How To: Slow Cooker Black Beans

I’ve been told I make the best slow cooker black beans ever, but I can’t take all the credit.

When we were still dating, my husband taught me how his family made Brazilian-style black beans when he was growing up.  His aunt showed me how to make beans in the slow cooker.  Before that, I thought people had to cook them in a pressure cooker to get them soft like the canned beans we usually bought.  (I still remember trying to chew on the crunchy beans we’d try to cook at my house when I was growing up.)

Over the past 10 years, I’ve perfected it.  (High five!)  It’s not too difficult, but because I make black beans about once a week or so, it was important for me to get it right and I had ample opportunity for practice.  We eat them throughout the week either as a side on top of rice, in soup, or one of my favorite ways, mixed with quinoa and salsa for breakfast.

There are a few secrets to making awesome beans, and it applies to other types of beans and legumes too.

Let’s get started!

The difference between the beans I make and other recipes is that I rely heavily on aromatics to flavor the beans as they cook.  It truly does make all the difference.

Aromatics:  diced (or halved) onion, whole garlic cloves and bay leaves.  Salt is added at the end only.

It’s VERY important to sort beans and give them a good rinse before before cooking them.

Sort out any small stones, broken, wrinkled, or otherwise misshapen beans.  I find that black beans are more notorious for stones than other varieties of beans; probably because they are smaller.

Everything goes into the slow cooker and covered with water.   My slow cooker is large, so I can make 2 lbs or more at a time.  I usually use around 6 cups of water for each pound of beans.  That is more than enough water, but you don’t want to use too little water or the beans might absorb what water there is and burn.  (This may or may not have happened to me a few times.)  You can always drain them later.  We like to ladle a bit of the cooking liquid with the beans onto rice–it’s very flavorful.  If I make black bean soup, I will also reserve some of the cooking liquid.

I typically cook beans on high for 3 hours, or low for 6+ hours.  It varies a little if the beans are older or if I am cooking more than one pound at a time.  I’m guessing different slow cookers might vary slightly by brand or size.

About 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, remove the lid of the slow cooker and remove a few beans with a spoon and blow on them.  If the skins peel back, the beans are done.  They may still be a little firm.  Add the salt, about 1 Tbsp. per pound of beans, and replace the lid and let them continue cooking for a little longer.  If they cooked more quickly, I will remove the insert, add the salt and put the lid back and let the beans absorb the salt off the heat.

 

From there I let the beans cool quite a bit before transferring to containers or zipper-lock bags for storage.  The beans freeze very well separated into gallon-sized bags and frozen flat in layers.  The beans will keep for about a week.  One pound of dry beans makes about 5 cups of beans, which is the equivalent of about 3 cans of beans, give or take.

Cilantro Citrus Chicken

Recipes using black beans:

4.7 from 11 reviews
How To: Slow Cooker Black Beans
Author: 
Recipe type: side dish
Cuisine: Brazilian, Mexican, American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-5 cups
 
The easiest way to cook black beans is in a slow cooker. It's easy and budget-friendly.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. black beans, picked over to remove broken or wrinkled beans or small stones
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 onion, halved or diced
  • 2-3 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon salt (this seems like a lot, but is fine with this much water, you can use less)
Instructions
  1. Place the beans in a big bowl, cover with water, agitate the beans a few times to remove any dirt, drain in a colander and rinse again.
  2. Place black beans, onion, garlic cloves, and bay leaf in a slow cooker. Add water.
  3. Cook on high for about 3-4 hours, testing after 3 hours. To test doneness, spoon out a few beans and blow on them. If the skins peel back, they beans are ready. Taste just to make sure. If all of the water has been absorbed, add more. Beans must stay completely covered to prevent them from burning. If cooking on low for 6-8 hours, test the beans at the 6 hour point.
  4. Add the salt and let cook, or sit with heat off for another 20-30 minutes, to absorb the salt. Remove the bay leaf, garlic cloves, and onion before using, if desired.
  5. Use immediately, or allow to cool before transferring beans and some of the cooking liquid to a zipper-lock freezer bag or airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week, or freeze up to 3 months. If freezing, flatten bag in freezer--it makes for easier defrosting. Defrost in warm water.
Notes
Variations:
White beans (Great Northern, Cannelini, navy, black eyed peas)
-add to the slow cooker: chopped vegetables (carrots, fennel, celery), rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic, onion.
-use in salads, soups, purees, braised (side dish)

Pinto
-add to the slow cooker: a few sprigs fresh cilantro, dried oregano, a diced chile (serrano, jalapeno, etc), ground cumin, onion, garlic, bay leaf.
-use in chili and soups, salads, refried, etc.

