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How to Cook Pinto Beans in a Crock Pot

Updated on September 4, 2017
Faye Rutledge profile image

Faye has been cooking for over 50 years and loves to share her recipes and cooking tips with everyone.

Pinto beans are cooking. Yum!
Pinto beans are cooking. Yum!

Cooking Pinto Beans in Your Crock Pot

There's nothing better on a cold, snowy (or, rainy) day than the smell of a pot of beans cooking! And, of course, eating them! They are a hot and filling comfort food.

Of course, you should cook beans any time of the year because they are nutritious and have lots of fiber. It's a good idea to keep cooked beans on hand for quick use in many different recipes. Dried beans, cooked at home, taste so much better than those bought in a can.

I love to put pinto beans in my crock pot in the morning and let them cook all day. Not only do they smell good, they help warm your house. Double benefits!

If you're working, you can put them in before leaving in the morning, and come home to hot beans for dinner.

Whether they're in your crock pot or on your stove, in my opinion, pinto beans are best when cooked for several hours or, even better, all day. You can apply this recipe to any type of dried bean.

I have pinto beans in my crock pot as I write this, and boy, they sure do smell good! And, an extra bonus is that the beans cooking are adding moisture to the air and causing my kitchen to be warm and cozy!

Now, let me find a good book to read while my beans are cooking!

A Healthy Choice!

Pinto Beans are High in Fiber and Fat Free.

Recipe for Cooking Pinto Beans in Your Crock Pot

What could be easier than putting beans in a crock pot and letting them cook all day? They'll be ready to eat when you get home from a hard day at work. Mmm, they make the house smell so good, too! Plus, you can use the left-over beans another day.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 30 minutes + soaking time

Total Time: 6 - 8 hours

Serves: 4 - 6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bag of Pinto Beans
  • 6 - 8 cups water for cooking
  • Ham and/or other seasonings such as bacon, fatback, butter, margarine, Optional
  • 1 teaspoon salt - added during last hour of cooking, Optional

Instructions

  1. Pick through your beans and discard any small rocks or bad beans.
  2. Rinse beans well in cold water.
  3. Cover with water and let soak overnight or use quick soak method shown below.
  4. Rinse beans again after soaking period.
  5. Pour beans into crock pot and add 6 - 8 cups of water. Enough to cover plus about 1 inch above. I recommend using hot water to speed up the cooking process a little.
  6. Add any seasonings desired. (diced ham, butter, margarine, bacon, or fatback)
  7. Turn crock pot to high, and cook all day. (at least 6 - 8 hours)
  8. Add salt during last hour of cooking (if possible)
  9. Serve and enjoy!
3.2 stars from 153 ratings of Crock Pot Pinto Beans Recipe

About Crock Pots

When using this recipe, please remember that crock pots differ. Some cook hotter, or not as hot, than others; therefore times and temperatures may need to be adjusted. When cooking any new recipe, it is always wise to keep check, until you know how it goes.

I use a Hamilton Beach 8-Quart Slow Cooker. It's a simple crock pot, without any fancy controls or timers. It's about average in temperature, not too fast or slow when cooking.

Easy as 1-2-3

1 lb. Pinto Beans
1 lb. Pinto Beans

Step #1: Clean Your Pinto Beans

Sort & Rinse

I use a one pound bag, but you can cook at least 2 pounds at one time in your crock pot (you'll need more water).

  • Sort: Dried pinto beans need to be sorted before cooking to remove any little rocks or bad beans not found with the factory cleaning equipment.
  • Rinse: They also need to be washed because they are rather dirty. I usually sort mine into a bowl, add some cold water and stir them around good. Then I pour that into a colander and rinse well again with my sink sprayer. I repeat this at least twice or more.

Soak in plenty of water. They will double in size.
Soak in plenty of water. They will double in size.

Step #2: Soak Beans

Overnight or Quick Soak

There are two methods of soaking your beans. Overnight or quick soak. Quick soak will work if you forget to put them in to soak the night before. But the quick soak gives the beans more time to swell and is preferable. Also, they can be soaking while you sleep and ready to put in the crock pot the following morning. If you do a quick soak, it takes time to boil and then an hour of soaking before you can start cooking them.

  1. Overnight Soak: Rinse and sort 1lb. of pinto beans. Place in large pot. Add enough COLD water to cover beans by 2 inches. (About 8 cups) Let stand overnight or at least 6 to 8 hours. Drain soak water and rinse beans. Continue to Step #3.
  2. Quick Soak: Rinse and sort 1lb. of pinto beans. Place in large pot. Add about 8 cups of HOT water. Bring to a rapid boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain soak water and rinse. Continue to Step #3.

