Creamy Slow Cooker Beans

How to cook dried beans from scratch in the slow cooker, just beans, an onion, a smidgen of fat and salt. That's it! It couldn't be easier!

How to Cook Dried Beans from Scratch Mexican-Style in a Slow Cooker ♥, easy, healthy and delicious.

Real Food, Fresh & Comforting. Hearty & Filling. Year-Round Kitchen Staple. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Great for Meal Prep. Easy DIY. Low Fat. Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free.

If you're used to canned beans, you know how convenient they are. And relatively inexpensive and handy to keep on hand ...

But it's really easy to cook dried beans in the slow cooker and the results are incredibly good. I usually make a double or triple batch and then freeze the beans in the equivalent sizes of a standard 15-ounce can. Meal prep for the win!

So introduce your family to the nothing-like-canned taste of home-cooked dried beans. It's super easy to cook dried beans from scratch.

But First ... Are Your Beans Old?

One Quick Tip: Why Dried Beans Won't Cook ♥, the reason why dried beans some times won't cook, how to avoid it.

The number one mistake with dried beans is attempting to cook with old beans.

It's so easy to happen. We stock up on bags of dried beans but then never get around to cooking them. Soon it's been a few months, even a year or two or three. Don't be afraid to admit it, we've all done it.

But old dried beans just won't cook. Here are all the details, Why Dried Beans Won't Cook.

How to Cook Dried Beans from Scratch Mexican-Style in a Slow Cooker ♥, easy, healthy and delicious.


Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time-to-table: 4 hours
Makes about 3 cups cooked beans

Red kidney beans may be cooked in a slow cooker but must first be boiled for at least 10 minutes beforehand. Why? Red kidney beans contain a compound that can cause great intestinal distress if it's not properly cooked. This is a little-known fact, spread the word, especially as more and more of us are cooking beans at home. It came up in a food blogger group recently and 99% of us were shocked. Source: Kansas State Extension Service.
  • 8 ounces (212g) dried beans (black beans, navy beans, cannelini, etc.)
  • 1 white (or yellow or even red) onion, chopped small
  • 1 tablespoon fat (vegetable oil for vegan, otherwise bacon fat of butter)
  • 5 cups hot water
  • Salt to taste
  • Additional water, if needed

Rinse the beans well under running water. Place the beans, onions, fat, water and salt in a slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours until the beans are cooked, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the salt. Reduce the heat to keep warm until ready to serve, adding water if needed.

ALANNA's TIPS Who noticed?! There's no need to soak the beans overnight, there's no need to soak the beans at all. I keep learning the hard way how much temperature variation there is among different slow cookers. For years, I successfully cooked these beans again and again for 4 hours on high, perfectly cooked every time. Unfortunately that slow cooker died. I have now purchased four new slow cookers, trying to find one I like that works. In one recent batch, the beans never cooked at all (that slow cooker is defective and has been returned). In another, the beans cooked in about 8 hours although with much excess liquid, it's usually absorbed into the beans and leaves a light, creamy sauce. (That said? It's not always the slow cooker's fault, Why Dried Beans Won't Cook.) When Creamy Slow Cooker Beans cook properly, they are fabulous but I would advise caution until you know how your own slow cooker will perform.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Makes 3 cups cooked beans, per half cup: 118 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 2mg Cholesterol; 36mg Sodium; 26g Carb; 12g Fiber; 2g Sugar; 7g Protein WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 3 & Freestyle 1 & myWW green 3 & blue 1 & purple 1

Adapted from a favorite new cookbook, Mexican Everyday (affiliate link) by Rick Bayless. Authentic Mexican ingredients are increasingly easy to find and worth seeking out!

Frugal Eating With Dried Beans

~ dried beans ~
Red Beans & Rice, another slow-cooked healthy dinner ♥ Meaty or Vegan. Weight Watchers Friendly. High Protein. Great for Meal Prep.

Ham & Beans ♥, an easy, budget-friendly one-pot supper that makes best use of a leftover ham bone. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly.

At Last Black Bean Soup ♥, Laurie Colwin's recipe, just dump in the ingredients and cook it on the stove, in the oven or in a slow cooker.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ canned & dried beans ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.