Is it possible to take a pretty picture of beans? Aesthetics aside, beans are a frugal protein source that, when prepared properly, can be quite nourishing. They can be pretty bland, but when combined with the right seasonings they are down right delicious. After cooking beans in a big pot on the stove top the only problem I found was that they would scorch easily. Enter the slow cooker.

I found this recipe for crock pot pinto beans a long time ago over at Simple Mom. I have tweaked it a bit to suit our tastes, but the cooking method is exactly the same.

When I cook beans in the slow cooker I either sprout them or soak them for at least 24 hours. When sprouted, beans tend to lose their unpleasant side effects. I have found, however, that beans that have been soaked are much easier digested when cooked in homemade stock and accompanied by a lacto-fermented condiment such as cultured salsa.

I love how my kitchen smells when these simmer away all day. I like to serve them as bean bowls or along side tacos or taco salad. They are great when garnished with cheese, sour cream, salsa, onions, or cortido. And actually I found myself eating them plain for lunch today and I don’t think I’ve ever done that with any other "plain bean" recipe. So this may be a good recipe to convince those who are anti-bean to give them a try.

Slow-Cooker Pinto Beans


  • 4 cups pinto beans, sprouted or soaked for 24 hours
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 sliced jalapeno, 5-8 slices of jarred jalapenos, or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • water and/or stock to just barely cover beans


  1. Rinse beans that have been sprouted or soaked for 24 hours. Dump them in your slow-cooker. Add all other ingredients and cover with enough water and/or homemade stock to cover. I usually use half and half.
  2. Cook on high 6-8 hours, until beans are tender and liquid has thickened to your desired consistency.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Hop on over to the Nourishing Crock Pot Carnival for lots of great ideas for how to use your slow-cooker!


15 Responses to Slow-Cooker Pinto Beans

  1. [...] Chicken and White Bean Stew (Kari @ Eating Simply) 32. Roast Mushroom Sauce (Jennifer @ MrsBic) 33. Slow Cooker Pinto Beans (Shannon @ Nourishing Days) 34. Chicken Crockpot Pie (Tawnya @ This Great [...]

  2. Denise says:

    ok, this may be the dumb question of the day – but is all salsa cultured ? I am reading more about fermentation. Besides yogurt, I’m still learning what all is a fermented food. I should look through your archive – I’m sure you have wrote about it all ready.


  3. Motherhen68 says:

    Of all the carby things I’ve given up, I think I miss beans the most, especially in cooler weather. I mean, after all, I’m Cajun and we invented red beans and rice (kidding!).

    I know that beans are high in fiber, but the fiber really doesn’t net out the high carb count. Sad. A bowl of pintos would be so good.

    Your photo of the beans looks great. :)


  4. Alisha says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I’ve really been into beans while pregnant. I’ll have to give this one a try!


  5. I agree – the photo makes me want to make some right now. I loved seasoned beans (but like Motherhen68 I eat them rarely because of the carbs), and your recipe looks like it will hit the spot. Love the dollop of sour cream on top, too. ;)


  6. These beans look delicious and I’ve been searching for a good crock-pot recipe. I think I’ll soak my beans today (Thurs), cook them tomorrow (Fri) then have it on hand for lunch over the weekend. Where I’m from in Nova Scotia, beans were a Saturday night tradition. I wonder if they freeze well…. I love the photo too &, as always, your blog.


  7. Naomi says:

    Beans DO freeze well, dried, soaked, cooked, no matter what form. I sometimes soak a good portion of beans, drain them and freeze in meal-sized portions. All I have to do then is get some out and cook them whenever I want some for dinner. I’m a North Carolina girl who was raised on pinto beans. It was poor man’s food, and we ate A LOT of them! They were seasoned with salt and pork fat back, and they NEVER tasted bland. We absolutely loved them. They usually comprised the meal, along with biscuits or cornbread, sometimes some mashed potatoes.

    For me, adding spices and herbs to the beans ruins the taste, because I like the flavor of the beans themselves; not that they aren’t wonderful added to chili or other dishes though. The only time I ever cooked beans that were bland was when I soaked them in whey water as per NT method. Yes, then you do need to add something to them to give them some flavor. I stopped using whey in my soaking water and now just soak them for a day or so. Also, as a child and also in my adult years, beans did not usually cause gas for us because we ate them on a very regular basis, sometimes twice a week, but at least once a week. And my mother never soaked her beans more than maybe six to ten hours, just until they were softened. And she always added salt to them at the beginning and the beans’ skins were not tough like some “experts” tell you they will. Do I sound like a bean cooking expert? Maybe I am, since I have been cooking and eating them from babyhood. But beans, especially pintos, remain one of my favorite comfort foods.

    I have heard that the carb content of foods is modified through sprouting. I don’t know why that rule would not also apply to beans; does anyone?


  8. Cathy says:

    Yum, your seasonings sound good! We eat various beans in several different recipes, but nothing exactly like that.


  9. Well.. my bean meal was a failure :( I soaked the beans for 24 hours but in plain water – I forgot it had to be boiling water. I cooked them in the slow cooker for 8 hours and we looked forward to the wonderful smelling supper all day then.. crunch, crunch, ewww. I’m so new at this and it took a phone call to Grandma to figure out what I’d done wrong. I won’t give up though and am making these again next week. I’m also going to do as Naomi does and soak and freeze some small batches… I’ve been caught a few times now not having beans soaked when I wanted to add them to meals.

    Thanks girls :)


  10. Nicola says:

    I love beans in the slow cooker. It is the only way I have ever made them. I got my recipe from when it used to be named differently. Anyways, I soak my beans with some salt. In the morning I drain and rinse. I add fresh water, a couple of spoonfuls of lard, and a chopped onion. I let it cook all day and then for refried beans I cook an onion in lard and add beans by the spoonful and mash. So easy and so good. This is all from the aforementioned blog. I have played with the recipe a few times by adding meat, different spices, garlic, and so on. I live in the southwest and I eat my fill of beans and these are some of the best I have had. My boyfriend has told me not to change the recipe because he greatly enjoys them too.


  11. Rapunzel says:

    I have these simmering in my crockpot right now, can’t wait to try them!


  12. TexasBruin says:

    I’ve been cooking beans almost weekly for years. There are two issues with beans: 1) phytic acid, and 2) lectins. Phytic acid is minimized by fermenting (but not soaking). Regarding lectins, there is a serious concern about lectins that do not get leached out our denatured (or otherwise neutralized) with simple soaking. I am not sure about fermenting’s effect on lectins. However, it is simple to render lectins harmless. Boiling for 10 minutes, draining, and then further processing (soaking and cooking) effectively denatures the lectins. It should be noted that heating beans to less than 80C actually increases the lectin toxicity. Crockpots only reach a temperature of 75C.That’s why they should be boiled (100C) first for 10 minutes.

    Lastly, I love your blog! Best Regards, TexasBruin.


  13. [...] you can often times save 60+% just by buying dried beans and cooking them yourself. We love these slow-cooked pinto beans, for [...]

  14. Jennie Mac says:

    Wow. These are terrific! Best seasoning I have found yet for pinto beans. I was leary about adding the salt to the crockpot before cooking (I have always read that was bad so I add it at the end), but it really made a huge difference in the taste. Normally, I find beans to be bland and have to add tons of salt after cooking, but these didn’t need it at all. I also noticed the skins stayed together better than cooking without salt. They weren’t tough at all. Really, really good recipe. Thank you for sharing!


  15. Lilly Sue says:

    These look delicious! It is definitely time for some crock pot beans :)


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