Fix and Forget Friday – How To Cook Beans in a Crock Pot

Fix and Forget Friday – How To Cook Beans in a Crock Pot

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Beans, beans! Good for your heart! The more you eat, the more you……..want. Seriously. We <3 beans. I grew up with a mom who almost always had a pot of beans cooking or already ready to eat in the fridge. She always cooked them by soaking overnight and cooking the next morning. It’s what I know……it’s what I did too. Funny how you grow up doing the same things your mom did, even if you don’t know why. We decided to increase our intake of beans so I set out to find an easier way to make them.When you buy dried beans, you’ll pay a LOT less than beans in a can. I’ve always kept canned beans in my stockpile, but now I’m keeping cooked beans in my freezer instead. They are SO easy to make! I knew tons of people cooked their beans in the crock pot, but I had never done it myself – instead doing it like my mom had always done it…..but my mom doesn’t love her crock pot as much as I do. It’s so easy to do; I’ll be cooking all my beans this way from now on. Come over into the light and eat beans. Have I mentioned they are super yummy? All you need are beans, a crock pot, and water…..and salt. Beans without salt are like Annie without Elmo. I needed a batch of black beans, so that’s what I used…..but you can use any dried bean that you have.

First you need to rinse your beans and look through them carefully. You’re looking for any bad, shriveled, weird looking beans or rocks. Yes, rocks. So far I’ve not found any rocks in my bags of beans but my mom finds them regularly. You really don’t want to bite into a rock during dinner……so rinse and look them over. You want your family to love beans, not be afraid they’re going to break a tooth.

Cover your beans with water….lots of water. Most bags say 10 cups of water. I don’t measure. I just guesstimate. Hmmm, this looks about right. You need plenty of water because they’re going to absorb a LOT while they soak overnight. You’ll be quite surprised at how much they’ll drink.

Notice that I’m using my crock instead of dirtying another dish. The purpose of using a crock pot is to lessen the amount of dishes you have – or something like that. Cover your beans and let them rest overnight. I always do this part right before I go to bed and then I know they’re ready when we’re done with breakfast. It only takes a little bit of planning on your part. It’s easy, but you do need to know in advance that you’re going to do it. That’s why meal planning is so important.

In the morning (or 8 hours later) pour off the remaining water. Wow! Those were some thirsty beans…..they absorbed a lot of water and now they’re bigger. Do those beans look fat to you? No, it’s just water weight. Now it’s time to cook those babies!

NOTE: Cover beans again, bring to a rapid boil on the stove for 10 minutes. This reduces the toxins present in beans. Drain and then proceed as below. 

DO NOT TRY TO BOIL YOUR BEANS IN THE CROCK ON THE STOVETOP. USE A REGULAR POT AND THEN TRANSFER BACK TO THE CROCK.

For an explanation on the toxins in beans, visit Choosing Voluntary Simplicity. 

Cover them with water again. You got rid of the first batch of water – supposedly because it’s going to get rid of the gas or something like that. It’s like the first batch of water captures all the bad stuff and leaves the goodness of the bean behind. Bean behind. That just sounds silly. I have a bean behind. Just put enough water that the beans are covered. I added too much water and had to get rid of some of it when they were done. I get distracted easily.

You want to cook them on low for 4-8 hours. It really depends on the type of bean you are using. A bigger bean (kidney) will obviously take longer than a small bean (black). I like my beans to have just a little bit of bite left. But since these were for using in Black Bean Burgers I didn’t worry too much about it.ETA: If you’re going to freeze these beans, you might want to undercook them just a tad…..especially if you’re going to add them to another recipe that requires cooking – in order to avoid mushy beans.The cook time can vary greatly with this method. Start checking after 4 hours, especially if it’s a small bean.

When mine had about 2 hours left, I added two teaspoons of salt (two teaspoons per pound of beans is my rule) and left them to finish cooking. Beans need salt. I’ve tried to eat beans without salt…..it wasn’t pretty.