Kidney
-cook the same way for pinto or black beans
-for use in Italian soups--proceed as for the white beans

Slow Cooker Black Beans

Substitute any dry bean in this recipe. Variations included below the main recipe.

Ingredients:

1 lb. black beans, picked over to remove broken or wrinkled beans or small stones
6 cups water
1 onion, halved or diced
2-3 whole garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon salt (this seems like a lot, but is fine with this much water, you can use less if desired)

Instructions:

Place the beans in a big bowl, cover with water, agitate the beans a few times to remove any dirt, drain in a colander and rinse again.

Place black beans, onion, garlic cloves, and bay leaf in a slow cooker. Add water.

Cook on high for about 3-4 hours, testing after 3 hours. To test doneness, spoon out a few beans and blow on them. If the skins peel back, they beans are ready. Taste just to make sure. If all of the water has been absorbed, add more. Beans must stay completely covered to prevent them from burning. If cooking on low for 6-8 hours, test the beans at the 6 hour point.

Add the salt and let cook, or sit with heat off for another 20-30 minutes, to absorb the salt. Remove the bay leaf, garlic cloves, and onion before using, if desired.

Use immediately, or allow to cool before transferring beans and some of the cooking liquid to a zipper-lock freezer bag or airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week, or freeze up to 3 months. If freezing, flatten bag in freezer–it makes for easier defrosting. Defrost in warm water.

Variations:

White beans (Great Northern, Cannelini, navy, black eyed peas)
*add to the slow cooker: chopped vegetables (carrots, fennel, celery), rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic, onion.
*use in salads, soups, purees, braised (side dish)

Pinto
*add to the slow cooker: a few sprigs fresh cilantro, dried oregano, a diced chile (serrano, jalapeno, etc), ground cumin, onion, garlic, bay leaf.
*use in chili and soups, salads, refried, etc.

Kidney
*cook the same way for pinto or black beans
*for use in Italian soups–proceed as for the white beans

Of course there are other flavors you can infuse, these are the most basic ways we use them in our house.

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130 Comments

  1. Yea!!! I normally pressure can dried beans so they are shelf stable and the cook while being processed (does that make sense?) anyhow. I’m out of propane it it seems a bit cold to do it anyways outside (I like to pressure can outside…) so I’m out of beans and have been stewing over a slow-cooker method. Mystery solved. Thanks.

  2. It looks like you have the same slow cooker as I do. Just checking to see if that is the case. Is yours the All Clad?It’s funny. I use canned black beans all the time and just this week was thinking I need to start making my own from dried. I’ve never done it and wanted to find a simple method so the beans work in different kinds of dishes. This sounds perfect for me! Thanks for posting this today…. it was meant to be.

  3. Melissa, I would love to do that! I need to get a pressure cooker one of these days.

    Kalyn, I have added cilantro before and I love it! My hubby protests though because he insistes cilantro is not for *his* black beans. :)

    Heather, yes! That’s the one. For a long time I was afraid to use it for beans. I thought it might ruin the finish or something, but it works just great! It saves a lot of money and time.

    Thanks for the comments!

  4. So do you not soak them first? Or is there a soaking step that is omitted? I made black beans on in the crock pot and was not impressed but I soaked them over night as the bag said to

  5. So do you not soak them first? Or is there a soaking step that is omitted? I made black beans on in the crock pot and was not impressed but I soaked them over night as the bag said to

  6. I never soak the beans first. I used to but didn’t find it to be much different than cooking them in the slow cooker unsoaked. If I cooked them on the stove, then yes, soak first. I like yo bring them to a boil and let them soak for about two hours then turn them back on for the remainder.