These Pinto Beans Have Been Sorted, Rinsed, Soaked and Are Ready to Cook All Day in My Crock Pot

Ready to cook!
Ready to cook!

Step #3: Cooking Directions for Crock Pot

Cook All Day

Place drained and rinsed pinto beans into a crock pot. Add about 6 - 8 cups of hot water to cover beans. Add seasonings (except salt) and a ham hock or diced ham. If you don't have any ham, just use 2 - 3 Tablespoons of butter or margarine. Set on High temperature and let cook 6 to 8 hours, or all day. Add about 1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste) about 1 hour or less before finished cooking.

Note: You may want to try this for the first time when you are going to be at home, to make sure the water doesn't get too low. You may need to start with more water or set the temperature on Medium. It will depend on your crock pot.

Alternative: Cooking Directions for Top of Stove

Place drained and rinsed pinto beans into a large pot. Add about 6 cups of hot water to cover beans (depending on the size of your pot). Add any seasonings desired (except salt), and your choice of ham hock, diced ham, butter, margarine or nothing. Bring to a boil. Lower temperature, cover pot, and simmer for at least 2 hours or until done. Best if simmered 4 hours or more! Add about 1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste) about 1 hour before finished cooking.

Note: The more done your beans are, the less "gas" you'll have after eating them.

Seasoning Suggestions

You can choose from a variety of seasonings to cook in with your beans. Or, you can add nothing at all. I never add salt because my husband can't have it. I season mine with butter. Remember to not add the salt until the last hour of cooking, as it will keep the beans from getting tender.

Below are a few seasoning suggestions:

  • Ham
  • Bacon
  • Fatback
  • Onions
  • Garlic cloves
  • Olive Oil (or any vegetable oil)
  • Butter
  • Margarine

Adding Salt:

Do not add salt until the last hour of cooking or beans will not get tender.

Now My Crock Pot Pinto Beans Are Ready to Eat!

Crock Pot Pinto Beans
Crock Pot Pinto Beans

Put These Toppings on Your Beans

People like different things on their pinto beans. My husband likes LOTS on diced onions on his and I like mine just plain. Pinto beans are good any way you fix them!

  1. Pickle Relish

  2. Green Tomato Relish

  3. Salsa

  4. Ketchup

  5. Chow Chow

  6. Onions

Let's Hear From You...

What do you like on your pinto beans?

See results

Uses for Leftover Beans

1. Re-heat the next day

2. Freeze for later

3. Chili Beans

4. Re-fried Beans

5. Baked Beans

6. Use in Soup

Watch How to Make Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

Sometimes it helps to have a visual reference, so you might like to watch the video below. The directions in this video are a little different than mine, but basically the same. Everyone does things using their own method.

The main difference is the seasonings. She uses seasoning salt, an onion, and ham hocks to season her beans while cooking. You can use anything you think would taste good, or even nothing at all. She shows how the beans double in size when soaked, which is interesting. Have a watch:

Thanks for Your Visit

In this article you've read about how I cook my pinto beans in my crock pot, including the recipe and instructions. I hope this has given you the resources to cook your own pot! I'd love it if you left a note in the comment section and let me know how you liked them. If you have any tips of your own, please share them below.

© 2010 Faye Rutledge

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    • profile image

      Linda 2 months ago

      I like onions, jalapenos, rotel, and sliced eckrich sausage! Making them now!

    • profile image

      AllieB 2 months ago

      Great ideas! Thank you- but some beans MUST be parboiled-kidney beans are one example!

    • profile image

      Adam Johnston 2 months ago

      I found that soaking 2# pinto beans 12 hrs with 90% beef or ham stock 10% fresh cold water with 2-3 cloves, minced fresh garlic and onion powder.

      Gives them a flavor that doesn't require other spices.

      Rinse with fresh water, discard soak water

      Cook with med sweet onion diced, 2 cloves minced garlic; serve in bowl topped with dollop of favorite salsa, ripe cubed avocado & chopped cilantro

      Doesn't get any better

    • profile image

      bsakcouch 5 months ago

      Thanks for the info!!!

    • profile image

      Tenn Hill Willian 10 months ago

      Neighbor in nursing home, take him soup beans, onions, Texas Pete and corn bread. Called it the NECTAR OF THE GODS.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image
      Author

      Faye Rutledge 3 years ago from Concord VA

      @BarbaraCasey: I know you will love your new crock pot! Thanks for your visit and comment.

