Beans are a staple in my diet. As a plant-based vegan and an endurance athlete, it's important for me to find good sources of protein to maintain a well-rounded diet. Before discovering the magic of making slow cooker black beans from scratch, canned beans were always my go-to; they’re quick, cheap, and more accessible at times. But after tasting beans made in a slow cooker, I can’t go back! Not only do they taste better, but they are also lower in sodium and can be personalized to your flavor preferences.

After doing some searching on the internet, I've quickly learned that I'm late to the slow cooker bean party. There are so many blog posts and magazine articles out there that share different flavor combinations and cooking techniques that I thought I came up with on my own! Little did I know, I'm not very original. But here it goes: my favorite slow cooker black bean recipe! 

Note: If you don't have a slow cooker or crock pot, don't worry! You can also use a pressure cooker, an InstantPot, or the stove top to cook these beans to perfection. Click the link here for a recipe on how to cook chickpeas like a pro using an InstantPot.

Slow Cooker Black Beans

  • Prep Time:10 mins
  • Cook Time:7 hrs
  • Total Time:7 hrs 10 mins
  • Servings:12
  • Easy


  • 3 cups dried black beans
  • 7-8 cups water
  • 1 onion diced
  • 5-6 garlic cloves halved
  • 1/2 jalapeno with seeds diced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
Nicolette Schnettgoecke
  • Step 1

    To begin, sift through your beans to remove any small pebbles or misshapen beans that were not removed during processing. Next, rinse the sifted beans in a colander or fine mesh strainer to remove any dirt particles left behind. (Typically, beans bought in the grocery store are pre-washed but giving them an extra rinse does no harm.)

    Nicolette Schnettgoecke
  • Step 2

    Pour the sifted and rinsed beans into a large bowl or pot and cover with 2-3 inches of water. Here comes the longest part of the process: cover the beans and let them sit for 8 hours. This might sound extremely time consuming, but if you plan ahead of time, you can let the beans sit over night and they will be ready for you in the morning!

    Nicolette Schnettgoecke
  • Step 3

    After the soaking process is finished, drain the beans and rinse in a colander or fine mesh strainer. Next, pour the beans into your slow cooker.

    Nicolette Schnettgoecke
  • Step 4

    Add the diced onion, halved garlic cloves, diced jalapeno, cumin, salt, and pepper into the slow cooker along with the beans.

    Nicolette Schnettgoecke
  • Step 5

    Pour 7-8 cups of fresh water into the slow cooker. Adding 8 cups of water will result in a more soupy bean and adding 7 cups will result in less remaining liquid; it's up for you to decide how soupy you want the end product to be. (Extra bean liquid can be reserved for soup stocks or for sauces on rice.) Whether you add 7 or 8 cups, the beans will cook perfectly and be equally delicious!

    Nicolette Schnettgoecke
  • Step 6

    Stir the beans, aromatics, and water together until just combined. Close the lid, and set the slow cooker on the HIGH setting for around 6-8 hours. Check the beans at 6 hours for doneness. If the beans are crunchy, cook on HIGH for another hour.

    Nicolette Schnettgoecke
  • Step 7

    When the beans have finished cooking, taste them and add more salt if desired. Eat the beans right away when warm (how could you resist?) or let them cool and store in the refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

    Nicolette Schnettgoecke

Note: If you're not a fan of black beans, they can be exchanged for white beans (Great Northern or navy), pinto beans, or kidney beans. The cooking process is still the same!

#spoontip: after the beans are finished cooking, smash them with a potato masher or with the back of a fork for a refried bean consistency. 

The following recipe is extremely versatile; there are many variations that can be made. Personalize this recipe however you like! Instead of using cumin, maybe throw in bay leaves and thyme. Rosemary, sage, paprika, and oregano are also good options as well as chili powder or dried chilies for extra spice.

tacos, vegetable, beans, salsa
Katherine Baker

These beans can also be used in a variety of dishes. You can go a Tex-Mex route and enjoy these slow cooker black beans on nachos or you can spice it up and enjoy them on sopes. There are so many recipes out there to choose from! But if you're desperate, just grab a spoon and eat them by themselves because they're just that good!

If you remember the children's song that goes "beans, beans the magical fruit," then now you know they weren't lying. These slow cooker black beans are certainly magical AND tasty! So get out your slow cooker and start making dried beans from scratch because you'll never want to turn back!