  7. Soo I just opened my first bag of dried beans (ever) about 2 hours ago and figured I’d let them soak a little while before adding them to the slow cooker (since I read that pre-soaking *may* help with digesting them more easily), however, much to my surprise I just checked on them and many have already split open! I tried googling this problem but it didn’t yield very many results.. Do you have any idea why this would happen?

  8. Hi Chelsea! How frustrating! The only thing I can think of is that the beans were too old. I did some searching of my own and I did find some evidence that old beans split while cooking. So, totally not your fault!

    Some tips I found to make sure you’re getting fresh dry beans at the store is to make sure the beans have a slight sheen to them and that they are intact–not too many split or broken beans. Maybe this is easier with beans from the bulk bin. It’s often difficult to see all of those things with packaged beans.

    Don’t give up! Your beans will probably still taste great, just not as appealing to look at. :)

    E-mail at cafejohnsonia@gmail.com if you have more questions!

    1. Kidney beans should be boiled for ten minutes prior to being put into a slow cooker in order to eliminate toxins that can cause digestive problems. I only do this with all other dry beans (garbanzos, black, pinto, etc.) that I forgot to soak overnight. Garbanzos, maybe simmered up to an hour if I plan on making a dish where I will mix them with another bean that cooks faster.

  9. Jacquie, nope! You can if you want to, but I haven’t found it makes that much of a difference. Maybe still do it with the kidney beans as they take longer to cook because they are about twice the size of black beans. Great question!

  10. Thank you!
    i will cook my black beans right now!
    So this talk about kidney beans must be boiled to remove first not an issue?

  11. I don’t cook a ton of kidney beans, but when I do, I don’t boil them first. I used to boil first and let soak and cook all the next day and the result wasn’t any better than just cooking them in the slow cooker. They do take extra time, but I don’t know that the soaking helps with the slow cooker method. If you are boiling them on the stove, it does help speed up the cooking time, as does an overnight soak. Hope that helps!

  12. Regarding jacquie’s comments: Kidney beans have a toxin called Phytohaemagglutinin (Kidney Bean Lectin) that causes severe food poisoning when they are undercooked. If you’re slow-cooking kidney beans and not experiencing this, maybe your slow-cooker is hot enough to destroy the toxin, or maybe you’ve been lucky. The FDA recommendation is:
    Soak in water for at least 5 hours.
    Pour away the water.
    Boil briskly in fresh water, with occasional stirring, for at least 10 minutes.
    Undercooked beans may be more toxic than raw beans.

    I’ve just picked up my first bag of dried black beans, and this looks like a great way to enjoy them!

  13. I’m super excited to try this recipe as I want to get away from using so many canned beans, so thank you for posting! One question – is it one tablespoon of salt per pound of beans or one teaspoon of salt per pound of beans? Thanks!

  14. Hi Jessica!

    It’s one tablespoon per pound, but keep in mind that we like ours with a lot of extra liquid/broth. Start with 1-2 tsp and then see if you need more. It’s really personal preference. And I realize that sounds like a lot of salt! The beans don’t absorb all of it. They come out really well seasoned. So if you are looking for lower sodium, just use less. :)

    Let me know how they turn out!

  15. Hi! Do you ever try to cook rice with the beans in the slow cooker so that they both have time to simmer in the good flavor?

  16. Anonymous, I can’t say that thought had ever occurred to me! I guess you could do that, except that the beans take so much time to cook and the rice would turn to mush before the beans were soft. Maybe if you added the rice when there was about an hour left of cooking time? Try it and let us know how it goes!

  17. Hi! Does it matter if the salt is added with the beans at the beginning instead of the end? I was excited to try the recipe and overlooked that detail. Thanks.

  18. Vien Phan, you’ll have to let me know how it turned out! Usually adding the salt prevents the beans from softening as they cook, so I’m curious what happened for your batch. Let me know!