You know they are done when they are tender and the liquid looks nice and thick like this. Yummy stuff! It’s great drizzled over cornbread or you can drink it with a straw.

Nice and pretty….and ready to eat. I cannot get over how easy it is! I went to the market and got several different beans just to cook in my crock pot. I’m full of excitement like that. You can eat them now or……..

You can prep them for the freezer. When they were cool, I labeled the containers and popped them in the freezer for later use. I love cooking stuff in advance to use for later in a recipe. That makes cooking a LOT easier.


Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her three children, Annie (June 2009), Andy (August 2012) and Eli (September 2014). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.

  • http://www.facebook.com/baking4six Dianne @ Mother 2 Four

    Stacy – before I try freezing the beans for myself. When the beans thaw, is the texture similar to when they come out of a can? Thanks :)

    • Stacy

      Yes, if you don’t overcook them. This batch was VERY well done but I knew it wasn’t an issue for burgers. :-)

      • http://www.facebook.com/baking4six Dianne @ Mother 2 Four

        Thank you. Not that I’m planning to over-cook the beans, but I have 4 (6 if I count my husband & the dog) distractions of my own. I’ll just tell them if they distract me then they’ll be eating black bean burgers for a week!
        ~ Seriously tho’, my oldest prefers to go meatless and I think that she would really enjoy the Black Bean Burger recipe, it’ll be interesting to see what everyone else’s reaction is.

        • Stacy

          There are two on my site…..I prefer the one with cilantro. :-)

  • Heather

    Hi, I’m new to your site and I LOVE it!! I just came across this recipe and I wanted to share what I do with my beans. I always do my beans in the crockpot too :) I throw in a lot of garlic cloves, chopped onion, and one or two jalapeno chilies in with my beans… yummy goodness! I’ve got 4 kiddos (only 3 are old enough to eat the beans, my baby is only 6 months) and it doesn’t ever seem too spicy for them. I usually only put the chilies in with black beans and pinto beans; with all other beans (lima, garbanzo, kidney, navy etc) I toss in the onion and garlic. Thanks again for sharing your recipes and knowledge!!!

    • Stacy

      Thanks for the very nice words! :-) :-)
      That sounds delish! I usually cook mine plain because I’m going to freeze them. I like to jazz them up if I’m serving them for dinner…..and we love jalapenos! Good idea!

  • brenda

    Hey Stacy,

    Nice post ~ informative with just the right amount of humor.

    Thanks,
    brenda

    • Stacy

      Humor is what I have plenty of. :-)

  • Suzanne

    Hi Stacy, love your post and articles! Your sense of humor makes me literally laugh out loud because I am totally tracking with you as I am reading! Anyway, quick question, I noticed in the picture of the bean you were getting ready to freeze that you left some water in with the beans, is that important? I am getting ready to move and we are going to have a full freezer and I plan on starting to freeze a lot of things that I could not before, beans being one of them. Thanks for taking time out of your busy life to share with all of us other moms and wives what you are learning as you go along! Living in awe of Him, Suzanne

    • Stacy

      Nah, I just plop them in there…juice or not. :-) Good luck in your move!! I’m right there with ya.

  • http://wgcreates.com/josjourney JoAnn

    I’m so glad that you wrote this up. I just tried making some great northern beans for a crock pot baked beans dish, and they are WAY too mushy. But I really would like to learn how to cook with dried beans. If I don’t have a lot of freezer space, would putting them in a ziploc baggie work? I’m wondering if they would just get squashed, but I thought I would ask. Thanks.

    • Stacy

      Yes, I’ve frozen them that way….just make sure they don’t get squashed by something heavy before they freeze. ;-)

  • Stacy

    Me either – I was shocked I had never heard of this before!

  • Susannah

    A note about putting the beans in a regular pot for the boiling step would be helpful. My crock just broke on the stove and I had to throw the whole thing (and the beans) away. Next time I’ll start with the beans in a regular pot until the slow cooking step.

    • Stacy

      Susannah, I’m so sorry – it never occurred to me that someone would try boiling in a crock. I’ll add that. Thanks!