    • profile image

      BarbaraCasey 3 years ago

      Now that I have a larger kitchen with counter space, I can get a crockpot. Timely how-to for this family, thanks.

    • Corrinna-Johnson profile image

      Corrinna Johnson 3 years ago from BC, Canada

      This is how I like to cook beans for using in burritos and salads. Very easy and hands off!

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      This is one of those lenses I just love to find on Squidoo. It makes me feel all warm and cozy just thinking about the aroma of the beans floating through the house on a chilly day.We love beans at our house too, and make them in a small slow-cooker just right for two or four. I also make them nearly as often on the stove top using my many-decades-old cast-iron bean pot. I don't soak my beans, but I know many people do. We have never had a problem with gas, but perhaps that's because of the homemade yogurt that keeps our intestinal flora active and healthy.

    • Richard1988 profile image

      Richard 3 years ago from Hampshire - England

      I love beans when they have been slow cooked - I definitely agree with you about the "cook all day" method. It's worth it for the smell alone! Yum.

    • Cesky profile image

      Cecilia Karanja 3 years ago from Nairobi

      We never eat beans alone in Kenya. It's either served as stew for another meal, or we boil together with green maize. We call it Githeri.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image
      Author

      Faye Rutledge 3 years ago from Concord VA

      Pinto beans are even popular in the summer time. You can use them to make baked beans for your picnics and cook outs!

    • vineliner57 profile image

      Hal Gall 3 years ago from Bloomington, IN

      My wife is making beans today. May have to sleep on the couch tonite :)

    • queenofduvetcover profile image

      queenofduvetcover 3 years ago

      I cook beans all the time and never thought of using a crock pot. This is some great info! =)

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I love Pinto Beans and just have to have slaw and cornbread with them. I have never cooked them in the crock pot but will have to try it soon. In fact, after reading this I now have a craving for some.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image
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      Faye Rutledge 3 years ago from Concord VA

      @Merrci: Merrci, yes you can just add margerine or butter, instead of meat. Also, onions or any spices you might like. I have a friend who adds carrots to her pinto beans when cooking.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      I think a bag will start soaking tonight. It sounds so easy. Have you tried them without meat? I'm hoping they will come out okay that way too.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image
      Author

      Faye Rutledge 3 years ago from Concord VA

      Have you ever heard of cranberry beans? They're pretty much like pinto beans, and I am cooking them in my crock pot on the cold, snowy winter day.

    • profile image

      Donna Cook 3 years ago

      Great minds think alike! This is exactly how I cook pinto beans for burritos. The beans are so much softer than cooking on the stove. I buy a 15 pound bag of pinto beans at the local farmers market and divide it into one pound bags. Saves money and supports local farms.

    • profile image

      cbarkett 3 years ago

      Love my crock pot. I'll have to try this, thanks

    • Faye Rutledge profile image
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      Faye Rutledge 3 years ago from Concord VA

      It's a cold, snowy day in Concord VA...and guess what we'll be having for supper tonight? Pinto beans, of course. I have them cooking now, and they sure do smell good. Maybe I'll have cornbread with them tonight...Yum!

    • AnonymousC831 profile image

      AnonymousC831 3 years ago from Kentucky

      I love me some pinto beans. Great lens.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image
      Author

      Faye Rutledge 3 years ago from Concord VA

      I cooked pinto beans a few nights ago for our supper. We added salsa and cheese to ours and ate them with tortilla chips. Yum!

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 3 years ago

      My husband loves pinto beans and gets them almost every time we go to a meat-and-three restaurant. I must try your pinto bean recipe in a crock pot and surprise him. If there are any leftovers, I will use the beans in chili!

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      I'm lazy and usually use canned beans but I really should try the slowcooker method.

    • Mommie-Moola profile image

      Mommie-Moola 4 years ago

      I love pinto beans in the crock pot. Sometimes I'll add whatever leftover meat's available - chicken, ham or beef too. And bell peppers... yum!

    • profile image

      othellos 4 years ago

      Your pinto beans recipe sounds very delightful. A little different than my family's recipe and we must try your version as well. Thanks for posting:=)

    • tonyaalves3 profile image

      tonyaalves3 4 years ago

      Just the my mom use to make her pinto beans. Thank for sharing

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      My beans have developed well in the crockpot, I looked at this with great interest.

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 4 years ago from Naperville, IL

      Boy now I have a taste for pinto beans and cornbread...Yum!!

