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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.

Click here to PIN How to Cook Dried Beans in a CrockPot or Slow Cooker!

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.


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


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.


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.

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


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107 comments on “How to Cook Dried Beans in a Crockpot or Slow Cooker”

  1. 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!

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

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

  4. 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.

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

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

  7. 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 

  8. Enjoy the receipts

  9. 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.

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

  11. 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.

  12. I’m all about the crockpot doing bean magic.  I start these at bedtime and awake to glory.  A ladle full to go with my eggs for breakfast, and then leave them going until dinner.

    – 1 large bag pinto beans
    – 1 can Rotel tomatoes (hot)
    – 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo
    – 2 large onions roughly chopped
    – 1 tbl garlic salt
    – 2.5 lbs pork belly, cubed
    – 1.5 tbl chili powder
    – 2 tsp paprika
    – 1 tsp cumin
    – 1 tsp white pepper
    – 2 tbl salt
    – 1 tbl dried oregano

    Cover w/2″ water .  Cook 24hrs or until beans are soft.  Adjust salt to taste.  Top with grated cheddar or jack, freshly chopped coriander, and a fried egg.  Serve with hot flour tortillas.

  13. I appreciate that you took the time to test both soaked and unsoaked beans in a crock pot. This is just what I was hoping to find. Thanks so much.

  14. Fall! Time for bean cooking and a new bean post! Thanks for your initial experiment and glad to read ensuing posts. Pressure cooked beans in past, but wanted to try slow cooker since I was going to make chili. Knew I needed to pre-cook beans. If you throw uncooked beans into the slow cooker with salt and acid (tomatoes), they'll NEVER soften.

  15. Sorry, I have no idea. But you could certainly freeze the bean liquid and use it to make soup; I think that would be great.

  16. Can you tell me how much nutrition is in the liquid from the beans? Somehow I thought there was quite a bit.

  17. Cheryl, interesting. I've never tried that.

    However for people who are following South Beach of trying to eat low-glycemic, the beer would add extra sugar. Not something everyone cares about but I wanted to clarify.

  18. I use 1/2 to 1 full can of beer in the crockpot to cook beans. It cannot be tasted, but helps with the gas issue, plus the beans cook up fluffy and faster. I don't know why, but it works!

  19. Neil, I do think that's true.

  20. Hello , I believe that the more bean product you digest the more your gastrointestinal system gets used to the product, therefore alleviating the flatulence associated with bean Products , I may however be full of it comments are welcome , Neil b

  21. Crystal, as long as your slow cooker is big enough to hold more beans, the cooking time will be the same.

  22. Thanks Kalyn!

    A quick question — do I double the cooking time for 2 lbs of dry beans in crockpot?

  23. I have always loved dried beans—nothing better on a chilly night! And since I discovered cooking them in the crockpot, it's easier than ever! No more scorched or burned beans because I forgot to check the simmering pot on the stove! And I can have beans for supper even if I have to be out all day 🙂 One thing I do that adds flavor is add some chicken or beef broth (or bouillon granules) to the cooking water…gives them a great flavor with no added fat (if you're watching sodium, use low sodium broth). Beans forever!

  24. Ann, never heard of that before; very interesting!

  25. I am about to embark on cooking beans [n a crackpot and so happy for all the good experiences shared here. Here is a tried and proved solution frpm an old cookbook for avoiding the "gas" problem which was a difficulty for some even with presoaking. THROW IN A SMALL POTATO AND DISCARD WHEN THE BEANS ARE COOKED. No mote problem. Ann

  26. Patti, you're welcome. Sometimes it takes a LONG time if the beans are really old!

  27. Thanks for this blog. I am making an Italian bean soup from my new "the new slow cooker". It has been cooking for 6 hours and the beans are still firm. Now I know that the age of the beans will affect cooking time. Thanks for all the info.

  28. According to the googling I have done – kidney beans should never be slow cooked without the 10 min pre boil to destroy the phytohaemagglutinin toxin. An extended time at 75 to 80 deg cent. actually increases the amount of it. Ingesting 4-5 beans is enough to cause issues – nasty intestinal cramps, vomiting, diarrhea and all that. Apparently all beans contain this somewhat but red and kidney beans have the most.

  29. Just thought you should know that my older style crock pot is bubbling away after only about an hour on high. Depending on your crockpot, your kidney beans might get plenty of boiling!

  30. Samantha, your choice of course.

  31. I never heard of dumping the bean juice after cooking them. That's called pot liquor in the South. Sometimes its the best part.

  32. Excuse me for commenting so late. I came here via your Friday Favourites post of April 26, 2013

    I didn't know that about red kidney beans! Thanks for the warning.

    Happily, we must have blundered onto cooking our beans at a high enough temperature – we hardly ever use canned beans. (They're so disappointing – and expensive – in comparison to dried beans cooked by us.) But then, we don't have a slow cooker either and cook pre-soaked beans in fresh water a pot on the back burner.

  33. Esther, I don't know for sure, but I don't think I would.

  34. Kidney beans- could you boil them for ten minutes after they're done in the crock pot to get rid of the toxins?

  35. Thank you so much for this post! Getting ready to try beans in the crock pot for the first time, usually I use my pressure cooker – dry to done in 40 mins!, and I was discouraged with everything online saying I needed to soak the beans overnight AND THEN let them cook eight hours! Thank you for taking the time to figure out that's not necessary.

  36. Virginia, I did that with this bean stew in the slow cooker and I was happy with how it turned out, but it's not something I have experimented with that much.

  37. What about using dried beans in a recipe for soup or such right from the start when cooking in a crockpot, not just cooking the beans alone to be used later in a recipe? Any thoughts?

  38. Yay! I had bought a crock pot, but forgot I had it, ha ha. This winter I wanted to make soup and beans and stuff. Thanks for the post!

    • This is my recipe for cooking red beans or navy (white) beans.

      3 lbs red beans or great northern beans.
      1 tsp salt.
      1/4 tsp pepper.
      3–32 oz boxes of chicken broth.

      1. Pick thru and disguard halves or wrinkled beans and wash with cold water.
      2. Put beans in 6 qt. Crockpot and cover beans completely with waterand soak overnight.
      3. Next morning, pour water off of the beans.
      4. Put beans in the crockpot. Cover completely with chicken broth. (Add ham if you like it in your beans). Put lid on crockpot.
      5. Cook beans on high for 4-6 hours. Add salt and pepper and add more chicken broth if needed, stir and put the lid back.
      6. Make some cornbread if you like it with your beans..
      7. Serve and enjoy. These freeze very well so rat now and enjoy more later.

  39. Annie, there are some recipes that do that, but it would depend on the ingredients. Certain ingredients like tomatoes make the beans take much longer to get soft, but they would still probably be ok if cooked all day.

  40. Is it possible, after soaking the beans, to cook them together with your soup ingredients in the slow cooker? Wondering if I can put my ingredients for slow cooker white chili in along with the soaked beans and leave on low all day. Thanks!

  41. I drain the beans when I freeze them, but I'm guessing you could do it either way.

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