Simple Crock Pot Pinto Beans


These simple Crock Pot Pinto Beans are the easiest thing to make and are so much better than canned beans. They don’t require any soaking and come out tender and ready to eat. Make these in your slow cooker and come home to the best pinto beans. Works great for crockpot black beans too.

Cooking pinto beans in the crockpot is defintiely the way to go. These slow cooker pinto beans without soaking take no time to throw together and are one hundred times better than any canned beans you will buy. Plus they are much more affordable. A one pound bag of pinto beans is usually less than one dollar at the store and will result in 6-8 cups of cooked beans versus about 1.5 cups in a standard can of beans. They can be used in all kinds of recipes and freeze well in case you don’t think you can finish the whole recipe.

I used to have a love-hate relationship with beans, all because of the soaking. I am not sure why it bothered me so much since soaking isn’t actually hard. Its just time consuming and an extra step I never planned for.  And to be honest, that extra step made me avoid beans altogether unless they came in a can. That was until I discovered you can cook beans in your crock pot without any soaking. Now I make slow cooker beans all the time. 

Crockpot pinto beans in a black slow cooker with bay leaf.

This recipe is purposefully a very simple recipe for pinto beans. It’s meant to be versatile and serves as a base slow cooker pinto bean recipe. The beans will cook down until they are nice and creamy and the vegetables will almost completely dissolve into the beans. This is true no matter what blend of veggies and spices you use. You can easily switch out the ingredients, adjusting for heat, adding different spices for flavor, and adjusting to suit your tastes and preferences. There are all kinds of options and ideas below to get you started.

How long do I cook pinto beans in the crockpot?

For this method of cooking pinto beans in the crockpot, they will take between 8 and 10 hours since they do not require soaking first.  For fresher beans, they will cook closer to 8 hours and older beans or larger beans may take a little longer. If you decide to soak the beans overnight before putting them in the crockpot, they will only take 5-6 hours.

Do I have to soak beans before cooking them?

Using this method of cooking beans, you don’t have to soak them first. The “soaking” happens during the first couple of hours in the slow cooker. In case you are wondering, soaking beans helps to make them more digestible and removes some of the sugars that are hard to digest. If you decide you want to soak your beans, just leave them covered in water overnight or for 6-8 hours. Then rinse. You can also quick soak by covering beans in water in a large pot. Bring it to a boil and then boil for 2-3 minutes. Cover and set aside for one hour. Drain and rinse.

How much does one cup of dry beans make?

One cup of dry beans makes between 2-3 cups of cooked beans depending on the specific bean. Pinto beans will more than double in size when cooked and normally you will get around 2.5-3 cups per one cup of dry beans. 

What do you use to season pinto beans?

There are tons of different seasoning options you can use for pinto beans depending on what flavor you would like to build. Here are some of our favorites.

  • Basic: For basic pinto beans add one onion, 3-4 garlic cloves, 2 bay leaves, salt, and pepper.
  • Spicy: For spicy beans, use one onion, 3-4 garlic cloves, 1-2 jalapeno or poblano peppers, 2 bays leaves, 1/2 tbsp cumin, salt, and pepper. You could also use chili powder in place of the fresh peppers.
  • Southern: Use the basic pinto bean recipe but add some chopped bacon or a ham hock to add a pork flavor to the beans.
  • Mexican: Use the basic recipe but also add a can of drained diced tomatoes, 2 jalapeno peppers, 1/2 tbsp of cumin, and 1/2 tbsp of Mexican oregano.
  • Barbecue: Use the basic recipe and then once the beans have cooked, add 1-2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce.

Slow cooker pinto beans in a bowl with a spoon and cilantro.

Recipe Ideas for Crock Pot Pinto Beans

  • Side dish: This goes without saying, but these make the perfect side dish on their own. They are packed with fiber and extremely healthy.
  • Refried Beans: These can easily become refried beans. You can mash them by hand or give them a quick whirl with a blender. 
  • Pinto Bean Soup: Use chicken or vegetable broth instead of water and add a large can of diced tomatoes to make this into a soup. You can top with cheese, avocado, cilantro, and onion.
  • Vegetarian Barbecue Beans: Once the beans have cooked, stir in barbecue sauce. Serve it on a sandwich with fresh slaw, in grain bowls, or in lettuce wraps with corn and coleslaw.
  • Tacos and Burritos: It should go without saying that these beans make excellent vegetarian tacos and burritos. Just layer on some fresh toppings to add texture and crunch.

This post originally appeared in 2012 but has been updated with new photos, tips, and ideas. Here is the old photo – thankfully things have improved 🙂

Pinto beans in broth in a white bowl.



Post Author: MNS Master

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