slow cooker black beans

I made these black beans in my slow cooker last week for girls night. I think when I announced I was bringing “a pot of beans” over for dinner, everyone planned to grab take-out beforehand. However….I showed them! These beans were the hit of the night and were absolutely delicious served alongside some brown rice with shrimp, avocado, minced yellow onion and hot sauce. (don’t have a slow cooker? try this recipe instead!)

Oh, and margaritas! It was girls night after all.

There’s no real recipe for these beans. I’m convinced that some of the best things in life don’t have a recipe. Just a pinch of this and that and…you know the drill.

I can tell you what I did though. I soaked my beans the night before (anyone have a recipe that doesn’t involve soaking beans? It’s cramping my style) then in the morning, I drained them, threw ’em in my slow cooker and covered them with fresh water. I also added half a chopped yellow onion, a sliced jalapeno and four garlic cloves. Then, I set the heat on low and cooked them

After about six hours, added a big bunch of minced cilantro and a couple teaspoons of salt. Then, I continued cooking on low for another two hours. The end result should be beans so creamy they almost look refried.

We ate them all and I’m already planning another batch. If you’ve never cooked dried beans before you’re in for a treat! They taste nothing like the canned kind, I promise.

Happy Labor Day! Hug a friend today.


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  • Molly @ RDexposed
    September 5, 2011 at 7:33 am

    It’s September, I suppse it is time to get out the slow cooker! And it doesn’t involve any Campbell’s “cream of” soups-thank goodness.

  • Sweet and Savvy
    September 5, 2011 at 7:35 am

    I don’t have real recipes for basically anything… I’m the queen of “lets just throw this in and hope it works” [note: this is NOT always the best idea, but hey, I try]

    I never thought of putting beans in a slow cooker. I will have to give it a shot!

  • Jackie
    September 5, 2011 at 7:38 am

    I never soak beans! My grandmother, mom, & mother in law don’t either. They turn out delicious, just may take a little longer to cook.

  • katie @KatieDid
    September 5, 2011 at 7:42 am

    haha,”I think when I announced I was bringing “a pot of beans” over for dinner, everyone planned to grab take-out beforehand. ” That made me laugh.
    The meal looks incredible though, right up my alley. And margaritas are always up my alley. Looks like you had a fun night!

  • Melissa
    September 5, 2011 at 7:47 am

    I learned in a Rick Bayless book that you can boil them for 5 min then transfer to the slow cooker (I do about 4 HR on high). It works great!

  • Kelsey @ aslolife
    September 5, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Yum! I made my first ever refried beans last night and can’t wait to use them all this week!

  • Erika - The Teenage Taste
    September 5, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Lately I feel like Blog World is filled with soup recipes and such. It’s making me look forward to fall! 🙂

  • Jennifer
    September 5, 2011 at 7:57 am

    I never soak my beans. I just rinse them, throw them into a dutch oven on the stovetop, bring to a boil then turn town to “medium-low” and simmer for about two hours. Done! Black beans are so easy. Kidney beans take a bit longer, as do pinto beans, and white beans, but if you turn the temp down low enough and set the lid just right (so that it doesn’t rattle but some of the steam still escapes), the beans cook nicely without boiling dry. I don’t even have to go back and add more water (like my mom does since she cooks hers with the lid off). I guess basically it’s a slow-cooker-on-the-stove thing, but it doesn’t take all day.

  • Corey @ Learning Patience
    September 5, 2011 at 8:01 am

    I have to admit – I always use canned blk beans…I have never soaked beans before! hmm…looks like I just added another thing to my try list! Thanks!

    xoxo from Trinidad

  • Cait's Plate
    September 5, 2011 at 8:03 am

    I really need to get a slow cooker. Especially when you have recipes like this that use them.

  • Alicia
    September 5, 2011 at 8:18 am

    I never soak or pre-cook beans. I put them in the crock pot the night before and cook them on low overnight. In the morning I add the fixings. Then they cook on low until meal time. Easy and delish!

  • emily
    September 5, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Off topic, but when is your book coming out? I’m anxious to get my hands on a copy!

    • jenna
      September 5, 2011 at 8:26 am

      September of 2012…basically a year from today!

  • Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef
    September 5, 2011 at 8:20 am

    umm, i totally have a no-soak recipe for cooking black beans. in the oven. it’s crazy i tell you! and so good. let me know if you want more info…i’m planning a blog post too soon. 🙂

    • Margie
      February 1, 2013 at 10:16 am

      Would love for you to share your non-soak and baked black beans … thank you so very much in advance.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    September 5, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Sounds yummy! I’m already thinking about making “warmer” foods since the weather is pretty crappy here today, and beans sound great! Lately I’ve been using adzuki beans in warm salads, which don’t need to be soaked. They only take about 45 mins to cook and I love their meaty texture. Happy Labour Day Jenna!

