crockpots were covered with enough water to cover by about 2 inches. I didn’t add salt to the beans. (For the pre-soaked beans, drain out the original soaking water and use fresh water to cook the beans.)

I turned both crockpots to the HIGH setting, put the lids on, and started a stop-watch to time each crockpot.

Pre-soaked beans in the green crockpot were tender and full cooked after 3-4 hours on high.

Unsoaked beans in the brown crockpot were tender and fully cooked after 5-6 hours. Honestly, I was quite surprised that pre-soaking didn’t make more of a difference in the cooking time. I couldn’t really tell much difference in the flavor or texture of the soaked vs. unsoaked beans.  Both methods produced about 6 cups of cooked beans from 2 cups of dried beans.  I froze my beans in 2 cup containers to use in recipes.

Ideas for using the Slow Cooker Beans:

Beans are one of the most versatile ingredients you can find, and they show up frequently in recipes for bean soup, bean stew, bean salads, and side dishes. Beans can be combined with chicken, turkey, beef, and eggs and there are also lots of well-known foods around the world where beans are the star ingredient, such as refried beans, hummus, Socca, and Falafel.

How to Cook Dried Beans in a CrockPot or Slow Cooker

I compared soaked and un-soaked dried beans to get these tips for How to Cook Dried Beans in a CrockPot or Slow Cooker.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried black beans (read notes for cooking red kidney beans)
  • water to cover beans by two inches

Directions:

Presoaked Beans:

  1. Use a slow cooker that’s 3.5 quarts or bigger to cook 2 cups of dried beans.  You can increase the amount of beans for a larger size cooker.
  2. Pick over the dry beans and discard any broken or shriveled looking ones.
  3. Put 2 cups dried beans into the slow cooker crock and soak overnight in cold water, enough to cover by several inches. The next day, drain the beans and discard the cooking water.
  4. Put soaked beans back into the slow cooker and add enough water to cover beans by 2 inches.
  5. Turn cooker to HIGH and cook beans until they’re tender and cooked through, about 3-4 hours for soaked beans.  (You can also cook the soaked beans on low, which would take about twice as long.)
  6. Drain beans. (You can save the cooking water if desired, but I usually don’t because this liquid will have the undigestible carbs that make beans cause gas.)
  7. Whether pre-soaked or un-soaked, 2 cups of dried beans will make about 6 cups of cooked beans.
  8. Beans can be frozen in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid for several months until you’re ready to use them.

Un-soaked Beans:

  1. Use a slow cooker that’s 3.5 quarts or bigger to cook 2 cups of dried beans.  You can increase the amount of beans for a larger size cooker.
  2. Pick over the dry beans and discard any broken or shriveled looking ones.
  3. Put beans  into the slow cooker and add enough water to cover beans by 2 inches.
  4. Turn cooker to HIGH and cook beans until they’re tender and cooked through, about 5-6 hours for un-soaked beans. (You can also cook the un-soaked beans on low, which would take about twice as long.)
  5. Drain beans. (You can save the cooking water if desired, but I usually don’t because this liquid will have the undigestible carbs that make beans cause gas.)
  6. Whether pre-soaked or unsoaked, 2 cups of dried beans will make about 6 cups of cooked beans.
  7. Beans can be frozen in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid for several months until you’re ready to use them.

Notes:

Caution about red kidney beans: Red kidney beans contain a natural toxin which may not be destroyed if your slow cooker doesn’t reach a high enough temperature.  To be safe, red kidney beans should be pre-soaked, drained, and then boiled in fresh water for 10 minutes before cooking in the slow cooker. Read more here and here about potential toxins from red kidney beans. Thanks to Stephanie from A Year of Slow Cooking for this tip.

All images and text ©

Other Food Bloggers Cook Dried Beans:

How to Cook Pinto Beans in a Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot ~ Letty’s Kitchen
The BEST Slow Cooker Recipes for Black Beans ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
The BEST Instant Pot Recipes for Black Beans ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Slow Cooker/Pressure Cooker Beans and Legumes Index ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
All types of dried beans are a low-glycemic food that’s approved for the South Beach Diet, but portion sizes for phase one should be limited to 1/3 to 1/2 cup serving size. Dried Beans are probably too high in carbs for other low-carb diet plans.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there. Click here for Slow Cooker / Pressure Cooker Recipes on my other site!

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

Have you used the a CrockPot or slow cooker to cook dried beans?  If so, please share any tips or suggestions you have in the comments.

Pinterest image of How to Cook Dried Beans in a Crockpot or Slow Cooker

 

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    128 Comments on “How to Cook Dried Beans in a Crockpot or Slow Cooker”

  1. You CANNOT cook dried beans on low. You have to get them to a temp above 212 degrees for at least 10 minutes to make them safe to eat. They contain phytohemagglutinin, which is toxic enough that 4 kidney beans WILL make you sick and could kill you. Most slow cooker low settings are below 200f degrees. High setting is around 300f.

    Please don’t kill your family with beans…

    • There is a caution in the recipe about red kidney beans, which obviously you missed.

      This method is fine for all other types of beans. I recommend using HIGH, but even if some people choose low, the long cooking time will raise the temperature.

  2. I’ve recently discovered that I’m gluten intolerant. Since I’m vegan, I rely a fair bit on canned beans, lentils, chickpeas for many dishes. But have come to find that some of them actually have wheat in them, even when it’s not listed on the ingredients (they say “may contain wheat”), and I’ve been reacting to them. So this is one more great reason to make your own beans at home! Thank you for the wonderful instructions of how to do this!

