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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.

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.

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

 

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

  1. Stephanie, I did find this site which says no major outbreaks have been found in the U.S. but I will add a caution about that, thanks!

    Baquist, it's true that the slow cooker doesn't reduce the liquid as stovetop cooking does; that's why I often cook beans plain, then add them to recipes where they'll be reduced.

  2. Kalyn,

    First, THANK YOU for this blog; I've been lurking for months and have got untold tips and ideas from you. Love it!

    I went through a phase where I always cooked my beans with a slow cooker; pre-soaked with some seasonings – veg. oil, onion, green pepper, spices + tomatoes. In intervening years I cooked them stovetop with the same. When I tried to go back to slow cooker, the resulting liquid was flavorful, but thin and rather soupy – family much preferred the stovetop version. Have you or anyone else noticed this, and any suggestions? I often freeze them after cooking, but never thought about freezing them pre-seasoning for last minute versatility. Definitely something to think about.

  3. yay for crockpot beans! Thank you for the link, Kalyn. One of our favorite dishes is your black beans with cilantro.

    Red beans carry a natural toxin and must be boiled rapidly for 10 minutes–either prior to soaking, or after—
    it's rare, but I'd still recommend parboiling all red beans.

    xoox

  4. Di, I do soak my beans most of the time, but I don't agree that there are health dangers associated with eating beans that haven't been soaked. I agree though, soak when you remember to do it.

  5. While soaking may not seem to be necessary in a crock pot, dried beans should be pre soaked. It breaks down saprophytic acid, which inhibits our digestive tract from fully absorbing nutrients( protein for one). Simply place your beans in the crockpot with water the night before. In the morning drain the beans and then refresh the water and cook. It's something that can prevent major health issues i the long run

  6. Kath, that should work, but the age of your beans is the main factor in determining whether they're done. I think if you have beans that are relatively fresh and you soak them, they should be done when you get home from work. (Fresh dried beans sounds like an oxymoron, but sometimes beans sit on the shelf for years, and those are the ones that don't get soft very easily when they're cooked.

  7. So for all-day cooking, it sounds like you could cook soaked beans on Low. Does that seem right? Years ago I tried unsoaked beans on Low and they weren't done when I got home from work.

  8. Crockpots are such a convenient way to cook beans during this holiday season.

    I have also read that soaking the beans ahead of time and disposing of the soaking water reduces the gas factor.

    I like to cook my beans with onion, garlic, carrot, celery, kombu (for its nutrients), bay leaf, and sometimes thyme, oregano or rosemary (great with cannellini beans). I freeze any extras and throw them into soups or make hummus. I love homemade beans because you can control the salt content and flavor them however you like.

  9. CJ, I definitely prefer the soaked beans too, but I was still quite surprised at how quickly the unsoaked beans cooked. Sounds like you have it down as far as cooking beans!

  10. I prefer to cook beans in a slow cooker because I can sample them easily near the end of their cooking time.
    So easy too.

    I still prefer soaking over not soaking because the beans tend to be a lot less gassy. Just make sure you give them a good rinse.

    One of my favorite things to do is assemble some type of bean soup ingredients in the slow cooker either before I go to work or before I go to bed. I set it on lo and when I wake up/return home, the soup is done. Same goes for other bean recipes. In this household we do love our beans.

  11. TW and Liz, I do have some recipes on the blog for beans cooked in the pressure cooker but I think there are more people who have crockpots than there are who have pressure cookers, so I thought this might be helpful to those people. And TW, you're right that the timing is a lot more touchy with the pressure cooker, but Liz is also right that the pressure cooker is quicker! Both methods are good.

  12. I'm still a fan of using a sturdy pressure cooker to cook beans in a jiff. I did up a good two pounds of dried, non soaked pintos in 45 minutes on the stove, plus 15 minutes to return to normal pressure. I would offer this as a quicker alternative — plus, the seasoning you add really permeate the final product. I especially like dried onions, garlic and a chipotle pepper in 1 TBSP of adobo sauce since most of what we use the beans for are Mexican inspired dishes.

    Just a thought!

  13. This is very helpful, Kalyn. I've always heard about using the crockpot for cooking beans, but it was hard to find reliable directions. Interesting that there was no real difference in the soaking. In some cases I have resorted to using the pressure cooker, which is pretty effective and doesn't require pre-soaking. Although, you have to watch the pressure cooker, as the beans can get soft fast. I tend to under cook them in the pressure cooker, because I like my beans a little firmer anyway.

  14. Thank you so much for this post. I am starting to cook more and more, and had an epic FAIL on crockpot beans in the past. Maybe now I will try again?

  15. So any ol' plastic container will probably work? That's really cool. Do you find one size works better so you use a whole container at once instead of taking some out and put it back?

  16. Anonymous, think I will edit and clarify that this is why I don't save the cooking water, thanks for the question.

  17. Thanks Beth!

    Anonymous, I had heard that before as well, but I'm not sure if it's true. Seems like the undigestible carbs would also get released into the cooking water when you cook the unsoaked beans, and as long as you discard that water, I think there wouldn't be a significant difference.

    If you make a recipe where you use unsoaked beans and cook them in the liquid that stays with the recipe (like soup or chile) then I think there might be more of a problem with gas.

  18. I heard that the presoaking cuts down on *ahem* gas. Did you happen to make notes on that aspect?

  19. Awesome! I was about to make a very similar post last week when I got lazy and decided to buy canned beans for my recipe instead 😛 This is still on my list for December, though. Cooking and freezing beans is so easy and saves SO MUCH money! Thanks for experimenting and reporting about the soaked vs. presoaked!

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