  • Lauren @ What Lauren Likes
    September 5, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Yippe for beans! Haha I love that about fall, hot foods are in now heehee 🙂

  • Kate
    September 5, 2011 at 8:28 am

    im cooking dried chickpeas now, you seriously cant go back to canned after trying them fresh!

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    September 5, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Cute pictures!! I love black beans 🙂

  • Coco
    September 5, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Yum. Just nicked the slow-cooker from my parents’ place last weekend so that I could make exactly this. Looking forward to cooking a weekend brunch in a couple weeks with homemade tortillas and slow-cooked beans for all!

  • Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance
    September 5, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Ah, the sweet smell of slow cookin’ beans. Helloooo winter

  • Annie @ Naturally Sweet Recipes
    September 5, 2011 at 8:48 am

    I love that last picture! SO cute! And black beans sound yummy!

  • Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove
    September 5, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I LOVE black beans! We just got a le creuset and while I know it’s not a slow cooker (we don’t have one yet) I sort of want to try this recipe in there. We’ll see how it works!!

  • melissa
    September 5, 2011 at 8:57 am

    love your blog!! ditto on what everyone’s saying about not soaking their beans. i make black beans in my crockpot too weekly for my boys. and never ever soak them. i just turn it on high and in a few hours they’re done. in fact i have to watch them and make sure that they don’t overcook, the crockpot on high setting works so well!

  • Jessica @ Jess Go Bananas
    September 5, 2011 at 9:05 am

    I love beans! Perfect Labor Day Dish!

  • Katrina
    September 5, 2011 at 9:06 am

    These sound lovely! I DO have a slow cooker, so I’m eager to try these. Yum!

  • Kath
    September 5, 2011 at 9:06 am

    I’ve made them in the crockpot without soaking too – just put ’em in and low all day.

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    September 5, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Yum-my 🙂

  • Judith
    September 5, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Please visit this and post on your blog.
    I went to another finalists’s blog and she did so.
    We want you to win and voting only lasts a few more days.
    Did you get the email from CBS saying you were a finalist?
    I know you can do it!

  • Kristina
    September 5, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Those black beans look amazing! Also, what effect do you use to get that cool vintagey look and border on your pics? Is it a photoshop setting?

  • Cate
    September 5, 2011 at 10:55 am

    I never soak beans…I just throw them in the slow cooker on low and they’re good to go after about 8 hours. I also LOVE putting a sprig of fresh epazote in with black beans while they cook. It adds amazing flavor.

  • Kristen @ notsodomesticated
    September 5, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I’ve never cooked dried beans! But your recipe sounds awesome … sounds like something that I need to try!

  • Baking N Books
    September 5, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I’m far too lazy for dried beans. I usually buy Eden’s organic no-salt added and just heat them up.

    Is that photo taken with your camera or cell-phone?

  • Sarah Jane MacMillan
    September 5, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Love dried beans recipes! Keep ’em comin! So much better than canned beans. Although I do eat both types!

  • Angharad
    September 5, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    According to Deb from Smitten Kitchen: ‘I make all of my dried beans in the slow-cooker these days. No pre-soaking, just cover them 2 to 3 inches of water and cook them 3 hours on high.
    I hate soaking too! Totally ruins spontaneous bean desires.

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
    September 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Homemade beans tasting nothing like canned…isn’t that the truth!

    There are sooooo many recipes online floating around for slow cooker baked beans. Kind of like chocolate chips cookies, everyone has their own “amazing” and “best ever” recipe. The final product is usually fairly similar but everyone has their personal little touches and I know there are tons of recipes online for not presoaking beans, especially certain types of beans, so I know you’ll find ’em!

    What you did looks awesome & I love the Instagram-ish looking pics. Cool effects!

  • Sally Anne @ PaleoRunnerGirl
    September 5, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    One of the greatest sacrifices of being Paleo was kissing all legumes goodbye. My tastebuds miss them, but my stomach surely does not! These look incredible, Jenna!

  • Lora
    September 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    I never soak the beans…just toss ’em in and go. It will take a little longer to cook them but we’re not talking hours and hours more.

  • Isabel
    September 5, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Hi Jenna,

    I would love to make the black beans using the other recipe but I don’t have a Dutch oven, can I use something else?

  • Bev Weidner
    September 5, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    A pot o’ beans makes me wear giddy pants!

  • KateSouth
    September 5, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I love a good pot of black beans, especially ones that have a bit of spice (jalapenos work so well with these beans). Plus, with fall weather creeping in, this recipe feels just right and I’m going to have to give it a try.

  • Mellie
    September 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    mmm I love beans! They’re SOOO much better than peas, except English peas. And chickpeas, but those are technically beans too, i think.

