These homemade crock pot pinto beans are full of flavor and super simple to make! No pre-soaking is required…just get out your slow cooker and combine 4 simple ingredients. Let that slow cooker do all the work and pretty soon you’ll have yourself a tasty side dish to pair with any meal!
✔️ Quick Recipe Overview
Why These Are The Best Pinto Beans: Velvety in texture, this no-hassle recipe is not only convenient to make, but is the perfect side dish for so many meals!
How Long It Takes: 8 hours
Equipment You'll Need: crock pot
I was raised on homemade slow cooked pinto beans. My parents made them once a week on the stove and we paired them with ham, chicken, meatloaf, beef, pork, and tacos. I remember my parents always buying a big bag of dry pinto beans each week at the grocery store so we could make sure we always had a bag on hand.
When it was time to make them, my parents would pour the bag on the counter and they would call me and my sister into the kitchen to pick out the "broken beans". We would take our hands and spread them into a nice even layer and pick out all the half broken ones and the little rocks you would find in the mix. From there, we'd take the beans and add them to a big bowl, rinse, and then drain them. We would then let them sit on the counter to soak for hours.
I asked my parents one day, "Why do we soak the pinto beans before we cook them?" Dad said it helped to remove some of the air so we don't get as gassy after eating them. That was always so funny to me as a kid!
🍴 Why You Should Eat Pinto Beans
When my kiddos were old enough to get off baby food, I decided to take a stab at my parent's recipe and method for making homemade pinto beans. I would make them and smash them up like refried beans with a fork for the kids to eat. Lucky for me, both kids instantly fell in love with them! Which made me happy because they contain a lot of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need, like fiber and iron. And, they are also low in fat and high in protein.
🍳 Stove Top Cooking Method: Common Problems
As an adult, I was really struggling when I made these on the stove top. My beans would always turn out mushy. After talking to my dad and explaining to him how I was cooking them, he told me they were getting mushy because I was probably doing at least one of the following:
- Over watering them as they cooked,
- My temperature was probably too high,
- I was probably over stirring them as they cooked.
He asked me why I was still making pinto beans the old fashioned way. I was stunned...I was like, "Daddy, what do you mean the old fashioned way? This is how you always did it." On the stove...in a huge pot! He softly smiled and said, "It's so much easier in the crock pot. Let me tell you how to make crock pot pinto beans."
ℹ️ Why This Recipe Works
1. It only takes 4 simple ingredients to make this crock pot pinto beans recipe. Then all you have to do is walk away while your slow cooker does ALL the work for the next 7-9 hours.
2. You can add in bacon, ham, and chorizo to turn this into a hearty meal! Plus, you'll love the added flavor!
3. Because these are made in a slow cooker, they turn out velvety smooth and full of flavor every time!
🛒 Ingredients You'll Need
Cooking beans in a crock pot has never been so simple! All that's needed is a 1 lb bag of dry pinto beans, salt, pepper, and 7.5 cups of water. The red pepper flakes are optional. But, they do help add a little kick if you like your beans spicy.
👩🍳 How to Make Crock Pot Pinto Beans
Get a 1lb bag of beans and pour them out on the counter. If using a 2lb bag, just use ½ the bag and save the rest for later.
Then, skim through them quickly on the counter and throw away any broken pinto bean and any rocks. Discard any dark beans.
👩🍳 Important Note: Many people ask why rocks may be in a bag of dry pinto beans. Rocks are left over from the soil after the dried beans are harvested. Some get picked up in the harvesting process and never get discarded. That's why it's important to sift through them to remove any that you find.
From there, rinse the dry beans and put them in the slow cooker.
Next add the salt, pepper, and 7.5 cups of water to the slow cooker and put the top into place.
Let the crock pot work its magic and in 7-9 hours, they will ready ready to serve. When I learned how to make beans in the crock pot, it was a game changer. It was not fun nursing a big pot, cooking them the old fashioned way for 4-5 hours on the stove top while adding yet more water because they boiled down too low. So, I took my daddy's advice and made these in the crock pot and oh my goodness, they turned out so amazing!