    • amandascloset0 profile image

      amandascloset0 4 years ago

      excellent lens! I've never made pinto's in the crock. I generally just let the steam the house up all day. I'll be trying the crock pot soon. thanks for posting!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      And...in high school...many years ago, in Tennessee, we were served pinto beans with browned ground beef added! sooo good! I served it to my children and they serve it to theirs! They like cheddar cheese sprinkled on top, some add sour cream! Always add garlic salt!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great webpage for cooking beans and sides!!!!! Ya'll keep up the good work on here!!!

    • Rosanna Grace profile image

      Rosanna Grace 4 years ago

      Always looking for new ways to use my dusty crock pot! Thanks for inspiration. :)

    • GimperBee LM profile image

      GimperBee LM 4 years ago

      I have a new crock-pot that's been used like once. Now I know what to cook in it. Thanks!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image
      Author

      Faye Rutledge 4 years ago from Concord VA

      @GardenerDon: That's one thing about pintos, you can add them to other dishes, or spice them up any way you like! My new favorite way, is to add salsa to my bowl of pintos!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image
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      Faye Rutledge 4 years ago from Concord VA

      @choosehappy: Thanks so much for the blessing, Squidoolinepro! :)

    • GardenerDon profile image

      Gardener Don 4 years ago

      Though this is not a real "Canadian" style of dish, it looks so good I'm going to try some.

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 4 years ago from US

      Hey, I didn't know about that salt tip----thanks! *blessed*

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 4 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      We actually cook a pot of beans (in our crock pot) about once a month, sometimes every couple of weeks. We make a lot, so they last a while, some for soup or just "cowboy beans," and some for making refried beans for burritos and huevos rancheros. Yum! I miss the days when I used to grow my own pinto beans.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      I'm trying to figure out what to do with the ham bone from our New Year's Eve dinner. I think I'll cook up a pot of navy beans.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 4 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      This sounds like a fabulous recipe to make on a cold winter day - can't wait to give it a try.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image
      Author

      Faye Rutledge 4 years ago from Concord VA

      @MamaRuth: MamaRuth, thanks for you visit and comment. I hope you've tried the crock pot method and were successful. The longer you cook them, the better they are. I do love that Mitford Cookbook! :)

    • Faye Rutledge profile image
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      Faye Rutledge 4 years ago from Concord VA

      @anonymous: Tipi, I'm glad you liked the salt tip. You should try cooking some pinto beans, they are much better than the canned ones. :) Thanks so much for blessing my pinto beans! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Now that is a great tip to hold off on the salt until the last hour, I had no idea that salt would prevent the beans from becoming tender. I love beans but usually get the canned variety. Yummily done!

    • MamaRuth profile image

      MamaRuth 4 years ago

      Love pinto beans; love my crockpot. However, I've never tried them together! I think I always worried because I had been told the beans would never really get tender. You have inspired me though and I'm going to give it a try. My favorite pinto bean recipe involves the dry beans, onions, rotel tomatoes and a leftover hambone. Yum! I think I'm getting inspired to cook. (By the way I totallly agree with your recommendation of the Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader--definitely one of my favorites).

    • reubenj profile image

      reubenj 4 years ago

      Yeah! Pinto beans, cornbread, fresh tomatoes, and a big glass of cold farm fresh milk. Hard to beat. Love my crock pot. Thanks for sharing.

    • ddunkin23 profile image

      ddunkin23 5 years ago

      I have never had much luck with the crockpot. The food has always had a weird taste to me. But I might try the crockpot again now that I am vegetarian.

    • MJsConsignments profile image

      Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      I love beans and I've done them in the crockpot for years after a lot of trial and error. I used to salt them early. This will be a helpful guide for a lot of people!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image
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      Faye Rutledge 6 years ago from Concord VA

      @BuckHawkcenter: Thanks so much for the angel blessing and feature!! :)

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 6 years ago

      I love crockpot cooking. It's so easy and I love beans. You made it sound easy to do and I'm so excited to try it! I'm like your husband, the more onions, the better! Thanks for featuring my Green Tomato Relish lens, too. Oh, and Angel Blessed and featured on Angel Wings November 2010!

    • spritequeen lm profile image

      spritequeen lm 6 years ago

      This is a GREAT idea! We eat beans all the time. Will come in VERY handy!! Thanks for sharing :-)

    • capriliz lm profile image

      capriliz lm 6 years ago

      I never thought to cook the beans in my crock pot. Thanks.

    • ElizabethSheppard profile image

      Elizabeth Sheppard 6 years ago from Bowling Green, Kentucky

      Mmmmmm.... this lens makes me want some pinto beans. I love beans and cornbread. It is so good for you too.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 6 years ago

      I didn't know about putting the salt in till the end. No wonder I have a hard time with them. Thanks...your instructions are great.