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How to Cook Beans in a Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

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Beans are a staple in my house, so we often make them from scratch. It’s so easy that I wanted to share how to cook beans in a slow cooker or instant pot pressure cooker so you can do it, too!

Orange Cumin Black Beans Over Rice

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My family eats beans at least once a week. Nutritionally they are a powerhouse, offering a fantastic source of fiber, protein, minerals, and vitamins. But the real reason I include beans in our meals so often is that they are a wonderful, easy, and flexible vegetarian protein source my whole family can get behind as I try to reduce our meat consumption.

Before I launch into how to make beans in the slow cooker or Instant Pot/pressure cooker, I want to say that however you choose to get your beans is great. There is nothing wrong with canned beans! They are quick and easy to use and are fantastic to have on hand. I use canned beans all the time! But I will share that the taste and texture of homemade beans is so much better than canned, so if you are willing to give it a try, I highly recommend it.

Similarly, if you are a fan of making your beans on the stove, just stick with what you love. But if you are interested in trying an easier way to do it, then using your slow cooker or Instant Pot/pressure cooker should definitely be considered!

Do you ever try something new, something people have been recommending for years, and think “Duh, what took me so long?”  Well that’s pretty much how I felt once I tried preparing beans in my slow cooker and then my Instant Pot for the first time.

I had bean making them from dried on the stove for years and was always skeptical that they would turn out well if I didn’t keep a close eye on them, but with these two set it and forget it options I realized that having delicious home-made beans on hand could be super simple!

Not that it takes much expertise to know how to cook beans in a slow cooker or Instant Pot pressure cooker (affiliate). It’s so simple, it’s laughable, but as someone who avoided taking on this new task for quite a while, I wanted to share this guidance to help you get started too.

Soup-er Easy Black Bean and Corn Soup

Why Cook Beans in a Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker?

Here are 4 great reasons:

1. Price: You get 5 – 6 cans worth of beans for the price of about one can of beans
2. Taste: They taste so much better and you can add your own seasonings and spices
3. Health: You can control the amount of sodium in your beans, if that is a concern for you
4. Safety: You don’t have to worry about exposing your family to BPA or whatever else is in a can’s linings that might not be safe for us to consume

Plus it’s so easy!

Red beans and Rice BurritosHow to Cook Beans in the Slow Cooker

Here’s how to cook dried beans in a slow cooker:

  1. You DO NOT need to presoak beans before cooking them! According to cooking experts I respect such as Russ Parsons, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, and Diana Kennedy, you can save the effort and cook them straight from dry, but still make sure to rinse them.
  2. Put the rinsed (or soaked, if you still choose to soak them) beans in the slow cooker and cover them with water.
  3. Add seasonings as desired, except for salt. I recommend 1 – 2 tsp. of spices like chili powder, cumin, garlic powder (make sure it doesn’t have added salt), paprika, pepper, etc., if desired. Note DO NOT add salt now as that will slow down the cooking process and toughen the beans.
  4. Cook them on low for 7 – 10 hours, until the beans are tender.
  5.  Add salt, to taste.
  6. Drain, cool completely, and freeze or refrigerate them in 1 1/2-cup increments (measure the beans before freezing them because they are very hard to separate when frozen.)

 How to Cook Beans in the Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot

Here’s how to cooker beans in the pressure cooker or Instant Pot:

  1. You DO NOT need to presoak beans before cooking them! According to cooking experts I respect such as Russ Parsons, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt and Diana Kennedy, you can save the effort and cook them straight from dry, but still make sure to rinse them.
  2. Put the rinsed (or soaked, if you still choose to soak them) beans in the pressure cooker or Instant Pot and cover them with water.
  3. Add seasonings as desired, except for salt. I recommend 1 – 2 tsp. of spices like chili powder, cumin, garlic powder (make sure it doesn’t have added salt), paprika, pepper, etc., if desired. Note DO NOT add salt now as that will slow down the cooking process and toughen the beans.
  4. Cook on the “bean” setting, but add an extra 5 minutes to make sure they are perfectly tender, especially if cooking from dry. Allow them to vent naturally.
  5.  Add salt, to taste.
  6. Drain, cool completely, and freeze or refrigerate them in 1 1/2-cup increments (measure the beans before freezing them because they are very hard to separate when frozen.)

Have you tried making your own beans? Any favorite seasonings or cooking tips to add to mine? Please share your advice and recipes below. 

Roasted Indian Cauliflower with Chickpeas, Cashews, and RaisinsFurther Inspiration

Want some fun recipes to use all those beans with? How about one of these:

Mango, Brown Rice, and Black Bean Salad

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos with Avocado Crema

Roasted Indian Cauliflower Tossed with Chickpeas and Cashews

Want more tips on how to use your slow cooker? Check out our slow cooker tips and tricks and our instructions for making homemade broth.

Want more delicious and easy recipes, check out The Scramble’s family-friendly meal plans to see just how simple getting dinner on the table can be!

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