Getting back to basics with this recipe for perfect slow cooker black beans – but its one that we use at least once a week so I definitely wanted to share it with you. It’s pretty easy, you just have to work out the timing which requires a tiny bit of…math. Seriously, my least favorite subject EVER.
When I graduated from college with a degree in English the only teaching job I could find was teaching 5th grade math. I think the most humiliating part of that whole experience was my students correcting my multiplication in front of the class 🤦🏻♀️. I usually tried to play it off like, “yeah, you’re right. 5 times 7 is 35. Just seeing who was paying attention…”, but I’m pretty sure they saw right through me.
But math is over and done with now 🙌🏻. You know…minus the math needed for cooking. But since you get a delicious meal at the end of those equations, I ain’t mad at it. And these perfect slow cooker black beans definitely fall in to that category.
OK, here’s why I’m saying we need to do a little bit of math for these beans. You really need to soak them prior to cooking them in the slow cooker. It’s not life or death, but it is a lot easier on your digestive system if you do. But don’t worry – I have a fool proof method. Actually three fool proof methods.
Method 1 is for the Type A me who remembers that 1) my kids will need to eat dinner tomorrow night and 2) that I need to soak my beans before cooking them. Type A me is awesome. She is on top of her game. She does things that would require a “girlboss” hashtag on Instagram. She gets her beans soaking in room temp water that covers the beans about 1 inch the night before she plans to cook them. Yeah. Type A Kathryn doesn’t show up all that often 🤷🏻♀️.
Method 2 is for the realistic me. The me who realizes at 11 in the afternoon oh crap, the kids are going to want dinner…again and then scrambles to figure out what the heck I’m going to cook with a pantry full of ingredients. This method involves boiling some water and pouring it over the beans and allowing them to soak for 1 hour before cooking them in a slow cooker on high for 2 to 4 hours. Suddenly it seems like I am much more prepared and together than I actually am.
Method 3 is for the frazzled mom who threw some animal crackers at her toddler for his lunch and feels a little guilty and tries to make up for it by making a quick and healthy dinner. This method involves no soaking but the beans won’t be as easy to digest. They will, however, taste the same.
Other than that these perfect slow cooker black beans are super easy and great. Just figure out when you might need them ready by and add about 2 to 5 hours to your cook time (depending on the temperature you cook them at) to make sure you have plenty of time. Then soak (or not), cook, and enjoy! I always add some bay leaves and a little bit of salt to my black beans, no matter what I plan to use them for – it gives them a nice flavor. You can also cook them in veggie broth in the slow cooker, but of course water is much more economical.
Perfect Slow Cooker Black Beans
- 2 c dried black beans rinsed and picked over
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 t salt
METHOD ONE: OVERNIGHT SOAK
- Place beans that have been rinsed and picked over to remove small stones etc in a large bowl. Cover with enough room temperature/cool water that it comes about 1 inch above the beans. Allow beans to soak overnight or for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse beans. Proceed to cook beans per recipe.
METHOD TWO: QUICK SOAK
- Place beans that have been rinsed and picked over to remove small stones etc in a large, heat-safe bowl (I love my big Pyrex mixing bowl for this) and place the bowl on a heat-safe surface (like your stove or a trivet). Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil (an electric kettle works great) and immediately pour the boiling water over the dried beans. Allow beans to soak for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans. Proceed to cook beans per recipe.
METHOD THREE: NO SOAK
- Rinse and pick over beans to remove small stones etc. Proceed to cook beans per recipe.
COOKING THE BEANS
- Place the beans in your slow cooker. Cover with enough room temp/cool water to be about 2 inches above the beans (about 5 or 6 cups of water). Add in bay leaves and salt. Cook beans on low for 2 to 3 hours or on high for 5 to 6 hours, or until beans are plump and tender to the touch.
- NOTE: If this is your first time cooking beans in your slow cooker you will need to start checking them about every 30 minutes once you have reached the shortest cook time. So, if you're cooking your beans on LOW, start checking them every 30 minutes after 2 hours until they are done. If you are cooking your beans on HIGH, start checking them every 30 minutes after 4 hours until they are done.You do this because slow cookers vary in how they cook things and since this is your first time you don't know if your beans will be done in 2 hours or 4 and you don't want to end up with a pot full of burned beans!
So, are you a Method 1 chef or a Method 2 type of chef?
Once cooked, your slow cooker black beans will be great in:
If you make these perfect slow cooker black beans…
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