How to Cook Beans in a Slow Cooker (Crock-Pot)

How to Cook Beans in a Slow Cooker (Crock Pot)Several of you have emailed and asked how I cook beans, so I thought I would answer it here.

Dinner is Ready When You Are

The crock-pot is a super tool when it comes to cooking legumes. In fact, beans and slow cookers are best friends. There are no worries about burning food or precise timing. And the food can even cook while you are sleeping or while you’re away from home. Just turn it on and forget about it!

If you like walking in the door and finding dinner ready and waiting for you, you’ll love the convenience of using a crock-pot.

Beans in a Slow Cooker Questions

How many cups of dry beans equals how many cups of cooked beans?

There are approximately 2 cups of beans per pound of dry beans.  Two cups of dry beans yields about 5 cups of cooked beans.

How do I choose the best slow cooker?

I have you covered.  Check out my post about How to Buy a Slow Cooker.

What size slow cooker do I need?

It depends on how many beans you want to cook.  The recipe I’ve given below is for a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker.  A 4-quart slow cooker will accommodate 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of beans.  A 6-quart cooker will cook 2 pounds of beans.

Do I have to pre-soak my beans?

Because of the long cooking time, pre-soaking is not necessary when cooking beans in a slow cooker.

Should I cook my beans on low or high?

All slow cookers cook differently and the answer to this question will depend on how hot your slow cooker gets. However, because it is important the beans come to a boil (see next question), I always cook my beans on high.

One of my crock pots gets going a little too hot, so I slip the very sliver of the end of a toothpick under the lid (between the lid and the rim of the crock) and this lets just enough steam out to prevent having bean juice splattered all over my kitchen counters while still keeping the beans at a boil.

Why do the beans need to come to a boil?

Many raw beans contain a toxin that is destroyed by boiling for at least ten minutes.  Most modern slow cookers get hot enough on low to bring beans to a good boil for several hours, but, just to be safe, I always cook my beans on high.

To be sure your slow cooker gets hot enough, take a peek through the glass lid of your cooker at the end of the cooking time to make sure the beans are gently boiling.

How long should I cook my beans in a slow cooker?

Cooking time depends on what type of beans your cooking and how hot your slow cooker gets.  Most new cookers get hot enough to cook your average bean (pinto beans, black beans, cranberry beans, white beans, garbanzos) in 6 to 8 hours.  However, I like my beans very well done and so I generally cook my beans for over 12 hours. (I start them before I go to bed and eat them later the next day.)

It’s very difficult to over-cook beans in a slow cooker.

What about other types of beans?  How long do they take to cook?

Kidney beans and soy beans can take up to 12 hours until they are tender and thoroughly cooked.  Lentils and split peas cook quickly – about 3 to 6 hours.  Once again, I like my beans cooked well (better digestion and better taste), so I usually add a couple hours to these times.

I cooked my beans for 12 hours and they still aren’t done.

Beans have a long shelf life, but if stored too long or in a warm environment (best to store legumes in a cool place), they often won’t cook up tender.  If your beans get too old, probably your best solution is to throw them in the compost.

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How to Cook Beans in a Slow Cooker (Crock-Pot)
 
Slow Cooked Beans
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds dry beans
  • 10 to 12 cups water
Instructions
  1. Sort through beans, removing stones and dirt.
  2. Place beans in a large colander, and rinse very well under running water.
  3. Transfer beans to slow cooker.
  4. Add water.

    (The amount of water needed may vary. Some crock-pots lose a lot of water during cooking, and some do not. With just a little bit of experimenting, you'll know exactly how much water your cooker requires. In fact, I never measure the water when I add it to the beans. I just pour it in to about an inch from the top of the cooker and they always cook up nicely.)
  5. Turn slow cooker on high and cook for at least 6 hours or up to 14 hours.

    Cooking time depends on your slow cooker. All crock-pots cook differently, but you can determine how long your beans need to cook by testing them. If they are soft and tender, they are done!
  6. Season beans with onion, garlic, and salt to taste, or try some of your favorite herbs to flavor beans.
Notes
1. Many raw beans contain a toxin that is destroyed by boiling for at least ten minutes. Most slow cookers get hot enough to bring beans to a good boil for several hours. Check your beans at the end of the cooking time to make sure they are gently boiling.

2. The cooked beans should be very, very tender before serving. If your beans are not soft after 8 hours of cooking, they may be too old or your slow cooker may not be working correctly.

