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

  1. 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.

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

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

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

  11. I am making black beans in the crock pot, and plan to freeze the extras. Do you freeze them in their cooking liquid, or do you drain them first? Thank you! B
    Angie

  12. I don't really know how long dried beans will keep; I only know that when they've been sitting in the pantry a long time they take forever to get done. Doesn't sound like that was the problem here.

    I really don't want to give advice about the dried red beans because I honestly don't know that much about it. I would follow the link in the post and read what it says and then make up your mind.

  13. Hi Kalyn, thanks for the tips. I left the beans to cook overnight and they are finally done as of this morning. The ham hock was not falling off the bone last night either so I guess this is just one of those 24 hour recipes. The bean mix has a sell by date of jan 2014. That seems pretty fresh to me but I don't know how long dried beans should be kept before being discarded. Do you? Also, do I need to worry about the fact that there are some kidney beans in this mix since I didn't boil the beans first?

  14. Christine, I haven't tried cooking a mixture of beans in the crockpot so I can't really say how it would work. I think the main reason beans take too long to get done is when they are old; cooking times can vary greatly even when you cook them on the stove.

    If you're not experienced cooking beans I'd probably start with one type and follow the instructions in this recipe. I have kept the liquid in or not, and I don't think it makes a huge difference (nearly all beans will cause gas if your body is not used to eating them.)

  15. Hi! I found your blog because I got one of those dried bean soup mixes by Bob's red mill – the 13 Bean one. I soaked the beans like the bag said, but I wanted to use my crock pot to cook them. The bag did not have any crockpot tips on the bag and I've never cooked beans from a dry state before so didn't know about all these tips. So it's been like 12 hours and the beans are not edible yet. Also this mix has kidney beans in it and I am reading here that they have to be boiled rapidly to get rid of the toxin that I didn't know about. I am also reading that the liquid from cooking the beans should be discarded because it will cause gas and I don't want that! Another thing I am seeing here is that the beans need to be sorted to find the undesirable beans. I am beginning to think that I just need to throw out everything in the crockpot and start over because this first batch is not going to be that great. So can you give me the top bean cooking rules all in one place because I really don't know what I am doing and this is all very discouraging. Please help! Thanks.

  16. Thank you for blogging on how to cook dried beans in the slow cooker! Just bought my crockpot a couple months ago and love trying new things in it!!!

  17. Kalyn, my son (an accomplished cook as well as med school professor) made up a slow cooker black bean recipe that is ridiculously good and easy. Chop up one onion and a couple of cloves of garlic, add 1/2 pound of soaked black beans and a large (28 oz?) can of crushed tomatoes, rather than water…. ends up sweet and delicious. Can always add cumin, etc, but really good even without seasoning.

  18. Jessica, I hesitate to answer because I honestly don't know that much about it. Probably starting over is the safest bet though. (You could try googling to get more info about it.)

  19. Oops!! I put 2 cups of black beans and 1 cup of kidney beans in my crock pot with water, salt and broth and THEN was reading about the toxins. They are on high for 8 hours. When they are done can I then boil them or should I just pitch them and start over?

  20. Laurel, the crockpot was off when I soaked the beans.