Simple Slow Cooker Beans
Cooking dried beans in a slow cooker produces richly flavorful, tender beans that will save you money and taste better than anything you’ll ever find in a can.
Don’t get me wrong. Canned beans are great in a pinch. I use them often. But, with just a bit of foresight and about 5 minutes of prep work, you can have a pot full of slow simmered beans, flavored with whatever spices you like.
Beans really are a wonder food.
Slowly cooking dried beans makes them creamy, flavorful, and delicious. Plus, they’re inexpensive, incredibly versatile, and super good for you. Beans are high in fiber and protein, low in sugar, fat, and sodium, and full of slow-burning complex carbohydrates.
Foods containing complex carbs do a couple of really good things for us. They helps us feel full sooner and for longer than eating a bunch of simple carbs. And, for those concerned with blood sugar, complex carbs take longer to impact blood sugar. In other words, as beans digest, they cause blood sugar to rise slowly, providing steady energy without the highs and lows of foods that cause blood sugar to spike quickly then fall.
Cooking dried beans in a slow cooker only requires about 5 minutes of prep time.
Even though you might hear otherwise, soaking the beans before cooking is not necessary. Yes, I know, the bag says otherwise. But, trust me, the only difference soaking makes is that your beans will cook a bit faster than if you just start them cooking straight from the package.
By “slightly faster”, I mean that soaking will save you about an hour of time in the slow cooker. No-soak beans take about 4-5 hours on high and 7-8 hours on low. Soaking the beans in water for at least 8 hours before cooking them means your beans will be done in about 3-4 hours on high and 6-7 on low. If an hour less time in the slow cooker matters to you, soak away. If not, march forward with confidence.
This recipe will work with most kinds of beans.
This is a general recipe that works for pretty much any kind of dried bean except for split peas and lentils. Use all one type of bean or mix a few different ones together.
The recipe makes a lot of cooked beans – about 6-7 cups. You can certainly cut the recipe in half. But, I’ve found that it’s not that difficult to use 6 or 7 cups of beans in different dishes throughout the week. If there’s any leftover, they freeze beautifully and are great to have on hand.
Incorporate whatever flavors you like.
Planning to make some chili, tostadas, nachos, or burritos this week? Add some chili power, cumin, and oregano.
Perhaps you’re in the mood for Italian or Mediterranean flavors. Add some rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, and crushed red pepper.
Making some middle eastern or Indian dishes? Toss in some allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, and dried chilies.
No matter what, I like to add some garlic and onion powder. After that, anything goes.
Popular Recipes that use Slow Cooker Beans:
- Vegetarian Chili with Chimichurri Sauce and Pico de Gallo
- Creamy Chicken Chili with Chorizo and Roasted Corn
- Cuban Chicken and Rice
- White Chili and Chorizo Tamale Pie
- White Bean and Kale Soup with Wild Rice
- Black Bean Tostadas with Corn Salsa
- Black Bean and Tomato Soup
- Slow Cooker Green Chili Baked Burritos
- Veggie Black Bean Nachos
- Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Used in this recipe:
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Slow cooker beans take about 4 hours on high and 6 hours on low. This is a general recipe that works for pretty much any kind of dried bean except for split peas and lentils. Use all one type of bean or mix a few different ones together.
- 16 ounces (1 lb) dried beans, any variety
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
- 8 cups water, or chicken or vegetable broth
- Any other herbs and spices that you like (optional)
- Pour beans into a colander and rinse in the sink for a minute or so. Pour into your slow cooker.
- Add remaining ingredients plus 8 cups water, or chicken or vegetable broth. Stir to combine, put the lid on the slow cooker and let cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
- Category: Beans and legumes
- Method: Slow Cooker
Keywords: beans, slow cooker, crock pot,