A slow-cooker full of pinto beans

I love, love, LOVE pinto beans!

I didn't know this until I tried some freshly cooked pinto beans made by my friend Candy's Mexican mom a couple years ago. I begged her mom to tell me HOW she made such delicious beans!

Beans, salt, and a little cilantro, she said. I bought beans at Costco the next week and have been in love ever since! Just look at these pictures and tell me you don't want some hot fresh beans in a bowl right now! ;)

Cooked pinto beans with toppings

I like to serve cooked pinto beans like a loaded baked potato. Cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, cilantro, fresh salsa, avocado -- load 'em up with whatever's in your fridge and suits your palate! :)

Crock pot with cooked pinto beans

Last year, Joshua's mom gave me this Hamilton Beach 6-quart slow cooker. It's perfect for taking to potlucks (which we do regularly) and beans & rice is one of my favorite meals to put in it!

I've also found that cooking dried pinto beans in the crock pot makes them super tender (maybe from the gentle cooking rather than harsh boiling?) as well as convenient!

My method for slow-cooked pintos:

Use about 1 cup of dried beans per quart of capacity in your slow cooker.

Soak beans overnight. Drain and replace water with fresh, to cover beans. Cook on HIGH for 6-7 hours or on LOW for 8-10 hours.

Or, place dried beans in slow cooker, fill with water, and cook on high for 10 hours.

Season with salt before serving.

Cooked pinto beans with toppings

Posts in my "Frugal Potluck Choices" series:

Our favorite beans & rice

Italian Cheese Bread (with price breakdown)


Love this...I'll have to try it your way as it would kinda be nice not to have to buy so much meat! Do your kids like it? That seems to be the problem around here, with the exception of about 4 of them...noone else likes beans!!

Yes! My kids actually love the beans! Using salt is essential... and I give them the option of toppings... but they will even request plain (only salted, cooked) beans! :)

Even Joshua, who said he didn't care for beans when we got married, says that freshly cooked (tender and salted!) beans with some toppings are pretty good... and he loves my beans and rice! :)

Do you guys have Mexican food very often? I always serve beans with/on Mexican food, which makes the taco meat stretch a lot further -- along with being delicious of course. ;)

Make more than one meal, add a pork loin and whole banana pepper in when you cook. You can also freeze left over beans to add to other recipes. I, too, love my crockpot! ** the pepper becomes sweet**

I grew up eating beans, not because they were an inexpensive meal, but because my parents grew up eating beans. In fact, I just put on a crock-pot full of beans today for my mom and brother's family. As kids, we never jumped for joy when mom said we were having beans for supper, but they are one of our favorite comfort foods now that we're adults. We season ours with a chopped onion, bay leaf, and chopped celery. We also put in a ham hock when we have one. We serve them with cornbread (beans spooned over the cornbread or cornbread as a side). The leftovers make great refried beans, too!

yeah...we eat mexican but have never thought to mix in beans! That would be a great way to start

I really enjoyed visiting with you today with your bean cooking. We have beens going here a whole lot. I keep beans in the crockpot going probably 4 or so days out of the week. We have them as meals and also for snacks. Yep, snacks. If the children want a snack they go and dip themselves a bowl of beans. Sometimes there's cornbread to go with as well. Also, if the children really don't like what we're having their only alternative is to go hungry or have a bowl of beans. :) We don't drain our beans though. I guess we've gotten used to any indigestion that could be caused.

Susan W. (Sandlappersue)

What a coincidence, I am making pinto beans in my crock pot today too! :) Ths is my first time making them in there so I hope they turn out. :)

I make my Pinto beans in the crock pot on the weekends it's about a 6 qt crockpot so I do
a lot of pinto beans they cook all night on low I put in salt and olive oil and some dry chipolte pepper the taste it great and the next day I put them in the food processer with the juice they cooked in, then I make 1qt containers and freeze them. I will never go back to can beans.

Oops that "What a coincidence!" comment was from me....

My kids love these too. My husband who never touched a bean before we married, declared pintos his favorite. I cook mine in the crockpot as well. I am usually short on time so I do the quick soak method on the bag. Boil for 2 minutes then put lid on pan for 1 hour. They turn out just as tender this way as the overnight soak. And yes...your picture does make me crave a big bowl of beans right now!


Do you use these to make re-fried beans? If so, how do you do it? They do look delish and SO easy to do!! Who knew??