  19. Made this yesterday and it come out fantastic! So easy and so delicious. Was at work while it was cooking so it was on low for 10ish hours without a problem :-)

    Thank you for sharing!

  20. So, why Brazilian style? Is your husband Brazilian? I an curious because my mom is from Brazil and I started looking for slow cooked black beans because that’s how she makes them.

  21. YUMMYLICIOUS!!!! I just made those black beans yesterday and they were fabuloso! Thank you so much. I adjusted the recipe a little and added 1 Knorr buillion cube, and some fresh rosemary and basil (one small basil leaf and two of the rosemary leaves – very little). it was so tasty. Thank you so much! My family loves it too.

  22. The recipe’s text needs correction in this sentence, “Cook on high for about 3-4hours, (or high for 6-8) testing after 3 hours.” Also, a comment from CoyLou alerted that directions for the amount of salt differed. It seems to me such a comment deserves a note of thanks if a change was made, both as recognition for the help and because it would let newsreaders know there is no longer a discrepancy.

  23. Check out that paragraph and let me know if the correction makes sense. Sorry if it was confusing! Also, CoyLou was not the first person to alert me to that typo. I am always grateful when a mistake is caught. Not thanking CoyLou was not an intentional snub, simply an oversight. Perhaps it was a busier day than others, as some days are. But I thank you for comment and I hope the directions are more clear now.

  24. Kudos for attentiveness and clarity! Thank you for following up. My beans are in the crockpot, and I have every anticipation of great enjoyment having followed your instructions.

  25. I’ve only cooked pinto beans in the slow cooker before. I had never heard about the salt preventing the beans from getting soft, and I put the salt in with the black beans when I started it this morning. Now I’m worried its going to take longer to cook! I cook for 3 people from Guatemala and they love the beans in a slow cooker rather than canned.

  26. Thank you so much for this recipe!! I moved to Costa Rica recently so it’s essential to know how to make beans. After I tried this recipe, my boyfriend who is Costa Rican told me that they taste like his grandmas which is a super high compliment. I use this every single time I make beans and they always come out great!

  27. Dear Lindsay,

    I´m so happy that I found this recipe. But I have a question.

    I have already made black, white an red beans, chickpeas in my crockpot, but I was sure that I have to soak all of them for at least 12 hours.

    Did I get that right…you just rinse the beans very well, but you don´t soak them, right?

    And can I do it the same way with the kidney and the white beans? I thought the soaking is very important because of some unhealthy thing that must be washed out.

    Of course I would like to skip that part and would be very happy about an answer.

    All the best from Germany,
    Alice

  28. Hi Alice! I haven’t ever heard about unhealthy things in the beans that are released through soaking. I do know that sometimes it can be easier on digestion to rinse the beans well after cooking.

    Soaking just helps shorten the cooking time, but with slow cooking, it doesn’t matter so much. I find that I prefer to use a slow cooker without soaking – it takes the same amount of time as cooking on the stovetop with soaking.

    Let me know how it goes!

    1. I used the extra liquid to cook organic quinoa. 2 cups of the liquid to 1 cup of the grain. It was delicious.

  29. @beantheredonethat – so glad to hear how much you like the beans! I haven’t ever really saved the extra cooking liquid. We usually ladle it along with the beans over rice. It soaks in nicely. :) But, I’m thinking you could use it when making soup or chili to thin it out.

  30. I have tried canned black beans and garbanzo beans and now I am doing the bag beans, healthier and way better taste I think.. the only problem is, I am the only one who eats black beans and I am wondering how long they will be ok in the fridge? I am going to have to freeze a lot I am SURE! but they will keep and I will just take out what I will need.. all natural is the way to go!

  31. We can’t thank you enough for your black beans recipe! Always been afraid of pressure cookers and was googling one day and found your blog.
    Even the baby ate a second portion of beans and rice the first time in made it.
    The only ingredient I add after the beans are cooked is tiny bit of olive oil and beef bouillon.

