Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

A brown bowl of cooked pinto beans.

Try this easy method for cooking dried pinto beans in your slow cooker for a cheap and filling meal!

A brown bowl full of cooked pinto beans.

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Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

I normally don’t have too many kitchen mishaps, but when I do it involves dried beans. Seriously, up until about a year ago every time I tried to cook dried beans everything seemed to go horribly wrong.

I don’t now if it was the soaking part or the simmering part, but I just couldn’t seem to get it right. And to make matters worse, my husband’s favorite meal on the planet is beans and cornbread. Seriously.

*face palm*

Anyway, being the determined little wife that I am I kept on trying and failing. Then one day someone told me to use my slow cooker. And just like that my dried bean curse was broken. Brilliant.

As long as you give them enough time and make sure they are covered with water all day, then beans in the slow cooker will treat you right. I’m so glad because they are cheaper than canned beans and they freeze well. Yippee! So here is my recipe for bean success.

How to Make Slow Cooker Pinto Beans:

Cover beans with water to soak overnight.

Next morning, rinse beans and place in slow cooker,

Add water, oil and onion. Stir.

Set on low for 10-12 hrs or until soft. I checked my beans at the 6 1/2 hr mark and they were still crunchy so I turned them on high for 2 hrs to be done in time for dinner which also worked great!

Make cornbread. Because pinto beans without cornbread is just sad.

Let cool and top with all the trimmings!!

*Don’t add salt or high acid foods such as tomatoes until the end because the beans won’t soften.

Well there it is, the secret to perfectly cooked beans. I hope you will try this fabulously frugal recipe and let me know how it worked for you!

Want more recipes using beans? Here are some of my favorites:

Bean and Cheese Freezer Burritos
Super Simple Beans and Rice
Homemade Refried Beans
New Orleans Red Beans and Rice
Black Bean Brownies

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Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

See how easy it is to make pinto beans in your slow cooker!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 hours
Total Time10 hours 5 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Slow Cooker Pinto Beans
Servings: 24
Calories: 139kcal



  • 2 lbs dried beans
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 cups water or enough to cover by 1 inch


  • Cover beans with water to soak overnight.
  • Next morning, rinse beans and place in slow cooker.
  • Add water, oil and onion. Stir.
  • Set on low for 10-12 hrs or until soft.
  • Let cool and top with all the trimmings.



Don't add salt or high acid foods such as tomatoes until the end because the beans won't soften.
I freeze extra in quart-sized freezer bags.


Calories: 139kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 520mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 3mg

Cooking beans in the slow cooker is simple and cheaper than buying canned. Plus you can freeze the leftovers for future meals!

