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How to Cook Dried Beans in a Crockpot Slow Cooker

Who doesn’t love nutritious beans, and they’re extra delicious and inexpensive when they’re cooked in the slow cooker. This post compares results for soaked and unsoaked beans, with everything you need to know about How to Cook Dried Beans in a Crockpot Slow Cooker.

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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? Partly it’s because dried beans are one of those magical 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.

Beans are also 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, Farinata, Socca, and Falafel.

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 this experiment 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 here’s a report on the results I got. (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.

Other Food Bloggers Cook Dried Beans in a Crockpot:

Slow Cooker Recipes with Beans and Legumes Index Page ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Ten Recipes for Dried Black Beans (plus recipes using cooked black beans) Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Cooking Dried Beans in the Slow Cooker from A Year of Slow Cooking
How to Cook Beans in the Slow Cooker from The Kitchn
Dried Black Beans cooked for Gluten-Free Gazpacho from The Perfect Pantry
Slow Cooker Cuban Style Black Beans with Rice from Andrea Meyers

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!

How to Cook Dried Beans in a Crockpot Slow Cooker
Use a slow cooker that’s at least 3 1/2 quart size to cook 2 cups of dried beans.  You can increase the amount of beans for a larger size cooker.

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.)

Presoaked Beans:
Pick over the dry beans and discard any broken or shriveled looking ones. 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. Put soaked beans back into the slow cooker and add enough water to cover beans by 2 inches.  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.) 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.)  Whether pre-soaked or unsoaked, 2 cups of dried beans will make about 6 cups of cooked beans.  Beans can be frozen in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid for several months until you’re ready to use them.

Unsoaked Beans:
Pick over the dry beans and discard any broken or shriveled looking ones. Put beans  into the slow cooker and add enough water to cover beans by 2 inches.  Turn cooker to HIGH and cook beans until they’re tender and cooked through, about 5-6 hours for unsoaked beans. (You can also cook the unsoaked beans on low, which would take about twice as long.)  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.) Whether pre-soaked or unsoaked, 2 cups of dried beans will make about 6 cups of cooked beans. Beans can be frozen in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid for several months until you’re ready to use them.

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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.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, 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 Slow Cooker found on KalynsKitchen.com
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92 comments on “How to Cook Dried Beans in a Crockpot Slow Cooker”

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

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

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

  10. 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.

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

  12. Samantha, your choice of course.

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

  17. 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

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

  19. 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!

  20. Thanks Kalyn!

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

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

  22. 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

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

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

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

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

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

  33. 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.

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