How to Cook Dried Beans in Your Slow Cooker {Fall in Love with Your Slow Cooker Week}

Dried beans are one of those pantry staples that I think everybody should always have on hand. They are super affordable, packed full of nutrition, and so easy to make in your slow cooker.  If that wasn’t enough they are also delicious and can be used with so many different flavors and dishes.

I used to always buy canned beans because it was really all I knew. I had no idea how to cook up a big batch of dried beans, and I didn’t know why I would want to anyways. Canned beans were so convenient, and it’s not like they were really expensive or anything.

While the occasional can of beans still sometimes finds its way into my pantry, we primarily buy dried beans now. Here’s why!

Why Buy and Cook Dried Beans

1.  Dried beans are extremely frugal.

Canned beans may not be super expensive, but when compared to the price that you pay for dried beans they are.  Dried beans are obviously the way to go when considering cost.  I try to incorporate them into our meals as often as possible to help stretch our food budget while still serving healthy meals.

2.  Beans are nutritious and full of protein.

Beans are loaded with fiber, B vitamins, iron, and other minerals and nutrients.  Plus they are a very affordable source of excellent protein!

3.  Dried beans are simple to cook.

Even though opening up a can of beans can’t really get any simpler, it’s honestly not that much more work to cook dried beans yourself.  Especially if you make them in your slow cooker.

4.  It’s easy to make a big batch and freeze the extras so you always have them on hand.

Although cooking dried beans is very easy, it does take some planning.  If you decide at 4:30 pm that you want to serve beans for dinner, and all you have are dried beans in the pantry, they’re not going to be ready in time!  That’s why I always try to make a big batch so that I can freeze the extras to pull out whenever I need them.  Having frozen cooked beans on hand really is as convenient as using canned beans.

5.  By cooking your own dried beans, you can avoid the BPA and additives that are in canned beans.

BPA is found in the lining of almost all canned goods bought in aluminum cans.  There are also usually additives and a ridiculous amount of sodium found in canned beans as well.  Making dried beans yourself takes care of both of these problems!

How to Cook Dried Beans in Your Slow Cooker

  • Sort through beans to remove any stones or bad beans.
  • Rinse beans in a colander with fresh, clean water.
  • Optional: Soak beans overnight in fresh water. Drain the soaking water in the morning.
  • Add dried beans to your slow cooker and fill it with cool water.
  • Cover your slow cooker with the lid and cook on high for 6-8 hours (4-6 hours if you soaked them).
  • Test your beans for tenderness.  Add salt to taste.
  • Use as you would normally use canned beans.


I usually cook 2 pounds of dried beans in my 6 qt. slow cooker.  Adjust the amount depending on the size of your slow cooker.

This works for any type of bean, although the cooking time may vary with different varieties.

Store the beans in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.  Freeze any extras that you won’t use within that time in plastic freezer bags or freezer-safe containers.

I hardly ever soak my beans.  Some people find that soaking them makes them easier to digest, but we don’t have a problem with them being un-soaked.  Especially since they cook for so long in the slow cooker.

Have you ever cooked dried beans in your slow cooker before?  What are some of your favorite ways to use beans?

If you are interested in more healthy slow cooker recipes to save you both time and money in the kitchen, I recommend the eBook Crock On! A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook.

The cost for the eBook is only $5, but for this week only you can get it for 15% off using the code Creating15. It contains 40 healthy and delicious recipes for your slow cooker. You can read more about the book here, including what I think about it and if it’s for you or not!



  1. Beans, beans! Good for your heart! Ahem.

  2. Jami Leigh says:

    I love doing beans in the crockpot!

  3. I’ve NEVER cooked dried beans in the crock pot (unless it was part of a recipe). WOW–this looks SO much better than cooking them on the stove…and you can actually leave the house while they are cooking! I’ve been missing out! Thanks, Mindy!! :)

  4. Susanne says:

    Have done my chick peas without soaking and they are beautiful! My only question right now is do I freeze them in the liquid or on their own in a tub. Oh and can I re-use the stock for a soup? Thanks and keep it up!

    • Mindy says:

      I do not freeze the beans in the liquid, Susanne. I just put the drained beans in a freezer bag or freezer container and freeze like that. I’ve never used the leftover bean broth for anything though. But I have heard of people using it for soups, so it’s worth a try!

  5. roxy says:

    I have stopped buying canned beans, because they mess up my stomach sooooooo bad!! I get very very gassy, get cramps and it’s horrible. So, this is how I cook my beans. I soak them overnight so they would cook faster. Once I start cooking them, after I bring them to a boil, I throw the water and replace it with fresh water. I do this 3-4 times. This way, I get rid of all those horrible toxins that are unhealthy and cause gas and other digestive issues. Once I threw the last water, I add a potato and that helps with the bean digestion as well. Last time I had navy beans and they only took like 2 hours to cook. I made bean spread. I sauteed some diced white onions and added paprika at the end. I mashed the beans (with the potato) and either mix them with the onions or just spread the sauteed onions on top. Some people also add garlic, but I find it too much.

  6. Connie says:

    What causes dried beans that have been soaked overnight and cooked in a slow cooker for 10 hours tough? I’ve heard it has something to do with the water so I always use the water from our RO system.

    • Susanne says:

      I’ve not heard about water affecting the toughness of beans but I do know that the older the beans the tougher they are. We cleared some stuff out of my parents-in-law’s house and they had left a pile of unshelled beans. Every year they piled the new harvest on top of the old one. I thought “great, lots of beans!!” I spent 3 days (full days!!! yes!!) shelling them only to find that they were no good as they didn’t cook (we had 4 years, maybe 5, worth of beans). Sadly I had to throw them all away and now only use up to 1 year old beans (maybe just over). I just make sure I finish them all before the next harvest! I guess that 2 year old beans would be fine with a little longer in the pot. I make sure also that I add no oil as this toughens the skins and no salt (I add it after they are cooked). Hope this helps! Happy crock-potting :)

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