  32. I came home to find my black beans cooked just right in my crock-pot . The only problem was that I had to lengthen cooking time. I used Goya Black Beans and garlic cloves, after cooking for 8hrs on low, they were still hard , so I cooked them some more for 6hrs on high. The added cook time might me due to the beans being old perhaps. The beans came out more soft and delicious than when I cooked them on the stove-top, and the biggest plus for me is that I just put the beans in the crock-pot and left them to cook, I didn’t have to constantly be checking them or adding water.

    1. So interesting that they took so long to cook! It definitely could be that they weren’t as fresh. I have found that some batches just take a little longer. I’m so glad they were delicious! I just made a kilo of beans today actually. Thanks for the comment, Nastassia!

  33. This is WONDERFUL! I made the recipe as is. I cooked mine for about 6.5 hours, then did the 30 minute salt soak. Me (and my family) will be eating these many many more times I’m sure. I made enough to last us 1 week and I kept all the liquid. Thanks for this super easy and delish post!

  34. Black beans will only last one week frozen? I’m not sure my family of 2 can eat that many beans in one week. I hope they last longer. Looks delicious and full of flavor.

    1. No they last must longer when frozen – several months even. They last about one week in the fridge. We make a giant batch then separate them out into smaller containers, freeze, and then pull them out as needed. Sorry for the confusion!

  35. I’m trying to find good sources of protein other than meat to add to our diet, but we’ve NEVER been exposed to beans in our home cooking. Neither my husband nor I in our childhood or adult years have had meals with beans as a side dish. Would you say this is a good way to introduce them or should we try mixing them with other grains to incorporate (as first-timers?)

    1. in terms of taste, this will give you a great base you can play around with. i like to finish my beans with cilantro and some fresh lime juice. some people add balsamic vinegar (maybe around a tablespoon for each batch of 1lb dried beans? see what you like! you can take some out and add a splash to see if you like it.) i would freeze two quarters of a batch separately so it doesn’t go bad in your fridge while you experiment.

      for nutritional value, it’s very valuable (and delicious!) to add some rice to the mix; beans alone don’t contain a complete protein. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rice_and_beans in general the protein density isn’t as high as meat, but it’s got a ton of fiber and not so much saturated fat.

      one thing i REALLY like doing with black beans is refrying them- put some oil (or bacon fat!) in a pan, take your cooked black beans and smash them up with the back of a wooden spoon! it gives you a great interesting texture and goes great with tacos to help hold everything together– i find whole black beans tend to run away on me. plus a lot of people have never had black beans this way so you might get some nods. i hope you find a way to enjoy some beans!

    1. Yes, it does. But more so with kidney beans. The smaller beans all seem to cook between 3-4 hours, a little longer if they are older beans. Navy beans cook in the same amount of time as the black beans. For larger beans, add an extra hour or two on high, and 2-4 hours on low.

  36. I made these today, and to my disappointment I put them on LOW and they smelled SO GOOD, and I had to wait longer to try them! But they were totally worth it, took me right back to Brasil (and kids loved them too, yay!) :) I am making feijoada tomorrow and usually used canned beans, but couldn’t find them anywhere. I don’t think I’ll ever bother with tins again. Now I’m going to try your pao de queijo too! Thankyou

  37. Why does everyone pressure cook them!? Drives me crazy especially because I’ve tried and can’t and no one (in Mexico) can tell me how to do them any other way. Some people suggest leaving them to sit in water overnight while others say no need.

    I have a slow cooker in Mexico and look forward to making them when I’m in Mexico in less than 6 weeks.

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo

    1. Hey Sarah! Exciting that you’ll be going to Mexico! So I think the thing about soaking overnight (because I asked my nutritionist friend about it) is that it can make the starches in the beans a bit easier to digest. Otherwise, I don’t find that it speeds up the cooking process, so I don’t do it anymore. :) Let me know how it goes! And safe travels to you!

  38. Love this recipe. Have cooked it on stove and with the crockpot. Each time the beans come out delicious! Thanks for the tip about adding the salt towards the end….that’s the first time I have heard that but it definitely makes a difference. I’m cooking this tommorow and hopefully will be adding some cooked bacon at the end(if hubby doesn’t eat it all while I am cooking it!) in addition to the raw bacon during cooking. Thanks for the great recipe & tips

  39. I tried this recipe yesterday! Yummy!! and so easy and cheap. I love it. only think I did differently was add coriander and cumin. I can’t stop eating them. Hubby loved them as well. This is a keeper. Was happy to learn I didn’t have to presoak.