    • I did not know that, thanks for the info! I’m so glad this is useful for you. I think the fresh-cooked beans are so much more tasty!

  3. How do you make the bean juice thicken not like
    brown water. I put meat in it like ham huck or cut up ham. Something small peices salt pork

    • If you want to thicken the bean cooking liquid you can easily do that by putting it in pan on the stove and cooking over low heat until it’s thickened as much as you’d like. (This will also cook the beans more, so I’d take care not to overcook them in the slow cooker.) Hope that helps!

    • The starch in the beans and their broth will naturally thicken their broth the longer they cook. Smash some of them and time and heat will do the rest. The liquid will also thicken up after refrigeration (it’s the time thing again). 🙂

      • Yes, of course, but some people don’t want to wait that long, or sometimes they put way too much liquid!

      • Kayln: so true, I’m one who never wants to wait, lol! I’m just saying that the best thickener is the bean starch itself – smash some for quicker thickening. Anything else will dilute the flavor of the beans. However, adding potatoes (either fried potatoes or raw and add extra seasoning to compensate) is a fantastic combination! I can’t stand the thought of throwing out any soaking water because that loses so much of the flavor and starch that’s already leached out of them. Man I love fried potatoes and pinto beans together. Starch bomb, but oh, well!

      • Great way to add to cooked beans is fry some bacon. Reserve fat from bacon.Once crispy fried remove from skillet. Cut up some sausage and fry in bacon oil. Remove. Sauté onions then added tomatoes. Sauté a bit and add crumpled bacon and the sausage cook a bit and add to your cooked beans that have lots of water. You can also add cilantro . You will love it!

      • That definitely sounds tasty!

    • Use beans from Rancho Gordo – super fresh and always render the broth.

      • Yes, I am a fan of those, but they’re pricey if you don’t live close to where they’re sold.

  4. This page is so helpful, thank you for being very detailed, as like a previous poster said, I also tend to do better in the kitchen if I have instructions to follow. 🙂
    I’m new to cooking beans from scratch nstead of using canned beans, so I have a silly question: can you easily overcook beans?
    For example, after I have followed your wonderful instructions, would it be okay to take a portion of the beans out of the crock pot and then directly use them in a stew or soup recipe (which could cook them for an additional 30 minutes to an hour)? Or, would it be best to take the portion i want to use for the stew out a little bit early, so they aren’t cooked for too long?

    • Hi Jennifer, Glad it is helpful for you. There is not much concern about overcooking beans. Many recipes give directions for using canned beans in soup or stew recipes, and those are almost always even softer than the beans you cook yourself. But if you really prefer your beans on the firm side, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to take some out earlier so they are not quite so soft and keep their shape better. I definitely don’t think it’s really necessary though; your choice!

  5. I made a large ham and there’s a lot of leftover ham And a ham bone with a lot of meat still on it can I use that in my beans and if I can do I put it in before I cook the beans or after The beans are almost cooked ? 

    • I would put the ham bone with most of the meat removed in when you start cooking the beans. Then if you want more ham, when the beans are nearly done chop up the ham into smallish pieces and add for the last hour or so. Enjoy!

  6. Why do my navy beans cooked in a crock pot never get completely tender?

    • When dried beans are old, they will take much longer to soften, so that’s the only thing I can think of. If you buy your beans in a store that doesn’t rotate the stock carefully, they might already be old on the shelf when you buy them.

  7. Thank you for such detail. I always think beans shouldn’t be hard, but I’m a recipe follower. I can’t wing it. I appreciate the ratios and specifics. Much more helpful for me. Appreciate your time in sharing with us!

  8. Pingback: 16 Amazing Non-Meat Protein Sources – My Easy Vegan Diet

  9. Aren’t there toxins in beans… and thats why you soak?? ( I think I read that and thats why I started soaking overnight)

  10. If the difference in time is 2 hours, would that mean putting them in the crockpot for 2 hours equals soaking overnight? If i could just put them in for 2 hours and then prepare them without a slowcooker, it would speed up the process a lot.

    • Sorry, I haven’t really tried that. But I know you can bring a pot of beans with water to boil on the stove, turn off the heat and let it sit for an hour or two, and then drain that water, put more water and finish cooking and that will shorten the cooking time. I think that’s called the “quick soak” method if you want to try it.

    • The real reason to soak red beans is to remove many of the agglutin toxins.

  11. It’s worth noting that freezing presoaked beans cuts the cooking time by about half

  12. What’s the extra work ,just clean ,throw the beans in over night seasoning is your tastebuds choice

  13. Putting chopped cooked bacon including the bacon grease is good, or can add salami , the lunch meat I mean, or can add chopped summer sausausage.  My neighbor likes spicy food so she uses chorizo..  onions 

  14. Enjoy the receipts

  15. I used to cook beans un-soaked in my Crock-Pot to prepare a traditional mexican recipe, until I found out about Phytohaemagglutinin or PHA.

    It is recommended to soak the beans for at least 5 hours (5 to 12 hours), and boil them for 10 minutes with fresh water (you have to discard the soaking water), and then add the beans to the slow cooker and continue with the recipe.

    • I appreciate your concern, but I think that is only a concern for kidney beans and red beans, and I already have a caution about that in the post.

  16. Pingback: The BEST Instant Pot Recipes with Black Beans - Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker

  17. I’m so happy I decided to finally use my crockpot to cook my dry beans. So many times I had failed attempts at cooking the dry beans and so I just used canned. My beans cooked perfectly (chickpeas) in my crockpot for high at 4 hours. I’m going to start making hummus, falafel and channa masala now. Yes – perfect time for autumn and winter.