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,personally, have never had a bad experience cooking beans. But when I was a young girl my mother was cooking pinto beans in her pressure cooker and suddenly we heard a loud noise and the beans and the bean soup shot into the air and proceeded to saturate the kitchen ceiling. Once the mess was cleaned up and we gained our composure we had a good laugh. We just hated that we were not going to have those pinto beans with our turnip greens and corn ? bread ? for supper that night.
    1. Cornmeal, egg, buttermilk little bit of water cook in cast iron skillet that is very hot with small amount of oil. Bak at 350 for 40 minutes.
    2. Kim Beals:. My cornbread is done with white cornmeal, egg, milk or buttermilk and add this to a hot iron skillet with butter crisco in it. It turns out buttery and GOOOOOD! To me the Butter Crisco does the trick!

      4 stars

  2. Your beans look delicious. I wanted to tell you how I have made my beans for years. I never soak my beans. I simply wash my dried beans and cook them on the stovetop. I add a few thick slices of salt pork, a couple of tablespoons of bacon grease, a couple teaspoons of chopped garlic, a medium sized chopped onion, a teaspoon of seasoned salt, a half tsp black pepper. I also brown a lb of smoked sausage. Chop that up and add to beans. I cover them in water by 3 to 4 inches. I simmer on low for several hours. Probably four to five hours. If they are too thin when done, I add some cornstarch to thicken. I serve them over rice. My beans are always soft. Being from Louisiana, I sometimes spice them up even more with Cajun seasoning. Try them sometime when you feel...spicy!
  3. I soak my beans overnight, rinse then cook covered with water is a saucepan on the stove top fir 30-40 minutes. Drain, cool and freeze in portion size snap lock bags. Perfect for large chick peas.
  4. I always add salt when I start cooking them. They're bland to me without seasoning them from the start. I just drop the dried beans straight into the crock pot cover them with an extra 2 inches of water, add a palmful of salt and cook on high for 4 hours. Perfect every time. For my veggie chili I add black, pinto, and kidney beans the same way and drop in a jar of salsa and the chili seasoning. Also comes out perfect. I'm curious why you mentioned not adding salt or acidic foods. I've never had any issues with them. Thanks!!
  5. I seriously never thought anyone could not cook dried beans. I clean the beans, removing small rocks, bits of dirt, rotten looking beans. Rinse under faucet, or if rinsing in the pot, at least three washings. I have never soaked beans. Use a pot big enough for them to expand. Cover with about 3-4 inches water. Medium heat, until beans are just simmering. If you needed to keep beans covered, add hot, boiling water. Cook until tender. If you cook them too slow, they turn dark and remain hard. People used to add a bit of salt pork, jowl or belly meat, to beans or peas. The super-market salt pork will work, but it's not the same. Too salty, for one thing. You can soak it in milk awhile to remove some salt. For some real goodness, buy an un-cooked smoked ham. Don't forget, this ham meat needs to be cooked. Slice the meat off for cooking later. (Fried ham, eggs and hot biscuits.) You will have chunks left that are too small to slice, but save them to cook in beans. Then boil the bone and trimmings in plenty of water. Remove the bone and trimmings. Let the broth cool, then skim and discard the fat. Freeze pints of this broth to cook beans in. One pint of broth for 1 cup of beans. About an hour before beans are done, add some of the chunks of ham from when you sliced the ham. If the ham is cooked too long, it loses it's flavor. I package the chunks enough for one pot of beans and freeze them. This works wonders for white beans, such as Great Northern. I have only been cooking for 75 years or so.
  6. Honey, you forgot to say to pick &sort the beans to remove any debris & bad beans and then rinse three times to remove dirt first !! This has to be done Before you soak ! Not everyone knows to do that ! And if you bring them to boil and let them boil about 5 minutes, then turn off and soak overnite, they will cook faster.
  7. I've just discovered your blog today and am probably addicted! I'm a grandmother with a great grand daughter on the way. I raised my family on an organic farm and we were mainly vegetarian, I grew about 90% of our fruits and vegetables as well as grinding our grains and baking twice a week. (18 loaves of bread at a time) Your frugal but delicious and healthy suggestions are wonderful and give me a stroll down memory lane, which is about half a world away as I now live in New Zealand. Best regards to you and yours, Katie
  8. My worse kitchen failure was due to beans. One Friday afternoon, I put a bowl of beans in water to soak overnight planning to make a bean stew the next day but not long after putting the beans in the water we were invited away for the weekend. I thought that the beans would be fine left to soak but Boy was I wrong. When we came home Sunday night we could barely enter the house due to the most horrific stench. The culprit was the now fermenting beans!