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  1. I named my cats Beans and Cornbread! But I got their names from the beans and cornbread song, not the food. I never even thought it was an actual meal until I read your post just now! Will definitely give this a try and think happy thoughts about my old kitty friends.
  2. My fail-proof method to cook dried beans (any variety) is in the oven. After picking through the beans and rinsing them well, place them in a large pot. Fill the pot with water two inches above the beans. Cover tightly. Bake at 350 degrees for 3 hours. Check a time or two to make sure water level doesn't drop below bean level. Season with salt AFTER the beans are tender.
  3. My husband loves beans and cornbread. Im going to give your recipe a try. What type of relish does your husband eat with the beans?
  4. When I cook my beans in the slow cooker, I never pre-soak them. After sorting and rinsing beans, place in slow cooker. Add just enough water to cover plus a tad. Season with seasoning salt (we like Lowery's) and pepper. Add smoked ham hocks and chunks of ham. Cover and cook on low about 8 hours. Never has failed me. And they are beyond delicious!
      1. Soaking beans simply helps the beans to release gases that can cause people to "fart". In that case, it is important to drain off the soak-water and replace it before cooking the beans.
      2. I actually sprout my beans for added nutrition and I think they taste better too. I usually fix up 10+ lbs of beans at a time and freeze them for future use. It sounds daunting but really is pretty straight forward. Pick over beans and remove any debris or funky looking beans. Using your big bowls and pans, soak the beans over night. In the morning, drain into colanders [I bought several cheaply at the thrift store]. Over the next 2-3 days, rinse the beans in the morning and evening. When the little root shows, they are ready to cook. [I stack 3 colanders full of beans in one big bowl and leave it on the counter during this sprouting process.] Fill your crock pot and cover beans with water plus about another 1 1/2 inches. Add whatever you like (or follow Missy Rakes' recipe) and cook for 6-10 hours. When cooked to your liking, cool and put in freezer bags or containers and freeze. During this time, follow the schedule of rinsing the remaining sprouting beans. As one batch of beans is cooked, refill the crock pot and cook the next. Repeat until all beans are cooked. Over time, I have bought additional crock pots for $3 or $4 so now I have 3. Instead of doing succession cooking, I just fire up all three at once (sometimes on the porch so the house doesn't get smelled up). We usually eat the beans as refried beans in burritos or with other Mexican style foods 2 times a week. I'm feeding a family of 6 with 3 grown men and 2 ravenous teen boys. Cooking beans this way means I only need to start it from scratch about once every 6 weeks. Just thought I'd share my method. Hope it helps someone.
  5. I used to never be able to cook dried beans decently. They'd often be hard, no matter how long I cooked them. I have been told that the age of the beans matters, ie, if the beans have been stored for "too long", it is more difficult to cook them to the tender stage. What I have discovered on my own, though, is that it is the amount of olive oil that I put in with the beans. I put my beans in a pan large enough to put in about 3x as much water (to beans ratio). I then put in several dollops of olive oil. Sometimes, I also put in diced onions. I add some gumbo file (spice), tumeric, garlic, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf and let cook on as low a flame as possible for several hours (usually 2-3). Even without soaking, the beans will be tender and good. Other variations of spices can be used. If I am lazy, I may brown up some hot breakfast sausage and crumble it into the beans rather than add the other spices. If I have a leftover raw pork country rib/chop, I'll brown it, cut into pieces, and add to the beans. Try different varieties of beans. Some are a lot better than others. Combine beans as well (particularly if you have partial bags of beans). I never add salt, not even when done, since I believe salt is bad for my health; besides, it is "hidden" everywhere in foods so I get enough without adding to it when I cook. If you do want to offer a salt to add, the Greek formula is delicious on beans (and on pork). I prefer frying my cornbread. I like to add corn, shredded cheeses, and jalapeno peppers to it. Some people include pieces of cracklings or of fried bacon bits. Fried cornbread looks like pancakes but it is acceptable to eat them with hands.
  6. Wow! Tried your pinto beans in a crockpot. This is my new favorite and so easy. I love beans but have not been able to cook them to my liking. I will be doing this from now on. Thanks for sharing your recipe!!! Love your blog.
  7. I love beans but have never heard of beans and cornbread. I'm curious, what are all the trimmings? Thanks bunches!
  8. I have had problems with some beans being tough after soaking and cooking. I stumbled onto this solution by accident, had soaked more than I could use so I threw them in the freezer. I found this works especially well for kidney beans as they always seem to stay tough. I now do a bunch of beans at a time then separate into two cup portions and freeze them, take out what you need for any recipe and they are ready to use.
  9. I love sweet relish on my beans. I grew up in Appalachia and we call them soup beans. We didn't put relish on them growing up but I have learned to love it here in NC. I also love chow chow on mine. Growing up we ate it with cornbread cooked in a cast iron skillet and onions from the garden. Don't forget the Texas Pete. yum!!! (I love the oven cook method) never heard of it.
  10. We made this recently and put a ton of leftover Christmas Ham in with the beans to cook. I always have to add sliced pepperoncini peppers when serving. It adds extra salt and a bit of vinegar pop to the beans.