3. This recipe is for a 3- to 4-quart crock-pot. If using a smaller slow cooker, reduce ingredient amounts and increase cooking time.

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22 Responses to “How to Cook Beans in a Slow Cooker (Crock-Pot)”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. LiveCrazy_Joe says:

    This is just what I was looking for. Found it via google.

    Thanks!!!

  2. Jennifer White says:

    You are very welcome. Glad that it came in handy!

    Jennifer

  3. Kesha says:

    Huge thanks. I am going to try this tonight. Very excited about your blog. Thanks Google. Kesha

  4. Jennifer White says:

    Hi Kesha,
    Hope it turned out well for you. Thanks for stopping by.

    Take care,
    Jennifer

  5. Jodi Brown says:

    This was a simple "how to" question, but it brought me to your blog. What a great treat! I will check back often. Oh, and the beans were great!

  6. Jennifer White says:

    Hi Jodi,
    Welcome. I'm happy you liked the blog and that the beans turned out good.
    I just spent almost an hour reading through your blog and am anxious to have some time to read more. You are an incredible woman. Very inspiring to me. Thank you so much for being willing to share your experience. I will be sure to keep you in my prayers.
    Blessings to you,
    Jennifer

  7. Heather says:

    Found your blog via Google. Thanks for the post; it's exactly what I was looking for!

  8. Jennifer White says:

    Hi Heather,
    Glad it was helpful. Have a wonderful day! :)
    Jennifer

  9. Wendy says:

    i like the look of this – other advice was to soak the beans first. if you can't just put the beans straight in, if you have to soak them first, you may as well do it the conventional way.

  10. Jennifer White says:

    Hi Wendy,
    I agree … this is a really convenient way to cook beans. When I know I'm going to be too busy to cook, I just throw some beans in my crock-pot the night before and we have an easy meal the next day.

    Happy cooking,
    Jennifer

  11. Virginia says:

    Hi, I read some advice from legume researchers that the beans need to be boiled for ten minutes before going into the slow cooker. They believe the slow cooker doesn't reach high enough temperatures to kill the toxins. I found this at http://www.cilr.uq.edu.au/UserImages/File/Health_G4.pdf

  12. Jennifer White says:

    Hi Virginia,

    Thank you so much for sharing this information. As the article notes, toxins in the beans are removed by boiling. Thankfully, most modern slow cookers do get hot enough to bring beans to a boil, and if the beans are at the boiling point for at least 10 minutes, then there's no concern.

    My slow cooker gently boils beans for several hours.

    To be safe, one should check one's slow cooker to make sure it gets hot enough to boil beans.

    I should have mentioned this in my post. Thank you for pointing it out. :) I’ll edit to make this clear.

  13. Dee says:

    Just found your site and am looking forward to learning more. Just put my beans in the crockpot and set the timer. . . thank you!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Would you like information about cooking in a slow cooker?  Hop over to a post I wrote about cooking beans in a slow cooker. [...]

  2. [...] You can use canned garbanzo beans if you like (which would sort of make this a no-cook recipe), but I love the taste and texture, not to mention the money saving factor, of beans cooked in a crock-pot or slow cooker. If you need a little refresher course on this, check out the post I wrote on how to cook beans in slow cooker. [...]

  3. [...] cooking with a crock-pot?  Check out my posts about overnight, crock-pot, hot cereal recipes, how to cook beans in a crock pot, and how to buy a crock-pot. [...]

  4. [...] At around 25 cents per cup cooked, beans are just about the most inexpensive, healthful source of quality protein you can buy.  And they are the ultimate in convenience – just open a can!  Or you can cook your own – a crock pot makes cooking beans so easy. [...]

  5. [...] or otherwise hiding the offending food. However, this project was surprisingly easy. Put the beans in a great tasting soup and voila! We devoured [...]

  6. [...] hot. Notes Home-cooked garbanzos, especially those prepared in a slow-cooker taste best in this recipe. [...]

  7. [...] Would you like more information and some crock pot recipes? Check out my posts about overnight, crock-pot, hot cereal recipes and how to cook beans in a crock pot. [...]

  8. [...] I used white beans that I cooked in my slow cooker (crockpot) because a slow cooker makes beans super soft and creamy. You could try canned beans and the result will probably be good, but if you think to put some [...]



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