  40. These beans were a huge hit with my family. I have already made 2 meals with them. They are great by themselves as well. Super easy! Will be making these again real soon.

  41. Hi Lindsey! I discovered how good black beans are by buying some fresh black bean burritos from Trader Joe’s. Now I can’t get enough of them. I found some organic black beans from Wild Harvest at my local Albertson’s and have made them on the stove a couple of times. I just put your recipe together in my crockpot and can’t wait for this afternoon! I doubled the garlic because I am a garlic freak! Thank You so much for this recipe! :-)

  42. I found a jar of black beans in the cupboard and decided to go for it. I have no recollection of buying them so who knows how old they are. They were from the bulk bin at Whole Foods.

    I maybe added an hour to the cook time but other than that stuck to the recipe and they were delicious. Tender, flavorful and a lovely hue. The kids all gobbled them up. We eat a lot of canned black beans, but I think this is a game-changer! Thank you.

  43. Have made these several times now and they are SO GOOD. I add a can of Rotel Mexican diced tomatoes (they have cilantro and lime) at the same time as the salt. Have made them both on low for 6 hours and on high for 3 and they work well either way.

  44. I tried this today, and it was so easy and delicious!! I will definitely be doing this more often. I’m trying to do more of my own things like this instead of purchasing canned items at the grocery store. Thanks so much for the great recipe/instructions!

    1. You’re not missing anything, Steve! I don’t presoak the beans. I didn’t find that it shaved much off the cooking time. You can totally soak them first, but you really don’t need to if you don’t want to. When I talked to a nutritionist (who soaks her beans first) she said the soaking helps make the beans easier to digest. So it’s totally a personal preference when it comes to soaking.

  45. Although soaking doesn’t really affect the flavor, it’s still really important to soak your beans overnight for better health. This is particularly important if you eat beans regularly. Beans contain phytic acid and lectins which can be harmful to your gut and prevent mineral absorption in your body. The good news is that soaking can eliminate a good percentage of these anti-nutrients from beans. Soak them overnight in warm water with an acidic medium like raw apple cider vinegar.

    I also like to boil the beans about 5 minutes and rinse out the water prior to cooking them. I find this eliminates some of the sugars that cause digestive discomfort, making them much easier to digest.

    Why you need to soak beans:
    http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/living-with-phytic-acid/

    How to soak beans:
    http://www.westonaprice.org/beginner-videos/proper-preparation-of-grains-and-legumes-video-by-sarah-pope/

  46. This is the best way to cook black beans that I’ve tried!! Thank you for the recipe. I’m not sure how old my beans were, they took an extra hour or two to cook, but the tenderness turned out just right, and my house smelled so good while they were cooking.

  47. What a wonderful recipe with easy-to-follow visual instructions!! I have my crock pot set up and cannot wait to come home to eat them! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Great post!! :)

    1. Hey Tiffany! Sorry I’m just seeing this now! You can use either, but I would use less table salt than Kosher salt. I typically am using sea salt, which would measure the same as table salt.

  48. This recipe is fantastic. I received a brand new crock pot for my birthday, and I failed miserably with my first recipe. So I thought cooking beans may be more foolproof, and sure enough, this recipe is a winner! I soaked mine for about 4 hours. I used a really fresh bag of black beans and cooked them overnight on low for 6 hours (my crockpot has a time and kicked over to warm after the initial 6 hours). When I woke up, they were fragrant and PERFECT! I salted them and let them sit in their juices while I got ready for work. I didn’t have a bay leaf so I threw a few chipotle chiles in there for flavor. Worked out great! Thank you!