  11. First off, I just want to let you know I enjoy all the comments you make or about things that you are doing! I have never made pinto beans from scratch. What trimmings do you put on thm when you are done?
  12. Oh my! I was "yes" and "amen" reading all about your bean battles. My husband actually suggested (very kindly) that I just use canned beans instead of dry beans because by the time you add in all the dry bean fails, we were probably saving money by going with the cans. Anywhoo...I tried this. Worked spectacularly! I am so excited. I have 2 pounds of dry black beans now cooked to perfection!
  13. I use navy or great northern beans instead of pintos. Instead of soaking overnight, I cover them with water, heat them until simmering good, pour them off, rinse, add fresh water to cover well. Return to boil and then turn heat down to low boil until tender. Usually add ham and of course onions, salt (as needed), and pepper.
  14. Thank you so much! I finally made yummy beans with your recipe!!!! I just kept screwing them up otherwise! The crock pot saved me!! Thanks so much!!! :)
  15. Thanks for this recipe! Sounds delicious and I will try it. I use the slow cooker a lot, and everybody in my house loves pinto beans. I tend to buy the canned seasoned ones but this is just as easy and cheaper. I'll use bacon grease in these, it gives a nice flavor and I always have some saved in the fridge.
  16. Hello missy ! I just want to tell you that I am so excited that I found your website !! im 46 yrs old, and have never really learned how to cook. but with this wonderful website I am starting to learn some things that are helping tremendously !! I am a fan, and will be a follower ! thank you for running a very lovely website !!
      1. After soaking over night, I cover my pinto beans with chicken broth and water. I add the ham hocks a couple of hours before serving. Cornbread and raw onions mixed with the beans is wonderful. Then add cornbread with honey butter on the side. Even better as leftovers the next day. And freezes great.
  17. I think you forgot an important step for beginning cooks. Pour a few beans into your hand and look for bits of rocks or debris. Most of the beans packaged today are clean, but occasionally I do find a rock or two. If you leave them in to cook you will have "sand" in the beans.
  18. Hey Missy, If ya ready want to make husband socks go up and down, pick up smoked pork shank ($5-6 at meijer meat dept.)and put it under those beans, I always put some chop celery in there also. Oh, baby, baby. Good eats!
  19. I make beans in the crockpot all the time! They are better than canned beans, imo. I buy dried brands at the dollar tree and can get usually six sides of beans when they have the two pounds bags in Stock. Great deal! I've never eaten them with cornbread. Must try soon!
  20. Add smoked pork neck bones...great flavor. If you don't have or can't afford them, a little liquid smoke will give you some of the flavor. I have subbed the liquid smoke onto many recipies that called for ham or bacon when I just didn't have the money.
  21. I remember my grandma fixing dryer beans a lot. We would have different types at least once or twice a week. Back then we didn't have a crockpot but she would soak them overnight. Then put them in a big stock pot with ham hock and they would cook all day until supper time. The juice was so thick and yummy. We would have cornbread and fried potatoes also and she would have chow chow she had canned so good. Our wilted salad was from mustard greens and probably romane mix together with radishes, red onion ands he would heat up the bacon oil and but Apple vinager in it also and pour over the greens so good. I miss that.. Thank you for reminding me of wonderful memories.
  22. Hi, I learned this method from my mother: After soaking the beans overnight, rinse them early the next morning, and put in a pan. Ad enough water to cover the beans and about an inch above. Bring to boil. Take your pan and put it on a cloth. Fold the cloth around. Put the pan in your bed, nicely under the blankets/duvet/whatever. Go to work, school, friends, shopping ... when you come back just before diner time, your beans are ready :-)
  23. You mentioned freezing the beans - how do you do that? I've eaten and cooked beans, of all varieties, my entire life, but I didn't know you ccould freeze them. That could be a real life changer!
  24. Here is my method for cooking beans in a pressure cooker - Saves on electricity & time. Clean and rinse 1 lb beans well. Place beans in pressure cooker. Add ham hock, tomatoes, onions, etc. Add water to 1-2 inches over top of beans. Close cooker and heat until weight begins to jiggle. Turn off burner and let cooker cool on burner about 20 minutes.until pressure in cooker is gone. Open cooker and check for water level. If needed add boiling water. Reseal Cooker and bring to boil again. When the weight begins to jiggle, turn off burner and let cooker cool on the burner by itself again, about 20 minutes. Serve with cornbread. At my grandma's house we would put hot beans over buttered, homemade bread. We poured a pile of salt in the middle of the table and dipped fresh green onions in the salt as we ate our dinner.
  25. I found your blog through the Google search engine and currently looking for recipes that are budget friendly. I'm starting my new job in two weeks and planning my meals in advance, so I can avoid starving myself until I get my first paycheck. I LOVE pinto beans, but never cooked them before in a slow cooker. If I were to make this recipe, is it possible that I can add a ham hock for a smokey flavor? Thank you, Missy!!! :-)
      1. Does this method work for any kind of dried beans? What do you do with the liquid after they're cooked? When freezing the cooked beans, do you also add the liquid to the bag? Do you have a video on how to make the burritos to freeze?
        1. It should work with any kind of dried bean. The beans soak up most of the liquid so you don't need to do anything. I add everything to the freezer bags. I do not have a video for my freezer burritos.

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