I love homemade refried beans. I just smash up well cooked (possibly overcooked, my crock pot is super hot) beans with sauteed onion & garlic, chipotle with adobo, and a tablespoon (or so) of concentrated chix broth mix (the kind you store in the fridge, check for MSG).

Refried beans freeze very well--just put in a zipper bag, squeeze out the air, and freeze flat.

Hi Jane!

I used to make "official" homemade refried beans using this recipe. Now, however, we usually keep things even simpler by just using the cooked pinto beans (not refried), or simply mash them a little. We don't eat a lot of refried beans (like for Mexican-style dips) and just put the cooked beans into burritos, etc. :)

The homemade refried beans are SO much better than canned refried beans! After eating freshly cooked beans for quite a while, we don't like the canned beans nearly so well!

I freeze my extra cooked beans for a quicker convenience food rather than opening cans. If I cook a large batch of beans and freeze some, it's *nearly* as convenient as just buying cans of beans, a LOT cheaper, and MUCH tastier in our opinion! :)

I always cook my beans in a 4 qt. round crockpot (a $5 Salvation Army find). I NEVER soak my beans!! In the crockpot, i add the beans and water and I throw in 1-2 finely diced onions, some garlic (either powder or fresh) and a 1-2 inch piece of smoked hock or jowl (I buy a larger package for like 60 cents a pound and freeze). The smoked hock/jowl gives the beans a mild smoky/salty flavor that's just right). I cook till beans are tender and season with seasonings of choice....salt, pepper, adobo seasoning, chili powder. I'll have to try the cilantro idea. I love cilantro and have never thought to add it to my beans.

The weather has turned rainy and cooler here and I was craving beans!!

Tuesday night I took some country ham chunks and put them in the crockpot with water and let them cook on low all night, then in the morning I fished the meat out and seperated it from the fat, put the meat back into the seasoned water and added a pound of Great Northern Beans that I had sorted through, I let the cook all day nice and slow and it was so good and comforting to be eating a bowl of beans last night!!

I grew up eating beans made like above and they were normally served with a pan of fried potatoes, a pot of greens, hm bread with butter and green onions!!

Mmm I can't think of a better meal!!!


Hi Tammy,

I love pintos too! Especially with cheese, onion, avocado, cilantro- yum. I've found that if I add salt at the beginning of cooking it seasons the beans more evenly. Of course you'd have to experiment with how much salt to add so you don't ended with inedible-too-salty beans.

Mrs. Bowen

My husband is Mexican and we make beans, rice, tortillas, tostadas, enchiladas, tacos, tamales and more and I also make our own salsa. We love it all and a funny thing about beans and rice in his family is that the adults in the house knew the money was tight when beans, rice and tortillas were made but the kids on the other hand always think it's a special treat! They are very economical and good for feeding large crowds. My sopa (rice) is very simple and made by browning the rice in oil until it's nice and brown but not black, adding hot water and tomato sauce or diced tomatoes, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. This is how my mother-in-law and both grandmother-in-laws all made it and it gets devoured every time!

I've done "loaded beans" for about 2 years. I discovered that calling the dish "Burrito Bowls" made my girls more than willing to eat them...it's like a Chipotle restaurant menu item! It's all in the psychology, right?

I grew up in New Orleans....and we ate red (kidney) beans and rice every week. I mean every single week. I love them.....they are my #1 comfort food!

I also love lots of other beans....Lima Beans, Great Northern Beans, Pinto Beans, Little Red Beans, Black Beans, Pink Beans, Navy Beans, Cannellini Beans, Split Peas and dried Black-Eyed Peas, and a whole bunch more that I can't even remember the names of. (I order them online)

I cook my beans with many different flavorings.....ham, bacon, hocks, salt pork, fat back, all kinds of cajun sausages; and when I don't want to use pork products.....I use smoked turkey legs, chicken and turkey sausages, and venison. I always cook onion, celery, and garlic with my beans too. Then they get turned into soups, stews, salads, main courses and side dishes!

We even love the "juice" from beans....I start with a lot of water, and after it has flavored up from the beans cooking, I take part of it out and store it in the fridge or freezer. It makes wonderful soup base or substitue for stock in gravy or vegetable cooking.
(Or just plain and hot in a cup with a piece of cornbread!)

My friends make fun of me cause we eat beans so often.....but we just love them.

and we had cooked pinto beans and homemade tortillas for dinner tonight. They are really good!!!

