Slow-Cooked Beans


By cooking your own dried beans, you save money, reduce sodium and get better flavor along with, surprisingly, more vitamins and minerals. If you can't use the whole batch, freeze surplus cooked beans for later use in soups, salads and dips. The range of time for cooking beans is wide and varies with the age and the type of beans selected.

Cook Time:
10 mins
Additional Time:
4 hrs 50 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs
6 cups


  • 1 pound dried beans, such as black beans, black-eyed peas, great northern beans or pinto beans (see Tip)

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 5 cups boiling water

  • ½ teaspoon salt


  1. Soak beans in enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches for 6 hours or overnight. (Alternatively, use the quick-soak method: Place beans in a large pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour.)

  2. Drain the beans and place them in a slow cooker. Add onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Pour in boiling water. Cook, covered, on high until beans are tender, 2 to 3 1/2 hours. Add salt, cover, and cook for 15 minutes more.


For easy cleanup, try a slow-cooker liner. These heat-resistant, disposable liners fit neatly inside the insert and help prevent food from sticking to the bottom and sides of your slow cooker.

Tip: Don't use kidney beans in this recipe; slow-cooking doesn't destroy a natural toxin in kidney beans that can cause severe digestive distress. After soaking, kidney beans must be boiled in fresh water for at least 30 minutes to render them safe to eat.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

253 Calories
1g Fat
48g Carbs
15g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Serving Size 1 cup
Calories 253
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 48g 17%
Dietary Fiber 19g 66%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 15g 29%
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Vitamin A 9IU 0%
Vitamin C 4mg 4%
Folate 247mcg 62%
Sodium 201mg 9%
Calcium 138mg 11%
Iron 4mg 24%
Magnesium 97mg 23%
Potassium 712mg 15%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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