  9. I put relish on my beans as well. When I was a kid, mom canned chow-chow and we used that on our beans. Mom would use ham, bacon or bacon fat in her beans. If she didn't have any of those, then she would use plain oil. Beans were always served with cornbread and greens, my favorite was turnip greens with a little vinegar sprinkled on top. Oh, we always had onions. To go with it. That was some good eatin'!!
  10. My Mom and Grandma taught me to add 1 or 2 T of baking soda to the soaking water. It reduces the amount of gas produced by eating beans. Just be sure to rinse them well before continuing cooking and adding the rest of your ingredients.
  11. I guess I make these little different from everyone else. First, you have to make sure thete are no rocks, dirt or bad beans in the bafmg. Rinse at least 3 times. Put the beans in a Dutch oven or slow cooker. Cover with water so that the beans are submerged about 2 inches. I used to add salt pork, but have found bacon works just as well. I add about three strips of bacon and salt and pepper. I cook them on top of the stove about three hours, or until the beans are very soft and a nice soup has formed. In a slow cooker, I cook them about 6 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Onion is served on the side, a long with corn muffins and crispy fried potatoes and some spinach. They are so good. I also don't soak the beans. I have not noticed a difference in them whether I do or I just don't bother.
  12. DON'T try this with kidney beans! They have a toxin n the (phytohemagluttanin) that causes severe digestive distress (I won't go into details but it ain't pretty!). AL beans have these substances but kdney beans have the hghest concentraton by ar. To be safe, though, the following procedure has been recommended by the PHLS (Public Health Laboratory Services, Colindale, U.K.) to render kidney, and other, beans safe for consumption: * Soak in water for at least 5 hours. * Pour away the water. * Boil briskly in fresh water for at least 10 minutes. * Undercooked beans may be more toxic than raw beans.
    1. I've never heard of this and I cook kidney beans in my crock pot all of the time. We've never gotten sick or had any stomach issues from them. I'm in the U.S. if that makes any difference.
  13. Better yet, after soaking all night. Rinse well. Cook in sauce pot for at least an hour then put in crock pot on medium all day. Broth will get nice and thick. Mom always does this.
  14. I actually soak mine in salt water and they cook just as fast. When I was working I did the crock pot thing now I put them on the stove for a couple of hours. Waala. You might find it surprising but try adding a couple tablespoons of creamy peanut butter and you get just a touch of nutty flavor. Handed down from me from one of those grandmas.
  15. I make beans in slow cooker with beer. Also par cook bacon and add it with drippings. At the end I add can of Rotel and cilantro. I like cheddar cheese on my beans. ( Salt and pepper at the end to taste)
  16. What size slow cooker do you use for the 2lb bag of beans? Would it make a difference if a med size crock pot is used?
  17. This method works for any dried bean; however, if you do kidney beans (light or dark and also white, aka cannellini) you MUST boil them for at least 10 minutes before you put them in the crock pot, in order to destroy the harmful lectins in them. (I also cook them on high) Canned ones are cooked enough.
  18. Do you happen to have a fried cornbread recipe my Grandma always had fried cornbread punch of this and handful of that and she used buttermilk she used white cornmeal don't have a recipe if you have one I would love to have it
    1. I make 'Fried Cornbread' all the time frpm my Grandmother. easy but I find it only works using Dixie Lily self rising cornmeal not the mix and any self rising flour. Mix equal parts cornmeal and flor with water till a dough forms. heat oil in skillet to very hot. Wet your hands and put a golf ball size piece of dough in you hand and pat to about finger thickeness. Carefully lay in hot oil and fry untill golden brown about 2to 3 minutes,flip over and brown other side. Lay on some paper towel to remove excess grease.
  19. Missy: The way I cook Pinto Beans in a Crockpot is I take the dried beans, wash them real good then put into Crockpot with a chunk of Jowl Bacon, Salt, and enough water to cover then put on Low and cook all night and into the next day until we eat Supper! I do not pre-soak the beans at all! Then when we get ready to eat we just crumble up some cornbread (see my comment below with Kim Beals on how I make it) pour some beans with some bean juice over it then we chop up some sweet onion and then add Squash Relish on top. I sometimes only add Miracle Whip Salad Dressing over the cornbread and beans and mix up all! It's GOOOD!

    4 stars

  20. Oh my, in all the reviews I see no one mentioned the 2 must use most important ingredients that you should use w/ 1# of pinto beans. 1. Put a couple smoked pork neckbones or ham hocks in w/ the beans when you start the slow cooker. Same time I add 3/4 cu minced onion. When beans are 1/2 way done add an envelope of powdered GOYA HAM FLAVORED bouillon to beans & stir. I add my salt at this time too. I've lived GA, TX & AZ & no one could beat my recipe for beans, enjoy.
3.38 from 16 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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