  • Sarah
    September 5, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Beans are so hit and miss for me. I’ve made amazing “refried” beans in the crockpot, then turned around and made the same recipe again and it tasted like dirt, so I’ll have to agree with you that there’s no real recipe! Just a lot of trial, error and finger crossing 😀

  • Jamie
    September 5, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    These look fab.. and vegan to boot! My beans are currently soaking and this will make a delish dinner tomorrow after work 🙂

  • Kara
    September 5, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I use Mark Bittman’s method from How to Cook Everything, which is more along the lines of cooking for about 3 hours instead of soaking – they’re delicious! 🙂

  • Laine
    September 5, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    I use the Pioneer Womans’ recipes. No soaking, just throw in a ham hock and then add some chopped onions and peppers and jalepenos towards the end. Keep salted, don’t add too much water so you get a nice gravy. Delicious!

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen
    September 5, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    I’m one of those people who have never cooked beans from scratch. I really want to change that this fall!

  • Alison @ Hospitality Haven
    September 5, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    That’s how I cook my black beans when I’m cooking them up plain – the crockpot. In fact, I have a bunch in there right now! So simple and easy for making huge batches and then freezing for use at a later date.

  • andrenna
    September 5, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Here’s a great method from theKitchn blog. How To Cook Beans: A Fast, Foolproof, No-Soak Method –

    • andrenna
      September 5, 2011 at 10:11 pm

      oh oh oh I should have mentioned the secret! Baking dry beans in the oven takes less than 2 hours from dry to cooked.

  • Tasha @ Voracious Eats
    September 5, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Fresh cooked from dried beans is the only way to go! Canned beans are convenient, but honestly, where’s the taste? I love love love black beans and this looks exactly like the way I cook them, down to the bunch of cilantro!

  • Amanda @ AmandaRunsNY
    September 6, 2011 at 4:28 am

    anything with cilantro is good in my book.

  • Charise
    September 6, 2011 at 6:14 am

    I tend to just soak beans for 2-3 hours, and then cook on the stovetop for a couple hours. Although I keep meaning to try them out in the crockpot.

  • Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner
    September 6, 2011 at 8:00 am

    can’t wait to try this!! I love black beans.. especially with some fresh lime squeezed on top. thanks for sharing!!

  • Leanne
    September 6, 2011 at 9:17 am

    I make these beans at least one a month. I usually add a can of rotel towards the end of cooking just for some heat. If I have a lot of extra chicken stock, I’ll cook them half in stock and half in water. Cumin is delicious also. Sometimes I’ll make two bags of dry beans and freeze them for other recipes. I use them like canned beans, puree them into dip, or just add them to brown rice for lunch. Thanks for sharing this delicious, healthy, and cost-effective meal!

  • Urban Wife
    September 6, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Growing up, the way my mom would cook dry beans was in a pressure cooker. It only takes about 10-15 minutes tops and you can skip the soaking. Of course, she would still rinse the beans but other than that it was straight to the pressure cooker. 🙂

  • John
    September 7, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Looks great.

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  • Eileen
    October 17, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    These beans are delicious! They are so easy to cook this way, and I think they have richer flavor then when I make them on the stovetop. Black beans are amazing with a side of creamy coleslaw.

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  • Scarlett
    December 29, 2011 at 7:26 am

    how long do you soak the beans for?

  • Lisa
    February 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    I was just googling black beans recipes for the slow cooker and this is EXACTLY what I was looking for! Thanks! I am soaking the beans tonight and will make this tomorrow! Can’t wait.

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    March 15, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    What size bag of beans did you use with this recipe? Looking forward to trying it! 🙂

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      March 15, 2012 at 8:57 pm

      a 1 lb bag—sorry if that wasn’t clear! Hope you like it 🙂

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    June 6, 2012 at 1:30 pm

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  • Lily
    August 4, 2012 at 10:07 am

    The main reason to soaking beans is because it releases all the gases in them so you don’t fart hahahaha. But you can cook them without soaking them and its completely fine. You might have to cook them for a couple hours longer.

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  • Charlene
    September 22, 2012 at 6:25 am

    I read that you would like not to have to soak your beans. I don’t soak my beans (you can soak them for 5-10 min if you’d like)I just wash them real good and put them in the crock pot with the water and add the salt after they are cooked, the salt soaks in as they cool. I eat beans for every meal and have been making them this way for about 5 years.
    I usually make 2 pounds at a time in a large crock pot. For 2 pound I add 10 cups of water to the beans and let them cook on the low setting for about 6-8 hrs then add the salt, let them cool and then refrigerate.

  • robin
    September 27, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Hi! My mother taught me to do a “quick soak” method, and I love it: you bring the beans to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, then cover and turn the heat off, letting them soak for 2 hours. I know it’s still a chunk of time, but it saves me when I don’t plan ahead enough! Then you rinse them, add fresh water, and cook them as you would if you had soaked overnight. 🙂 hope that helps! this recipe looks delicious! Can’t wait to try! -Robin

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    December 1, 2012 at 8:11 am

    I believe soaking them is important to get rid of the gases…at least that’s what I’ve been told. And when feeding black beans to my 1 year old I don’t want to risk giving him any gas pains. Has anyone else heard that before?

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    December 2, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    I really want to try this recipe. Can you please tell me though – how much beans, and how much water?

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    May 8, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    I have a pressure cooker, no overnighters with my beans….
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