How to Cook Pinto Beans in a Crockpot or on a Stove Top

Updated on December 8, 2017
Faye Rutledge profile image

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

What could be easier than putting beans in a crockpot and letting them cook all day? They'll be ready to eat when you get home from a hard day's work. Mmm, they make the house smell so good, too! Plus, you can use the leftover 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 crockpot, and add 6 - 8 cups of water. Enough to cover them, plus about 1 inch above that. I recommend using hot water to speed up the cooking process a little.
  6. Add any seasonings desired, such as diced ham, butter, margarine, bacon, or fatback.
  7. Turn crockpot 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 205 ratings of Crock Pot Pinto Beans Recipe

Some Crockpots Cook Differently

When using this recipe, please remember that crockpots differ. Some cook hotter than others; therefore, times and temperatures may need to be adjusted. When cooking any new recipe, it is always wise to keep checking the food until you know how it goes.

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

Let's Break It Down Step-By-Step

Step One: Sort Out the Bad Beans

Also Step One: Rinse Away the Dirt

Sorting and Rinsing the Beans

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

  • Sort: Dried beans need to be sorted before cooking. You'll want to be on the lookout for any little rocks or bad beans. If you find any, be sure to set them aside and toss them out.
  • Rinse: They also need to be washed before you cook them because they tend to be rather dirty. I usually sort mine into a bowl, add some cold water, and stir vigorously. I then pour them into a colander and rinse them again. Just to be safe, I repeat this process at least two times (sometimes even more than that).

Step Two: Soak the Beans

Soaking Beans (Overnight or Quick Soak)

There are two ways you can soak your beans: overnight or quick soak. The quick version will work if you forgot to soak them the night before. But soaking them overnight gives the beans more time to swell and is preferable. Also, they can soak while you sleep and then be ready to put in the crockpot the following morning. If you choose to use the quick soak method, you'll need time to boil the beans and then an hour to soak them before you can start cooking them.

  1. Overnight Soak: Rinse and sort one pound of pinto beans. Place in large pot. Add enough COLD water to cover beans by two inches. This should be about eight cups. Let stand overnight or at least six to eight hours. Drain soak water and rinse beans. Continue to step three.

  2. Quick Soak: Rinse and sort one pound of pinto beans. Place in large pot. Add about eight cups of HOT water. Bring to a rapid boil and boil for two minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for one hour. Drain soak water and rinse. Continue to step three.

Step Three: Cooking the Beans

If you're feeling experimental...

you can try replacing the water with chicken stock to give your beans a different flavor.

Cooking the Beans

  1. Place drained and rinsed beans into a crockpot.
  2. Add about 6 - 8 cups of hot water to cover beans.
  3. 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.
  4. Set on high temperature, and let cook 6 to 8 hours, or all day.
  5. 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 all day so you can 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 crockpot.

Pro tip: Adding the salt at the beginning of the recipe prevents your beans from getting plump. Add the salt at the very end!

How to Cook Beans on a Stove Top

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

  • Diced ham
  • Bacon
  • Fatback
  • Diced onions
  • Smoked ham hock
  • Garlic cloves
  • Ham bones
  • Olive oil (or any vegetable oil)
  • Green onions
  • Butter
  • Margarine
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Bay leaf
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic
  • Jalapeños
  • Sausage
  • Bell peppers

What Should I Top My Beans With?

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

  • Pickle relish
  • Green tomato relish
  • Salsa
  • Ketchup
  • Chow chow
  • Onions
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado
  • Cheese
  • Cilantro

Let's Hear From You...

What do you like on your pinto beans?

See results

How Can I Use My Leftover Beans?

Can I Cook Other Dried Beans This Way?

Yes! This recipe works well with most types of dried beans, not just pinto. You can try this same recipe with:

  • Navy beans
  • White beans
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Black beans
  • Red kidney beans
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Great Northern beans
  • Lima beans

I Have an Instant Pot (or a Pressure Cooker). Will This Recipe Work Still?

No. The recipe ingredients might work, but the instructions will be different. If you have an Instant Pot, which is just a brand-name pressure cooker, you'll need a different set of instructions. SimplyRecipes has a great cooking-dried-beans recipe that's straightforward and easy to follow.

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

I hope this article has given you the resources to cook your own pot of these delicious morsels! 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.

Questions & Answers

    © 2010 Faye Rutledge

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Linda 

        11 months ago

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

      • profile image

        AllieB 

        11 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Adam Johnston 

        11 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

        Portugeegirl 

        12 months ago

        My grandmother always added a couple of big tbsp's of baking soda when soaking the beans. Either overnight or quick soak. Then rinse real good before cooking. I've found it to be the best way to lesson the gas.

      • profile image

        bsakcouch 

        14 months ago

        Thanks for the info!!!

      • profile image

        Tenn Hill Willian 

        19 months ago

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

      • profile image

        LADY WALKER 

        21 months ago

        I put some on with ham hocks in the crock pot at 530 this morning. They will be ready after we return from our Sunday service. Going to go well with hot water cornbread.

      • hazeltos profile image

        Susan Hazelton 

        2 years ago from Summerfield, Florida

        I love pinto beans. For some reason I never thought of cooking them in a crock pot. Next time that's what I am going to do.

      • Faye Rutledge profile imageAUTHOR

        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 

        4 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 

        4 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 

        4 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 imageAUTHOR

        Faye Rutledge 

        4 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 

        4 years ago from Bloomington, IN

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

      • queenofduvetcover profile image

        queenofduvetcover 

        4 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 

        4 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 imageAUTHOR

        Faye Rutledge 

        4 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 

        4 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 imageAUTHOR

        Faye Rutledge 

        4 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 

        4 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 

        4 years ago

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

      • Faye Rutledge profile imageAUTHOR

        Faye Rutledge 

        4 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 

        4 years ago from Kentucky

        I love me some pinto beans. Great lens.

      • Faye Rutledge profile imageAUTHOR

        Faye Rutledge 

        4 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 

        4 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 

        5 years ago from Naperville, IL

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

      • amandascloset0 profile image

        amandascloset0 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 years ago

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

      • Rosanna Grace profile image

        Rosanna Grace 

        5 years ago

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

      • GimperBee LM profile image

        GimperBee LM 

        5 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 imageAUTHOR

        Faye Rutledge 

        5 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 imageAUTHOR

        Faye Rutledge 

        5 years ago from Concord VA

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

      • GardenerDon profile image

        Gardener Don 

        5 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 

        5 years ago from US

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

      • Ramkitten2000 profile image

        Deb Kingsbury 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 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 imageAUTHOR

        Faye Rutledge 

        5 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 imageAUTHOR

        Faye Rutledge 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        6 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 imageAUTHOR

        Faye Rutledge 

        7 years ago from Concord VA

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

      • BuckHawkcenter profile image

        BuckHawkcenter 

        7 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 

        7 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 

        7 years ago

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

      • ElizabethSheppard profile image

        Elizabeth Sheppard 

        7 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 

        7 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.

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