Simple, Slow Simmered Black Beans, in the Slow Cooker or on the Stovetop.
Homemade black beans is a simple fix-it-and-forget-it dish when simmered slowly with garlic and spices in your slow cooker or stovetop.
I am not above using canned beans. In fact, you will pretty much always find a couple cans of beans in my pantry. But, whenever time allows, slowly simmering black beans in garlic and spices is infinitely more delicious, and I imagine, more nutritious as well.
What I mean when I say, "when time allows", is that I've remembered to get the beans cooking earlier in the day. Because, homemade black beans really are that simple. You put the beans in a large pot or slow cooker along with some water and spices, and just let them get happy for a few hours.
Do you really need to soak beans before cooking them?
Cooking dried beans is a highly underrated endeavor. Canned beans are a fabulous luxury of the modern age and I almost always have a few cans in the pantry. BUT – cooking dried beans only takes about 5 minutes of prep work, costs a fraction as much as canned, and taste markedly more delicious.
The best thing about cooking dried beans is that you have the opportunity to add herbs, spices, garlic and onions to them while the cook, infusing the beans will all that flavor. Also, the texture of cooked dried beans is much, much better than anything that ever comes out of a can.
The only drawback to cooking dried beans is that the require a bit of forethought. Most recipes, this one included, call for soaking the beans in water overnight. While there’s nothing difficult or time consuming about dumping some beans into a bowl and covering them with water, it does require you to remember to soak them.
But, is soaking the beans necessary? And what do you do if you forget to soak them?
Soaking beans before cooking them does three things:
- It reduces the cooking time
- Creates a better texture for the cooked beans, with fewer split-open and burst beans
- It makes them a bit more digestible
If you don’t soak your beans ahead of time, they will still cook. But, you’ll need to extend the cooking time by about 2 hours. (Sometimes it can take even longer, especially if the beans are old.)
Homemade black beans take very little hands-on time and effort.
I generally get them going in the morning, and then let them do their thing while I go about my day. This is particularly easy if you have a crock pot with a shut-off timer.
Used to make Black Beans in the Slow Cooker:Print
Homemade black beans is a simple fix-it-and-forget-it dish when simmered slowly in your slow cooker or stovetop.
- 16 oz. (1 lb) dried black beans
- 8 cups water - or chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 or 2 limes
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
- 2 tbsp chopped green onions (optional)
Soak the beans:
It's a good idea to soak your beans before cooking them, which ensures a super creamy consistency. You can do this one of two ways:
- The night before (or up to 2 days) you want to make beans, rinse the beans in a colander in the sink. Dump them into a bowl and cover with water. Put them in the refrigerator to let them soak until you're ready to cook them. Drain before proceeding with the recipe.
- Quick soak method: Rinse the beans in a colander in the sink. Put the beans in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot, turn off the heat, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and proceed with the recipe.
Make the beans:
- Add the beans to a heavy bottomed sauce pan, dutch oven, or slow cooker and cover with 8 cups of water or broth. Stir in the garlic, all the dried spices, and the baking soda. Cover and bring to a boil, if cooking on the stove top. If cooking in a slow cooker, just put on the lid and set it to low or high heat, depending on how long you want them to cook.
- Allow the beans to cook, covered, at a gentle simmer on the stove top , stirring from time to time, until tender - about 2 hours. If using a slow cooker, cook on high for about 4 hours or on low for 6-8. You want the beans to be tender, but not completely falling apart.
- Once cooked, you can drain the beans and they are ready to use. Or, you can let them simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, over medium heat on the stove top until the liquid becomes a thick sauce - about 25-35 minutes.
- Add a few squeezes of fresh lime juice to taste, and sprinkle with cilantro and green onions if desired.
Black beans will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 3 months. I like to freeze them in 1 cup portions so that they are easy to use in any recipe that calls for a can of black beans.