Once you try these Slow Cooker Black Beans, you won’t want to go back to canned! Smokey and flavor-packed, they are the perfect way to add an extra burst of flavor to any dish.
Black Beans are a staple in my kitchen.
In addition to using them in casseroles and serving them as a side dish, I love using them in salads, bowls, and wraps.
In the past, I never considered making dried black beans. It seemed like a lot of work.
And why bother when you could just pop open a can?
Five or six years ago, I started reading about the harmful effects of BPA, which is found in most canned goods.
Once I started learning more, I vowed to make an effort to ditch plastics and use fewer cans.
Since beans can be made at home fairly easily, I decided that this was a fabulous place to start.
I used to make them in my pressure cooker, which was a convenient way to do it. Then my pressure cooker died. (Edit: I have a new one but still frequently use this method of cooking.)
So I decided to start making them on the stove top.
Who needs fancy gadgets, right?
This worked great until one day I got busy with Skye and forgot about the beans I had cooking. I had set a timer, but one of the boys canceled it when they cooked their lunch.
They cooked so long that all the water cooked out and burned the bottom of my favorite pot. It was not a pretty picture.
That was when I decided to make Slow Cooker Black Beans.
Why didn’t I do this sooner?
Guys…it is so easy.
You just dump everything in and hit the button.
Want to make them vegetarian, just skip the bacon! Like pork? Use a ham hock. Don’t have one of the spices? No worries, this recipe is not fussy in the least bit.
They freeze well making this a great way to skip the BPA that can come with canned goods.
Making your own black beans is a great way to save money on groceries, which is becoming more and more important now that I have teen and tween boys!
Frequently Asked Questions About Black Beans:
- Do I Have to Soak Before Cooking?
No. If you don’t want to soak them, you don’t have to. You can simply put rinsed black beans into the slow cooker and cook for an additional 20 minutes to an hour or until tender. (Depending on your slow cooker this could take a bit longer.)
- Why Should You Consider Soaking Before Cooking?
As stated above, you don’t technically have to soak black beans when you are cooking them in the slow cooker. I like to, however, because it helps to remove anti-nutrients that can lead to gastrointestinal upset. Keep in mind that many people do just fine with unsoaked beans, so this is a personal decision for you and your family. I have a very sensitive stomach and feel that I benefit from soaking. It addition to helping with digestion, soaking beans also softens them and helps them cook faster.
- What is The Best Way to Store Cooked Black Beans?
The best way to store cooked black beans is in their cooking liquid. This helps them to stay plump and firm on the outside and tender on the inside.
- How Long Will They Keep in the Fridge or Freezer?
Stored in airtight containers and covered with cooking liquid, you can refrigerate the beans for up to five days, and freeze for up to six months. I recommend freezing them in 1 1/2 cup portions since this is approximately equivalent to a can and is an amount commonly used in recipes. Alternatively, if you are making them to add to salads, you can freeze them in single portions. (I usually add between 1/3 cup and 1/2 cup of beans to a salad.)
- Can I Saute’ the Onions and Bacon First?
I like to saute the onions and bacon because I think that it helps the flavors to develop, but if I don’t have the time the dumping method I’ve used here works very well. Really, this one is a matter of personal preference.
- What are the Health Benefits of Black Beans? Are They Good for You?
Yes! Black Beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein and provide a host of nutritional benefits. Among them are:
Supports Heart Health – Black beans can help keep your arteries clear and help to prevent plaque buildup. This is thanks to the soluble fiber, quercetin, and saponins. They work to protect your heart from disease and reduce inflammation by removing wastes and toxins.
Metabolic Boost – Black beans help to control fat metabolism thanks to the rich flavonoid content. They have magnesium which helps with protein synths and molybdenum which assists your cells in creating energy.
May Help to Prevent Cancer – The antioxidants in black beans may help to keep tumor growth at bay, and can help to prevent DNA damage from free radicals. Black Beans are a great source of selenium which helps the liver detoxify compounds that cause cancer.
Disease Preventative – Black Beans are an excellent source of folate. Folate has been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and heart disease.
- What are some easy ways that I can use black beans?
There are so many ways that you can use black beans. And they are all delicious! Here are a few ideas to get you started!
Add them to a rice bowl
Use them to make vegetarian quesadillas
Add them to soup to make it more hearty
Make a simple meal of rice and beans
Serve as a meal topped with Pico de Gallo and Queso Fresco
Puree them with lime juice, cilantro, taco seasoning, and water for a delicious dip.
Use them to make cheesy black bean nachos
Like This Recipe? You May Also Like:
- Slow Cooker Collard Greens
- Spicy Slow Cooker Almonds
- 34 Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes
- Slow Cooker Chipotle Beef Tacos
- Black Beans & Quinoa
Tools Needed to Make This Recipe:
Slow Cooker Black Beans
Slow Cooker Black Beans
- 1 pound dried black beans soaked overnight
- 8 ounces turkey bacon optional; for a vegan option add 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 large white onion diced (or 2 small)
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth as needed
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- Drain black beans and place in your slow cooker.
- Add bacon, onion, garlic powder, bay leaf, cumin, chili powder, oregano, and broth.
- Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours, adding the salt in the last 30 minutes.
- Add more liquid as needed.
Tips, Variations and Serving Suggestions for Slow Cooker Black Beans
- Do not skip soaking and rinsing!
- I recommend testing at the 6-hour mark if you are cooking on low or at 3 hours if cooking on high.
- This recipe freezes very well! I like to divide store them in 1 1/2 cup portions, which is the same as most cans. To use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. (See FAQ for more on freezing.)
- For an extra kick, add in 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- I like to serve these with a squeeze of fresh lime juice on top.
- Add in dried avocado leaves. Avocado leave add an authentic Mexican flavor that is reminiscent of anise.
- Add in a diced green onion.