  49. Question, my husband too is Brazilian, but also an Italian chef..he often complains American food is bland because salt is not added before/while it’s cooking. So I ask, why do you add the salt at the end? I plan to make this recipe this weekend, but I just want to make sure it’s not ‘bland’…. Thanks so much!!! :-)

  50. Hi, I’m new to cooking dried beans and I’m just wondering if its necessary to remove any beans with split skins before cooking? Because it does make them look kind of wrinkled. If I’d removed all the beans with split skins from my current batch there wouldn’t have been many left! Maybe it just stands out more on the black beans? Is it an indicator of freshness of the beans? Thanks

    1. Good question, Sara! Normally I only really remove the ones that have split completely in half. And even then, I’m not really sure it matters that much. Most of the time by the end of cooking, most of the beans have split skins anyway. It just happens. :) I do think sometimes the beans that get “tossed” around a bit more in bulk bins, etc., may be more prone to split skins, or maybe they naturally fall to the bottom before bagging or whatever. I have noticed times when an entire bag seemed to contain more broken or split beans and other times there will hardly be any. To answer your other question – I don’t honestly know of a way to test the freshness of beans. I just try to buy them from a place where I know there is a lot of turnover, like the bulk bins at Whole Foods, for example. If you buy them in bags off the store shelf, I’d take a look and see if it looks like it’s been there awhile or not. I’ve seen some that were dusty and I left them on the shelf instead of buying them. Hope that helps!

  51. Not sure if this is true, but I read once that the reason you soak beans overnight or follow a quick soak method is because beans contain a natural binder that prevents you from absorbing iron. Soaking them and discarding the soak liquid gets rid of most of the binder.

  52. These were great! Just like the ones I ate every day the summer I spent in Mexico City
    There was always a pan on the stove and I slathered them on everything. One change up is that I used chicken stock to cook them in and had in the cooker ten hrs on low. Excellent! Thank you for the recipe.

  53. First time making beans and these are fantastic! I did have to cook mine longer, but that may be my older crockpot. It will be so great having little packages of them in the freezer whenever I want them for a recipe or over rice. Yum!

  54. If I were to measure the beans by the cup instead of by the pound about how many cups would equal a pound?

    1. Great question, Brandi! I’m surprised it’s never come up before! 2 cups of dry beans is about equal to 1 pound, give or take. Sometimes it’s a little more than 2 cups in a 1 pound bag, but that won’t throw things off too much. Truthfully, I don’t usually measure too closely anymore because I make these so often. I’ll load up a bag in the bulk section and kind of guess. I know this isn’t your question, but just in case… As long as you have plenty of water to cover, you should be fine. The only thing that would really change is the amount of salt.

  55. I just threw all this into the crockpot. Whenever I follow a recipe off the internet, I always follow it to a T, because feedback to an author doesn’t make sense unless you follow her instructions, right? :)
    Using the leftover fluid to make rice sounds like a good idea. Will comment later with the results.

  56. Question. If I use 2 lbs? I just double everything, correct? Also, the garlic cloves stay whole? No dicing?

    Thanks trying this for my book club to go with chicken tacos!!

    1. Yes, just double everything. The garlic cloves can stay whole. The flavor will infuse the beans and then you can just remove them after cooking. You can chop them up if you want, but you don’t need to. Let me know how it goes! Sounds like book club will be very tasty!

  57. This recipe did not work out for me. The beans were not close to being done at all. I had to take some out of the crock pot on put them on the stove to cook faster to have some with our dinner, and even then they were still firm. I ended up letting the rest of the batch cook in the crock for a total of 7 hours. And yes they were cooked on HIGH the entire time. There was also not much fluid left either. My crock pot is rather large and new, but I know they can all vary in times, but geez this much time??? Disappointed that this recipe didn’t work out.

    1. Hey Misty! I’m really stumped as to why it would take so long to cook the beans. What type were you cooking? The only thing I can think of is that the beans were old. Or if you were using another type of bean that was larger or a different variety. I’m really surprised it took that long though. I’m wondering if the crockpot didn’t get hot enough, even on high? There’s something not right there. I make a batch weekly and I know a lot of people who use this recipe, too, without problems. Don’t give up! I promise you’ll be happy with the result. Give it another chance. :)

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