web analytics
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

 

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

  1. Kalyn~This may be a silly question…when you soaked your beans overnight in the slow cooker, did you have it on or off?

    Thanks!
    Laurel

  2. Pat I did talk about that in the post.

  3. What about the toxins in dried kidney beans? Slow cookers don't get hot enough.

  4. I haven't cooked those kind of dried bean packets in the CrockPot so I can't really give advice. I would probably boil them, but check the package and see what the instructions say. Sometimes the ham flavoring packets are okay, but hard to say with this one.

  5. I am cooking 15 bean soup so I have a few dilemmas. First, they certainly contain red beans. I do not have time to pre-soak. Should I boil for 10 minutes and then start the crock pot process? Second, because there are 15 different beans, any suggestions on time to doneness considering other comments I have read about different cooking times for different beans. Third, they have a ham "flavoring" packet. Has anyone used this and do you recommend it? I sometimes find that "flavoring" packets can mean "yucky" imitation taste.

  6. Kalyn, I was thinking a pressure cooker (which I don't have) was the only way to cook beans so thank you for this. I am going to try it!

  7. I said for 2 cups dried beans add enough water to cover by about 2 inches. That will vary depending on how big your crockpot is, but it needs to be at least 3 1/2 quart size for 2 cups beans.

  8. I want a crock pot recipe because I do not have TIME to soak the beans. I went searching for the answer to two simple questions – and I have yet to find the answer.
    How much beans? In the case you said two cups.
    How much water? No one answers this.
    I want to dump the beans and the water in the crock pot and go to work. But I never get the right amount of water.

    • I get up in the morning, quick soak the beans (boil in water for 2 mins., let sit for one hour and then cook the beans in new water. Today I put 3 boneless pork chops in the crock pot and covered them with the beans and water. I cooked them on high for 5-6 hours. I'm sure they will be wonderful!

  9. I cook dried beans in the crockpot first I sort beans place in pan cover with water, then bring them to a boil, turn of the heat and cover pan for 30 minutes. This is a quick presoak, rinse beans put in crock pot cover with water, cook until tender, add seasoning, I use a dried ham seasoning to taste along with salt. If you want the juice to be thicker, mash some of the beans with the back of a spoon and let cook 30 minutes or so and it will thicken up.
    Great Northen or Navy beans tend to have a differnt taste when warmed up, if you will remove beans (you aren't serving this meal) after tender but befor being seasoned put in container in fridge. You can cook later in the week just by seasoning and they will taste fresh cooked.

  10. Jeanie, glad it worked well for you; thanks for the link.

  11. Thanks for this post. I've been meaning to give dried beans a go and this was just the motivation I needed. I even posted a link to my blog for others. Thanks.

  12. Gloria, thanks for chiming in!

  13. Being of Mexican descent I know mucho about beans. I used to always burn them when I cooked them on the stove top. Slow cookers prevent burning. Soaking overnight removes the gas building properties of pinto beans.
    Gloria in Phx

  14. Sally, your beans are probably always fresh if you eat beans daily, but even with a fresh bag from the store, my unsoaked ones were definitely not done in 4 hours. Thanks for the tips about the cooking liquid.

    Tiffany, I highly recommend crockpots; one of the handiest of all cooking gadgets in my opinion. They usually go on sale during the holidays.

  15. Thanks for the tips! I always buy dry beans and soak them in a regular pot, but I do have plans of getting a crock pot someday soon.

  16. I cook my beans in the crock pot without presoaking and they're always done by 4 hours. Any longer and they're overcooked.

    I also use the cooking liquid — and I have very little problems with gas UNLESS I've not eaten beans for a long time (I generally have some daily). It's the introduction of that particular form of starch to the system that initially causes gas. If you eat beans consistently, in a short period of time there will be far fewer issues with gas because the microbes in your gut become accustomed to it.

    My understanding is that during presoaking the beans start to germinate which changes the carbohydrate and makes them less prone to cause gas. It doesn't matter whether or not you use the soaking/cooking liquid or not.

  17. Beans are on my list. Yes to beans. (Though my family might not want to hear me say that… if you know what I mean?

  18. Kalyn- Some of our knowledge comes with experience, so we do assume others "just know" these things. When I read Kath's comment, I realized that many people take these types of recipes exactly as written. We both know that with beans and slow cookers, that's not always the case. I agree that if those beans were still not done, they were probably really old. That's been my experience too. Thanks for allowing my two cents.

  19. CJ, thanks for the tips. I guess I am assuming that people know that different beans have slightly different cooking times, and that slow cookers vary in their temperatures, but I probably shouldn't assume that. Still, whenever I've had problems with beans not getting cooked enough like Kath was asking about, it's always been due to the beans being old.

  20. "Kath said…
    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.
    December 9, 2010 6:23 AM"

    @Kath- Cooking time varies not only by the "age" of the beans but other factors, the type and size of the beans as well. An adzuki bean cooks more quickly than a pinto, navy or cannelini bean. A kidney bean takes a bit longer yet. Garbazo beans take a much longer time to cook than most other beans.

    Temperature settings on slow cookers vary as well. My old ones cook very, very slowly. My newer ones set to hi cook at higher temps and things get done far more quickly. There are guidlines to be found around the internet, but they are just guidlines.

    Experimentation and experience help. Still, each bean cooks in it's own time, regardless of guidelines. *S* I hope that helps more than it confuses you.

Leave a comment »