This recipe for Slow Cooker Beans is an easy way to save money on healthy food. Soak first to de-gas the beans and then the slow cooker does the cooking for hands-off meals! Enjoy other slow cooker beans recipes like our Crock Pot Refried Beans recipes!
Ever since I realized you can use a slow cooker to make basic ingredients for meals, like making all-purpose slow cooker chicken for salads or tacos, I love my slow cooker more and more.
I’m also finding more ways to use it, like making a big batch of homemade beans in a slow cooker.
In my opinion, beans are an underutilized food. They’re packed with fiber, iron and are a super cheap source of protein.
Perhaps their bad rap is because many people experience foul smelling gaseous side effects when they eat beans. I get that, because certain members of my family were known to have “stinky toots” after eating a meal that had beans.
It was especially noticeable when we ate canned beans, but ever since I learned how to de-gas beans, we don’t have that problem much anymore. The kids love having black bean brownies regularly for dessert!
Slow Cooker Beans
Not only is this recipe a great way to cook a big batch of beans without spending all day tending to the stove, it also:
- Freezes well! I like to make a big batch and freeze in portion sizes.
- Saves you money. Dried beans are slightly cheaper than canned beans, which helps the budget a lot in the long run!
- Healthy! Beans are full of fiber, iron and protein. Great for vegetarians and vegans.
Ingredients for Slow Cooker Beans
Very simply, it’s just…
- dried beans
Note: You can use this method for a number of different types of beans from dried pinto beans to garbanzo beans, great northern beans, black beans & etc.
You can even make my crock pot refried beans recipe, which is one of my most popular slow cooker recipes of all time!
How should I flavor slow cooker beans?
If you want to flavor the beans so that they are tastier as a side dish, you can add bay leaves, peeled garlic cloves or dried herbs to the beans at the start of the cooking process.
This is entirely optional, and it’s up to you how much of these aromatics you use, or if you use any at all. Also, some people like to cook the beans in chicken broth, or add ground cumin for flavor.
I use white beans in my northern beans and ham soup, so I add just a tiny bit of flavor to white beans to enhance the soup – one bay leaf and one garlic clove.
On the other hand, I don’t use any aromatics to garbanzo beans or black beans. Since I use both garbanzo beans and black beans in a variety of recipes – from tortilla soup to black bean brownies to chocolate chip hummus to southwestern salad – I find it easier to start with unseasoned beans.
How to cook beans in a slow cooker
- Soak beans overnight.
- Place soaked beans in a slow cooker.
- Add salt and/or aromatics (if using) and cook the beans on low for 5-6 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.
- Once the beans are done, remove and drain.
- Measure into 2 cup portions and use immediately, or freeze for future meals.
Do you add salt to beans in the slow cooker?
Some home cooks swear by adding salt or baking soda to beans in order to help keep the beans intact as they cook.
I prefer the taste of salt over baking soda and have done this a few times myself with great results. Now it’s part of my standard recipe. You can omit if you prefer.
Do you have to soak beans before cooking in the crock pot?
Although the beans will be COOKED in the slow cooker, I still prefer to soak them beforehand on the stove with enough water to cover the beans. The burner is on for maybe 5 minutes – just long enough to get some bubbles going in the water.
I’ll make sure that I have soaked, drained and rinsed beans before I go to bed at night. Then the next morning I’ll put them in the slow cooker.
Plus soaking is the key to getting rid of the stuff that causes stinky toots!
What happens if you don’t soak beans before cooking?
If you choose to skip the soaking process and want to jump right into making this recipe, allow about ½ cup dry beans per 1 quart of slow cooker. For example, I’d start with only 2 cups of dry beans in a 4-quart slow cooker, or 3 cups of dry beans in a 6-quart slow cooker.
I do recommend the soaking process, though, especially for sensitive tummies.
Can I double or triple the recipe for beans in the slow cooker?
Since beans get bigger as they cook, you don’t want to overload the slow cooker with too many. Allow plenty of room for the beans to cook – about 1 cup of soaked beans per 1 quart of a slow cooker.
If you have a 4-quart slow cooker, 3-4 cups soaked beans should fit. I have this 6-quart slow cooker and 6 cups of soaked beans cooks up nicely with a bit of room to spare.
How long do you cook beans in the crock pot?
As a general rule of thumb, set the timer for the lower end of the cook time range and check for done-ness every 30 minutes thereafter. Remember to drain the beans when they’re done otherwise they’ll keep cooking.
What slow cooker should I buy?
This is the slow cooker that I use. I’ve used it for many years and it hasn’t skipped a beat!
Note: Since learning how to make slow cooker beans, I’ve added Instant Pot beans to my list. You don’t have to soak the beans and they are ready super quick!
Want information on making beans less gassy?
Beans are SO healthy, so I’m really glad that by soaking we can enjoy all of their health benefits…without the gassy side effects. Enjoy my post How to Soak, De-gas and Cook Beans from Scratch on how to make beans less gassy!
More great bean recipes
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Slow Cooker Beans
This recipe for Slow Cooker Beans is an easy way to save money on healthy food. Soak first to de-gas the beans and then the slow cooker does the cooking for hands-off meals!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 hours
- Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Sides
- Method: Slow Cook
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 1/2 lb dry beans
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Pick over the beans to remove any debris or discolored beans. Discard the ugly beans and place the good beans in a large stock pot.
- Fill the pot with water, covering the beans by about 2 inches.
- Place the pot on a burner and bring the water just to a boil. Turn the burner off and cover the pot with a lid. Let the beans sit overnight, or at least 8 hours.
- Pour the beans into a colander and then back into the pot. Cover the beans with water, swish the beans around with your hands and then discard the water. Repeat this process two more times to completely rinse the beans.
- Repeat steps 2-4 for a second soak. (The second soak is optional, but best to eliminate as many of the gas-causing enzymes as possible.)
- Place soaked beans in a slow cooker, filling the slow cooker with water and covering the beans with about 2 inches of water.
- Add aromatics and/or salt if using and cook the beans on low for 5-6 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours. Check the beans for doneness at the 5 hour or 3 hour mark respectively, cooking for longer as needed and checking every 30 minutes.
- Once the beans are done, remove from the slow cooker and drain. Measure into 2 cup portions and use immediately, or freeze for future meals.
Keywords: Slow Cooker Beans
How do you prefer to cook your beans? Do you use salt or baking soda?