Slow Cooker – Beans


What’s not to love about them?  They’re good for you and so easy and cheap to prepare in a slow cooker, no soaking required!  They taste so much better than the canned variety, IMHO.  And with only minor variations to the basic recipe you can make homemade refried beans as well. 

Basic Beans

Here’s what you will need:  Slow cooker, beans (any kind, I’m using pinto here), large liquid measuring cup, colander, kitchen scale (optional)

I buy my beans in bulk so first I have to weigh out 16 oz. (1 lb.) of beans.  If you buy them in the 16oz bags at the grocery store you can skip this step.

If you don’t have a kitchen scale, 1 lb. of pinto beans comes to about 2 1/2 cups.

Next, sort the beans.  You never know what may be hiding in them!  (Usually dirt clods; not good eats.)

Rinse the beans well and place them in the slow cooker.

Pour in 5 cups of hot tap water (boil if you use filtered/bottled water)

Cook the beans on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 5-7 hours.  The beans should have a smooth texture inside but not falling apart.  Since cooking times vary depending on the age or size of the bean, or even where it was grown, I start checking them after 2 hours (on high) especially black beans.  They seem to fall apart on me soonest.

For plain beans, when they finish cooking drain them into a colander in the sink and rinse them with cold water.  That’s it!  They will keep for about a week in the fridge, or you can divide them into individual servings and freeze them.  I like to make white beans and hide them in my kids’ favorite casseroles.  They never know they are there and I’m happy they’re getting extra fiber and nutrients.

Refried Beans

Follow the above recipe except just before cooking add 1/4 cup dried onion (or 1 med. fresh, chopped), and whatever spices suit you.  I used ancho chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and a lime/chili spice blend.  You could also use coriander or cumin.  Just remember, DO NOT ADD SALT!!  If you do, the beans will take twice as long to cook, and the texture will be off.

Cook as you would the basic beans, only no need to worry about them falling apart.  So much the better if they do!  Once cooking is done, shut off the slow cooker and allow it to cool for an hour or so.  Pour off most of the cooking liquid (leave some in the pot), reserving about a cup.

Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved liquid as needed to get the desired consistency.

Add your favorite hot sauce and salt to taste.  My favorite is a green jalapeno pepper sauce, but this time I didn’t have any on hand.  So I used some leftover salsa verde.  It turned out great.  So anything goes, really.

Divide the beans into containers.  Store in the fridge or freeze.


~ Alberta

Next week:  Yogurt in your slow cooker!


2 responses »

  1. Way to go, Alberta! You are in inspiration. You should have been here to hear the siblings respond, “Wow. It’s so professional… Alberta’s set a high standard for us again – she’s always doing that!” (that’s a compilation of a few excerpts)

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