Slow Cooker Black beans is a simple way to cook dried beans! Learn How To Cook Black Beans in a slow cooker without pre-soaking! This easy foolproof method has helped me make homemade beans in bulk that I can freeze and use in recipes later.
Slow Cooker Beans
One of the best ways to make perfectly cooked beans is in the slow cooker. Cooking them gently over low heat guarantees successful results with a dump and go technique. Pre-soaking and cooking dried beans on the stove top is a hassle and sometimes result in crunchy or mushy results.
I have been making this bean recipe for a while! It’s a fool proof way to cook black beans or any bean in that matter! I’ve cooked pinto and pink beans with great results. It never turns me down! Call it an old school method if you wish! I’m surrounded by many Mennonite ladies who cook beans for their families and one of them shared how to cook black beans in the crock pot! From my kitchen to yours-I’m sharing this tested and approved recipe for cooking dried beans with you!
Crock Pot vs Slow Cooker
I own a 6-quart programmable slow cooker that I can regulate and set. I’ve noticed some Crock Pots have limited setting features. For instance one Crock Pot had 2 hour increments up-to a total of 6 hours cooking time, so you only had the option of choosing 2 hours, 4 hours or 6 hours of cooking time-nothing in-between. I prefer to set anytime I wish including those 30 minute increments, whereas some crock pots are already programmed to certain cooking times. Look for slow cookers that allow you to regulate your cooking time, not factory set to a few cooking options.
Bigger slow cookers can make bigger batches of beans. A smaller batch of beans like a 3-quart can only cook up-to a pound of beans, if that! Our big family of 7 requires a 6-quart slow cooker to fulfill our cooking needs. Besides, I like cook beans in 2 pound portions at once that way I can freeze what I don’t use at the moment. Beans freeze wonderfully! I like to portion them in quart sized portions but dividing cooked beans in 1 3/4 cup portions is equal to 1 (15oz) can of beans.
“Cooking beans in big batches is a huge time saver for future meals needed in a recipe!”
Cooking Dried Beans
If cooking beans slow or under a pressure cooker, pre-soaking is not necessary. Cooking methods like making beans on the stovetop requires long cooking times over rapid heat that can probably crack your beans if not softened by soaking in water first. Some say soaking the beans in water reduces gas, however I’m not bothered by eating beans but if its causing you discomfort try soaking the beans overnight to see if it makes a difference.
I like to season my black beans with a few spices for flavor at the beginning of cooking. This infuses flavor into the bean liquid, but once the beans triple in size they become more milder and closer to the canned beans! I was told the salt is added after they are done. If you add salt at the beginning, the beans tend to be hard. Although some experts claim that adding salt at the beginning help beans stay in shape without blowing up their bean shape. I get fantastic results without the sodium and skip the need for adding salt because, most recipes that I use black beans in call for additional spices anyway.
If you do choose to soak you’re beans overnight, Cook Illustrated recommend brining the beans in salt water overnight to soften their skins and reduce the number of bean rupture. This also, helps beans cook evenly if you would rather go that route. For every pound of dried beans make a brine solution of 1 1/2 tablespoons and 8 cups of water. Eliminate any additional salt once cooking.
When I cook beans in the slow cooker I like to set them over low for 8 hours, overnight. You may be wondering how long do beans cook in a slow cooker? Anywhere from 6 hours over low is a good checking point for doneness but 8 hours ensures that they are ready and soft.
Why Cook with Dried Beans?
Beans have many health benefits and are a great way to add protein to your diet, especially if you’re looking for meatless meals or gluten-free recipes.
- Frugal- making dried beans at home is a cheaper way of living! And will give you way for the money then buying cans from the store. I buy my dried beans in bulk to make many freezer beans for recipes later.
- Vegetarian- gluten-free, and vegan-friendly.
- Easy Recipe– set-and-forget-it-recipe!
- Make-ahead for meal prep throughout out the week or future meals. Making beans in advance is also a smart way to have the pantry stocked and save money!
- Freezer friendly- dried beans triple in size and make plenty! Freeze leftovers or intentionally cook them in bulk to freeze and use later!
- Versatile-incorporate them in your favorite bean recipes!
Making dried beans at home is easy and a big money saver!
- dried beans- black beans are my favorite since they are so versatile! You can cook any dried beans with this slow cooker recipe! Pinto, Pink beans, or black turtle beans!
- water- rule of thumb for how much water to cook beans in is always using 2/3 of water. This can mean 2 inches of water above the dried beans. A fool proof water ratio is 8 cups of water for every pound dried beans. I have gotten away with 6 cups of liquid per pound, which works better for me as the beans aren’t drowned in liquid.
- spices (optional)- onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, and parsley are great and basic aromatics. Add salt afterwards. For every pound of beans season with 1 teaspoon of salt after cooking.