Beans with rice, beans and potatoes, refried (with cumin) beans, chili beans, but my favorite is beans and moms flour tortillas.....my mouth is watering......=)

For refried beans...quarter a jalepeno lengthwise and cook in the refried beans...lots of cheese is good too....roll into a tortilla. You can be store in the fridge and reheat them for lunch the next day.

We love beans here, too and have them often. I learned from the book, Nourishing Traditions, to soak them overnight with a splash of lemon juce or whey. the next morning drain, add water and cook as desired. This totally takes care of any extra gas problems.

My children even ask whether the beans were soaked when I make them. They did not enjoy the undesirable after effects, either!

Just thought I would add this in case it helps anyone!

I love beans! I'm going to have to try this. I enjoy your blog so much. You are a great encouragement to me to get in the kitchen and enjoy cooking for my family. Thanks!!

Thank you all for the great comments/discussion on BEANS! :)

I will have to try the Nourishing Traditions method of soaking beans in an acid medium and see what I think. I have read that cooking beans in an acidic base (for example, in a vegetable soup containing tomatoes) will cause them to not get as soft and tender, and a long time ago I think I experienced that effect -- although old beans COULD have been the culprit in that case, and I haven't wanted to test it again. ;)

Thank you for this post, Tammy! I had been hesitant to cook my own beans, since it had always taken me forever on the stovetop. This method couldn't be easier! I love making beans for our taco nights.

My husband discovered that if you add Dr. Pepper or Coke to the water when you begin cooking your beans, they do not cause gas. I suppose you could use any type of carbonated soda. Since we have been doing this, no problems!

Enjoy your recipes. I check in frequently for meal ideas. I've recommended the site to my mother and daughters.

how much coke or dr pepper to what amount of beans do you need?

Been eating pintos most of my life but my great-grandmother taught me how to cook them with a can of Rotel tomatoes (diced tomatoes and chiles), 1/2 an onion, and a piece of ham or salt pork. I gather that you don't eat pork, but I have used smoked turkey necks with great results as well. It adds a nice smokey flavor. My great-grandmother always cooked them on the stove, but I tend to use the crock-pot. My mom always sauteed cabbage with ours and served cornbread. I do that too, but I am going to make bean tacos with my next batch. I use your site SOOO much. Many thanks to you and great blessings!

I need to try this, Tammy. :) Just bought a huge bag of pinto beans at Sam's Club for when the baby arrives (and basmati rice, too). I've usually made them on the stove but will have to use the slow cooker, since I don't like how the beans can stay a bit "crunchy" even after boiling away on the stove for hours. ;) The slow cooker is the way to go!

Love your website!! I made homemade burritos yesterday for the first time. (which hubby loved!!) I bought refried beans because I always thought that making my own beans was so much work... I checked the salt amount-47% dv for 1 cup!! Horrible!!
So 2day I decided to find a recipe for my own beans and I check your blog and beans are your post of the day!! I'm super pumped!! I'm looking forward to making them!

Just wanted to share one of my favorite breakfast dishes. I heat some refried beans with a little shredded cheese on top in the microwave while I'm poaching an egg. I put the egg on top of the beans and cheese for a high-protein, filling, delicious breakfast.

Just a note, I soak my pintos overnight, or a couple hours after a quick boil. I like the 'CAUTION' pressure cooker. 'DANGER WILL ROBINSON' Read all information that comes with the cooker. "IMPORTANT" DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED. !!!AT ALL!!! My cooker instructions for pinto beans say, 10 minutes after 15 psi is attained. My little input about this is, if the pressure weight stops jiggling, (at least once a minute) something is wrong. Turn off and remove from heat. Releave all pressure. Let it cool, run it under water if needed. My cooker's instructions say test for pressure by tipping the pressure weight. If its clogged this won't do work. Also per my cooker's instructions, if it doesn't want to open easily it can mean cause its got pressure. When safe, open it. Check for clogging of pressure device. (follow cooker's instructions for this) ((steam at 15 psi is way hotter than 212 degree boiling point)) . Steam or water at boiling temperature burns or scalds. At 15 psi I've got no idea what it would do. If the pressure weight stops, and its still heating the pressure will get higher. Higher pressure boils at a higher temperature. Eventually pressure could explode the cooker. I don't know of anyone who has exploded one, but I've read stories about people cleaning a pot of beans off the ceiling. DANGER DANGER DANGER. For real. I don't do anything at the same time.

