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Cooking Dried Beans in the Slow Cooker

I just got a slow cooker and I came across a recommendation for cooking dried beans in it. I usually use the canned ones because the soaking and cooking is such a hassle. Has anyone had a good experience with cooking dried beans in the slow cooker? Any tips, tricks? TIA

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  1. I have cooked dried black beans in the slow cooker several times now and it has given me wonderful results. I used the instructions from the crockpot lady:


    I freeze the extra batches in ziploc bags and defrost or microwave them to thaw them. The texture is SO MUCH better than in the canned beans and you can just tell by eating and looking at them that they are better for you this way. The house smells nice too then.

    1. I have tried this before and it took a really long time for them to cook (although I was cooking anasazi beans which tend to take a long time to cook.) I think if you let them cook on high (depending on your slow cooker) for most of the day, it would work. My Heirloom Beans cookbook (by Rancho Gordo) lists the slow cooker as a good option. the drawback they site is that the liquid doesnt evaporate, so the liquor isn't as flavorful as stovetop cooking.

      1. I use my slow cooker all the time for beans. I buy a lb. bag of beans for cheaper than canned and cook them on low for 8 hours during the night. I don't even need to soak them. Just make sure you add plenty of water. I just made a huge amount of hummus from dried Garbanzos. Have fun!

        1. I cook unsoaked, salted black beans 12 hours at 175 in the oven, and they come out great, so I assume a slow cooker would work fine. I also make huge batches and freeze pints.

          1. I always cook my beans in the slow cooker. I get infinitely better results than from the stovetop. The beans are firm and whole (i always used to get at least some mushy or broken beans when I cook them on the stove) and the bean liquor is much more flavorful. I measure out two cups of the cooked beans in a ziplock bag with some of the liquor and then freeze the portions in ziplock bags. Much healthier and WAY more cost effective than buying canned beans.

            1. I soak and them just add them directly to the recipe and they come out fine. I tend to cook things for 8 hours on low though - not sure how it would come out if you do 4 hours on high.

              1. I like using the slow cooker to cook dried beans. Soak them 4-6 hours preferably then leave them either overnight or throughout the day on the slow setting, along with salt. They never get mushed even if you leave them longer. (I tried to omit the soaking step, but it gives the beans an uneven cooked consistency).

                7 Replies
                1. re: cpw

                  anyone have a recipe for feijoada in the slow cooker?

                  1. re: bythebayov


                    Yes, it can be cooked in a slow cooker, providing you have access to Linguica, Blood sausage, smoked ham, Carne Seca or Sun-dried Beef, pork belly, pig's ear's etc. to have authentic taste in the dish. Some Brasilian markets sell a " kit " of these frozen items to start the dish cooking.

                    The meat cooks first in water on high in your slow cooker for 4 hours, with light salt, garlic and onion, and 1 bay leaf or boldo. Then add the dried black beans and cook overnight on low. If the beans are added too soon to the mix, the beans will mush out.

                    That would result in your Feijoada resembling something more like an asphalt road tar slurry, than a black bean stew.

                    Note the Orange slices and Collard Greens, rolled up, sliced and cooked quickly in garlic and oil, as part of the traditional serving, on Saturday afternoon.

                    One needs to add water to the beans while cooking, and most importantly to add a Caipirinha or three to the Chef while cooking.

                    1. re: SWISSAIRE

                      awesome, thanks for the tip, so I can't put everything in a pot and cook for 9 hrs...darn :) thanks so much for the tips and have a wonderful day!

                      1. re: bythebayov

                        Well, you could put everything in all at once if you want to.

                        Feijoada is similar to cooking chopped onions and garlic, or other step-recipes. Some like us cook one at a time, one before the other, while others do it all at once, and just throw in the lot.

                        If it is only for you, then why not ? Your house, your rules, your kitchen, right ?

                        1. re: bythebayov

                          Amazingly, this recipe appeared in our email today. Synchronicity ?

                          This is a recipe from an American we met here, that now has a German-cooking oriented website in California. If he states that it is good, it is. If he states this is now the only way he makes Sauerkraut, or perhaps a Choucroute variant, then it is worth trying in your slow cooker.


                          Now is the season that most of us are slicing, salting, seasoning, and storing Sauerkraut from the local cabbage harvest.

                    2. I make baked beans in my slow cooker all the time -- I soak them overnight, then drain (helps block the wind a little....) then add spices and cook -- 6-8 hours on high works great -- just remember to hold off adding molasses and tomato (both acids) until the beans are soft -- acid will keep the beans from softening.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: sunshine842

                        thanks for the tip, may use chicken stock as the liquid after draining beans then add meat (smoked sausage, pork and ham hocks) while the beans cook for the 8 hrs or so. Do you think peppers would be ok to add at the beginning? I want to add onions, garlic, peppers and bay leaf to make it taste traditional.

                        1. re: bythebayov

                          Yep - onions, garlic, peppers, and bay leaf are fine -- as is salt (including cured meats) -- you just don't dare add acid until the beans are already soft -- so no vinegar, ketchup, molasses, or tomato until the very end.

                      2. Dried Beans, ham hock and water.

                        How much water?
                        I've cooked soaked and dry beans with no problems.

                        If you soaked the beans over night, about 2 inches of water above the beans.
                        If the beans are bone dry, I use about 3 1/2 to 4" of water above the beans.

                        Cook on low for about 8 hours.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: dave_c

                          ok going to try this (see recipe above) next week. Thanks so much for the help!

                          1. re: dave_c

                            Oh, yes, I cook dried beans in the slow cooker all the time! No need to soak them overnight, just wash the beans and pick over them, then add to the slow cooker with salt pork of some kind, onions, garlic, and maybe bell peppers.

                            Leave on LOW for 6 - 8 hours.

                            1. re: dave_c

                              I just made a good thick soup with this method, adding onion, carrot, celery, garlic, sweet potato and kale with seasonings when the beans had cooked to the right texture. It turned out wonderfully.

                              1. re: Terrie H.

                                Sounds yum. And perfect for Winter, which approacheth.

                            2. I make dried beans often in the slow cooker. 2c beans, 1 Tbl Kosher salt, water at least 1 inch over the beans and a piece of dried kombu ( seaweed). Cook on low for 5 hours. I have read that the kombu tenderizes the beans and I have never had any problems with gas nor do they need to be soaked nor are they mushy. I use this method for black beans all the time. For pinto beans, same method but I add 2tsp cumin and 2 tsp chipotle or ancho powder. My husband eats them straight out of the fridge.

                              1. Adding salt during the cooking process means they will never cook to a 'soft' texture. That's my experience. I always add salt/pepper/herbs/tomatoes etc to season at the end.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Puffin3

                                  Nope -- it's been proven multiple times by multiple magazines that salt has no effect on the softening -- that it's the acid that keeps beans from softening.

                                  (and my own history in the kitchen confirms that, albeit on an anecdotal basis)

                                  1. re: Puffin3

                                    Salt doesnt affect softening. And it definitely makes the beans more savory if added at the beginning.

                                    There are current techniques that add salt to the soaking water, even. Ive not tried that yet.

                                    Acid and age inhibit beans from softening.

                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                      I tried adding salt to the soaking water this past summer for a huge pot of baked beans. The crowd that devoured them declared them my best ever, and the only thing I changed was to add salt to the soaking water.