🍲 Serving Suggestions
I serve these as a side dish with so many meals. I especially love them with my Best Ever Healthy Meatloaf Recipe recipe because it's such a filling meal that is full of protein! My Pot Roast with Balsamic and Dijon also pairs well with these beans. And let's not forget Mexican food! If you're looking for a good Mexican beans recipe, this one goes really well with my Crock Pot Beef Carnitas Tacos, especially when you season these with the red pepper flakes! If you want refried beans, just mash them up with a fork! And don't forget beans and rice. That's a meal in itself!
Most of the time, I serve the pinto beans seasoned with salt and pepper, but they are also flavorful topped with feta or cotija cheese and parsley or cilantro. Sometimes simple is so much better. I really think you are going to enjoy these pinto beans cooked in the crock pot! Enjoy this new super easy way to make them!
🙋 Frequently Asked Questions
No. When I make these in the slow cooker, I don't pre-soak them beforehand and they turn out amazing every time. Soaking beans does nothing to help or improve the texture or flavor of the beans. And, soaking them does not reduce any gas-producing properties.
Absolutely! This cooking method makes them more creamy in texture and reduces the hassle of making them in a pot on thes tove top!
💭 Expert Tips
- A 1 pound bag of dry pinto beans equals 2.5 cups.
- To adjust the cooking time, you can make these in the crock pot for 5 hours on high and then turn the temperature to low for the last 4 hours.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container with a lid in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To freeze pinto beans, let them completely cool and then put the beans in a freezer safe container. There is no need to drain them. They will last in the freezer for 4-5 months. To serve, put the the beans in the refrigerator and allow them to naturally thaw. Once completely thawed, heat them up in the microwave or on the stove top.
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Crock Pot Pinto Beans
- crock pot
- 1 lb bag of dried pinto beans, rinsed and picked over for stones and broken pieces
- 7 ½ cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional
- Pour the beans onto a counter and sort through them and discard obvious broken pieces and any rocks, as well as any dark beans.
- Rinse the dry beans and place them in the slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients into a slow cooker and stir.
- Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours. You want to ensure you don't overcook them. You don't want them falling apart.
- Once cooked, turn the slow cooker off.
- They are now ready to serve. You can serve them plain or top them off with your favorite toppings such as feta or cotija cheese and parsley or cilantro.
- Conversion - 1 pound bag equals 2.5 cups.
- Additional Cooking Method - My dad likes to cook his in the slow cooker for 5 hours on high and then turn the temperature to low for the last 4 hours.
- To Pre-Soak Or Not Pre-Soak - There is no need to pre-soak them beforehand and they turn out amazing every time. Soaking them does not reduce any gas-producing properties.
- Toss The Stones -Rocks are left over from the soil after the dried beans are harvested. Some get picked up in the harvesting process. Just don't cook them or eat them and you'll be ok!
- Broken and Dark Pinto Beans - You absolutely NEED to toss those broken ones! There's a lot of reasons why these are broken. Some can split because of insect holes and the really dark ones just taste AWFUL if you cook them! So pick through those and get rid of broken, dark beans, and the rocks! It's SUPER important!
- Additional Add Ons - I've had readers tell me that they've added in bacon, chorizo, and chopped up mozzarella to this recipe.
- Storage - Store any leftovers in an airtight container with a lid in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Freezing - To freeze, let them completely cool and then put the beans in a freezer safe container. There is no need to drain them. They will last in the freezer for 4-5 months. When ready to serve, put the the beans in the refrigerator and allow them to naturally thaw, about 12 hours. Once completely thawed, heat them up in the microwave or on the stove top.
Update Notes: This post was originally published in March of 2017, but was updated with new photos, step-by-step instructions and tips in November 2022.