Tammy these seriously are the best ever. I've mad pinto beans on the stove top and they always came out too mushy and the pot was always boiling over and I even cooked them less time the people said. Well today I tried it your way and they were amazing no more mushy and boiling over. I didn't even soak them I did sort and rinse them then filled my crock-pot up with water since I didn't know how much the beans would soak up put it on high and left it for 10 minutes. My daughter also just loved them with a little salt and nothing else and she is a picky eater.
Do you think black beans would work the same way?

That's so great to hear! :)

And yes, you can cook other beans besides pinto beans in the crock pot, in the same manner. I've personally done black beans, garbanzo beans, great northern beans, and black-eyed peas, all with great results! :) Some of the cooking times may be slightly shorter/longer than the pinto beans (I can't remember exactly).

I especially liked how my homemade hummus turned out when I cooked the garbanzo beans (chick peas) in the crock pot... so smooth and creamy! :)

My mother-in-law told me about carrots! She's a pinto expert; raised three boys on them and still makes them often. They don't like the natural after-effects of bean-eating, either. She says that adding one cleaned carrot to the pot during cooking does the trick! I eat her beans and agree; and I can't taste the carrot, though it may lend some extra subtle flavor that's good. I'm adding a carrot to my crockpot of pintos this morning! :) Thanks for the great post - I learned a lot from all the following discussions, as well!

I made these last night. I didn't presoak my beans just because I needed the extra cooking time. My slow cooker doesn't have an automatic turn off setting. :( They turned out perfect after about 11 hours of cooking. Half of that on high, half on low. (My boyfriend at least has the capability to turn a switch! haha) I added salt, garlic salt, and seasoning salt to mine towards the end of cooking (just a little of each, obviously) and I always add hot sauce to my personal bowl. :)

The best way I know to "degas" beans is to cook them with a piece of dried seaweed called kombu with the beans. It comes dried in packets, I buy mine sometimes online or in health food shops. 1 strip will do a big pot of beans. It dissolves into the beans, de-gassing the beans and giving a delicious flavour to the stock, without affecting the intrinsic flavour of the beans, it just kinds of deepens the flavour. You only need a small piece for a big pot of beans, and it goes a long way in my family.



The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make his face shine upon thee; and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:22-26)

I made the BEST beans tonight! I was actually doing a test batch for a teachers luncheon tomorrow. I am now doing a second batch since we devoured the first batch. :) thank you for sharing this with us. I added onions, peppers, garlic, mrs dash and Johnny's season salt. I browned all that up in a frying pan with some of the liquid from the beans and then just mixed it into the finished batch of Beans. It was perfect. My picky children wanted to dip their quesadillas and asked for tortilla chips to go with their beans. This will be our new family fav!

I was introduced to pinto beans when I married into a Mexican family. My mother-in-law always had a pot of beans sitting on her cook stove (yes - the kind that uses wood or coal) and those beans were the most outstanding beans. We ate them three meals a day. They're great with fried potatoes and eggs in the morning with fresh tortillas. This South Jersey girl was a full-blown convert! I may not be married to him any more, but the foods to which I was introduced are still a part of my diet, and beans are the most frequently made at home.

I normally LOVE making beans and loads of other things in my crock pot, however mine just broke! ACK!!
The crock itself cracked. I didn't do anything differently, and I've been using this one for the last 8 years with no problems, however when looking for a new one I found out that my model had a big issue with that and I was lucky to get more than 2 years out of it.

Anyways, now I'm looking to buy a new one. I was interested in how you like yours. From what I've read it seems great. One person said they could taste the rubber from the lid seal in the food. Have you had any problems with yours? Anything about it you particularly like? Thanks so much! I LOVE your blog!

I have used the same slow cooker pictured for about 7 years! I haven't had any problems with flavor, heating, or just shutting off as I did with another name brand crock. I recommend it!
And, it will hold lots of food!

I still love my crock pot! I haven't had any trouble with it, never tasted anything "off", no cracks, etc. :) I love how big it is, the fact that it seals for transport, and that it cooks well.

I'm not sure if a timer feature would be better (since I've never had a crock pot with a timer feature) but that is one thing mine doesn't have. :)

I've been using it regularly for about 4 years now and it's still doing great! :)

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