Beans are a great addition to many meals, and in some cases are the main attraction. Whether you use them as a side dish, to make burritos or whatever, they are a cheap way to add some protein to your meal without meat.
Cooking dried beans in your slow cooker allows you to make a large quantity, if desired, and freeze them for other meals. Plus it’s so easy!
These directions will work for just about any kind of dried beans, with the exception of lentils, that require some different steps.
Follow these steps to Cook Beans in the Crock Pot:
1) Rinse the beans in cold water, remove any shriveled beans and add the rest to your slow cooker. Keep in mind that the beans will expand and you need to add water to cover the beans, so your slow cooker needs to be big enough to allow for that. So the size of your slow cooker may vary with how many pounds of beans you are cooking. (You may also choose to soak your beans overnight, but this is not required.)
2) At this point you can also add any other kind of flavoring, like minced onion, peeled garlic, dried herbs or whatever else you love to cook with. You can also add your favorite salt meat, like a ham hock or turkey leg, depending on what you will be using the beans for. Both of these additions are optional.
3) Now you should cover your beans with water so there is at least two inches of water over the top of the beans. Add about a teaspoon of salt for each pound of beans.
4) Cook on low for 6-8 hours. You may want to start checking your beans after about 5 hours to make sure you reach your desired consistency. Once you have made a certain type of beans once, you will know exactly how long they take.
Your beans are ready to enjoy. If you are not going to eat them all immediately, or at least not all of them, you can let them cool and then store them in the fridge for up to a week. They can also be frozen and used within 3 months.
An important note about Red Kidney Beans: They contain a toxin that can cause unwanted side effects when ingested. It can be destroyed by soaking and boiling as described HERE.