Crockpot Pinto Beans that come out super tender and creamy without any soaking! These slow cooker pinto beans have tons of flavor and are the perfect way to make homemade beans without spending hours soaking and simmering beans on the stove.
These simple Crockpot 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. This method works great for crockpot black beans too.
If you are looking for the easiest way to cook pinto beans, the crockpot is definitely the way to go. They take no time to throw together and are one hundred times better than any canned beans you will buy. We use them for tacos, bowls, as a side dish, and more.
Plus homemade beans are much more affordable. A one-pound bag of pinto beans is usually less than one dollar at most stores 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.
One more thing about this recipe. It is purposefully a very simple recipe for pinto beans. It's meant to be versatile and serves as a base for any 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.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here is everything you need to make this recipe.
- Dry pinto beans: This recipe starts with dried pinto beans. Remember that not all dried beans are created equal and there are differences in freshness, size, and quality. Try to buy the freshest dried beans you can since older beans can take much longer to cook. This recipe also works with black beans, white beans, and kidney beans.
- Onion and garlic: Beans are a pretty blank canvas and onion and garlic are key to adding flavor. Fresh is best, but you could swap in dried powders if that is all you have on hand.
- Poblano pepper: This ingredient is totally optional but adds a touch of spice to the pinto beans. Leave it out or swap in a bell pepper if you prefer. For a spicier option, use jalapeno or serrano peppers.
- Dried herbs and spices: Cumin adds a subtle smokiness to the beans. Bay leaves add a touch of herbal flavor. Salt is critical to ensuring the beans aren't bland. Use any spices, dried herbs, and seasoning you like.
- Water: Use water, chicken broth, or vegetable broth to cook the beans. Just make sure they are covered with 2-3 inches of liquid in the slow cooker.
How long to 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 in the slow cooker?
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 quickly 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 cup of dry beans.
Ways to Serve Pinto Beans
There are so many ways to serve these protein-packed, fiber-rich beans.
- Side dish: This goes without saying, but these make the perfect side dish on their own or paired with rice. They are packed with fiber and protein.
- 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 it 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 bean tacos, bean tostadas, and burritos. Just layer on some fresh toppings to add texture and crunch.
Recipe Ideas: Ways 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 serrano peppers, 2 bay 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. Some people also like adding smoked turkey, sausage, or kielbasa to their beans.
- Tex Mex: 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. Top with cheddar cheese before serving.
- Barbecue: Use the basic recipe and then once the beans have cooked, add 1-2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce.
- Mexican: Make a charro bean inspired recipe by adding cooked chorizo, 3-4 slices of cooked bacon, and 1-2 whole jalapenos to the basic pinto bean recipe.
Storage, Freezing, and Leftovers
These pinto beans store well and may even taste better the next day.
- Fridge: Keep cooled beans in an airtight container for 4-5 days in the fridge.
- Freezer: Let them cool completely and store them in the freezer for 3-4 months. Consider freezing individual or meal-sized portions using muffin tins or ziplock bags.
- Reheating: Let the beans defrost overnight in the fridge. Reheat the pinto bean on low heat on the stovetop or microwave.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making pinto beans in the slow cooker.
Beans can be overcooked and burned in the slow cooker. The most common reason this happens is when there isn't enough liquid in the slow cooker causing the beans to burn on the bottom. Makes sure to cover the beans with at least 2-3 inches of water.
Additionally when beans are cooked for too long in the slow cooker, more than 10-12 hours, they may begin to break down and become mushy in texture.
Beans come out best when they are cooked on low heat over a low period of time. Sometimes cooking beans on high heat can cause the outside to cook while the inside remains raw or crunchy.
Crockpot Pinto Beans (No Soaking!)
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- 1 lb dry pinto beans, rinsed
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 poblano peppers, seeded and diced
- 1/2 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cups water (or enough to cover beans, the broth also works great)
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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