How To Cook Black Beans in the Slow Cooker:
- Soak the beans overnight (optional): not necessary but if you have digestive distress go for it! Rinse and soak the dried beans in cold water. Discard and shriveled or broken pieces if you wish. Cover beans with 2 inches of water and let sit overnight. Drain before cooking.
- Place the beans into a Slow Cooker: if you haven’t soaked the beans, rinse the beans in a colander and transfer to the slow cooker.
- Add the Spices: infuse your beans with aromatics like garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, and cumin. Save the salt for the end of cooking time to avoid hard beans.
- Cover with water: pour 8 cups of cold water for every pound of dried beans you are cooking.
- Cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours: set your slow cooker to 8 hours over low to ensure the beans cook. Check the beans for as early as 5 hours into cooking to see if the beans are tender. I like to set my slow cooker overnight and forget it. My slow cooker stays on warm after the cooking time has ended.
- Cool Beans: completely before storing. I’ll open the lid to allow the beans to cool quicker and then pour into freezer bags. Every 1 3/4 cups of cooked beans equals one store can of 15 oz. Freeze for up-to 3 months or deep freeze for 6 months.
Cook’s Tip: Boiling beans for 10 minutes before cooking neutralizes a toxin called phytohemagglutinin. Which makes it better for the digestive system.
How to Freeze Beans?
- Cool beans completely. This helps minimize the vapor from condensation and can help with frost build up.
- For every 15 oz of beans place 1 3/4 cups of cooked beans, into a sandwich bag.
- Freeze for up-to 3 months or deep freeze for up to 6 months.
Reheat- defrost in the microwave or thaw overnight. Use as directed in your favorite bean recipes!
How much beans equal a 15 oz can?
One 15 oz can of beans equals 1 3/4 cups of cooked beans.
Are Beans Gluten-Free?
Yes, beans are gluten-free, vegan-friendly and super healthy!
How To Store Beans?
Cool beans completely before storing in the fridge or freezing. This helps with fewer condensation and frost issues. Store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days in it’s bean liquid. Freeze any leftovers for as long as 6 months if deep freezing.
To Reheat- if frozen defrost in the microwave or thaw overnight. Use in your favorite recipe using beans or cook as directed in recipes.
Add-ins or Variations:
This bean recipe is simple and is equivalent to the store canned beans. Although I added some basic spices, once the beans double in size they soak up the flavors resulting milder beans. Here are some ways to flavor your beans:
- Onions: dice or nestle in chunks of white onions. Some even fry onions before cooking with beans.
- Broth: use it instead of water.
- Oregano: season your beans with spices or dried herbs for extra flavor.
- Cayenne: add some additional heat by adding jalapeños or cayenne pepper.
How to Serve Black Beans?
We love black beans! Even our children eat it without any problems! Yay, to no fuss protein!
Can I use Different Beans?
I have cooked with different dried beans and my favorite beans to make in the slow cooker are black beans! Black beans are so versatile and are the perfect size! Pinto, pink beans, and kidney beans will all work great in making slow cooker beans! I also love how they hold their shape plus their high in magnesium and fiber.
How Much Water Do You Cook Beans With?
For every pound of dried beans add 8 cups of water. This ensures the beans are covered during the cooking time and has never failed me! I have gotten away with fewer water. So, if you typically drain your beans before cooking there is no need to cook with excessive water. You can easily cook 1 lb of dried beans in the slow cooker with 6 cups of water to avoid excessive liquid. The beans will still be covered with water but not swimming in it.
BEST Cooking Tips For Cooking Beans:
- No need for pre-soaking! Rinse and place beans into the slow cooker!
- Add the salt AFTER the beans cook! This prevents hard beans.
- Flavor the beans more by using broth instead of water and other aromatics like bay leaves or onions.
- Freeze your beans! Large batches make lots of beans! Divide into 1 3/4 cup portions for an equivalent to a 15oz can of beans!
Recipes To Try with Black Beans:
- Taco Casserole with Tortilla Chips
- Soft Shell Tacos
- Taco Bell Grilled Stuffed Burrito (Copycat)
- Cheesy Beef Enchiladas
How To Cook Black Beans:
How To Cook Black Beans in the Slow Cooker
- 6-quart slow cooker
- 16 oz dried black beans
- 6 cups cold water
- 1/2 Tbsp onion powder
- 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1/2 Tbsp cumin
- 1/2 Tbsp dried parsley
- Rinse and drain dried beans. Place into a slow cooker.
- Add all the spices.
- Pour 8 cups of water over the beans. Cook on LOW for 8 hours.
- Salt: add 1 tsp of salt after the beans have cooked. (I skip the sodium since recipes call for salt anyway.)
- Spices: are optional but not overpowering. Once the beans double in size they soak up the flavors resulting milder beans.
- 15 oz can of beans equals 1 3/4 cups of cooked beans.
- Freeze- leftover beans in 15 oz portions for bean recipe!