Cooking dried black beans makes for easy, nourishing, and inexpensive meals. Find out how to make black beans from scratch the easy way – in the slow cooker crock pot! 

A glass container of homemade black beans topped with cilantro.

Cooking dried beans is so easy! Ditch the cans and try homemade beans instead. You’ll save money and gain flavor. With the help of a slow cooker, dried beans practically cook themselves. Instead of mushy, high-sodium, beans from a can, cooking dried beans results in perfectly tender beans. This week I cooked a batch of dried black beans to use throughout the week in tacos, salads, and soups. I’m so glad I’ve finally made the switch from canned to dried beans. My pantry is now stocked with glass jars filled with beautiful dried legumes.

I’ve always used canned beans for their convenience. I’ve been meaning to switch to dried beans for ages, but just haven’t until now. During the week I’m often a last-minute cook, deciding the dinner menu based on what we have in the fridge. And that leaves no time for soaking and boiling beans.  Finally it clicked that we use beans in multiple meals every week, so why not cook up a batch and store in the refrigerator. Cooked beans even freeze well, so my concern that they could go to waste didn’t even make sense.

A bowl of dried black beans on a countertop

Bean based meals have a few fantastic perks. I’ve heard some people say that eating a healthy, meatless diet must be expensive. In reality, plants can be much less expensive than animal products. For example, I can make a big pot of veggie chili for much less than it would cost to get my family fast food burgers. Second, beans are a great replacement for meat. Black Bean Burgers are always my preference over meat burgers. Try the Black Bean Burgers with Mango Avocado Salsa in my cookbook! If I haven’t convinced you, check out 7 Reasons Vegetarians Live Longer  and you may just make the swap a few nights a week.

Black beans have many health benefits!

  • Plant based protein. Cooked black beans have 15.2 grams of protein per cup.
  • High in fiber. Cooked black beans have 15 grams of fiber per cup – that’s half the recommended daily value for an adult.
  • Heart health support
  • Digestive tract support
  • High in antioxidant and inflammatory phytonutrients source
Dried black beans soaking in a bowl of water before cooking in a slow cooker.

How to Cook Black Beans in the Slow Cooker

There are just two steps and 1 ingredient needed to make black beans in the slow cooker.

Step 1: soak the beans in water overnight. Step 2: Cook. So dang easy, right? I’m sharing a seasoned black bean recipe below that is perfect for savory recipes. Of course if you’re planning to use these black beans in something sweet like black bean brownies, you’ll just want to use water.

Black bean tacos with cabbage, avocado, and watermelon radish.

Black beans are so versatile. Most kids I know (granted, we live in California) love burritos and tacos with beans. Cooked black beans were a staple when my kids were toddlers, as they are the perfect little finger food. Some friends even use black beans to make healthier brownies, though I’ve never really been a fan. If you’re making black beans, you might also need a recipe for Vegetarian Mexican Rice!

Updated March 2018: Since originally posting this recipe I’ve discovered kombu seaweed. Kombu is a great addition to beans, as it reduces the gas producing properties, and adds vitamins and minerals. Read more about kombu here. I picked up a pack from our local Asian grocery and add a 4-inch strip whenever I cook beans.

Yield: about 6 cups

Slow Cooker Black Beans

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 5 minutes

Black beans recipe made simple in the slow cooker. Feel free to change up the spices any way you like. Sometimes I add a teaspoon of taco seasoning.

A large bowl of homemade black beans with a sprig of cilantro


  • 2 cups dried black beans
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 (4-inch) piece dried kombu (optional)


  1. Pick over the beans, looking for any little stones or blemished beans. Place beans in a bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight.
  2. Drain water and transfer beans to a slow cooker. Cover beans with about 2 inches of water. Stir in onion, garlic, spices, and salt. Add the kombu if using.
  3. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Different slow cookers will cook the beans at different rates. Check your beans after about 5 hours and then every half hour until they are tender. Remove the kombu before serving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 233Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 10gSugar: 2gProtein: 14g